The Morning After: Seahawks Offense is Atrocious in Omnious Loss to a Mediocre Bears Team

Anyone who has been called a bandwagon Seahawks fan can breathe a sigh of relief. Nobody will accuse someone willing to sit through a Seahawks game this season of being a fair weather fan. A category five hurricane is brewing, and it may just sweep the entire front office and coaching staff right out of town. A nearly fully healthy offense was both awful and confounding. Bizarre personnel decisions joined with porous offensive line play, receivers who could not get open, and a quarterback who played more like a scared rookie than a Super Bowl-winning veteran to make for a tortuous stew of ineptitude. Anyone defending any part of the Seahawks offense or coaching staff is part of the problem. Dare to raise your expectation level. Instead of evolving into a soaring Seahawk, this offense more closely resembles a single-cell organism, and Darwin is knocking on the door. Adapt, or find a spot next to the Dodo.

There was an emotional battle for supremacy last night. Back and forth it went. Deciding which was more infuriating between the Seahawks coaches choice to once-again sit Chris Carson or the endless equivocation for Russell Wilson was as close as any contest in recent memory. On one side, you had Pete Carroll literally lying in the postgame interview about why he was sitting Carson. Carroll explained that Carson was “gassed” from all his special teams work. The official snap count log showed Carson getting two snaps on special teams.


This is what happened when Carson was handed the ball against Chicago:

1st & 10: 9 yard gain (success)

2nd & 1: 2 yard gain (success)

1st & 10: 2 yard gain

1st & 10: 4 yard gain (success)

1st & 10: 4 yard gain (success)

1st & 10: 3 yard gain

He never touched the ball again. Rashaad Penny took over the primary halfback role and Mike Davis took the rest of the snaps. Penny wound up with 30 yards on 10 carries for 3.0 yards per tote, and Davis finished with 3 yards on 3 carries for a whopping 1.0 yard average.  I have spent a fair amount of pointless time attempting to ascertain what could be leading to the decisions around Carson’s playing time.

Is he still not fully recovered from his injury? All we heard about was how he was the hero of the offseason program and is better than ever. Unlike Penny, I don’t believe he missed a snap for health reasons during preseason. Is he missing assignments or running plays incorrectly? Possibly. That’s tough to tell. Nothing I have seen would indicate this is the issue. Is he breaking team rules or requiring discipline for some reason? Again, there is no way to know for sure, but those types of issues usually keep guys from starting games, and there is no evidence that Carroll disciplines anyone on his team for anything.

What appears to be the painful truth is that Carroll is once again undercutting his core philosophy around competition and putting his thumb on the scale for a higher draft pick. He has done it for Germain Ifedi and is doing it for Penny. The shame of it is that by artificially propping up these players, he is both hampering their development and working against his own interests.

It was nice to see Penny have a few successful runs of his own late in the game. I would love for him to flash as a weapon who is going to help the Seahawks. This has nothing to do with wishing him failure. It has everything to do with the process by which decisions are getting made. There appear to be serious flaws here that beg the question what other aspects of the team are being negatively impacted by this kind of flawed logic?

So that was a strong contender for most aggravating, but we all know you can never count out Wilson. He looked uncomfortable from the beginning. An early hold and a sack near the goal line could have been avoided if he had been decisive about either throwing the ball to a receiver or throwing the ball away. That really was not the aggravating part. In fact, nothing Wilson did was as frustrating as the refusal by so many to admit he is contributing to the problems on offense.

How a player can be the most important player on the field, be paid twice as much as anyone on the roster, and yet be faultless when things are not going well defies common sense. It is the offensive line’s fault. The receivers are not getting open. The offensive coordinator is calling the wrong plays. A friend even claimed that critics have gotten in Wilson’s head and made him second-guess himself. The implication is that fans and media members are apparently more at fault for the quarterback’s performance than the player himself.

Wilson was bad in this game. He was horrible in the first half. Guess what? He was not alone. Other aspects of the offense were bad as well. Acknowledging that Wilson was awful does not mean the universe will collapse on itself or that the Wilson haters out there are right. Wilson is the best QB in franchise history and has already accomplished more than most quarterbacks ever will. He also has been nowhere near good enough so far this season.

