Monday, November 29, 2010

The Morning After: Chiefs Humble Seahawks, 42-24

Mike Williams is 6'5" and over 230 lbs. People have lauded his inspiring comeback effort where he dropped 40 lbs off his once-270 lb frame. As critical as his play on offense has been this season, nobody could fault Pete Carroll for having a truck load of Top Pot donuts dumped in front of his locker in hopes Williams might pitch in to help his flagging run defense.

The Seahawks collectively kissed the ring of the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. A run defense that has been held together with duct tape since the Raiders game, blew apart like so much wet tissue paper. So complete was the dominance by the KC offensive line that the Seahawks had just a single tackle behind the line of scrimmage. The "good" plays for the run defense came when Seattle was able to hold KC to two-yard gains. I didn't need to see the box score to know the average run for the Chiefs was around six yards. Every glance at the scoreboard showed 2nd and 4, 2nd and 2, or too often, 1st and 10.

It was fair to expect more from this Seahawks team that looked as if its offense was taking steps toward growth that could counter-balance the weakening defense. The defense played poorly and was over-matched, but it was the offense that should shoulder most of the blame. Not only was the defense missing key players, but the KC offense is formidable by any measure. The Chiefs defense is not. In a nauseating first half, the Seahawks gained 71 yards and scored just three points. Even Seattle's own special teams outscored the offense, 7-3. The second half was better, with 14 points and 217 yards of offense, but even that was mostly uninspiring. It has become very clear that Seattle's offense must be dominant for Seattle to compete in a game with any credible opponent. Dominance looks like over 400 yards of offense and red zone success. It looks like what the Chiefs did yesterday.

Matt did not have a great day, but the bandwagon jumpers are missing the point entirely. Forget for a moment that he threw for 282 yards without his best receiver and with a broken wrist, or that his receivers dropped critical passes. Charlie Whitehurst did not get better on Sunday. Hasselbeck is this team's best QB now, and certainly next year. If you do not believe that, there is nothing that can be said to convince you. Of all the problems on this team this season, quarterback play may be the least of them.

The running game was absent, but not because it was ineffective. Twelve carries is a joke. Some of that is because the game got away from Seattle, and yes, some of that was because there were not big gains early in the game. A large part of that is play-calling. Marshawn Lynch was getting 3-5 yard gains, but there was no commitment to making the Chiefs respect the run. Look no further than 4th and an inch when the game was still early and in question. Jeremy Bates dialed up a desperate hail mary fade pass to Golden Tate that was a failure as soon as it was called. I hate that call even if it's a touchdown. For those that play basketball, it would be like defending a player that makes a jump shot you know he can't make with any consistency, and smiling because you know he'll keep shooting it now. Every defender prefers contesting a jump shot to staying in front of guy who is driving to the hoop. Bates makes this offense a bunch of jump shooters far too often. Guess what happened when he ran Marshawn Lynch on 3rd and 1 later? HE GOT A FRIGGIN' FIRST DOWN!! Progress was made since at least Lynch was on the field for short yardage plays this week, and did get that one opportunity to convert. So while Bates as a whole struggles on 3rd and 1, Lynch is sporting a nice 100% conversion rate.

Kansas City may have the best young offensive line in the NFL. It is impossible not to respect the efficiency and effectiveness of their work. It is hard to believe they went 48 rushing plays with only one holding call. The refs probably missed a couple, but still, that is impressive. Any major analysis of the Seahawks defense is a waste of time. They will battle as best they can the rest of the year, but this is a horribly flawed unit. They are the player that hurt a knee who is valiantly trying to limp off the field under their own power, only to need to cart to come out after they collapse. They are not hopeless, but they also are not likely to make meaningful strides forward the rest of the season.

This loss was brutal. People will be jumping off the bandwagon--if previously .500 football teams have bandwagons--in droves. The same people who were writing about how great the Seahawks looked in a loss to New Orleans last week will now be writing apocalyptic prophecies. This team is at once inspiring and soul-sucking. That duality is a welcome change from the pure suckage of the past two seasons. Health, more than any other factor, will determine the outcome of this year. Winning a playoff game remains a very realistic possibility, as does finishing 3rd place in a horrid NFC West. There are benefits to either result. Anything other than a win this week against Carolina starts to eliminate possibilities. In a week where we spent time being thankful, the fact that football will still be worth talking about in December is worth some gratitude.

9 comments :

Jeff said...

