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The Schein Nine

NFL Sunday's nine worst Week 12 losses: Seahawks crashing back to Earth; Packers, Broncos hit bottom?

They say every loss counts the same. Try telling that to the nine teams spotlighted in this space.

Thanksgiving week provided a delicious football feast at all levels of the sport, but not everyone enjoyed Sunday funday.

Let's rank Sunday's worst defeats, Schein Nine style.

Seattle Seahawks
6-5 · 2nd in NFC West

THE LOSS: 40-34 (OT) vs. Las Vegas Raiders

Look, Pete Carroll, Geno Smith and these Seahawks deserve a ton of credit for overachieving in 2022. Three months ago, nobody thought they'd head into December with a winning record, much less begin the month in a division race.

After the Seahawks started the season at 6-3, though, expectations in Seattle rose. The conversation around the team changed. The 'Hawks suddenly had the chance to high-step on the haters all the way to the postseason. But Seattle couldn't dig out of a 21-3 hole in Week 10, losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in London, 21-16. Following a Week 11 bye, Carroll's crew stumbled again, this time in front of the 12s at Lumen Field.

Seattle lost to Las Vegas in overtime when Josh Jacobs walked it off with a demoralizing, untouched, 86-yard scamper to paydirt. Jacobs finished with 229 rushing yards and 303 total yards from scrimmage -- both franchise records for the Raiders. Per NFL Research, he's the only player since at least 1950 with 225-plus rushing yards and 70-plus receiving yards in a single game. Credit the 24-year-old running back, who's enjoying one hell of a contract year. But from the Seahawks' perspective, that's inexcusable run defense. Over the past two games, Seattle has given up 444 yards on the ground. Just a staggering figure. Adding insult to ineptitude: The Seahawks' own running game has come to a screeching halt. In the past two games, Kenneth Walker III has totaled 43 yards on 24 carries. That's 1.8 yards a pop. While the enticing rookie impressively found his way to the end zone twice against the Raiders -- showing off his jump-cut ability on a 12-yard touchdown and his raw power on a 14-yard score -- Walker's remaining 10 carries produced exactly zero yards. Not great against a Raiders defense that entered Week 12 ranked 20th against the run and 27th overall.

Sunday's setback not only knocked Seattle out of a first-place tie with San Francisco atop the NFC West, but the Seahawks now find themselves on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. The season isn't over yet -- not by a long shot -- but during the Seahawks' hot start, there was always a feeling that everything was breaking Seattle's way. Losing to Josh McDaniels at home is a rough way to start the post-bye stretch run.

Baltimore Ravens
7-4 · T-1st in AFC North

THE LOSS: 28-27 at Jacksonville Jaguars

I've never taken the cheese on these Ravens being true Super Bowl contenders. Never put them in the class of the Chiefs, Bills or Dolphins on the AFC side. In fact, I have more belief in the Bengals and Titans, too. For the second straight year, Baltimore has been injury-riddled and just a little off all season.

Well, the bloom is officially off the rose after Sunday's choke job. The Ravens were up 19-10 on the three-win Jaguars with 13 minutes remaining. They even scored another fourth-quarter touchdown, supplementing it with a successful two-point conversion. And yet, they still lost in regulation.

Second-year QB Trevor Lawrence shredded Baltimore's secondary on a pair of 75-yard touchdown drives. In between, Ravens RB Gus Edwards coughed up a first-down carry deep in Baltimore's own territory, giving Jacksonville three free points. With Doug Pederson going for the jugular, Lawrence sealed the Ravens' fate by converting the go-ahead two-point attempt with just 14 seconds remaining.

Yes, the Ravens' remaining schedule is easy. No, they aren't good enough to take advantage. I still think the Bengals are clearly the most dangerous AFC North team.

Green Bay Packers
4-8 · 3rd in NFC North

THE LOSS: 40-33 at Philadelphia Eagles

Green Bay was supposed to field an elite defense this season, with talented playmakers on all three levels. Not exactly.

In a spotlight game on Sunday Night Football, the Packers gave up a whopping 363 yards rushing. That's the most rushing yards Green Bay has allowed in a single game in 45 years, the most rushing yards Philadelphia has piled up in 74 years. Jalen Hurts (17 carries for 154 yards), Miles Sanders (21 carries for 143 yards and two touchdowns) and Co. simply ran roughshod over the Packers on national television.

With seven losses in its past eight games, Green Bay is 4-8. Matt LaFleur, who collected 13 regular-season wins in each of his first three seasons as Packers head coach, has done a wretched job in Year 4. Oh, and Aaron Rodgers, who was already dealing with a broken thumb on his throwing hand, was knocked out in the third quarter on Sunday night with an oblique injury.

Make no mistake: Rodgers should play if he's healthy. But he's not, so it feels like high time for Packers brass to keep seeking justification on the ill-fated decision to take Jordan Love over a receiver like Tee Higgins or Michael Pittman Jr. back in the 2020 NFL Draft. What a mess.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
5-6 · 1st in NFC South

THE LOSS: 23-17 (OT) at Cleveland Browns

I'll keep saying it: Even with the G.O.A.T. at quarterback, Tampa Bay just isn't a good football team this year. These Buccaneers are inconsistent and injury-ravaged, with coaching that leaves much to be desired.

