The Morning After: Wilson, Defense Give Seahawks No Chance in 38-10 Embarrassment
Offense
Defense
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This column is deliberately written the morning after the Seahawks game. Most game recaps are written immediately following the game or later that day. I have always found that a night’s sleep provides the necessary separation from the outcome to judge it more evenly and see the bigger picture. No amount of sleep would change the assessment of this game. I could sleep a thousand nights and come to the same conclusions. There are no excuses or explanations for what transpired on Sunday. This was a Negan-style beatdown, except the Seahawks had their hands firmly on the bat being used to bash their heads to mush. No lessons will be learned from this game. The only question is whether it can truly be flushed away. The alternative is too gross to think about.

 

Russell leads Packers to victory

It only seems fair that Aaron Rodgers shares a portion of the win with Russell Wilson. After all, Wilson had at least as much to do with the Packers victory as Rodgers did. He completed five passes for 77 yards to Packers defenders. That’s a 15.4 yards per attempt average! When Wilson wasn’t completing passes to the Packers, he was missing open Seahawks receivers for would-be touchdowns or first downs. Doug Baldwin had his man beat by three yards on the first drive and Wilson overthrew him. Jimmy Graham was running free with nobody within 15 yards of him on the second drive and Wilson threw off-target and too far. He tried to force a pass into Jermaine Kearse in the end zone that had little chance of succeeding, not only because the Packers player had better position, but because Kearse refuses to fight for the ball with any conviction. Wilson tried throwing back across the field before the end of the half, but hung it in the air too long, making for another easy pick.

This Packers defense is not good. They are not average. Their secondary is one of the worst in all of football. Interceptions are as foreign to them as hipster cocktails are to their fans. Wilson made life easy for them. Jared Goff was a better quarterback than Russell Wilson yesterday. That can never again be true.

One of the oddities in Wilson’s performance was there was little reason to force the throws he was trying to make. Thomas Rawls was getting decent gains from the first drive and ended averaging 5.6 yards per carry. Wilson has been taking more chances the past few weeks, and there have been some crushing interceptions as a result. Seattle was fortunate last week. His interception led to Carolina scoring their lone touchdown and cutting a 10-0 game to 10-7. It could have been a turning point, but the run game made it a blowout instead. The interception he threw before the end of the half in Tampa Bay was as much on Paul Richardson as it was on Wilson, but it again cost the team a chance to get back into the game.

The interceptions were disturbing in Green Bay, but the inaccuracy was more troubling. The latter often leads to the former. We can hope this was due to frozen footballs or a poor night of sleep. It will not get easier against a Rams team that always tortures him or a Cardinals team that still has one of the best defenses in the league. Wilson is built to bounce back from adversity. This is his latest test.

 

Defense blown away by Rodgers

The first three times this Seahawks defense played Rodgers, they made his life miserable. Even in the NFC Championship game, he was picked off twice and had a passer rating under 60.0. He has been the one administering the torture the past two games. It started early here as Jeremy Lane was toasted by Davante Adams on the first drive on a 3rd and 2 that Adams cleverly converted into a go route. Rodgers made the throws that Wilson did not. On that play, he dropped the ball perfectly into a sprinting Adams’ hands, who never broke stride on the way to a 66-yard touchdown.

DeShawn Shead was beat by Adams a few times as well. Lane and Shead looked like liabilities. That was partly on them, but credit should be given to Adams and Rodgers as well. Adams looked like a star in the making in creating separation, and Rodgers was throwing dimes all day. The combination would have been difficult to stop for anyone.

The only way to disrupt a passer who is so locked in is with pass pressure. It was nowhere to be found for the third straight game. Michael Bennett’s return should have been a turbo-boost to an already potent pass rush. Instead, it has been a disappearing act. Bennett does not look like himself. He was pushed to the ground on multiple plays, and his unmatched motor never seemed to rise above idle. I would never question the effort of a player like Bennett, who has proven time and again that he will push himself to the limits. Something just seems off. It may be that he is just not as confident in his knee yet, and is hesitant to go full speed.

Cliff Avril has not recorded in three weeks. Frank Clark has not sacked the quarterback in four weeks. Not only are they not getting sacks, but they are not pressuring the passer. On a day when Rodgers was nursing a sore hamstring and a strained calf that made him practically a potted plant in the pocket, Seattle could not move him off his spot all afternoon.