He did look better for a brief spurt in the fourth quarter when the team went up tempo. It is hard to know how much of that was due to a change in how the defense was playing once the Bears took a 14-point lead versus truly elevated play from the offense. Notice, though, that the same people who point fingers at everyone but Wilson when things are going poorly, give none of the credit to the other players or coaches when things start clicking. To be clear, it is the oversimplification that drives me batty.

Was Tyler Lockett open on the touchdown he caught? Nope. Wilson made an elite throw on time in an impossibly tight window and Lockett made a fantastic catch with a defender hanging all over him. That was not beautifully schemed. It did not require a clean pocket for three or more seconds. It was two Seahawks offensive players being better than their defensive counterparts and other guys doing enough to make it possible. Great players make plays like that at least a few times each game and give opponents nightmares trying to figure out how to stop what appears unstoppable. Wilson and company have been anything but unstoppable thus far.

There were a few rays of sunshine in an otherwise dreary evening. Will Dissly scored another touchdown, but fare more eye-opening was the open field deke on his 34-yard reception that left a member of the Bears secondary crumpled on the ground in shame. Dissly looks like a legitimate weapon that should get more targets. Shaquill Griffin had more interceptions in the second quarter of this game than he had his entire rookie season. It was great to see him turn and make a play on the ball on his first pick. That is the skill he most needs to develop if he is going to step forward into Pro Bowl-level corner play. The tackling was better in this game than in week one. Austin Calitro did an admirable job filling in for Bobby Wagner.

The Bears are a committed run team, and the Seahawks held them to 86 yards on 27 carries for a 3.2 average, and that was inflated by Mitch Trubisky’s scrambles. Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen averaged 2.5 and 2.0 yards per carry, respectively. The pass rush was a little better, and the Bears had only a couple explosive plays. There were not the major breakdowns that we saw in Denver. Those were the highlights.

Seattle looked like one of the worst teams in football last night. The defense could be proud of their effort. The offense should be embarrassed by theirs. This team needs the offense to be among the best in the league. They had everyone but Doug Baldwin available (unless D.J. Fluker is considered a major difference-maker). The game plan was bad. The execution was bad. The personnel decisions were bad. It was not just Carson. George Fant should have been given a chance to sub for Ifedi in that game. Seattle has lost to two mediocre teams to start the season. Neither are likely to make the playoffs. Things could get worse. Those who choose to stick around will get to witness new leaders emerge and young players develop. This season was never about wins, but if the offense does not improve drastically, it very well may Carroll’s last.


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  1. PC is the elephant in the room—an innovator on defense, a dinosaur on offense. Too damn bad he was never able to identify his weaknesses and strengths. But he wanted to be autonomous. A dictator. The face of success. Now he’s the face of the dynasty that should have been.

    Wilson may still be elite, but not under Pete with Shott for OC. (Actually the OC is Pete. In whom almost nobody trusts. The Titanic indeed. “Carson was gassed.” The sun don’t shine on that one, Pete.

    Seahawks need new management ASAP. I’m calling Paul tonight. Tell him what we need to (try to) do.

    1. He’s not even an innovator on defense. His defense is predictable and seems pretty easily schemed against in high leverage situations (like pretty much any 3rd down in the last couple seasons).

      His defense was never exotic, but due to Wilson’s low salary and a couple seasons of drafting their players before everyone else in the league caught on allowed us to line up defenses for a few years that were simply just plain better at every position than the offenses they faced.

      Now that we are paying Russ and some of the defenders our depth is trash and the scheme is still the same, only it doesn’t work nearly as well when it’s run by Safety converts at CB and UDFA LBs. Carroll is a joke, and it’s getting more and more apparent that Sherman and Bennett were right to have had enough of his bullshit.

  2. With regard to Wilson apologists (and I am certainly one of those), although you point out a few bright spots on the team, from a big picture point of view, literally the only thing Seattle has going for it right now is the hope that what is wrong with Wilson is fixable. If Wilson has suddenly become a league average (or worse) quarterback, then this is a team that has nothing to look forward to except a long rebuild.

    However, if what is wrong with Wilson is largely the by product of poor scheme, poor weapons, poor play-calling, and poor offensive line play, then what we have, as fans, is a guy that has shown he can be a dynamic game changer at the most important position in sports when he is given a decent situation.

    That guy is the only hope Seattle has that the team can be a playoff contender in the relatively near future. Does he need to play better? Absolutely. And count me as one who believes he is 100% capable of it if he is put in a situation that sets him up for success.

