That was boring.
And that’s the type of football we’ve seen from the Seattle Seahawks that I suspect many had feared we would get for much of the season. Of these five losses in six weeks, only the Las Vegas Raiders game was reasonably fun to watch. Everything else has just been dull, duller, and dullest. The offense can’t generate explosive plays with regularity and the defense has ceased generating turnovers. Yes, the defense actually held the Kansas City Chiefs in check but it also rarely felt like the Seahawks were even in the game in the first place.
I can accept fun bad but this is mostly just bad bad, and that we’re getting this so late in the season after such a bright start makes it even more disappointing than if they were like this out of the gate.
I’ve had a thoroughly unenjoyable week as a sports fan. I cheer for the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers and they started out a surprising 10-4—they were projected to miss the playoffs—and are now 17-16 with a defense that went from surprisingly good to predictably awful. They lost every game this week and went 2-4 on a road trip in which all but one opponent was .500 or worse. Now I end the week with another Seahawks L, as “surprisingly good” has turned into “predictably awful” and likely no postseason.
Winners and Losers time.
Kenneth Walker III
There’s no doubt that Walker is not at 100% but he was one of the few offensive bright spots on the day. Walker rushed for over 100 yards on 26 carries and had much improved effectiveness when Shane Waldron finally started spamming handoffs under center as opposed to shotgun and pistol.
Another week, another big kick return. He mishandled a kick later on in the game and funnily enough that resulted in a long drive that produced Seattle’s only non-garbage time points. Just sign him to the active roster, already!
I counted only one target towards Woolen and it was the deep shot to Justin Watson that he broke up. He’s good. He’s damn good.
I’d say the defense as a whole could get praise but I want to focus in on the defensive line. After getting shredded for fun for weeks on end, the Seahawks held the Chiefs to just 77 yards on 22 attempts. The pass defense I thought was also a pleasant surprise, especially with how sound they were in coverage to make up for the general lack of a pass rush. If there’s a caveat I’d say some dropped passes flattered Seattle a tad. It’s the run defense that has been disastrous for weeks and really stepped up today.
Pete Carroll’s 4th Down Aggressiveness
Other than not going for it on 4th and 1 at his own 16 on the opening series, pretty much every critical 4th down decision was a “go for it” in Pete’s world. That they mostly didn’t work out is one thing; it’s the fact that Carroll knew punting in KC territory wasn’t ideal and the conditions weren’t the best for kicking long field goals. Kicking field goals in general will usually not get it done versus Kansas City.
I’ll give him credit for that and the way this defense looked prepared, but everything else was ugly.
I Don’t Know
Honestly I don’t know. He had 7 catches for 81 yards and if not for him Seattle might have been shutout before garbage time. Metcalf also unnecessarily jumped on a would-be touchdown and couldn’t get both feet down as a result, and on the game’s first play he committed a holding penalty that wiped out a big Kenneth Walker III run. He also blew a block on a quick screen to Penny Hart through what was borderline inattentiveness.
But Metcalf was also the only wide receiver who was anywhere near competent so I would lean towards Winner? I’m not even sure, hence the first ever “I Don’t Know” in our segment.
It was an uphill battle for Geno with no Tyler Lockett and an offensive line that has clearly been worn down into looking like the worst of the Tom Cable years, but Geno was bad. Inaccurate passes, shaky decision making, and a horrible interception that killed off any hope of a comeback. The miscommunication with Goodwin was on Smith (as he later admitted) so don’t get on the receiver.
We saw four timeouts burned because they were in danger of letting the clock run out. That was like a Russell Wilson era speedrun all in one game and it’s brutal when those timeouts are burned in the 2nd half while trailing.
Nothing irked me more than him turning down acres of space to run for a first down and instead force a difficult throw to Marquise Goodwin. That was inexcusable and it’s not the first time he’s passed on rushing yards for an incomplete pass just during this losing stretch.
Geno’s 2022 is still a success given what he was early in his career and the years he sat on the bench not playing. But the wheels are falling off and while he’s hardly the main problem for Seattle’s struggles, he has become a problem and the turnovers and mistakes are piling up.
As far as I’m concerned, the Seahawks have two options in 2023:
1.) Significantly upgrade the surrounding talent around Geno (which we’ll get to a little later) and roll the dice that you can get better, more sustainably high-level play out of him knowing that he’s been above-average most of the season.
2.) Significantly upgrade the surrounding talent on offense but draft a quarterback to compete with or replace Geno. And unless it’s a high-end backup like Gardner Minshew (yes, I’ll relent on this a bit), just draft a QB instead of try and revive bad ones like Zach Wilson or bank on some subpar veteran like Marcus Mariota.
It’s now very apparent that without a reliable running game, Waldron has no answers. The boots to the tight ends have been taken away. The shotgun runs are staggeringly ineffective. This offense’s collapse feels all too familiar to the way 2020 caved in on Brian Schottenheimer, which is to say that he has not effectively countered the countermoves by opposing defensive coordinators.
