Then they went to New York and . . .
Defensively anyway: 11 sacks, 3 takeaways, and a coming out party for Devon Witherspoon that netted him the NFC Defensive Player of the Week award.
Offensively though, it wasn’t pretty.
Not that it needed to be.
Geno Smith finished the day 13 of 20 for 110 yards with a touchdown and a passer rating of 95.8.
Geno wasn’t the only quarterback who played for Seattle though; Drew Lock spelled him at the end of the first half (while Geno was in the locker room having his knee looked at).
Drew’s stat line was alright: 2 of 6 for 63 yards and a passer rating of 63.6.
However . . .
One of Lock’s two completions covered 51 yards (most of that was after the catch), and each of his four incompletions made it abundantly clear that Lock’s targeting system needs an upgrade.
The run game looked good though: 23 carries for 121 yards (5.3 average) with a touchdown. K9 had 17 carries for 79 yards (4.6 average) and scored the aforementioned TD. Zach Charbonnet racked up 31 yards on 5 carries (6.2 average), and Lock had a nice 11-yard run while he was in the game.
Unfortunately, Seattle’s struggles on third down continued (3 for 12; 25%), and they went 0-for-2 on fourth down.
Looking at the offense from a “results” perspective shows that their eleven possessions went like this: Punt, punt, touchdown, punt, touchdown, end of half, turnover on downs, missed field goal, punt, field goal, turnover on downs.
Add that to the results from their first three games, and Seattle has:
- 10 touchdowns;
- 13 field goal tries (9 made, 4 missed);
- 13 punts;
- 3 turnovers (1 interception, 2 turnovers on downs); and
- 4 end of game / end of half situations where the Seahawks weren’t trying to score
Excluding that final bullet (for the reason mentioned), the Seahawks have had 39 possessions and either scored or missed a field goal try on 23 of those possessions (59%).
Prior to Monday night’s game, Seattle was at 65.5%.
That’s a 10% dip (minus 6.5%).
Fear not though, Seattle only slipped two spots in the FPI rankings.
Buffalo and Dallas passed them, but they’re still comfortably ensconced in the Top 10, currently sitting at No. 6 overall.
That’s the good news in today’s article.
Now for the bad news . . .
Tyler Lockett’s streak of 1,000-yard seasons is in serious jeopardy.
Through 4 games, Tyler Lockett has been targeted a team-high 27 times. He’s caught 17 of those passes for 157 yards and 2 touchdowns.
His 63% catch rate is significantly lower than the 71.8% catch rate Lockett had last season, and would represent the second-lowest catch rate of his career if it holds steady through season’s end.
Interestingly, Lockett’s target percentage is slightly higher this year (20.93%) than it was last year (20.45%), but the yards per reception are dragging him down.
- Career average: 13.2
- 2022 average: 12.3
- 2023 average (through 4 games): 9.2
Given his current pace, Lockett’s final 2023 stat line projects to 72 receptions on 115 targets for 667 yards and either 8 or 9 touchdowns (depending on which way you round off 8.5).
That’s certainly not a bad stat line for a 31-year-old receiver.
It is, however, less than what was expected from Seattle’s No. 2 wideout and the league’s 16th-highest-paid receiver ($17.5M APY).
Seattle’s other wideouts
While Lockett’s target share has increased but his catch rate and yards per reception have decreased, the polar opposite has happened with DK Metcalf.
- Target share: 24.65% in 2022; 17.83% this year.
- Catch rate: 63.8% last season; a career-high 78.3% this season.
- Yards per reception: 11.6 last year; 14.9 this year (career average of 13.8).
DK’s current pace projects to 77 receptions on 98 targets for 1,139 yards and either 8 or 9 touchdowns.
Note: DK had 100 targets his rookie season. That is, and should remain, his career low. But math doesn’t lie and his current pace says 98, so . . . ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Seattle’s third wideout, Jaxon Smith-Njigba (JSN), has been targeted 20 times and has 12 receptions, but seemingly all of them have been at or behind the line of scrimmage (sigh!), so he only has 62 yards to show for his trouble, and no TDs.
Those numbers project to 51 receptions for 264 yards.
Sort of disappointing . . .
. . . and entirely NOT HIS FAULT.
How about the tight ends?
While it’s helped greatly by his 51-yard catch-and-run on Monday Night Football, Noah Fant’s current pace projects to 43 receptions on 47 targets (91%) for 680 yards (16 per reception).
The targets would be a career low for Fant (by a lot; his current career low is the 63 targets he had last season) while the total yards, yards per reception, and catch rate would be career highs.
Colby Parkinson is also on pace for a career year.
- Targets: Colby had 34 targets last year; he’s on pace for 43 this season.
- Yards: Through his first 3 seasons, Parkinson amassed 371 receiving yards. 322 of those yards were collected last season. This year, he’s on pace for 370 which would basically double his career total.
Note: Will Dissly gets an incomplete since he missed the Carolina game and wasn’t targeted on any of his 29 snaps on Monday night.
Seattle’s pass-catching back field
Purely for the sake of completeness, here are the current numbers and the projections for the players in Seattle’s back field:
- Current: 8 receptions on 10 targets (80%) for 73 yards (9.1 per reception).
- Projection: 34 receptions on 43 targets for 310 yards.
- 2022 Comparison: Walker’s projections would be career highs across the board.
- Current: 4 receptions on 7 targets for 22 yards.
- Projection: 17 receptions on 30 targets for 94 yards.
- 2022 Comparison: N/A
- Current: 2 receptions on 3 targets (67%) for 12 yards.
- Projection: 9 receptions on 13 targets for 51 yards.
- 2022 Comparison: Dallas had 17 receptions on 19 targets for 126 yards last season, and those weren’t even career highs (2021 was slightly better on all counts, except yards per reception), so his current projection for 2023 would be a bit underwhelming.
- Current: 1 reception for minus-2 yards and a twisted knee.
- Projection: I think Geno learned his lesson and will bat down any other passes that head his way in the future.
Today’s final projection
Last year, Geno Smith set the league on fire en route to winning the Comeback Player of the Year award. In his first full season as a starter in nearly a decade, Geno had career highs in attempts (572), completions (399), yards (4,282), touchdowns (30), and completion percentage (69.8%), while also posting the second-highest passer rating of his career (100.9).
Over the offseason, he signed a team-friendly contract that has incentives tied to most of those numbers: passing yards, touchdowns, completion percentage, and passer rating.
Matching or passing those numbers earns him $2M per, as does notching at least 9 wins. Hitting on all of them (plus the wins) adds an extra $5M (up to $15M total).
Unfortunately (for him), through the first four games of the year, Geno is well off the pace he needs to hit those marks.
Geno’s current projections are:
- 523 attempts
- 357 completions
- 3,596 yards
- 21 touchdowns
Note: To this point, Geno has completed 68.3% of his passes which, while off the pace he needs to match (or top) last year’s mark . . . it ain’t bad.
Should we be concerned?
From an efficiency standpoint, Seattle’s offense is doing fine.
Better than fine.
Statistically, not so much . . . or, rather, not as much as we’ve become accustomed to and/or were hoping for this season.
There are, of course, “reasons” . . . which y’all can speculate about in the comments.
Me, I’m not really all that worried; at least not yet.
Seattle is 3-1 at the bye and the offense still has plenty of time to figure out how to get everyone (and everything) in sync.
Getting their starting tackles back will probably help.