Now to be just a bit of a downer, I would not be shocked if the Seahawks cooled off on offense starting with this Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams. The warning signs have actually been there since the Vikings game, but there are still some other variables in play here — the lack of healthy running backs (it’s fair to say that Chris Carson is way better than Deejay Dallas and Travis Homer), the likelihood of bad weather, and injuries or COVID cases affecting Seattle’s offense and/or their opponents’ defense. What’s worrying is that if the defense doesn’t get any better and the offense is bogged down more often, then Seattle’s postseason may be as short-lived as its previous four trips.
But you wouldn’t dare doubt Russell Wilson, would you?
I wrote that because the Seahawks’ efficiency metrics at that point of the season under the “Let Russ Cook” offense were not actually all that better than last season, which seemed to break Seahawks Twitter for not being pass-heavy enough on neutral downs. For the record, I have supported the process that has led to great early down success rate but has bizarrely had a side effect of miserable 3rd down performance.
I don’t know what their DVOA will be after this week but it has to tank. They were terrible against the Rams, good enough against the Cardinals, kinda shitty against the Eagles, and game-breaking bad against the Giants. The only good news is that the defense has been demonstrably better. I did not expect the offense to be this awful.
Over the past month they have averaged just under 20 points per game and averaged about five yards per play. Russell Wilson, known for his deep passes and vertical attacks, has morphed into Relentlessly Optimistic Blaine Gabbert. Wilson had attempted 139 passes and he’s been sacked 18 times for 95 yards lost. He’s thrown for 938 yards in the process. Using net yards per attempt (passing yards - sack yards)/(passing attempts + sacks), you get 843/157 for a total of 5.3 NY/A.
Do you want to know how bad 5.3 NY/A is? Wilson’s career NY/A is 6.69 and up to this point he was 7.04 for 2020. A 5.3 NY/A is in the same range as Daniel Jones, Dwayne Haskins, and Nick Foles.
When the Seahawks had their 1-3 stretch after the bye week, people rightfully pointed to Wilson’s uncharacteristic turnover problem. He had 10 in four games but he has just two (both in the loss to the New York Giants) in the subsequent four games. Which means that while Russell Wilson has limited his turnovers but has been stripped of all of the things that make him a great quarterback.
I wish I had a simple answer for this. The offensive line is clearly worse off without Brandon Shell and reduced to Chad Wheeler at right tackle. Mike Iupati is old and cannot stay healthy. They have had Chris Carson back for two games but have barely used him in the rushing offense and Carson sure had himself some terrible moments versus the Giants. I am not a film guy but go back to my opening flashback about the Vikings figuring something out about the Seahawks defense that had them frazzled. Then read this tweet by John P. Gilbert.
Opponents have figured out that multiple deep safeties leads to the Seattle offense going to shorter routes.— John P. Gilbert (@JohnPGilbertNFL) December 6, 2020
And the offense is limited in the passing concepts it employs, which allows DBs to sit on specific routes/concepts based on situation and alignment. https://t.co/p5wPSZgsTZ
We can point to the former hero known as Skybox Schotty for not adjusting to the opponents’ adjustments. And point to the alarming inaccuracy and hesitancy of Russell Wilson. The main point here is that there is a shit ton wrong with the Seahawks offense right now and the “easy” part of the schedule where running the table seemed a near certainty now looks like they could only go 2-2. I am very worried about the Washington Football Team’s defensive front plus playing at that awful field.
Seattle is in 2nd place in the NFC West and while they could still win out and win the division that way, I am not banking on that. I’m not even banking on beating the winless New York Jets. For two seasons running this team has not earned the right for anyone to believe they can comfortably beat a bad team such that the game is effectively over by halftime. What I cannot believe is that if the Seahawks are to collapse at the end of the regular season, it’ll be the offense that has been the undoing of this team for the third time in four years.
Something has to change. And I must admit, I am starting to have a little bit of doubt about Russell Wilson.