Then there’s the nightmare playcalling where critical 4th downs are going to Colby Parkinson and Laquon Treadwell. I cannot believe they tried a pick play with Parkinson as the receiver and Penny Hart running interference. Not only was it OPI but Parkinson didn’t get the first down anyway. Talk about a personnel disaster.
I’m not advocating for Waldron’s firing or anything but there’s a clear issue with Seattle where the talent and scheme are not in sync with each other, and this includes last season.
A fair catch at your own 7-yard line is bad, as was his not getting out of bounds at the end of the 1st half while trying to make moves in the open field that fooled no one. The reason why the clock ran even though he landed out of bounds is because forward progress was clearly stopped inbounds. Seattle only had one timeout so that was a killer. Travis Homer is such a superior option as a backup RB and it’s not even close, but Homer was hurt so Dallas was the alternative.
Is there a less elusive set of skill position players in the league than the non-Kenneth Walker III Seahawks? I suppose Tyler Lockett still can wiggle out of tackles but that’s about it. They are near the bottom of the NFL in broken tackles on rushing and passing plays, which tells you all you need to know.
Brooks missed a tackle that turned a screen for no gain into 6 yards on an eventual touchdown drive for Kansas City. Then at 17-3 he got roasted twice in a row by Travis Kelce (who doesn’t, to be fair?) and that killed the game off. To wrap it up he was unable to track down Patrick Mahomes on an eventual rushing touchdown. Earlier in the game he got picked off on the touchdown to Jerick McKinnon.
Cody Barton of course had his own missed tackle that turned an Isiah Pacheco screen into a 32-yard scamper, but he also had a pressure that led to the only sack by the Seahawks and didn’t really do anything else terrible of note. It’s Brooks who is worrisome because all of these tackle stats mean very little if they aren’t impactful.
New center and new right guard, please. Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas will presumably get better. Austin Blythe and Gabe Jackson will not. Damien Lewis I still believe has been a net positive so I’ll leave him out of this for now.
Any skeptics of Seattle needing to invest more at wide receiver
The Seahawks have played two games without Tyler Lockett under Shane Waldron. They scored 10 points both times. Post-Doug Baldwin retirement, this is how I suspect the Seahawks offense would’ve looked more often than not (Wilson or Geno) with Lockett not playing. Marquise Goodwin’s injury hurt the depth some more but it’s not like he’s meant to be the second option on any team in 2022. Dee Eskridge only exists in theory at this point and when healthy he’s done very little.
This is a wide receivers and pass-catching tight ends league. There is every reason to invest, invest, and invest some more in receiving talent. Look at the Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, and Cincinnati Bengals and convince me that their starting quarterbacks aren’t helped significantly by their surrounding receiving talent and/or scheme.
Lockett is on the other side of 30 and he’s had some other injuries here and there that haven’t led to missed time. Seattle’s got to be more proactive receiver, and in fairness they tried that with Eskridge but that was clearly part of the wave of teams who very stupidly tried to find the next Tyreek Hill. You can never have enough depth at the position and you don’t have to break the bank for it.
Absent a major move in free agency, the Seahawks must take a receiver early in the 2023 Draft. Watching a playoff spot potentially go up in smoke because Penny Hart and Laquon Treadwell were getting key snaps is brutal.
- Tre Brown isn’t injured, right? Because I’d rather see him out there and not Michael Jackson, whose broken tackle on McKinnon resulted in a TD. The 2021 Draft is looking like a dud at this point. At least Stone Forsythe was competent out there subbing in for Lucas.
- Bruce Irvin committed another neutral zone infraction penalty. Darrell Taylor and Boye Mafe struggling for snaps behind a semi-retired Bruce seems more damning of both of them than anything else. Taylor did get a sack and a pressure so he did contribute.
- That false start penalty on Austin Blythe was some bullshit.
- Noah Fant is now becoming the king of garbage or garbage time adjacent touchdowns. Two in as many weeks!
- The Seahawks are not close to being elite. That’s fine. Are they close to being good? Perhaps. For all we know they still might make the playoffs because the NFC sucks. They have led for no minutes and no seconds in their only matchups against presumptive Super Bowl contenders. The offense had zero 2nd half possessions in which they were down by one-score against either the Chiefs or 49ers. Even really bad teams are occasionally competitive or spring a surprise against the best but the Seahawks didn’t really manage that. There are a lot of individually promising players worth being excited about, but the team as a whole is a ways from being a contender. The holes they need to fix require a home run of an offseason akin to what we just witnessed, and anything short of that means you shouldn’t expect the ceiling for this franchise to be raised much higher any time soon. If the 2022 offseason bought Pete Carroll and John Schneider job security, 2023 makes or breaks both of them in the long-term. At this point the only way we get the best of Carroll as a head coach is when this team finally has a considerable talent advantage, which they haven’t had in years.