On Sunday, Tampa just couldn't stop Browns RB Nick Chubb, who powered to 116 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. OK, Chubb is one of the best backs in the league. But the Bucs defense allowed Jacoby Brissett to make big plays at critical junctures. That's just not acceptable for any team with designs on making a postseason run.

The Bucs are still the odds-on favorite to win the moribund NFC South -- a division with all four teams under .500 -- but don't mistake that for Tampa actually being a good team capable of doing damage in January. It ain't happening. At age 45, Tom Brady can't spin this miracle -- not when his offense ranks 27th in scoring, not when he just lost prime protector Tristan Wirfs to injury. TB12 stiff-armed Father Time for an extraordinary number of years, but he's here now and he's set to deliver his wrath. It might not come until January, given the ghastly state of the NFC South, but it'll come.

Atlanta Falcons
5-7 · 2nd in NFC South

THE LOSS: 19-13 at Washington Commanders

With the Buccaneers' loss, the Falcons could have taken over first place in the NFC South. But they were incapable, mainly because they aren't good. And that's mainly because they don't have a quarterback. Arthur Smith has great potential as a head coach, but he's operating with one (throwing) arm tied behind his back. It's a shame.

Down by six points with just a minute remaining, Atlanta had a first-and-goal on the Washington 2-yard line. The Commanders blew up the ensuing read-option attempt, creating a second-and-goal from the 4. But Marcus Mariota's pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage and picked, effectively ending the game. Just a gut-wrenching way to lose. Golden opportunity: WASTED. Absolutely deflating.

Mariota finished with 174 passing yards, falling short of 200 for the ninth time in 12 games. It's 2022 -- that's just not gonna cut it. I don't know if rookie third-round Desmond Ridder is ready to start in the NFL, but at this point, Atlanta might as well find out.

Arizona Cardinals
4-8 · 3rd in NFC West

THE LOSS: 25-24 vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Another brutal loss. Another brutal home loss. In fact, the Cardinals are 1-11 in their last 12 home games going back to last season. And it's another game for Kliff Kingsbury where the Cards had a lead and blew it.

This Arizona team is a discombobulated mess. Kyler Murray provided an all-time quote when asked about his fourth-and-1 interception in the second quarter:

"Schematically, we were kinda f----d."

That about sums up these 4-8 Cardinals!

Los Angeles' Justin Herbert played like a franchise quarterback and carved up the Arizona defense. And you just knew Chargers coach Brandon Staley would go for 2 -- and get it -- with Herbert putting the Cardinals out of their misery.

New Orleans Saints
4-8 · T-3rd in NFC South

THE LOSS: 13-0 at San Francisco 49ers

Zero. Zip. Nada. Nothing.

It's one thing to lose to this great 49ers team, but failing to score a single point? That's the first time the Saints have been shut out in more than two decades! New Orleans had gone 332 games with points, the league's longest active streak. No more!

Before the season kicked off, I thought New Orleans would be the team to take advantage of an underwhelming NFC South. Instead, the Saints are the worst of the bunch. Something tells me they just might miss Sean Payton ...

Denver Broncos
3-8 · 4th in AFC West

THE LOSS: 23-10 at Carolina Panthers

Russ looks cooked. Being the second-best quarterback on a field with Sam Darnold was a bad enough look for Wilson, but getting screamed at by his own defense? This is rock bottom for the Broncos quarterback. At least I hope it is. After all, Russell's dead-cap figure doesn't dip below $30 million until the 2027 offseason, so he's locked into his role for the foreseeable future. Hard to see that being the case for first-year Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett.

The new Broncos ownership didn't hire Hackett. How did they feel watching Hackett lose to a Carolina team that already fired its coach and traded its best player?

The only reason this loss isn't higher on this list is because it's what we've come to expect from this Broncos team. Again, not a good sign for Hackett's future with the franchise.

Tennessee Titans
7-4 · 1st in AFC South

THE LOSS: 20-16 vs. Cincinnati Bengals

I'm just surprised. I thought Tennessee had a major coaching edge, in addition to the Titans' strong home-field advantage. Not to mention, Cincinnati was without Ja'Marr Chase and Joe Mixon. It really felt like the Titans would exact revenge for last season's Divisional Round loss. Instead, Cincy made a massive statement in the best matchup of the day.

The most concerning aspect for Tennessee: For the third week in a row, Derrick Henry looked mortal. Yes, he took a screen pass 69 yards, but he was fortunate Treylon Burks hopped on his fumble into the end zone. As a rusher, King Henry managed just 38 yards on 17 carries. Over the past three games, he's averaging just 2.8 yards per tote.

These Titans will go wherever Henry takes them -- and that won't be too far if recent trends continue.

Follow Adam Schein on Twitter.

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