  3. After Carson’s first two runs of the game, I saw him raise his hand to be subbed out.
    I saw him do that several times in the Denver game, but figured it was excusable, considering it was the first game, and the altitude.

    However, if he subbed out of the Chicago game a few times, I could see that irking Pete.

    I think the Carson situation has more to do with Carson, than Penny. Its tempting to jump to the conclusion that Pete just wanted to get his first round draft pick more involved, but a couple of points easily counter that perspective.

    One, Davis, not Carson, was getting carries in the 2nd half, when Penny needed a rest.
    There is no conceivable reason that would happen if Carson was healthy, other than punishment/benching.

    Two…Pete *loves* Carson.
    He was his pet project last year, and has been talking him up constantly.
    I think Pete gets more satisfaction at “discovering” a 7th round superstar, than justifying a 1st round pick.

    All signs point to Pete trying to send a message to Carson…not some need to get penny involved, imo.

    1. bmseattle I think your logic is good. I also saw Carson ask to be subbed out twice. I wonder what’s going on with him. I don’t think Carroll is favoring Penny because of his draft position, but I do think he’s been guilty of this too often. Why McEvoy made the team instead of Williams last year, I’ll never forgive. I believe Williams would have been the next up and coming Baldwin in the right environment. Now he’s a free agent…

      1. I think it’s a stretch in thinking PC worries about a guys draft status when trying to win a game. Could he have been trying to send CC a message? Maybe. As far as Williams goes, take off your purple & gold glasses. I think it’s very clear he’s a fringe talent at best & hasn’t even sniffed being relevant in pro football.

    2. bmseattle, I agree. Why did Carroll say what he said? Everyone (including Brian) is making a big deal that he “lied” but maybe he said what he said to give the player some cover? Put the focus on himself rather than say what really happened? Carroll would have to have a reason for doing what he did (taking Carson out).

      That said, Pete does deserve some of the blame for the atrocious play in the second half, and he pointed the finger at himself as well when he said he told Schotty to take shots down the field to try and get the big plays he felt were needed.

      There are always details we do not have access to as fans, and I am not prepared to call for Pete’s head on a plate after a 0-2 start that was actually highly predictable: two road starts at the beginning of the season, new OC, new schemes, many new players on D. The team is going to get better as the season goes on. Let’s see where they are at the bye before we jump to a lot of conclusions.

  4. RW has been bad this season, and much of last year.
    A few years ago he was top 4, after marriage, middle of the pack.
    I think he can be fixed, Shottenheimer does not seem to be the one able to to do it.

    Perhaps we are seeing the problem with being a “players” coach instead of a football coach?

    Penny looks average at best and the use of him seems to prove your point, draft pick number does matter. Sad.

    Your opening paragraph is a sudden development.

    Love this team like you, and I also see an 4-12 season potential if there are not drastic changes.

    Bobby not playing seems weird, after last years Bobby v Earl spat, I wonder about that.

    Pete has created quite the drama, history does not support the conclusion that he will be able to fix it. Sad

    Go Hawks, Go RW

  5. Brian’s Blog is my fave blog. I watched this game from 01 am to 04:30 am UK time then went to work after 4 hours sleep. It was painful to watch but I will still be watching all our games, even if go 0-16, (which we wont). PC’s teams have just had a lot of bad luck bad karma since SB49, which was lost due to injuries to Avril, Lane, Kam, Sherman, ET3 & B.Browner figuring out Bevs fateful pass play, having observed our O’s tendencies over many years. Bad luck caused by players becoming too $£ money focused & forgetting that if not for RWs & Kearses miracle pass catch we would not have even been in it, with a chance to it.

    So breathe 12s, the good times will be back. Russ could win another 5 SB’s for us, in next decade. Especially if RW gives a discount to enable purchasing of more weapons & OL talent.

    It only takes one good draft. One good FA signing, to turn it all around.

