In years past, it felt like the Seattle Seahawks could do just about anything; draft a Hall of Fame QB and future Super Bowl champion in the third round? Sure. Assemble a legendary defense that is comprised of one first round selection and a bunch of mid/late-round players? Done. Dismantle every offense they face with a smothering defense while picking apart the opposing team with a conservative yet explosive offense? You betcha. And this could go on.
But these Seahawks are sitting at 2-3, which is hardly an enviable position to be in. In previous seasons, though, I would have shrugged my shoulders, licked my wounds, and gone to work, certain that they would recover. They’ve been here before.
But this just feels different.
Pete Carroll and John Schneider have made careers out of surprising everyone and keeping things interesting. And ultimately, this is all about entertainment anyway. But what happens when the show stops being entertaining? What happens when the cast ages poorly and stops captivating fans the way they used to? At what precise moment did the Seattle Seahawks organization jump the proverbial shark?
I don’t have answers to those questions, but I can tell you this much: what once looked like a hill to climb now looks like a mountain to ascend, and Pete Carroll has traded away all of our climbing gear for a poorly utilized yet highly paid Safety and continued to let an incompetent leader call plays for a defense that is unrecognizable. And fans are taking notice.
What struck me the most following this loss was the numbness. I just laughed and said to my partner following the game, “honestly, I don’t even really care that much. I expected them to drop this one.” And that is something I have never said before during this era of Seattle football and actually meant it. And, at first, I thought maybe that is just because I have articles to write and data to analyze; being busy is good. But then I saw what other fans, analysts, and Seahawks players (!!!) on twitter were saying following the loss. And if you appreciate either commiserating or schadenfreude, then read on because this is for you.
Side note on this one: Jamal Adams, you are supposed to be a superstar. You are being paid like one, and the world knows you can play like one. The defense features a number of first and second round picks (Adams, Wagner, Brooks, Taylor, and so on). This team doesn’t need “more dogs,” they need “a new coach” and “players who can cover.”
“Quarterback Controversy in Seattle” and the double punt
When the Seahawks have Russell Wilson starting at QB and there is a palpable excitement that his backup gets a chance to come in and show off his stuff, something is wrong. Nobody really believes that Smith is challenging Wilson for the starting position. But for the first time that I can remember in the last ten years, we got to see a glimpse of what life without Russell Wilson might look like, and it looked... ok. Granted, backup QBs coming off the bench (especially veterans) in the modern NFL often are capable of making plays and leading drives, even those who have been maligned for much of their careers (see: Chad Henne in the playoffs circa early-2021, or Nick Foles in the playoffs/Super Bowl). But, again, this felt different. When Chad Henne came in for Mahomes, fans were just relieved that he didn’t blow it. Nick Foles took over for a player who is no longer with the team that drafted him second overall. When Geno Smith came off the bench and led a 98-yard scoring drive, a lurking fear below started to bubble up to the surface; what if Russ is actually part of the problem? What if Russ is no longer the unstoppable comeback machine that he once was? Again, Russell Wilson is a hall-of-famer, and he undoubtedly gives Seattle the best chance to win, week-in and week-out. But he is human, and it is starting to show more and more every game. Geno Smith is neither better than — nor a replacement for — the injured signal caller. But we got to witness something that we haven’t seen since the 2011 season: somebody other than number 3 taking meaningful in-game snaps under center for an extended period of time.
When you have a team like the Seahawks, and the most positive parts you can highlight from the game are the hilarious and incredible “double punt” (credit where credit is due, Dickson is amazing) and the clutch quarterback play of Geno Smith, then you know something is critically wrong with this team.
I try my best to be optimistic. In a world where we have so many truly bad and negative things going on constantly, having an escape such as football is wonderful reprieve for the weary. So ultimately, a game is a game is a game is a game. But this game felt more like a root canal; it was painful, and then aggravating. And then eventually it just stopped hurting. Because this team is “who we thought they were.” After years of proving the doubters wrong, it is starting to look like this once leaky but endearing ship is too full of holes to keep sailing, and there is nothing left but for the wily, gum-chewing captain to go down with the boat.