Finding that pass rush is almost as important as Wilson finding his touch and judgment. What was a strength for this team has disappeared. They have some advantageous matchups the next three weeks against a porous Rams, Cardinals and 49ers line. The expectation should be three sacks a game.

 

Thankful for Thursday

The good news is the Seahawks get a chance to move past this atrocity quickly with a Thursday game. The bad news is that is it against a Rams team that give the Seahawks fits no matter how bad they are or how good the Seahawks are. It does not matter that they lost 42-14 to a Falcons team playing without their top two receivers. It does not matter that Jeff Fisher loses to every other team in the NFL. They represent just as much of a test for Seattle as Green Bay, Dallas or New England.

Seahawks fans are right to be upset about this game. It was terrible for a long list of reasons. Not a lot changes in the big picture, though, in a year where every single team has a flaw that makes them vulnerable. Do not fear the future, for it possesses the only path to glory. This season is not a Formula 1 race where a spectacular crash ends all hope of winning. It is a demolition derby. Seattle was just t-boned by a big green station wagon. The engine still runs fine. The driver is still intact. They can still inflict damage and be the last car standing. It would be wise to start checking their blind spots, though, because nobody wants to get hit like that again.

15 Responses

  1. Dave Crockett

    Quite possibly the weirdest thing about that game. The offensive line was hardly dominant, but it wasn’t very high on the list of reasons Seattle lost. At the risk of damning with faint praise, which unit looked most like they were doing what they were supposed to do? Hard to argue it wasn’t the o-line, and that’s just confusing.

    • pkgoode

      Three sacks, a ton of hurries and the QB hit on almost every pass play. Again and again, the right side looked lost. Fant hung in there, but you need more than that out of the LT. Rawls ran well, but gets a lot of yards on his own.

      The OL didn’t throw 5 INTs, but it wasn’t a banner day for them either.

  2. andytyl003

    Nothing to add to yesterday embarrassment. However, I am not as an optimistic as Brian. We can provide lots of cliques, but the fact of the matter is we suck big time at the wrong time. Don’t know the exact issue, whether it is we are not good enough, talent wise and coaching, in the context of an SB contender even w/ the record that we have, or have the heart of a champion mentality or attitude? I suspect it is probably a combination of both. Players, when getting their wallets “fattening” don’t seem to have the same desire or “hunger.” I can name a few on the list, but Hawks fans should know who they are.

    The biggest disappointment for me is RW. Don’t know what is going on w/ him since the NE game. We can give him the benefits of the doubt, at the beginning of the season w/ his injuries, but apparently he is getting better, physically, but mentality not so much. I have said this before, and I’ll say it again, one of the biggest weaknesses in RW’s game is his thinking of being a “hero” at times (i.e., superhero syndrome) He has all the tangibles and intangibles to be a future HOF, but there are time he resorts himself to be “Superman” and do things that are out of his “routines”, especially when plays against other future HOF QBs. It seems he wants to prove that he belongs to their level and plays to their “style” instead of his, cost us the SB. At this point, I don’t really know if he can overcome that thinking. It is his 5th year, and usually with all QBs, if you don’t figure it out by now then more than likely that they won’t. Hopefully, I am wrong because he is a special human being and a great athlete. That said, for some reason, I still have a flicker of hope within me saying that he has overcome lots of obstacles before, can he do it again? I have my answer.

    Regarding the Rams, I’d not be surprised that we’ll blow them out, instead of the traditional “tug of war” games that we’ve had w/ them. If we don’t have any pride left and the swagger to be a champion, then we don’t deserve to be the champ after what happened yesterday.

    • kenny

      I’ve been following Wilson since he played at state and his hero syndrome has always pissed me off. However I don’t expect him to be anywhere near perfect or predictable. Your 5 year expectation don’t seem reasonable. I see future hof quarterback go through rough stretches every season.

      Wilson always gets an extra layer of criticism. He happens to deserve it this week.

