Despite bad offensive and defensive play against the Denver Broncos in Week 1, the Seattle Seahawks offense had a chance to win the game late. They didn’t.
Despite bad offensive play against the Chicago Bears in Week 2, the Seahawks offense still had a chance to at least tie the game. They didn’t.
Winning on the road is tough. Self-destructing repeatedly makes it 1000x harder to win whether you’re on the road or at home. Only 11% of teams have made the playoffs in the current playoff format after starting 0-2. The 2015 Seahawks were one of them, and although the offense finished #1 in DVOA that year, they were pretty awful up until November. I am not so confident the 2018 Seahawks can replicate the 2015 squad’s second-half surge. It’s more than reasonable to suggest the second-half surge of 2015 was an outlier in a sea of mediocrity.
Here are the Winners and Losers as the Seahawks are still in search of their first win of the entire 2018 calendar.
What ball skills shown by Shaquill! A lovely adjustment on the underthrown pass to Allen Robinson for his first interception, and then he caught a tip-drill for his next pick. He only had one interception last year, and he managed two on Monday night, plus he largely shut down whoever he was covering. Griffin kept everything in front of him and prevented major gains out of Robinson, wrapping up immediately on numerous occasions. This is hugely encouraging. Shaquill looks like he’s developing into a star.
The Seahawks defense as a collective group
Mychal Kendricks picked up a sack off a blitz and Austin Calitro didn’t embarrass himself in there. With no Bobby Wagner or K.J. Wright, they fared much better than I’d expected, along with the rest of the group. The defensive line held the rushing game of the Bears to just 86 yards, with Jordan Howard only getting 35 on 14 carries. Akeem King got beaten for a touchdown and had a holding penalty on the first drive, but that was about as bad as it got. Seattle’s defense held the Bears to only 17 points, which is a major credit to them.
The greatest tight end in NFL history caught his second touchdown of the season, albeit in glorified garbage time, and seems to be a real threat on seam passes, as he was on a 34-yard catch. All hail Will Dissly!
Much like Dissly, two weeks in a row with a touchdown reception, and this one was a beauty in tight coverage against Kyle Fuller. It briefly got the Seahawks back into the mix before the pick-6. Lockett finished the game with 5 catches for 60 yards and the aforementioned score. He has to be consistently viable, especially with his new contract, and this is a good start.
He’s still got the leg! After missing a field goal last week (and unofficially two), Seabass kicked it dead-center from 56 yards, and made both of his PATs. In a week in which multiple lost jobs due to missed kicks, this was a welcome sight from the large lad.
I was hesitant to put him in the “Losers” column last week because he made enough chunk plays that kept the Seahawks in it against the Broncos. It’s hard to defend what just happened on Monday. 22/36 for 226 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 turnovers honestly flatters him. Six sacks suggests another offensive line horror show, and that’s partially true, but Wilson is hesitant to throw, double clutching, scrambling into sacks, and not wanting to throw the ball away. These are drive killers. His interception was a totally inexcusable staredown of Rashaad Penny that at best would gain minimal yards and at worst result in a turnover.
The main narrative for Wilson detractors has long been that he cannot win unless his defense is elite. Well this defense isn’t elite, but they gave the offense a chance to win, so it’s up to the offense — read: Wilson — to step up and deliver. They have won exactly one game in which the opposition scored more than 18 points since the start of last season. I largely think this is a Pete Carroll issue (more on that later), given the style he wants is not conducive to winning higher scoring games, but Wilson is a mess right now. No Doug Baldwin hurts, but some of the flaws from last year are prevalent in 2018. I’m more than worried about what he’s become, or perhaps more accurately, what he’s failed to become.
You can lament the running game being underutilized, but Seahawks running backs combined for 57 yards on 19 attempts. That doesn’t mean go the entire 3rd quarter without running like was inexplicably planned, but the o-line is not helping matters when the rushing attack is just as anemic as we’ve seen over the previous two seasons. This actually bothered me more than the six sacks, as I really don’t want D.J. Fluker’s missed presence as the main difference in run-blocking.