    Anyway, here’s my take on the game.
    with following tweaks;

    1) More no-huddle offense – really effective in Q4
    2) Will Dissly is playing well at TE spot. Go to him more often.
    3) Rotate Fant & Ifedi, at RT – To be fair to Ifedi, he was mauled by the 2 scariest OLB monsters in NFL (Von Miller & K.Mack). Even All pro RTs will struggle.
    4) We usually stink upto bye week, as have high annual churn (23 new guys, possibly only raiders have had more churn than us), it takes time to gel, so judge team, after bye week, please 12s.
    5) Russ struggles in Sep higher temps & altitude, as RW’s a winter soldier, who is amazing Nov to Feb, as he prefers Wisconsinite cold. I still believe in his QB excellence.
    6) Baldwin is a huge miss, & we need our aplha hunter back asap.
    7) No team wins via giving up 6 sacks, & QB Pick-6 & fumbles & weak speration. Not even Belichik teams.

    Injured and young Seattle defense more than held its own. Offense did not. Due to injury enforced predictable pass play calling, lack of weaponry, & great defensive fumble play by QB Killer Mack.

    The Seahawks ran the ball effectively. But RBs got winded/nicked during entire middle of game. Thats why they ran six consecutive pass plays in Q3.

    Weaponry was a problem. There was weak separation.

    Alpha Baldwin will help receivers get open more & make Russ pass quicker.

    By the bye wk, pass protection, running game & pass rush will all improve, as Penny, Dissly, Fant, Ifedi, Green, Clark, Jordan, etc get healthier & stronger & gel together via more reps.

    In 2015 Seahawks started 0-2 and rallied to go 10-6. That team was 25% more talented but 50% less united. We’ll be FINE 12s, but it may take time. We could go 3-12 or 10-6 this year, depending on health.

    11 sacks in 2 games reduced Wilson’s elusiveness. He will be FINE, it’s just 2 road games vs 2 monster OLB’s.

    I think Chris Carson & Penny got winded in q3. So called 14 pass plays in a row. We need Fluker back asap to punch holes.

    D played well – really well, without starters K.J. Wright, Bobby Wagner & Tre Flowers. Our 3 weakest depth roles.

    Bears/Bronocs unleashed 2 best QB killers, & had improved QB play & both may go 11-5 this year.

    Didn’t get blown out. Offense gave hope of getting it figured out as K.Mack said Bears could not cope with our higher faster Q4 Tempo.

    Defense decimated by injuries, & Shaquill G was outstanding, two picks good tackling. McDougald, Clark, Mychal Kendricks all played well.

    Offense will get better rhythm at CLink, as PC is 0-2 all three times his teams started season playing double roaders

    Stay positive, dont bitch, stay united, dont lose faith. Russ is top 5 elite bQB, after Rodgers, Brady, Brease, & Big Ben. By next season, & a good draft, & some good FA’s, he could become numero uno, NFL’s Top Redzone Hunter, NFL MVP & SB winner.

    1. In it, with a chance to win it.
      Without Russ, weak chance.
      With Russ, big chance.
      Stay positive & BELIEVE 12s… believe …

  6. Clearly Carson has shown he is the answer to what ails the running game. But Pete can’t stand Carson’s constant begging to come out every series. Carson can’t just be in the game only when he runs the ball. Also, why is he playing on special teams if that is causing him to be “gassed”? Two plays or not, he needs to be a go for most of the offensive drive. The reason this game was so ugly was the offense had way to many 3 and outs and not enough running the ball. Run the ball, eat clock, give the defense some rest. The defense did their job despite being on the field so much. The defense only gave up 17 points, and you could say the last TD they gave up was because the defense was on the field too much. The defense had a chance to be pretty good, but the offense was a mess. The passing game looked awful for 3 quarters. That falls squarely on Russell and the OC. The two people who should be able to win the game. Let me ask one question. If the offense plays like it did at the end of the 4th quarter (minus the pick) the whole game, do they win the game? Where is the sense of urgency for the other 3 quarters? Where was the running game the second and third quarters? You can’t just want to win the game at the end. Regardless of the ineptitude of the offense the whole game, remove the mistake by Russell and run the ball a little more to give the defense some time to rest and the Seahawks win this game 17-10.

