The Seattle Seahawks offense was stuck in the mud through the first 2.5 quarters. Suddenly they kicked it into overdrive and put up 20 points over the final five possessions, and when the offense needed to score to make up for the sudden collapse of the defense, they did the damn thing. A 29-26 win over the Washington Commanders puts them in solid position for at least a wild card berth.
It may not feel like it, but the Seahawks are 6-3, and they’ve gone huge stretches without playing particularly good or seemingly well-coached football. But they’re 6-3, which I personally enjoy more than losing a lot. Let’s get to Winners and Losers!
2nd Half Geno Smith
There’s almost no rational way to talk about Geno at this point. We’re in an era where being slightly on either side of average is almost treated the same as being a non-NFL level QB, and there’s more nuance to that. I think we can all generally agree he’s not the QB of the Future (2024 or 2025 and beyond), but the discourse around him has been like we’ve been watching every 1992 Seahawks quarterback or Charlie Frye out there.
When Smith had to buck up and play better or really risk having his job security questioned, he delivered. Smith was 16/20 for 217 yards, 2 touchdowns, and essentially consecutive game-winning drives. The first one should’ve been a winning TD pass to Tyler Lockett, but the defense switched off and Geno had to do it all over again with just :52 left and two timeouts. He did it. In some ways, it might be the best drive of his entire Seahawks career because he had to go out and win the game all over again.
No turnovers, only one sack taken (although one near-sack was essentially a sack), and his accuracy was substantially improved out of the break. Smith looked confident and assured again, which may be moot as soon as next week, but if you don’t want to give him even a tiny bit of credit for bouncing back from the boo birds, then I don’t know what to say.
DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett
How about 15 catches for 190 yards (and a Lockett touchdown) from your top two wide receivers? Metcalf has taken arguably the next most criticism after Smith, but he was fantastic on the final drive with two clutch catch-and-runs. Lockett is as reliable as ever, and Metcalf’s early 3rd down drop aside, he was terrific.
Geno was only pressured on less than 25% of his dropbacks, which is no doubt in part because the Commanders traded half their pass rush away, but it was still a stout showing by the OL in pass protection. Not particularly pleased with the run-blocking or botched blitz pick-ups, but that was an overwhelmingly positive day for Andy Dickerson’s group.
Kenneth Walker III
Not an efficient day on the ground (19 carries for 63 yards), but that one catch he did get went for 64 yards and his first receiving touchdown. We witnessed K9’s speed in the open field and he really is a blur. I’m begging the Seahawks to use their running backs as pass-catching options more often, and not necessarily as checkdown options.
Clearly more 12 and 13 personnel to help with pass protection, plus more play-action, an improved screen game, and YAC! It’s so beautiful. This is what we’ve wanted!
The Seahawks gained 258 yards after the catch in their Week 10 victory over the Commanders, the 2nd-most YAC in a game by any offense this season.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) November 13, 2023
The Seahawks four leading wide receivers each gained at least 40 YAC.#WASvsSEA | #Seahawks pic.twitter.com/tNDqrZWfDt
Seven straight games with a sack! He also had a PBU while pressuring Sam Howell and forcing a 3rd down stop. Mafe probably won’t be an All-Pro this year because, well, Myles Garrett, T.J. Watt, Danielle Hunter, Micah Parsons, etc. all exist, but Mafe has All-Pro potential.
I guess he gets dinged for not being able to get his hand on the tying touchdown pass to Dyami Brown while in a zone coverage, but I’ll be damned if he isn’t one of the most fun draft picks this team has had in years. Three passes defensed, a forced fumble, and a near-pick for the rookie cornerback, who continues to be a lockdown corner no matter who is throwing on him or who he’s matched up against.
Jason Myers and Chris Stoll
Odd Year Myers is over? Myers struggled early on and it looked like yet another instance of Myers being good in alternate years, but 5-for-5 and the game-winner is superb. And a shout to rookie long snapper Chris Stoll, who’s been flawless in his role and has to do his job in order for Jason to do his.
Easily Woolen’s best outing of the season. Sam Howell hardly went his way, and when he did it resulted in an incomplete pass on 3rd down. Woolen also sniffed out a screen pass that went for a short gain, and he recovered the Howell fumble in the 3rd quarter.
Welcome to Seattle! First sack as a Seahawk helped get the defense off the field, and now he has the distinction of sacking Sam Howell on two different teams this year.
1st Half Geno Smith
If you called for Drew Lock after that maddening intentional grounding penalty, I don’t blame you. Smith, perhaps to his own overcorrection looking to avoid interceptions, was holding onto the ball too long for his own good. There were some miscommunications with his receivers, misfires, and just general disjointed play that resulted in points being left on the board. I am alarmed at how often there have been instances of QB/Receiving Target not on the same page.
