Worst loss of the season? Yeah, I’d say so.
The Seattle Seahawks (6-4) are still in good-ish position to make the postseason, but realistically it’s not happening given the four-game gauntlet they will soon face with a banged up Geno Smith at quarterback, and no Kenneth Walker for the foreseeable future. This is not a team that can make any postseason noise, which I didn’t really expect at the start of the season, but I didn’t anticipate their weekly stretches of incompetence. Losing to the Los Angeles Rams (4-6) the way they did felt way worse than the other defeats they’ve had over the years.
It’s Winners and Losers time after that pathetic 17-16 defeat.
Lockett played through his hamstring injury and caught 5 passes for 51 yards. He is now all along in 2nd place as the Seahawks’ all-time leading receiver in receptions and yards, surpassing the great Brian Blades. Only Steve Largent is in his sights, but even if he never reaches those marks, he’s the second greatest Seahawks WR ever. Bar none.
Second week in a row that Metcalf has had a huge catch to put Seattle in winning field goal range. He finished with 5 catches for 94 yards and a slick slant touchdown. No, he’s not being traded.
A demerit for the suplex penalty but that’s it. The pass interference “penalty” was just Puka Nacua tripping over Jordyn Brooks. Witherspoon sacked Matthew Stafford on the opening series, got a pass defensed, and was in on a couple of key tackles for minimal or no gain. He’s the real deal.
This is a heat of the moment thing so please indulge me for just a second. I have all the respect for Pete as the greatest coach in franchise history. His success with this team is undeniable, even if it’s waned in recent seasons. While I am bullish on the long-term upside of the Seahawks’ roster, I have zero faith in Carroll being the man to lead another Super Bowl caliber squad.
The undisciplined and stupid penalties, the inability to defend the same concepts the Rams have been running on them for six years, the unacceptable losses to bad teams, the close wins against bad teams they should be beating, it’s all too much. They are their own worst enemy and it’s a problem that transcends QBs, OCs, DCs, and the roster as a whole.
Pete isn’t getting fired so don’t think that it’s going to happen. But the Seahawks are a high-floor, low-ceiling team until further notice. And yes, the Leonard Williams trade for a second-round pick looks even worse given how many holes need to be filled on this roster.
I’ve been hot-and-cold on Waldron but today tips the scales against him. Seattle had 42 dropbacks to 20 called runs... with a lead for almost the whole game. In the 2nd half it was 18 dropbacks to 5 runs before the final possession.
But apparently the time Waldron does want to run is in goal-to-go situations, which included that drive-killing toss to Zach Charbonnet that lost a bunch of yards. The Seahawks are one of the worst red zone rushing offenses in the league but that doesn’t stop him from taking the ball out of Geno’s hands and essentially wasting downs.
Then when it’s 3rd and short they pass at an astronomical rate. We’re talking 70 percent on 3rd and 1-3 yards, which is absolutely insane. Multiple times in this game the Seahawks didn’t even do play-action in short-yardage.
I believe Waldron is damn good with play design. Clearly he excels with those first 15 scripted plays, and has done throughout Geno’s tenure. His play-calling process is just completely busted and he does not put his players in the best positions to succeed on a consistent basis. Perhaps the play that irritated me the most was the 2nd and 6 play-action shot play that ended in a Geno sack. it was a two-man combo with neither man open, so the entire thing is busted. And how many 3rd downs turned into deep shots? Unbelievable. Why was Lock throwing so much in the first place?
I’ve had enough of Waldron. But I’ve had enough of Pete-selected OCs and the forever inconsistencies on 3rd down, the red zone, and general situational football.
“Let’s see what we have in Drew Lock.”
“He led a touchdown drive against the Giants!”
“He has a big arm!”
And he’s not accurate. Waldron didn’t help, as I’ve said before, but Lock had to hold the fort down while Geno was out and he was so bad that injured Geno had to be reinserted into the lineup. He went 2/6 for 3 yards and an interception. The pick is an “arm punt” in theory but Lockett had a step and Drew undercooked it.
Younger and drafted highly always leads to a presumed higher ceiling. But if that meant anything then Christian Hackenburg, Deshone Kizer, and Josh Rosen should still be in the NFL instead of doing whatever else. If you gave him full reps I doubt anything changes. He’s mobile, he’s got an arm, he can make some nice throws, and he is fatally inaccurate which is the worst trait to have with that arm. I just don’t see what some of y’all see in him. Toolsy QBs who are notoriously erratic do nothing for me; Josh Allen is an exception, not the rule.
This is, by extension, a ding on the coaching staff but still falls on the players for their errors. For as much as the Seahawks got jobbed by awful penalties like the Devon Witherspoon “pass interference” and the Riq Woolen “pass interference” on what was thankfully a non-scoring drive for the Rams, they committed a shit ton of legit penalties. Multiple offside infractions, a critical hold on Colby Parkinson to negate a big Zach Charbonnet run, an illegal shift on Jake Bobo, another hands to the face call on Woolen, it’s all stacking up. A dozen accepted penalties for over 100 yards is exactly how a winnable game turns into a loss.
Ill-discipline is the hallmark of a team that is not well coached. The players need to stop committing silly (real) penalties, but I’m tired of watching Seattle shoot themselves in the foot.
