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O'HARA'S MONDAY COUNTDOWN: Seahawks' strong first half too much for Lions to overcome

There have been times this season when the Detroit Lions have made their fans want to cheer, cry or laugh.

They did all three in Sunday's 51-29 road loss to the Seattle Seahawks, with tears being the most prominent reaction by fans still emotionally invested in the outcome of their games at this moment of the season.

The game was as one-sided as the score indicated. The Seahawks got on a roll early and stayed on it until their offense ended the game lined up in the victory formation rather than punch in another touchdown from the Lions' one-yard line.

In this week's Monday Countdown, one thing is obvious: The Lions have lost too many starting players to realistically be expected to compete head to head with most of their opponents.

That has become especially obvious with quarterback Jared Goff missing a second straight game with a knee injury, and a defense patched together with replacement players.

With that in mind, the Monday Countdown looks at how the Seahawks dominated the game to such a degree in the first half that it was enough to win the game, and how their key players took advantage of the Lions' overmatched offense.

There are also takeaways on offense, defense and special teams, what's trending and the Bottom Line -- which shows how head coach Dan Campbell has set a tone for his team to compete to the end -- even if it's a bitter end.

View photos from Detroit Lions vs. Seattle Seahawks Week 17 game at Lumen Field on Sunday, Jan. 2 in Seattle, WA.

1. We start with Campbell's view: He preaches the importance of the running game, and it's not just idle talk.

The Seahawks won that game within the game, and it wasn't close. They had 265 yards rushing to 95 for the Lions.

"We couldn't stop the run, and we didn't run it very well," Campbell said in his postgame interview. "That's the essence of the game."

Those stats are misleading, too. Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown scored a TD on a 26-yard run, and quarterback Tim Boyle added 14 yards on a quarterback scramble. Deduct those two plays, and the Lions had 20 carries for 55 yards -- far below what they've been producing in the last eight games.

2. Star power: It was Seattle's last home game, and perhaps quarterback Russell Wilson's last home game as a member of the Seahawks. It's also possible that head coach Pete Carroll won't be back.

It seemed that the Seahawks had an urgency to make some kind of statement in their final game.

Running back Rashaad Penny rushed for 170 yards and two TDs.

Wide receiver DK Metcalf had six catches for 63 yards and three TDs.

And Wilson completed 20 of 29 passes for 236 yards and four TDs. Wilson has played bigger games than Sunday's home finale, but he was in complete control of the game -- which has been his trademark in his 10 seasons of directing the Seahawks' offense.

3. St. Brown: If this were the start of the season instead of the end, we might have an "Amon-Ra Meter" to chart his receiving progress from quarter to quarter and game to game.

The rookie receiver had another big game -- eight catches for 111 yards and a TD, and a 26-yard run for a TD.

In the last five games he's had at least eight catches in every game, and five TDs -- four receptions and the run.

4. Takeaways, offense:

  • In a rush: Boyle seems to rush things at times, and that gets him -- and the offense -- in trouble. The first play of the second half was an example. He fielded a low snap that bounced to him, and rushed a throw to his left that was intercepted. For the game, he had two TD passes and three interceptions.
  • Tackle eligible: Left tackle Taylor Decker made a nice catch for a TD in the third quarter that cut Seattle's lead to 38-22. Decker also had a TD catch in 2018. He actually looked like a tight end -- and a big one, at that.
  • False starts: That didn't seem to be a problem after having six in last week's game with Atlanta.

5. Takeaways, defense:

  • Scoring binge: Seattle went three and out and punted on its first possession. The next nine ended in TDs or field goals.
  • Short stuff: Two of those nine possessions were two-play TD drives.
  • Message: I think one might have been sent to the defense at halftime after they gave up 19 first downs in the first half. They gave up 10 in the second half. That wasn't great, but it was better.

6. Takeaways, special teams:

  • Godwin Igwebuike had a 47-yard kickoff return and recovered an onside kick. That's two good plays by one player.

7. Trending:

  • Up: Outside linebacker Austin Bryant: He had the Lions' only sack. He's been more active as a pass rusher.
  • Down: Three interceptions by Boyle -- even though the offensive line did not give up a sack.
  • Even: St. Brown has been steady -- steadily the Lions' best offensive player for more than a month.

8. Bottom line: Calling for onside kicks and going for it on fourth down tells me Campbell won't sit back and watch his team take a beating. That bodes well for what kind of team the Lions can be in the future.

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