That was dispiriting. It’s just one game. It is just one game and even good teams can occasionally have awful Week 1 performances and then look smoother the rest of the way.
But the Seattle Seahawks not only looked incompetent against the Los Angeles Rams, they lost key players to injury. The season legit could be in peril by the bye week if the Seahawks play anywhere close to that level of bad. That’s how panicked I am about what we just witnessed, because not only did the offense surprisingly crumble, but the defense’s only good thing all afternoon was stopping the run anywhere other than the goal line. I would’ve been annoyed with, say, a 31-28 loss but not 30-13 when it could’ve been a lot worse. A 23-0 2nd half with only 12 yards of offense is freaking dismal.
This is the first Winners and Losers. There will be no winners, but I’ll shout out Uchenna Nwosu and Boye Mafe for being two of the better run defenders on the day, and Nwosu was the only one who showed any consistent pass rushing skill.
Hats off to Jordyn Brooks for his efforts and tremendous recovery from his ACL tear. Kenneth Walker looked alright but didn’t get positioned for sustained success, which isn’t his fault. DeeJay Dallas even had two good returns. Jarran Reed blocked a kick which was cool, I suppose.
I already said there are no winners! This is why it’s important to read the headline.
Pete Carroll and Clint Hurtt
I’ll lump them both in as one because Clint Hurtt is the DC but it’s well established it’s essentially Pete Carroll’s defense. It sucks. Jamal Adams and Devon Witherspoon have to be All-Pro level for this defense to have any chance at being good. Watching them seldom blitz, get beat deep, get beat underneath, get beat over the middle, and just owned by Puka Nacua and Tutu Atwell and whomever else the Rams had was maddening. Sean McVay just has Pete Carroll’s number and it truly does not matter who he puts out there, because the Seahawks can’t stop it. Carroll has not earned his reputation as a strong defensive coach in a long time and it may not be returning this year, either. Or if it does, it’ll be like Week 7 or something and we’re left moaning the Seahawks once again stumbling out of the blocks before rectifying it after games were already lost.
Hurtt isn’t an innocent bystander, either. Why did they go dime as often as they did? How are they repeatedly gashed in the middle of the field? Where was the jamming of receivers at the line instead of giving them as much cushion as possible? There was almost nothing downhill about this defense other than the quality of performance.
Pretty much everyone not named Uchenna Nwosu was not good enough. This was absolutely pathetic and Clint Hurtt’s refusal to blitz may be because he’s terrified his secondary not named Riq Woolen will get cooked. Maybe he’s justified but you have to take chances. In the mean time, rushing four yielded close to nothing. No sacks, only two QB hits. That’s your ball game.
The Seahawks created pressure on 5% of dropbacks today (via TruMedia/PFF).— Austin Gayle (@austingayle_) September 11, 2023
That's their lowest single-game rate in the last five years.
Smith looked hesitant and he was inaccurate on his deep passes. I don’t think he was terrible but he definitely was not at his best and it felt like the offense was wildly conservative, which I think falls duly on Shane Waldron. It’s almost as if Smith reverted back not to his Jets days, but stretches of how he played in Russell Wilson’s absence back in 2021. Seattle was just 2/9 on 3rd down and that’s after a 2/2 start, so the 3rd down woes on either side of the ball (11/17 on defense) continue.
We’ll need the All-22 to determine how many plays Geno missed, although I’d say the worst one was Jake Bobo on that flea-flicker. Geno had a touchdown but maybe got scared off by the pressure and opted to run.
The Seahawks’ only touchdown drive saw Seattle avoid 3rd down entirely. There was a Schottenheimer-esque willingness to play for 3rd and manageable, and you just can’t do that. I’m intrigued by some of the 12 personnel looks he showed throughout the 1st half but otherwise this was an uninspired outing in terms of playcalling and execution. And for heaven’s sake, no more screens.
He’d have been off this list if not for the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. His touchdown was a filthy (in a good way) route, but he had no catches after halftime and that cheap shot on Ahkello Witherspoon may get him fined. Either way, his refusal to rein in his emotions has cost this team multiple times, and turning 2nd and 2 into 2nd and 17 because he can’t keep his cool is something I am tired of seeing. There is nothing defensible about that, and I usually am an advocate for just letting the jawing continue without penalty.
He cannot start next week if Abe Lucas is out. It was a short cameo and it was a dreadful one. Seattle’s tackle depth was questionable at best and now the worst case scenario of Curhan and Stone Forsythe has materialized. The offensive line actually looked good up until Curhan and Stone had to play.
Bryant’s struggles tackling ball carriers is a liability that largely explain why Seattle was looking for another nickel corner/opted to move him to safety. I would not be shocked if upon the return of Witherspoon and Adams, Bryant is relegated to special teams at the very least. Otherwise he might be a healthy scratch.
Brown had a pivotal (if ticky-tack) hands to the face penalty that turned a would-be 3rd down stop and field goal attempt into a touchdown drive. He also had a brutal missed tackle on Nacua that resulted in a big gain. Mike Jackson got picked on too but Brown seemed to have more struggles overall, and he was scorched by Tutu Atwell when he ran into his own man.
It’s a rough day at the office for him, and that 2021 draft continues to haunt the Seahawks when you factor in who they picked and the picks they gave up (to get Jamal Adams and Gabe Jackson).
Myers just about missed his lone PAT on the day and then critically missed a 39-yard field goal that would’ve given the Seahawks a 16-7 lead heading into halftime. This better not be another odd year struggle for Myers because he might have made two field goals, but his performance was not smooth.
- Jaxon Smith-Njigba had 3 catches for not a lot of yards, and it feels like they’re waiting until his wrist is fully healed to unleash what he’s capable of doing. I’m cautiously optimistic things will get better on the JSN front.
- Hopefully Tyler Lockett is okay after that concussion check, because everyone was holding their breath when he went down after that collision with Russ Yeast.
- Julian Love had a bad rep getting burned by Tyler Higbee but did at least have the only PBU of the afternoon for Seattle. Mixed bag for the newest Seahawk safety.
- Great to see Bobby Wagner back in a Seahawks uniform, but it’s probably not a good thing when he has 19 tackles. Thankfully many of them were run stops but it felt like pass coverage was a different story.
- That was beyond disappointing and if they get blown out by the Lions as I anticipate, then the Carolina Panthers game is for all intents and purposes the season. Teams can overcome 0-2 (like the Seahawks have twice under Pete Carroll), but there is usually no recovering from 0-3.
- The only thing I’ll stay consistent on is that the Seahawks as constructed are ripe for bad losses against likely bad teams (in which case I still think the Rams won’t be a playoff team), and we probably just witnessed one right off the bat. There is still a huge talent gap between the Seahawks and the 49ers, as evidenced by today’s results. Seattle is now 3-7 in its last ten games dating back to 2022. Let that one sink in for a bit.