The easy joke about the Seattle Seahawks’ offensive showing in Chicago Week 2 is that it was fully described in the eighth word of this opening sentence.
There were few positives to glean from a 24-17 loss that was decidedly not as close as the final score indicates. Catastrophic first half, fourth-quarter turnovers, poor tempo, ineffective passing, questionable choices from the quarterback and the coaching staff — all the nits of various sizes and shapes are there to pick after a frankly dispiriting defeat.
One important stat that explains much: sacks. Through two games, the Seahawks defense has generated three, while the offense has given up 12. (Not a great use of the number 12, guys.)
But other NFL defenses are deficient in their sack-making abilities, too! A quick glance at the bottom of the sack leaderboard shows that Seattle has company.
23rd (tie): Dolphins, Patriots, Saints, Seahawks, Texans, Washington, all with 3
29th (tie): Chiefs, Raiders, Rams all with 2
32nd (no tie): Giants with 1
Look at those teams’ records — you don’t have to get sacks to win. The other nine teams listed above are 9-9 so far. Yes, including the truly hapless Giants.
Problem is, the sack statistic gets especially dire for the Seahawks in the differential. Having allowed 12, Seattle sits at -9 on the season, somehow -9 after only two games. It’s the worst mark in the league. The Bills and the Giants are the Seahawks’ nearest “competitors” in sack differential, both at -7. Like the Seahawks, they’re also not winning.
No other NFL team has a differential worse than -4. Seattle’s an outlier, a terrible outlier.
The Seahawks have allowed a sack 14.8 percent of the time on offense. It’s important to recognize that they weren’t this bad in 2017, just 7.29 percent, which was middle-of-the-road, so there’s still time in 2018 to make adjustments, and to make regression to the mean work for them.
You can assign blame to all the actors: the quarterback, the coordinator, the line, the opposition. Assign it in the proportions you prefer. They’re all guilty to some extent.
In addition to the sack numbers, the Seahawks’ offensive ineptitude can be partly explained by them having played both games on the road, a fact you knew already. It’s still important to recognize that the Seattle offense, and its offensive line (there’s that word again!) haven’t operated in a friendly environment together. That’ll help. However, if they continue to hemorrhage sacks while failing to compensate on the defensive end, it’ll be a long season.