      • andytyl003

        “Your 5 year expectation don’t seem reasonable”. If you had been followed RW since his days at NC State and saw the same thing regarding the “superhero” syndrome and he hasn’t “adapted” his thinking, which we both agreed. That would span about 8-10 years of his football career, so the 5-year “expectation” seems reasonable to me.
        Second, all the HOF QBs that had thrown 4 or more picks in a single game were Favre (2x), Aikman, and Marino. Pretty good list, however, they accomplished this “feat” when they were at the end of their career, except Favre when he was 32, 11 years into his professional career. He threw 6 in one game. Manning was the only one HOF QB who threw 4 or more picks in one playoff game when he was younger, at 27, the 6th year into his professional career. There were 8 other QBs, including RW, that accomplished the same “feat”- Delhomme, Collins, Gannon, Hoyer, Luck, Palmer, and Pennington. Besides an outside possibility of Luck, I don’t foresee the others can be a future HOF anytime soon.
        Third, I did not say RW is perfect, far from it. It is the only weakness that I pointed out, and to me, he needs to overcome that.
        Fourth, since his arrival in Seattle, he has always been a slow starter and a strong finisher. However, this season does not seem to follow that pattern, for whatever reasons. Is it because of his injuries that slow down his progression or he is asked to do more relating to the redesign of the offense? Don’t know. If it is the latter, then I would be very concern.

  3. Michael Mccarthy

    I find RW for the rest of this season: unwatchable. The Seahawks as a group don t have the intensity to be watchable either. It s a bummer because we ve come to expect from this group “Superbowl or bust.” Before the Pittsburg game last year I said RW was a large part of the problem, either because of his big head, the GF or whatever. It is rearing it s ugly head again. The Seahawks of a decade ago set the standard of winning the division vs the Rams as the high water mark.

    With the Tampa game and the Green Bay game in the final push, clearly this team doesn t want the 2nd seed so they can go to Dallas and clobber a rookie. This is the easiest road to the Superbowl they have had, or can come to expect. And they clearly don t want it.

    Oh well, at least I can go back to watching Trump. Good luck Seahawks, you ll need it.

  4. Mark Dewees

    Well looks like we wont be facing Jeff Fischer at least. Seattle needs 3 strong performances to finish the season. I am tired of trying to guess which offense/RW is gonna show up each week

    • AB

      I know which offence is gonna show up each week and unfortunately it’s one coached by Darren Bevell … and that needs to change!

  5. TimF

    Seattle is 2-1 on road turf (8-1 turf overall), 0-3-1 on road grass this year (with SF grass still to play). I looked back through the past couple years results and couldn’t see that level of discrepancy between field surfaces. So is 2016 an outlier, or is a grass surface a Seahawks Kryptonite?

  6. DaveB

    I’m with AB’s comment above. I am in the Bevell needs to go camp. He never seems to rise to the occasion when the game plan must change. When your players are having an “off” day, change things up and be less predictable. Bevell strikes me as the type than is unable to make quick decisions and come up a new game plan at least at the half when the same old is not working.

  7. Uncle Bob

    The admonition to not jump to hasty conclusions/decisions immediately after a huge disappointment is wise. So distance and reflection is prudent. But due consideration needs to be paid to relevant information such as Brian’s three quarter season stats. This team, a team made up of some very talented and accomplished players, is not firing on all cylinders. While it’s relatively easy for us as fans to see the results, we’re not usually too privy to the causes. Benching one or two guys, firing a coach, burning down the building (yes, hyperbole) are quick and cheap reactions, but might not address the real issue(s).

    Managing organizations for success is not as easy as the inexperienced believe. The word TEAM has meaning, and is complicated by the need for synergy within. I’m not too concerned about the synergy among the players, to all appearances they seem like the brotherhood they profess to be. The coaching team has demonstrated (despite occasional carping against each at one time or another) competence. But the most critical stat in Brian’s piece yesterday was the situational data. Lots of decent to fantastic line items, but the whole has some ominous messages. Not unlike the game stats against GB. The Hawks got decent running yards, not bad passing yards, ToP was better than previous losses…………….but, the final points on the board, and turnover numbers were horrible. It isn’t that these guys can’t play, it’s that they are doing the wrong things at the wrong time.

    In part it’s easy to lay it on a poor performance, call it a bad day, e.g. RW doesn’t usually throw int’s to that degree, coupled with the inability to hit his best receiving targets. KJ, normally machine efficient, couldn’t get traction or timing on way too many occasions. But single game slumps don’t built trends like the stats show.