Then the 2nd half happened and almost everything clicked. 2nd Half Geno was a requirement because 1st Half Geno looked arguably worse at times than he did in the past four games against mostly better defenses. Indecisiveness and inaccuracy is a bad combination to have, and against elite Ds this could look horrific.
We’re still waiting for Adams to get another sack, because he’s sitting at none since 2020. Whiffing on Sam Howell caused that opening drive touchdown to Brian Robinson Jr, and other than his headed assist on the Julian Love interception against the Cleveland Browns, I am failing to see the benefits of sending him as extra pressure when he’s either getting locked up by running backs or not sacking the quarterback. Adams had a couple of other missed tackles that led to first downs, so even with some of his better plays in coverage he had some big misses.
3rd Down Offense, Defense
Here we go again. Seattle’s 3rd down offense is generally atrocious, and their 3rd down defense is just as bad. We saw the Seahawks start 2-of-3 on 3rd down on offense and finished 4-of-14. Funnily enough, the play of the game was Geno’s 3rd down dart to Metcalf to get them into field goal range. Defensively, the Seahawks allowed 7-of-15 on 3rd down, and almost all of them were through the air. There is a complete dysfunction with this team in terms of basic situational football that’s hampering both units, and it must stop.
Yeah, that was not a good performance in totality, even though it was certainly better in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. It’s not often a quarterback can clear 300 yards passing without having a wide receiver gain more than 40, but that’s what happened today with Sam Howell. Brian Robinson Jr was totally unaccounted for on two plays, one of which led to a touchdown and the other was a 48-yard gain. Antonio Gibson had a wide open touchdown, and the tight ends were rarely covered on crossing routes.
Then that Dyami Brown touchdown... just brutal. It’s a hell of a throw but the subsequent YAC was so bad. I think the cornerbacks were very good, so that leaves you with the safeties and the linebackers for culpability, and that holds up to me. Bobby Wagner and Jordyn Brooks had some of their worst reps of the season, and Quandre Diggs was out of position on that Brown TD.
If this is the defense that’s supposed to be challenging the San Francisco 49ers, then Mitch Wishnowsky can take the night off. I’m not fooled by 26 points allowed on 11 drives, which on a points per drive basis is bottom-5 play.
The Seahawks defense is just as inconsistent as the offense, which shouldn’t be happening at this point. I’ve seen this story too many damn times from numerous post-LOB Pete Carroll defenses.
- I can’t with Frank Clark anymore. He offers nothing at this point. No run defense, no meaningful pass rush, this is a reunion I was against the minute he was released by Denver and I think I’m validated.
- I’m also feeling semi-validated on liking Sam Howell more than many of the other QBs from what looks like a brutally bad 2022 draft class. He’s gutsy, he’s getting better at not bleeding sacks, and he’s showing some impressive accuracy in the face of pressure, Maybe not a superstar in the making but someone you can win with.
- Other than the Emmanuel Forbes ejection, which seemed questionable but also came from the New York office, I don’t think the game was all that poorly officiated. There could’ve been a pass interference on a deep shot to Lockett, and frankly that was more DPI than what DK Metcalf was able to win on Benjamin St. Juste. Ultimately, I think BSJ did at least hold Metcalf so it’s a penalty in some form and it allowed the Seahawks to move the sticks.
- Pretty surprised the Commanders made only one attempt to commit to the run, and otherwise were dedicated to throwing it. I’m still worried that better rushing offenses are going to bulldoze this front, but thankfully the Commanders gave them very little to think about.
- Jaxon Smith-Njigba had 3 catches for 39 yards on Drive 1, then just 1 catch for 14 yards the rest of the day. I’m not worried, because Metcalf and Lockett were the focal points and the ball was moving.
- More touches for Zach Charbonnet please. That’s all.
- Pete Carroll opted not to go for it on an early 4th and 1 in the 2nd quarter—hard count that resulted in a false start on Geno Smith—and Geno probably botched a 4th and 1 sneak by running it too late. That said, it’s not like Carroll couldn’t have called timeout to avoid a delay of game. However, Carroll did go for it on both key 4th down decisions in the 2nd half, and both resulted in conversions. I think he’s been more aggressive by his standards than previous seasons, which is a positive. Also, since when does he wear a baseball cap?
- I know the Seahawks have looked disconnected, and I understand the concerns about the way they are coached, the shoddy execution, the penalties, the whole shebang. They’re also finding ways to win, something I cannot say about some of the embarrassments from their 2022 losses, of which over half were against sub-.500 opposition. There is real frustration over the fact that this is the type of agonizing football the Seahawks have played for years upon years even under Russell Wilson, but this is also a different roster with a lot of promising talent on rookie contracts, and a QB who’s a great story but not as good as Wilson. Perhaps your ire should then be more towards Pete Carroll than any singular player on the team, since there’s one constant in these performances. I’m still going to celebrate this win and believe that there is a path toward improved performance. After all, would you rather they peak now or peak in December or January?