You read that title right.
There are no Winners in this week’s Winners and Losers. I will provide a tip of the cap to some of the Seattle Seahawks performers who were at least admirable in an otherwise woeful 27-13 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. We’ve seen this team lose at home to Arizona too many times to count, but this was easily the worst one to date in terms of performance, especially since the scoreline flattered Arizona.
So let’s get this over with and then you can go be with your relatives for the holidays.
Tip of the cap
A pass defensed and a blocked field goal. Good for him!
His first Seahawks touchdown, three years after picking off former Seahawks backup QB Trevone Boykin as a member of the 49ers linebacker depth.
Didn’t miss any kicks.
Continues to punt well.
He’s Bobby Wagner.
Pressed into emergency duty, he led the team in receptions (6... for 26 yards) and had a nice 19-yard run.
The only good option on offense all game, with five catches for 64 yards.
The Seahawks are 11-4 and by DVOA they are clearly a top team. That doesn’t mean they haven’t had horrible coaching decisions from Pete Carroll on a near-weekly basis. Score tied 7-7 with 4th and 1 in field goal range and instead of going for it, just calling timeout to kick a field goal anyway, he opted for the delay of game and punted. That is chickenshit coaching of the highest order and hardly the first time he’s done that. His conservative style is more damaging than it is helpful, and his want of shortening games and a slow pace is going to lead to more blowout losses when the roster isn’t as talented.
Carroll coaches the team that he thinks he still has, rather than the team that he actually has.
While the execution of the gameplan was poor... Schotty’s situational playcalling was dismal. C.J. Prosise cannot be your 3rd and short option especially on a horizontal run, regardless of whether or not Chris Carson is hurt. Calling a 3rd and 3 run with Travis Homer to the LEFT SIDE when you’re playing a backup tackle and injured left guard is madness. They were down two scores for much of this game and played like they were tied. Easily his worst called game of the season.
Pete Carroll’s defensive assistants
That the Seahawks defense is banged up does not make me want to retain Ken Norton Jr, whose defense could’ve gotten really shredded if Kyler Murray had stayed healthy. There’s a real chance that former Carroll assistants Gus Bradley, Dan Quinn, Todd Wash, and Kris Richard are all unemployed at the end of their respective seasons. All of those firings would be justified — the Chargers, Falcons, Jaguars, and Cowboys are all no better than 21st in defensive DVOA. Richard isn’t a DC but he is the passing game coordinator, in which case Dallas ranks 23rd in pass defense. Robert Saleh’s scheme in San Francisco has shifted away from “Seattle-style” coverages, in case you want to tout his success.
I don’t think these are coincidences we’re seeing. The Seahawks defense is average at best and obviously below-average when not 100%. Are we seeing Carroll’s scheme rendered obsolete by bright NFL offensive minds? I’d say so.
I can’t prove it but I suspect Wilson has been more injured this season than he’s let on — he said he dinged his ankle in this game — and we have seen him on the injury report a few times this season. He’s nearly terrified to run unless he has to, looks slow when he does run, and his refusal to throw to receivers who aren’t clearly open is a risk-aversion issue that I think is on Carroll more than anything, but Wilson has been very ordinary for more than a month now. It’s clearly not on him specifically, but I cannot totally absolve him from this mess.
Jamarco Jones was predictably out of his element trying to block Chandler Jones. There were multiple blown assignments that led to instant pressure or tackles for loss. Is Mike Solari any better than Tom Cable at this point? The injuries suck and it turns out the depth is predictably overmatched, too.
That angle and subsequent missed tackle he took on the 80-yard Kenyan Drake touchdown run was pathetic. Why the Seahawks, a team that likes to be speedy, have hung onto Tedric Thompson and Lano Hill this long when both of them are so game-speed slow is beyond me. Marquise Blair should sink or swim out there while Quandre Diggs is out, Hill is not good enough.
The jet sweep was cool. Watching him fair catch a punt at his own 6 and then fumble away a third down conversion was not cool. This is Seattle’s #3 wide receiver and that alone yells you how badly the Seahawks need receivers still.
One target, which he dropped. Patrick Peterson shut him down.
The team’s chances of contending
Chris Carson is probably done for the season. Duane Brown is probably done for the season. Who knows if Jadeveon Clowney will come back? Quandre Diggs is injured right now. Ziggy Ansah is never consistently healthy. Mike Iupati has a stinger. Tyler Lockett was dinged up and probably still is dinged up because of that leg bruise. The team does not have any quality depth at any position (linebacker included) and it’s showing. We’ll enjoy the Seahawks in the playoffs wherever they end up, but you’ll have to lower your expectations. Quite frankly, we are fortunate this team even made the playoffs with a couple of weeks to spare, because under more normalized circumstances (aka not being historically great in close games) they’d be out of this race already. Enjoy the rest of the ride while it lasts, but things are not looking great. I can handle the loss, I can’t handle the injuries.
- The tackling on this defense is gross and so sloppy, and someone needs to be held accountable (beyond the players, of course). Branden Jackson offers nothing on this defensive rotation and his missed tackle on Kenyan Drake’s final carry was the icing on the turd cake.
- Pretty fitting that C.J. Prosise ends his Seahawks career with another injury. Sucks for him but he’s not got the durability to last in the NFL.
- Tyler Lockett having just one catch on 8 targets is mindblowing. When have we ever seen Wilson that inefficient throwing to his #1 option?
- It’ll probably take one hell of an effort to beat the 49ers next week with the injuries that have hit this team. Perhaps it won’t be the worst thing in the world to be on the road, seeing as they’ve been very mediocre at home.
- I’m sick of playing the Cardinals. Move them back to the NFC East or something.
- Speaking of which, it could always be worse! You could be the Dallas Cowboys and be held to 9 points with the NFC East on the line. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
- Enjoy the holidays and thanks for reading these columns every week.