    I’ve commented before that this team seems to not be able to make in game adjustments on the fly very well. They appear to be able to fix some deficiencies reasonably well at half time when there’s some comparatively quiet time, but not so in the heat of battle. I put that more on the coaching than the players. With the exception of the evolving O-line, we’ve got some real talent out there on the field. And while our coaching staff is in the top tier of the league, there’s something not quite complete there. I’m not a fire Bevell (as an example) kind of guy in the typical sense, and he may not be the problem anyway. PC’s choice to split offensive coaching responsibilities the way he has rubs me wrong. In my business I want a manager (position coach in this case) accountable. You don’t get that, or his best performance, by limiting/splitting his authority/responsibility. Maybe Pete can make it work, but the evidence, in my eyes says otherwise. Why can’t we change up the calls to shorten the passing game for instance. If RW is having a bad day on the longer stuff, the O-line blocking isn’t holding up long enough, go to dink and dunk to work with what you’ve got on any given game day. Bonus, it could help the run game too. We don’t seem to go there. Is it Bevell, or PC, or? Don’t have the visibility to know the internals well enough, but it’s repetitive. There was some interesting commentary yesterday about the Giants beating the Boys again. It was said that the DC changed up his whole defensive style so that what Prescott had prepared for wasn’t what he got. It worked. Why our guys can’t do that is a mystery to me…………….except that it’s what they do, or don’t do.

    • andytyl003

      Good observations. PC is a great talent evaluator and motivator, not so much of a Xs and Os kind of a guy. Another issue that I see w/ Pete is loyalty, which is a great value to have. However, at times it can be a curse. Pete needs to learn to make decisions like BB, personnel wise when it is necessary to establish or maintain the team standards, which I don’t see at his age to make any drastic change regarding his personality. Of course, it does not hurt when BB has the best QB of all time playing for him. Unless this team can make a miraculous effort in making and winning the SB, PC and JS need to make some tough decisions regarding players and coaches. Is it good to have outsiders at times and maintain the stability of an organization, that is what they have to assess and make their decision?

    • tom t

      I agree with uncle bob, the hawks seem unable or unwilling to make adjustments during the game. Is it arrogance, we won the sb doing it this way so why change, or ignorance, not knowing or having another game plan. All game long i was calling for runs & short passes, rw throws long for another pick. With the lack of experience & the injuries to rw we should have a game plan where the ball is out in under 1.5 seconds,, much like the pats did last year. I also find it disturbing that rw wasnt upset about his bad performance, if brady ever threw 3 picks & had receivers cause 2 more he would be big time p off. I feel the hawks are no longer hungry for wins, have lost their edge, case in point their bad performances on the road. They should sweep these next 3 games, but i am doubting they will.

    • pkgoode

      “Why can’t we change up the calls to shorten the passing game for instance.”

      When you’re down 21-3 with five minutes left in the first half, you have to go downfield. Plus, the short pass game wasn’t working. Seahawk first half possessions:

      13 plays / 64 yds — FG
      3 / 9 — 1 short pass (6); RW overthrew an open Jimmy Graham downfield
      2 / 3 — 1 short pass (INT)
      3 / -9 — 1 short pass (INC)
      7 / 31 — 5 short passes (14, 5, 3INC)
      4 / 50 — 1 short pass (INC)

      The last possession end with the INT in the end zone. Considering that they got the ball with 0:52 left in the half, passing short in the possession wasn’t an option.

  8. Ross

    McEvoy needs to replace Kearse post haste.
    Wilson’s accuracy has been off all season. Errant throws that I don’t recall seeing in years past. Hoping that the cold affected his touch although Rodgers had no issues.
    Oline was fine in my view; Wilson took 3 sacks I know at least one of them was on him (holding ball too long).

    Frustrating to me that Russ too often doesn’t see the RB in the flat who if given the ball would go for 5-10 yards. Instead, all too often Russ does his scramble routine which in all honesty was quite effective in years past, but now rarely is and leads to throw aways or if running forward, less yardage than what would have been gained by dumping off the the RB 5 seconds earlier. Take what the D gives you Russ!

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