Regardless of your expectations for this year’s team; whether you thought they’d be terrible and compete for a top-5 pick in next year’s draft, thought they’d be better than expected and fight for a playoff spot, or something in between ...
Through two weeks, the 1-1 Seattle Seahawks have given you plenty of ammunition to support your view(s).
Contrary to popular belief, the sky is not falling. Sure, Seattle’s offense has gone 6 consecutive quarters without putting up points and, sure, they’ve run very few plays inside their opponent’s end of the field during that stretch. And, yes, Seattle’s bend-don’t-break defense bends A LOT and, inevitably, does actually break.
The Seahawks are 1-1 after two games and are tied for the division lead with the Los Angeles Rams ...
... and the Arizona Cardinals ...
... and the Santa Clara 49ers - although, technically, the Niners are ahead of the Seahawks since they currently own the tiebreaker.
1-up and 1-down ain’t bad. I mean, sure, players, coaches, and fans alike wish that the Seahawks were 2-0, but they could have easily been 0-2 absent a really poor coaching decision in Week 1.
How smart do Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch look for what can best be described as an absolute FAILURE during the offseason to trade an asset that they had zero interest in keeping. Every report, every quote, every everything indicated that San Francisco was D-O-N-E with Jimmy G. Until they weren’t.
Even then, the widespread belief, including within the San Francisco media and fan base, was that restructuring Jimmy G’s contact and keeping him was a HUGE mistake because it would have Trey Lance looking over his shoulder all season.
Or, as it turned out, for less than 5 full quarters.
To be clear, it absolutely sucks that Trey Lance’s season ended the way that it did. It sucks for him, it sucks for the team, and it sucks for anyone that planned to use Lance’s inexperience to maybe grab a win (or 2) from the Niners this year.
The truth though, is that Jimmy G was always SF’s best option.
Even when they were too stupid to know it, and especially now that the decision has been made for them.
During the broadcast on Sunday, the commentators pointed out that the Niners had to throw out 80% of their playbook when Trey Lance went down.
This was backed up by the sideline reporter, Kristina Pink, who asked Kyle Shanahan about it at halftime:
“Safe to say, Kyle Shanahan is pleased with the Jimmy G. show so far. He said, ‘He’s done awesome. He’s looked really good.’ As far as how much of the offense they’ve had to throw out, Coach telling me, “Most of it. All of the run stuff, all the play-action.’ But it hasn’t seemed to be an issue.”
If I were Pete Carroll and/or Shane Waldron, I would follow Shanahan’s lead and toss out part of the playbook ... starting with any and all plays that involve a non-quarterback throwing a forward pass.
Seahawks ‘trick play’ as DeeJay Dallas throws one of the worst INTs I’ve ever seen in my life. pic.twitter.com/Y1Qz2d8tZM— Sami Jarjour (@SamiOnTap) September 18, 2022
To continue the previous thought ...
I actually sort of like the formation with four running backs.
But, for the love of the football gods, don’t ever, ever, EVER consider throwing a pass from that formation. Never, ever, ever again.
And, while we’re on the subject, don’t send Geno out wide. I mean, he didn’t even try to sell himself as a legitimate option. The ball got snapped and he took the most lackadaisical step forward imaginable. It was like he swapped his jersey for a t-shirt that said, “NOTHING TO SEE HERE.”
My (completely unsolicited) advice for this formation:
Put DK Metcalf out wide on the left and either Marquise Goodwin or one of the tight ends out wide on the right (or vice versa), then snap the ball to Kenneth Walker III and give him the option of deciding which way to send the ball - either via one of the other backs (left, right, or straight ahead) or by keeping it himself (and having a pitch option if he goes left or right).
That’s essentially 7 options from one play.
Yes, all of them are runs but the defense can’t just let DK and Goodwin (or a tight end) run free (even if we pinkie-promise that we won’t throw the ball).
And, since none of the players on the field are the starting quarterback, ALL of them can be expected to throw a block.
Also, if Seattle really wanted to cause chaos with this formation, they could put DK in motion (and/or do the same with Goodwin or the tight end that’s split out wide) and give KW3 another option (or 2) for who to give the ball to and which direction to send them.
Maybe the defense guesses right, maybe not. Either way, for the Seahawks, it’s a MUCH better option than what we saw in Santa Clara on Sunday.
A year and a half ago, I suggested the Miami Dolphins as a prime target for a Russell Wilson trade. They had plenty of draft capital, including 2 R1s in the 2021 NFL Draft, and a young quarterback that they would have presumably been willing to send back to Seattle as part of the trade.
On Sunday, that young quarterback threw for 469 yards with 6 touchdowns which is, in and of itself, pretty damn impressive. His fourth quarter performance was the stuff of legends though: 13-for-17 for 199 yards with four touchdowns.
20 fourth quarter plays, 28 fourth quarter points.
WoW! (and also SIGH!)
Speaking of quarterbacks ...
As a general rule, I try not to call attention to exceptional performances by the signal callers for our division rivals but there was one play on Sunday that is an exception to that rule because DAMN.
According to NFL Next Gen Stats, the signal caller in question ran 84.9 yards on a 2-point conversion midway through the 4th quarter of the Arizona Cardinals vs. Las Vegas Raiders game on Sunday.
Kyler Murray traveled 84.9 yards on his successful two-point conversion scramble, the most distance traveled by an offensive ball-carrier on a two-point conversion attempt in the NGS era (since 2016).#AZvsLV | @AZCardinals pic.twitter.com/tGeZvMgjdn— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) September 18, 2022
And here’s that play with actual players (instead of numbered dots) ...
