If there’s one thing I want the Seattle Seahawks to fix over the bye week, it’s ball security.
Through ten games, the Seahawks have lost 11 fumbles, including three in Monday night’s win against the San Francisco 49ers. Only the New York Giants have lost more fumbles this season, and Daniel Jones by himself has 13 total fumbles. This is already tied for the most lost fumbles in a single season under Pete Carroll, and it’s more than the 2017 and 2018 teams combined.
Who have been the main culprits? Chris Carson has had major issues holding onto the pigskin, with four fumbles recovered by the opposition and another two that thankfully stayed with the Seahawks. He is the only running back in the NFL who’s in the top-ten in fumbles. I already said in September that Carson’s fumbling woes could justify a benching, but even with three fumbles over the past two games, the coaching staff sees no reason to punish him. When you’re having an otherwise stellar season and your backups aren’t doing any better, I guess you can afford these mistakes. “Always Compete” tends to disappear when the competition is scarce.
Rashaad Penny and C.J. Prosise, who’ve combined for only 49 carries, each have a lost fumble. In other words, every running back who has touched the ball for the Seahawks has given it to the other team. Prosise has been a healthy scratch in recent weeks, while Penny never got another carry after fumbling against San Francisco. As an aside, I’d bet a good amount of money that neither of these two is on the Seahawks roster in 2020, and Seattle is going to search for running backs next offseason.
Russell Wilson has five fumbles — two of them strip-sacks — but has officially been docked for just one lost, which was the botched exchange between him and Chris Carson in the Pittsburgh Steelers game. The fumble return touchdown by DeForest Buckner on Monday qualifies as a Germain Ifedi lost fumble, so the issue has gotten so unusually bad this year that the team’s linemen can’t hang onto the rock either.
The three remaining lost fumbles are courtesy of the wide receivers. Rookie DK Metcalf tried switching the ball between his hands on a rainy day against the Baltimore Ravens, and it went for a scoop and score the opposite direction. He was too damn strong for his own good against the 49ers, with Jaquiski Tartt making a quite phenomenal rip of the football during Metcalf’s personal Mark Bavaro-esque run towards the end zone. Lastly, Jaron Brown opened the Los Angeles Rams game with a pretty bad fumble along the sidelines, which the Rams recovered.
Three of Seattle’s lost fumbles have been returned for touchdowns, which is the most in a single season under Pete Carroll, and it’s cost the Seahawks a total of 39 points on the scoreboard when you factor in offensive points scored off turnovers. This is a problem that needs correcting, because as much as we’ve enjoyed Seattle winning all of these close games, sometimes the “close game luck” swings the other way when you least expect it. Buckner’s touchdown is the second time this season that Seattle has had the ball with a two-possession lead and turned it over to give the other team a lifeline when they could’ve just put the game away.
Fumbles (and recovering fumbles) have an element of randomness to it, but these are largely sloppy errors that are uncharacteristic of a team that usually does a great job of not turning the ball over.