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Let Russ Cook Tracker: Cardinal sins

Seahawks, with and without Russ, blow multiple chances to clinch first NFC West divisional game

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals
not great
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

A better summary of the Seahawks’ Sunday night overtime debacle is that the defense let Kyler Murray Cook. And when it counted, Russell Wilson mostly didn’t do the job, or wasn’t given the proverbial spatula.

Other posts will go over the back-breaking mistakes Seattle made in all three phases. I even wrote about the referees’ role (it was, and still is, overstated).

One of the worst and most-cited nuggets from the defeat which should’ve been a win and then should’ve been a win and then should’ve been a tie and then ran out of should’ves, is the pass rush nightmare that the Seahawks turned in.

No sacks and no hits on Murray. Zero. Zero minus zero, and times zero for good (bad) measure.

Imagine how many miles Wilson would throw for if he wasn’t touched all game. He’d get one of those 26.2 decals to slap on the back of Win’s Tesla stroller. Or two.

Okay back to the sad. Again, it’s been a day and a half since the final whistle, and one sequence I still can’t get out of my mind is how Seattle’s final possession in regulation ended.

Though Pete Carroll trusted Wilson (it’s one of the components in the tracker!) at the goal line on fourth down earlier, a faith justified by the good works of he and Tyler Lockett, the coach didn’t have the same grace to dispense at the end. Three straight runs with the backup running back when you need one completion to ice the victory. That one will burn for a while, like when you were so hungry freshman year that you didn’t let the pizza cool before taking the first bite.

Give RW multiple chances to get it done on a series and he will. And when he doesn’t at least you went with your best player. Yes, even on an off day for him.

It’s not unreasonable to liken subpar Wilson to the America described in Winston Churchill’s famous/infamous WW2-era quote:

“You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they’ve exhausted all other possibilities.”

I mean, Carroll and Brian Schottenheimer signed off on the fourth-down touchdown to Lockett, when three points would’ve been helpful and understandable even. But in the final two minutes, they gave the apron to Carlos Hyde, who proved unable to acquire the game-clinching first down.

Seeing Carroll go run-run-run-punt-trust-the-defense on a night the Seahawks did not hit Murray even once was indefensible. To do it when the Cardinals only needed a measly field goal in return was to fundamentally misunderstand the pinnings of Sunday’s game. The Seahawks defense had another goal-line stand in them, another forced fumble, another interception sprinkled into another mind-achingly bad performance overall where they surrendered 519 yards, missed countless tackles, and passed gas from the brain. They’re built to give up field goal drives and sometimes take the ball away opportunistically. It’s a good formula when you’re trying to protect a four-point advantage and a terrible place to be if the lead is three.

— — —

So, warts and all, bonehead-scratching interceptions and all, inexplicable penalties both real and imaginary at game-deciding junctures and all, questionable coaching and all, loss and all, how did the cooking go?

The Tracker

We’re in straight-A territory again for two weeks running, even absent the pretty important result of a win, which was the purported goal of traveling all the way to Glendhell, Arizona.

Let Russ Cook Tracker, Week 7

Stat 2019 2020 goal 2020 to date Grade (cumulative)
Stat 2019 2020 goal 2020 to date Grade (cumulative)
Neutral downs passing 51-49 55-45 68-32 A
2nd & long rushing 61/166, 37% Below 25% 10/47, 21% A
Designed RW runs 11-31-0 Use him earlier 8-126-0 A
4th & short past midfield 6/25, 26% Above 26% 4-9 A

Your Seahawks passed on two-thirds of neutral downs, again, maintaining their 68 percent rate and protecting their league lead in pass-heaviness. It’s almost something we could get used to.

On Sunday night, eleven times the Seahawks faced 2nd and nine or more, and nine times they passed. It’s out of their system for good, I believe, with last year’s 37 percent run rate scorched all the way down to a sexy 21 percent.

RW is running again early in the game. It’s beautiful. He outgained Murray, even, 84-67. What?

We covered already how Russ got some of the trust, some of the time. That’s also on the upswing, though there’s room for improvement.


Biggest question now — what restraints, if any, will be placed on RW after a game where he, as much or more than anyone, cost the Seahawks the win? I’m guessing none, but in 2020, you know...