  7. I never thought I would say that I miss Bevell. Sad. The offense looked confused and Wilson looks like he has lost his confidence. Something is going on with Carson and I would agree with the two posts above me that it is not about getting Penny reps as a 1st rounder. He started the game and looked good. Then something happened and I don’t know what.
    I am more frustrated with Carroll and his choice of OC this year. There looks to be no flare in the passing game. Just a lot of confusion. Hopefully, they adjust and that disappears. All I know is that as an avid fan since 1980, I realize how spoiled we have been as fans and now, like Brian said, goodbye to all the wagon-jumpers and hello to our good ole friend mediocrity

  8. The offensive line has been especially bad for the last 3 years. This coincides with Britt being the center and Wilson being more responsible for line calls. The OL does lose some of its 1 on 1s, but it seems to have its biggest problems where communication is needed. If Britt is out for a longer duration, it will be interesting to see if the OL as a unit performs better. I have no doubt that Britt plays the C position better, but I am curious if he has fully picked up the nuances of being C that brings up the unit. It will likely be a good test if he is out and Hunt or Pocic take over.

    If the issue is that Wilson is just really bad at pre-snap, then please give the responsibility back to the line.

  9. The team’s bad performance is rubbing off on this blog too. “Omnious loss” ? Is that an egregiously ominous loss ?!

  10. Trevathan is quoted as saying something along the lines of “the way to beat this guy is to keep him rattled…..” referring to RW. That they did.

    Wilson also was the lowest unweighted QBR for week two, weighting it for away game moved him to third worst. Hmmmmm

    Which is not to say he’s the only issue, maybe just a symptom, but the mixture isn’t right. And his problems aren’t entirely O-line related…………they’re just a small part of it.

    Can’t help but wonder what thoughts are running through the head of Paul Allen. He’s a gentleman, and not prone to erratic behavior. I’m sure it’s too soon for him to be talking to upper management yet, but he can’t be pleased with the ROI from the team right now (I’m not talking about monetary revenue, that’s locked in for the season, I mean quality of team performance for what he’s paying). If the ugliness prevails, and season ticket holders masquerade as empty seats, it could be a sign.

  11. Wilson’s regression was forseeable, and indeed, I read right after Schottenheimer was hired that studies showed offenses generally did worse the year after an new OC came on board. The main reason was a new OC being difficult for a QB to adjust to. That’s why promising young QB’s have their careers ruined by having a revolving door of OC’s. Even great QB’s do worse when changing OC’s the first time. It could be that QB’s have difficulty adjusting from their old way of doing things or it could be that the OC’s are slow to adjust their schemes to their new QB.
    People might be frustrated Wilson isn’t getting the heat, but IMO, Wilson doesn’t deserve it. We’ve been all worrying that the crap Oline was going to leave Wilson shell shocked and stunt his development and guess what? It did.

    Did anyone else see the stat they threw up on MNF that showed Wilson had been sacked more than any other QB in the NFL since 2012?

    Carroll once said that he learned something important from Bill Walsh. The most important thing a coach needs to do is keep his QB comfortable on the field. Walsh wasn’t talking about giving the QB comfy shoes. He was talking about combining a short passing game with a OLINE THAT CAN FREAKING BLOCK!

    Something Carroll has NEVER done in Wilson’s entire tenure.

    Which frankly absolves Wilson of ‘blame’. He’s got to do better. yes. But the blame ultimately falls directly upon Pete Carroll for sticking with Tom Cable for many years too long and for having a run first mentality in a pass happy league.

    Everytime I heard Cable spouting how college players aren’t NFL ready or read how we’d put a guy who once played flag football in 8th grade on our Oline because he had “stats”, I remembered what Holmgren once said: “You build an oline with veterans, you build a defense young.”

    Carroll has shown he can build a young defense. From the looks of things, he’s starting to learn to build a veteran oline. But it’s not there yet. And the legacy of Carroll’s bungling of the Oline is that Wilson has regressed.

    Bringing in a new OC is exacerbating that situation.

    This was all predictable and to be expected.

    For now, we need more 12 offenses (1RB, 2TE) and let Wilson wait for the WR’s to get into one on ones. It’s the only way to make the QB comfortable with the oline we have and it will open up the run game.

  12. It funny, ironic and not funny all at the sametime that the later part of 2015 was the height of our Offense in Seahawk land in recent history.

    I don’t think what we saw last night will notable change the direction of our offense until PC leaves. While PC isn’t wrong about having or wanting a Defense minded team, the trouble is it’s not 1996 anymore and games are actually won with offensive schemes these day- even efficience ones. I don’t care how many times Pete says we ‘want’ to get back to running team….that just magically happen unless you actually ‘run the ball’…or does it?

    The most curious and revealing part of PC, is once striped back of all the Coaches which were ‘holding’ back the team…..the same team (scheme) shows up in 2018 only worse…..

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