He has no feel for playcalling. They dialed up quick passes to start the 2nd half and they couldn’t have been more predictable. Bevellian, if you will. Rollouts were minimal yet again. The non-two-minute drill uptempo offense didn’t make an appearance until they were down 17-3, and that’s when Schottenheimer suddenly decided to run the ball. This continued even when down 24-10 with only one timeout, much to my amazement. I wanted John DeFilippo as the OC, given Schotty’s spotty track record and DeFilippo’s work with a very well-crafted Eagles offense. It’s early days, but I think we know why Schottenheimer was despised by other teams’ fans.
I hate hate hate hate hate that the Seahawks spend week after week lining up with under ten seconds in the play clock and inevitably burn a timeout. They did this again in the 3rd quarter when a delay of game would’ve only yielded 2 yards. Then a second timeout was burned on a 1st down play with plenty of time on the play clock for reasons I do not know. How is this still a problem in year seven of the Wilson era? This offense is so damn slow in every way imaginable. You can’t be this ill-prepared this frequently.
The next good block Tre Madden makes is the first one I’ve seen. His presence on the roster is puzzling, then again, the head coach tries to win with an NFL offense better suited for 1998, not 2018.
It’s an adapt-or-die league. Carroll is choosing death by a thousand paper cuts. He is dead set on winning his way and not adjusting for anything else. It’s not that his philosophy is atrocious! It got the Seahawks a pair of Super Bowl appearances, a Super Bowl win, several 10-win seasons, and a truly enjoyable fun as a fan. But the best in the business don’t try and go back to what used to work, which is exactly what Carroll seems to want. The way this roster has been managed and molded leads me to think this way.
We are seven years into Russell Wilson’s career and the Seahawks have a single win on the road out of 19 tries when allowing 24 points or more. Only the Buffalo Bills have a worse success rate, having failed to win any of their 22 games. You gotta be able to get victories out of your comfort zone, and rarely has Seattle prevailed because the offense bailed out a really poor defensive showing, as opposed to the other way around. How is Seattle still like this with one of the top QBs in the league?
Carroll doesn’t seem to realize he doesn’t have the talent to win games the way he did in 2012 or 2013. It’s time for the offense to take that next step and instead they’re jogging backwards. Pete is the greatest head coach in franchise history, but it’s very justified to question if Seattle can really contend again with him at the helm. The difference between Seattle’s archaic offense, which at this point I’m certain is Carroll’s preference, and what the Bears, Chiefs, Rams, and other teams are running is staggering, and I am convinced that it’s hindered Russell Wilson’s development.
- Rashaad Penny got 30 yards on 10 carries and looked better than he did last game, although he had a bad drop in the opening quarter. I wish he’d keep his feet better, as he’s still struggling with his balance.
- Chris Carson evidently didn’t get a second-half carry due to exhaustion by being on special teams duty. That... is weird.
- That forward progress call that robbed the Seahawks of a fumble recovery (only for Shaquill Griffin to get his second INT on the next play) was total nonsense. Earl Thomas punchout happened again and the refs decided not to play along.
- Props to Barkevious Mingo for sniffing out that Mitch Trubisky option play, denying Jordan Howard a third-down conversion in short yardage.
- Ollie Connolly is right: The Monday Night Football crew needs work. Jason Witten in particular is not ready for primetime. I do have a soft spot for Joe Tessitore though given his work on ESPN boxing coverage over the years. He’s certainly better than Sean McDonough, who essentially admitted he hated his job.
- Michael Dickson dropkicked a kickoff. That was cool.
- The season is essentially over if Seattle loses at home to the Dallas Cowboys. No ifs, ands, or buts. And if they do drop to 0-3, you have to wonder if those crazy predictions of a 4-12 or 5-11 year might actually be accurate. Wright and Wagner should be back. The defense should be better. It’s on the offense to get unstuck.