Tough game. Sure wish BMW would have been able to go, as i imagine he would not have dropped so many passes. The run blocking must improve for this team to be dangerous..it will be interesting to see some new faces up front next year, but unfortunatly they have to make due with what they have this season. Here is to beating Carolina next sunday...go hawks!

Football Sickness said...

Good stuff, Brian. Tough loss up there this week. Not having Williams pretty clearly gummed up the works on offense, but it didn't look like it would've mattered enough. Williams wasn't going to match Dwayne Bowe TD for TD. I'm starting to think not many can. If you catch the Chiefs on one of their better days, they're a really tough out. Should be smoother sailing against Carolina...right?

RubenDaHawk said...

oh boy, that loss felt worse to me than all other losses this season combined. I'm not sure why, maybe because of the brutal way our D was penetrated at will...I think you're right, there is little chance the D will get much better this season. Cole will eventually come back though we're not likely to be much better and could you then pin such a huge reversal of defensive stats on just one player, Red Bryant? hmmm. I was disappointed with the OC yesterday. What's the point of running Lynch early and then not giving him the ball on 4th and inches? At least throw a screen but a jumpball to Tate at the sideline?..I couldn't get over that call all game. Amazing the score was that "close" we really got dominated beyond belief. Still if we finish 7:9 it would have been a good season by our current albeit humble standards and we shouldnt' forget that. I personally don't care if we win the division or not. Sure a playoff home game is nice but I'd rather not be embarassed like this again and come back stronger next year...to go to the playoffs 7:9 is not really reason to be proud...hope BMW makes it back and catches some balls

hawkblogger said...

@FootballSickness

It's hard to say how much Williams would have made a difference. Despite the overwhelming advantages the Chiefs enjoyed, they led by 4 points after three quarters. The Seahawks offense would have been out on the field longer, and would have been more potent which necessarily takes away from the Chiefs offense. It may have been a loss either way, but I would not concede that.

Also, as great as Bowe played, he's not the key. Check out the Broncos/Chiefs game (were you there?) for proof that Bowe can be huge, but if the Chiefs can't run, they are going to lose.

JimJam said...

That call on 4th and inches killed me.
It was unnecessary and just not well thought through.
You're right, no need to be fancy or make big plays, just make 1st down and set up all over again.

P.s. I love reading your articles and i've added you to my blogroll on my blog.

Anonymous said...

When we opened the match with bad passes and low russhing,I told myself it will be a bad game for us...First thing;our russhing options were =0,our D was terrible allowing 170 yds in rush for one man ?!?!Pass coverage was also terrible because Chiefs played most on Bowe.When you see that almost all the action going on it,be more focus on him,take double coverage or something...And i see now what one man means in team(bmw),they had Bowe and Charles,we had one Obomanu(nice foot work on 87yds reception)...What I said about allowing 3rd down conv.?!They beat us on rushhing,we can not just rely on passing!I follow also the comments during the game on nfl.com,users were saying that Matt is washed...I think he still has the power to get playoffs in he"s last seasson.And after seassong get some superb qb.
We have to recover after this game,and beat Carolina,and if we put together the lines we can beat tougher matches(TB,ATL)...

GRETTINGS FROM CROATIA!

CRO-SEAHAWKS!

hawkblogger said...

@JimJam I'm with ya, man! And thanks for the call out on your blog.

@Anonymous Croats welcome! Thanks for reading and commenting.

Steve said...

No matter how much better Matt is than Whitehurst, at some point, he has to go. There will be a year of adjustment to a new QB. That year has to come sometime.

If Matt plays this year and next, then we are prolonging the inevitable need to finish rebuilding.

Pete is in a tough spot, but, as the O-Line crumbles, Matt's effectiveness only takes a bigger beating.

When do the Hawks flip the switch? I'd hate to see them build up a solid O-Line, RB's and receivers and then have to plop an unprepared QB into the mix. By the time the QB develops, the team built up for Matt will have wasted years and might not be the same or, at best, will only have a couple of solid years.

The Hawks need everything to sync up and I am wondering if this might not be a good year to tear it down and start everything from scratch.

Some of Bates' play-calls really leave me scratching my head.

Anonymous said...

I am huge optimistic man,and i think that we can win in game vs.SF.How we will react after last game,we"ll see in Sunday game vs.Carolina.If we will be really good in offense an BIG D,we have chances to win in San Francisco!

P.S.reading the morning newspaper to I saw that Croatian guy play in the Stanford!On Youtube i saw some impressive movements!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnzmNUcLG2M


CRO-SEAHAWKS!