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David Moore’s downturn remains a curious question following the Seahawks’ playoff exit

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NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

After Brandon Marshall put together a disastrous performance against the Cowboys in Week 3, David Moore was inserted into the lineup, taking Marshall’s place in the Seahawks’ three WR sets. Lauded by Pete Carroll, Russell Wilson and Brian Schottenheimer throughout training camp for his ability as a contested catch receiver, Moore made an immediate impact, hauling in four touchdowns over the next four games.

From Moore’s insertion into the lineup in Week 4, until Seattle’s win in Carolina in Week 12, Moore caught 22 passes for 413 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 4.4 targets per game. It appeared, as Tyler Lockett was becoming a bona fide star, the Seahawks had found an above-the-rim receiver to compliment him. However, in the six weeks that followed the victory over the Panthers, Moore caught just four passes for 32 yards and zero touchdowns, with his targets dropping to 2.6 per game.

Moore’s disappearance from the gameplan was a curious turn in Seattle’s season. Granted, his numbers down the stretch would look a little better, had officials not incorrectly ruled a 34-yard touchdown reception against the Vikings as out of bounds. However, his season fizzled out with a zero target performance on Wild Card weekend. And while Moore’s production plummeted, his place in the offense remained. From Week 4 through Week 12, Moore averaged 41 snaps per game. From Week 13 through the Wild Card round, Moore averaged 40.6 snaps per game. Though he was playing nearly the same amount, Moore became a non-factor.

Whatever the reason is for Moore’s massive drop in production to close the season, the Seahawks have to try to capture the eight week stretch he put together over the middle of the season, and have him maintain that level throughout 2019 and beyond. Lockett is a game-breaking talent, capable of creating a touchdown or a huge play out of nothing. Doug Baldwin, provided he’s healthy, will be as reliable (and devastatingly crisp in his routes) as ever next season. Moore has proven to be Seattle’s best above-the-rim threat, and he provides the Seahawks with a skill set that isn’t currently matched by anyone at the position. Now he just needs to do it over 16 games.