This play took 20.8 seconds from snap to score @K1— NFL (@NFL) September 18, 2022
: #AZvsLV on CBS
: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/FVZamC6mMP pic.twitter.com/Fa2EBh1eEw
The last 2 thoughts focused on quarterbacks while downplaying (aka completely ignoring) the comebacks involved in those games.
Per ESPN, “The Ravens were up 35-14 (versus Miami) with seconds to go in the third quarter. Teams with a 21-point lead at the end of three had won their past 107 contests, with the last such loss coming in 2006.”
Likewise, the Cardinals spotted the Raiders a 20-point halftime lead and trailed by 16 at the start of the 4th quarter. They then scored 22 unanswered points to steal the win in overtime. Literally.
But, as impressive as those two comebacks were, there’s another one from Week 2 that beats them both.
And it’s got an ironic little Seahawks twist to it as well.
Unlike the Cardinals (20-0) and the Dolphins (28-7), the New York Jets didn’t dig themselves a huge first half hole to climb out of - they were tied at 14 at the break and only trailed the Cleveland Browns by 3 heading into the 4th quarter.
Yet, with just under 2 minutes to play, there was a 99.9% probability that the J-E-T-S were going to lose the game. Nick Chubb had just scored on a 12-yard touchdown run to put the Browns up by 13 points.
It would have been 14 points, except Cleveland missed the extra point.
Down 13, no timeouts, New York starts with the ball on their own 25, 1:55 to play.
2 plays, 75 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
1:22 left to play.
Onside kick recovered by the Jets.
Butt cheeks clenched throughout the stadium (the game was played in Cleveland).
9 plays later, Joe Flacco (aka the MVP of Super Bowl 47) found Garrett Wilson (aka the player that the Jets picked with the 2022 R1 that they got from the Seahawks) for a 15-yard TOUCHDOWN.
The extra point was good and an INT on the Browns’ final play sealed the win: Jets 31, Browns 30.
Geno Smith’s stat line from Week 1: 23-of-28 for 195 yards.
Week 2: 24-of-30 for 197 yards.
Cherry picking at its finest, right? Not exactly. I mean, sure, I omitted the touchdowns (2 in Week 1 | zero in Week 2) and the interceptions (0 | 1), and the passer rating (119.5 | 80.1).
But they don’t really matter for this particular thought.
What matters is Geno’s completion rate.
- Week 1: 82.1%
- Week 2: 80%
- Season-to-Date: 81.03%
Here is the complete list of quarterbacks with a higher completion rate than Geno Smith through the first 2 games of the 2022 season:
And, honestly, it ain’t even that close.
Anyone else curious about how Geno Smith looks compared to the guy he replaced?
(Glad I’m not the only one.)
Through 2 games:
- Geno: 47-of-58 (81%) for 392 yards (6.8 average) with 2 TDs, 1 INT, and a passer rating of 99.1
- Russell Wilson: 43-of-73 (58.9%) for 559 yards (7.7 average) with 2 TDs, 1 INT, and a passer rating of 86.5
Sort of makes you wonder where the Seahawks would be had they not made the trade - especially when both teams are 1-1 and have had trouble putting up points.
My main concern about the Seahawks through the first two games isn’t Geno Smith, it isn’t the run defense or the young secondary, and it isn’t even the play calling (in a general sense).
This is my main concern:
- Week 1: 19 carries for 76 yards (4.0 average), zero TDs
- Week 2: 14 carries for 36 yards (2.6 average), zero TDs
- Total: 33 carries for 112 yards (3.4 average), zero TDs
My concern here is twofold.
- The results are anemic.
- Seattle has run 96 offensive plays and only 34.38% of them have been running plays
Note: If you subtract the 3 kneel downs at the end of the Denver game, it drops to 30 called runs out of 93 total plays (32.25%).
Not that I’m advocating for the familiar Run-Run-Pass, but the Seahawks need to decide what their offensive identity is going to be because I don’t think this is what they had in mind when the season started.
Not with Rashaad Penny and Kenneth Walker III as the top two backs and ball-control Pete as the head coach.
Through two games, the Seahawks’ defense is 2-for-9 in red zone situations.
There are two ways to look at that ...
One good, one bad.
Good: The defense makes the stops when they have to as shown by opponents only scoring 2 touchdowns on 9 red zone possessions.
Bad: Opponents have had the ball inside Seattle’s 20-yard line nine times through the first two games.
By comparison, Seattle’s offense is 0-for-3 in the red zone so far this season.
As with the defense’s numbers, there are two ways to look at that ...
Neither of them are good.
Despite how the game in Santa Clara played out, I think the Seahawks can take the 49ers in the Week 15 rematch. Yes, they kicked our asses in the first meeting, but ...
- The next game with them is in Seattle and our youngsters will have progressed quite a bit by then.
- Tyler Lockett (probably) won’t muff a punt and gift the Niners awesome field goal position (our 22) in the rematch.
- Hopefully we won’t have a ton of penalties (10-for-106 in Round 1) or as much of a discrepancy between the calls (SF had 1 penalty for 26 yards).
- We won’t do another (ill-advised) halfback pass. (Ever.)
- Et cetera.
The Atlanta Falcons are the next challenge for the Seahawks.
Seattle is favored by 2 points at home.