After Another Division Defeat, Are The Seahawks In Trouble?
By Tayyib Abu.
The Seattle Seahawks were the NFC Super Bowl favourite three weeks ago. The past three weeks have demonstrated that the ‘Hawks aren't even the best team in their division.
Seattle had raced into a 5-0 start, and since then, the team has lost three of its last four games. Championship teams are built on firm foundations; this Seahawks team is built on sand and Sunday's defeat to the Rams verified it.
THE OFFENSE IS SLOWING DOWN
The chatter amongst Seahawks fans at the start of the season was to' Let Russ Cook,' it was a rallying cry to loosen the shackles on Russell Wilson and let him attack. The problem is, Wilson can't always be the only cook in the kitchen.
He was playing at an MVP level through six weeks, but following the defeat to Arizona; Wilson hasn't been cooking. Wilson followed up on four turnovers at Buffalo with two ghastly interceptions against the Rams. Wilson felt pressured all game. Aaron Donald and his teammates were at their destructive best. Wilson took six sacks, and his QBR was a grim 31.1.
Wilson's first interception was awful as he rolled out to the right and blindly threw across his body. It was a throw a third-string quarterback would be unhappy with. It was not a throw you associate with a franchise quarterback. He didn't have to throw that ball, there was room for him to run, and there was a check down available. Instead, Wilson tried to pull off an incredible play when it wasn't there.
Wilson feels like he needs to play at an MVP level every week to win, and that's because he knows his team is flawed. It is a dangerous tightrope to be walking, and it isn't sustainable.
DEFENSE CAN'T STOP ANYBODY
Wilson is taking more risk as the defense can't stop opposing offenses. It's a cruel irony; the defense was the bedrock of the early Seattle dynasty, yet here this defense on pace to give up the most passing yardage in history.
In this game, Seattle gave up over 300 yards to Jared Goff. 124 of those yards came on play-action. That suggests that the linebacker group are biting hard on the run fake and aren't showing enough eye discipline.
The secondary has talented players. Jamal Adams, Quinton Dunbar, Quandre Diggs and Tre Flowers are all highly skilled players. Yet, this group are continually getting torched by opposing quarterbacks. The defense has three levels, and those three levels need to play well together. Each level has to complement each other. Seattle's doesn't.
Due to the lack of a pure pass rusher in the front seven, Seattle has to get creative in how it brings pressure. A lot of that is on safety blitzes. Therefore, it is no surprise to see Jamal Adams as the sack leader for Seattle.
The issue with this is if the opposing quarterback and linemen diagnose it early, there will be a soft spot in coverage. It's not a surprise that the Seahawks’ three losses have come to teams who have offensive lines ranking in the top 12 in pass block success. Seattle can't generate any pressure from the trenches, and it's relying on it's secondary to do that.
The linebackers are then put in an awful spot as they end up having to cover a lot out of base formations. It's an incredibly challenging position for DC Ken Norton to find himself in.
Seattle has a championship calibre offense, but its coaches must solve this defensive Rubiks cube.
CAN THE SEAHAWKS STILL COMPETE FOR THE SUPER BOWL?
At 6-3, the Seahawks are in no way out of the running. However, Seattle has lost to both its divisional rivals who are in contention. In Russell Wilson, the ‘Hawks possess an outstanding quarterback. He is the best quarterback in the division, but that means nothing if he is making poor decisions and turning the ball over.
Defensively, Seattle does not have the personnel required to make significant changes. But, smart coaching can make it competitive. That is all it needs to be so that the defense can give the offense a chance with good field position. Seattle can only win shootouts right now, and if that continues, the Seahawks will not be getting their hands on the Lombardi trophy next February.