Only 3 QB hits and a Devon Witherspoon sack on Matthew Stafford. Some of this was Stafford evading pressure but a lot of the hurries on Stafford were a result of good secondary play and not instantly getting into the backfield. Another poor performance by this unit against the Rams OL. And for f—ks sake, stop playing Frank Clark. I was against this signing for a reason.
No shit it was terrible. Not necessarily biased towards the Rams, but the Seahawks were on the wrong end of a lot of iffy calls, and in the case of the Witherspoon DPI it’s just downright incorrect. Hell, even the OPI that Cooper Kupp got was nonsense. Carl Cheffers’ group was absolutely awful and it’s not the first time we’ve seen Seattle get jobbed in high-leverage situations in that building.
Late Game Defense
Two weeks in a row the defense failed to prevent the game-tying or game-winning score. And once again, Matthew Stafford picked on Bobby Wagner in coverage and really anyone who’s supposed to patrol the middle of the field. That run defense also fell apart late, which is another concern.
That run with Zach Charbonnet was ill-advised. Why did it happen? Why didn’t Geno Smith spike the ball? Why didn’t they call another pass? At least with the passing situation I suspect there’s a lot of risk asking an injured Geno to throw it again, with Aaron Donald lurking and ready to beat him up again. But if they could do it all over, settling for a long field goal wouldn’t happen. Personally, I advocated for letting the Rams score a touchdown to get the ball back as soon as possible with timeouts in hand, but the Rams threw an incomplete pass and changed the equation a bit.
On this final sequence, Geno says there was a malfunction in his helmet and he couldn’t hear the play call after DK’s catch, so he just called the quickest play he could, which was the run to Zach. Says that was first time that happened during the game today. https://t.co/YKav3Wp71M— Dugar, Michael-Shawn (@MikeDugar) November 20, 2023
I’m not putting him in the Losers unless you’re just being irrational about Smith. I first and foremost hope that he’s alright after that injury.
Now, let’s do a little thought exercise. Before the injury, Geno Smith had put up 16 points on 6 drives. Let’s eliminate the kneeldown and look at these drive outcomes and you tell me if this is bad offense:
Touchdown (starting from the SEA 12)
Field Goal (starting from the SEA 2)
Field Goal (starting from the SEA 32)
Punt (starting from the SEA 25)
Field Goal (starting from the LAR 46)
Punt (starting from the SEA 30)
We’re talking almost 200 yards of offense in the first 3 drives. They scored on four of six possessions, only had one 3-and-out, and got 10 points out of poor field position. Geno was 13/18 for 150 yards and a touchdown in the 1st half. The second Myers field goal came after a 53-yard pass to DK Metcalf, after which Seattle ran twice for -4 yards. Scoring a TD on 3rd and goal from the 11 is not all that common.
The third Myers field goal came after a holding penalty on Colby Parkinson turned 1st down in the red zone into 2nd and 20. Geno’s last healthy drive saw that aforementioned 2nd and 6 two-man route that was destroyed from the start.
I only saw two glaring mistakes by Geno: the delay of game penalty on the second field goal drive, and the missed potential TD to DK on that last field goal drive. That’s about it. And yes, I will praise him for gutting through that injury to even get Seattle into field goal territory down the line. This “but it’s prevent defense” stuff doesn’t hold up unless you hold every NFL QB to that same caveat.
I’m not going to pretend Geno was amazing but he played well before the injury. Up to that moment, the Seahawks were scoring 2.67 points per drive. For context, the No. 3 offense in points per drive is the Philadelphia Eagles, at 2.67. Would it have fallen apart without the injury? Perhaps, but I truly believe if Smith didn’t get injured they would’ve won that game.
- The Seahawks are going to have to figure this hockey line change offensive line stuff out and fast. Anthony Bradford randomly came in to play alongside Stone Forsythe, and we saw a sack. Stick with a combo and be done with it. And frankly I was not impressed with the 2nd half pass protection, including Phil Haynes’ brutal whiff that got Geno hurt.
- It’s great to see Jaxon Smith-Njigba targeted deeper down the field. One pass was just slightly out of bounds, while another was caught in double coverage on a 3rd and 10. That should open up the offense more down the line instead of typecasting him as a screen and short pass option.
- Kenneth Walker’s injury means Zach Charbonnet must step up as an RB1. I’ve been advocating for him to get more touches and believe him to be a better receiving back. Good luck, rookie.
- Not going to put Jason Myers in the losers list despite the late miss. He won last week’s game by going 5-for-5, and he was called upon to go 3-for-3 today up until that fateful last kick. Even in an indoor environment, 55 is not a gimme, and he missed.
- Riq Woolen had a tough hands to the face penalty on 3rd and 15 that bailed out the Rams on their winning field goal. He also had a bogus DPI that thankfully resulted in no points. However, Woolen had a couple of passes defensed and he once again picked off a pass on a trick play. I believe he’s slowly back to his best form. In fact, I have little complaint about the secondary’s performance outside of the penalties, some of which were dubious.
- I think it’s distinctly possible the Seahawks lose out, which would and should result in serious organizational changes. They’re good enough to beat bad teams and frankly I think they are capable of hanging with quality teams—they have beaten the Detroit Lions and had one of the best offensive performances against the vaunted Cleveland Browns defense. But they are also just bad enough that they could lose to anybody, and I trust them to beat no teams the remainder of the season. That’s probably not happening, but I don’t rule it out after today. They are a sloppy team that is not to be trusted on a weekly basis, let alone a quarter-to-quarter basis.