From Faulk: "To be Professional Grade, you must be prepared for every situation. Imagine your team facing its next opponent. You're down by six, with 2 minutes left, on your own 30. I wanna know right now, what does your team do. Do they win, or do they lose?"
It's an interesting question as it relates to the Seahawks, because Seattle was in a similar scenario this past week vs. the Cowboys and came up way short.
I think it's probable that over the course of this season, the Seahawks' offense will find themselves in a situation where they'll need to march down the field in a late game situation, move the chains, manage the clock, and get into the endzone. Is this an offense that's built to do this?
I decided to take a quick look at the last few times the Seahawks have found themselves in this situation. Here are the last three instances that Seattle has gotten the ball while trailing, very late in games. I did not use two minutes exactly, but the point being: here are the last three times Seattle needed a game-saving drive. I did not include the Seahawks' 80-yard drive in OT vs. the Broncos because there's just a different level of desperation when you're trailing as compared to when you're tied.
Vs. Dallas Cowboys, Week 6:
The Seahawks trailed Dallas 27-23 and got the ball back at their own 19 yard line, with 3:16 remaining. For all intents and purposes, Seattle approached this drive as their last shot at winning the game.
Here's the play-by-play:
Seattle Seahawks at 3:16, (1st play from scrimmage 3:11)
1-10-SEA 19 (3:11) (Shotgun) R.Wilson pass short left to J.Kearse to SEA 23 for 4 yards (O.Scandrick).
2-6-SEA 23 (2:49) (No Huddle, Shotgun) R.Wilson pass incomplete short left to J.Kearse.
3-6-SEA 23 (2:44) (Shotgun) R.Wilson pass incomplete short right to L.Willson.
Timeout #3 by SEA at 02:40.
4-6-SEA 23 (2:40) (Shotgun) R.Wilson pass incomplete deep right to J.Kearse.
In a nutshell, Russell Wilson's pass on 2nd and 6 was slightly off target to Jermaine Kearse, who reached up and just couldn't quite reel it in. On 3rd and 10, Russell was pressured and forced a throw to Luke Willson, who was running a shallow crosser. It flew over his head by a few feet. On fourth down, the Hawks went to their go-to play for these situations, the pick play scissors route up the sideline. Wilson moved to his right with pressure and tried to hit Kearse's back shoulder rather than throwing it up and over the defender. Kearse fell and couldn't corral it.
Surprisingly, the Seahawks got the ball back, now down seven, and still in a position to go down the field and force OT.
Russell Wilson threw a pick on the second snap after quickly. picking up a first down
Seattle Seahawks at 1:09, (1st play from scrimmage 1:05)
1-10-SEA 15 (1:05) (Shotgun) R.Wilson pass short middle to L.Willson to SEA 25 for 10 yards (J.Durant; O.Scandrick).
1-10-SEA 25 (:48) (No Huddle, Shotgun) R.Wilson pass deep middle intended for L.Willson INTERCEPTED by R.McClain at DAL 48. R.McClain to DAL 48 for no gain (L.Willson).
Game over. Two shots at it, both failed.
Vs. San Diego Chargers, Week 2:
The Seahawks trail the Chargers 27-21. This is peak legend-building time for Russell Wilson, but unfortunately he and the offense cannot get the job done. Seattle takes over at their own 11 yard line with just over three minutes remaining, needing to drive 89 yards. This is no easy task.
Seattle starts the drive off with a fly sweep to Harvin, and that play gets blown back six yards when the DB crashes the party. This is obviously an inauspicious start. Seattle now faces a 2nd and 16 from their own five yard line, and when Wilson drops back to pass, he's almost sacked for a safety, but barely manages to flip the ball to Lynch, who has leaked out underneath. Lynch is stopped for a gain of only four yards.
On third down, Lynch again dumps it off to Lynch after facing immense pressure from the San Diego defense (this has been an issue on these drives), and he picks up one yard. On fourth and the ballgame, the Seahawks attempt a pick route scissors-combination down the sideline (the same they tried vs. Dallas), but Russell Wilson is off the mark as he tries to fit it in to Jermaine Kearse up the sideline, and the ball drifts out of bounds. Frustrating end to a very frustrating game.
Seattle Seahawks at 3:04
1-10-SEA 11 (3:04) (Shotgun) P.Harvin left end to SEA 5 for -6 yards (S.Wright).
2-16-SEA 5 (2:25) (Shotgun) R.Wilson pass short right to M.Lynch to SEA 9 for 4 yards (M.Ingram, M.Gilchrist).
3-12-SEA 9 (2:00) (Shotgun) R.Wilson pass short middle to M.Lynch to SEA 10 for 1 yard (D.Stuckey).
Timeout #2 by SEA at 01:51.
4-11-SEA 10 (1:51) (Shotgun) R.Wilson pass incomplete deep right to J.Kearse.
PENALTY on SEA-Z.Miller, Personal Foul, 5 yards, enforced at SEA 10.
Vs. Arizona Cardinals (2013, Week 16)
You may remember this clunker of a game. Seattle picked off Carson Palmer four times, but the offense was so ineffective that the Cardinals managed to take the lead, 17-10, with 2:20 remaining.
Ultimately, it would be anti-climactic, as Russell Wilson would throw a ball upfield to Doug Baldwin, and it would ricochet off his arm (apparently) and into the hands of an Arizona defender. I still can't believe this was upheld, but here we are.
Seattle Seahawks at 2:13, (1st play from scrimmage 2:06)
1-10-SEA 26(2:06) (Shotgun) R.Wilson pass deep left intended for D.Baldwin INTERCEPTED by K.Dansby at SEA 47. K.Dansby to SEA 47 for no gain (D.Baldwin). The Replay Assistant challenged the incomplete pass ruling, and the play was Upheld.
So, to re-ask the question that Marshall Faulk posed: "You're down by six, with 2 minutes left, on your own 30. I wanna know right now, what does your team do. Do they win, or do they lose?"