After a 5-0 start, the Seattle Seahawks have tumbled back down to Earth. The ‘Hawks have dropped three of their last five games and are now second in the brutal NFC West. The Seahawks have gone from being the class of the NFC to one of the many would-be contenders. Or is that pretenders?
Seattle lost at home on Sunday to the Giants. It was an abject performance. But, in reality, that performance has been coming for a while now. The Seahawks have not scored more than 30 points since Week 9. We knew that this was an explosive offense, however, if you scratch beneath the surface, the Seahawks are a flawed team. Russell Wilson is not playing badly; it’s just that opposition teams are figuring the Seattle offense out.
Wilson’s adjusted yards have steadily dropped since the highpoint in Week 4. It was a miserable 5.53 against the Giants. Comparably, his yards per attempt has also dropped considerably since Week 4. It bottomed out to a measly 6.12 in Week 13. Wilson is not spreading the ball out right now, and that suggests that he lacks confidence in his receivers. His passing chart in Week 13 featured many throws to the left side of the field. He had only five throws outside the numbers on the right side.
Conversely, in Week 8, his passing attempts to either side were fairly even. Wilson played a clean game that week; he registered 261 yards with four touchdowns. Also, Week 13 saw Wilson target the middle of the field heavily. There were ten attempts between the numbers against the Giants, Wilson had only two attempts between the numbers in Week 8.
Seattle does not have a deep receiver core. Outside of Metcalf and Lockett, the ‘Hawks have no quality weapons. Will Dissly and Jacob Hollister are serviceable tight ends, but they are not an All-Pro duo. Therefore targeting the middle of the field made zero sense. The team does not have elite tight-ends or slot receivers.
As teams have begun to neuter Metcalf and Lockett, the Seahawks lack of depth is hurting them. The playcalling has become very conservative due to teams taking the two wideouts away. On Sunday, 19 passing attempts went for less than five yards. That can work if your team is a quick play, screen game offense. We have seen the Rams and 49ers have success with that formula, except Seattle does not have the personnel that those teams have.
The Seattle offense is a chunk play offense; they must play to their strengths. It was evident that Wilson was not comfortable with the playcalling in Week 13. The Giants sacked him five times, almost all of those came as Wilson held the ball for too long. For a veteran quarterback who is famed for a quick release, he doesn’t hold onto the ball for no reason. There is some hesitancy in Wilson’s mind, and that is causing a plethora of problems.
Wilson felt pressure and threw several dangerous throws into traffic. Another day, those throws end up in the hands of the opposition. Wilson is struggling because the offense has changed. We all know he is a superstar quarterback. When Wilson was cooking, this offense looked spectacular.
However, since the defeat to Arizona, the offense has steadily played less aggressively. They have wanted to become a methodical, ball-control offense. One can understand that idea, it keeps their shoddy defense off the field plus it can tire out the opposing defense.
Nevertheless, Seattle does not have the skill or players to play that style. They don’t have a rotating complement of backs. They have a feature back in Chris Carson. It is nothing like the LA Rams’ backfield, for example. For that plan to work, the running game has to be the primary component of the offense.
I can see why Seattle wanted to tweak the offense. Every game saw them embroiled in a shootout in the early part of the season. That is not a Super Bowl-winning formula; the coaching staff understood that. The problem now is this current plan is not a formula for Super Bowl success. In trying to perfect and tweak a potent offense, the Seahawks have got worse.
There is one positive; the Seahawks still have the same players that got this team to a 5-0 start. Russel Wilson is always an impressive quarterback, and if the coaches can strip back the game plan to what it was in October, the Seahawks can bet back to the top of the NFC West. Yes, they will be in more shootouts, but the key to winning a shootout is having the best guy at quarterback. There are few better than Wilson, and that means that Seattle will always have a chance in those wild games.