We’re all trying to figure out what’s wrong with the Seahawks, and from one week to the next, it’s one thing or another – the offensive line, Russell Wilson, inconsistent running game, lack of a pass rush, fill in the blank.
I’m here to fill in the blank with something else. It’s probably not the best reason, but if it plays out as a pivotal factor, I won’t take any of the credit. That will go to a listener who sent a message to the Coors Light Text Line Monday afternoon, saying the Seahawks have issues on grass. That’s not to say they’re smoking it, they’re just having problems playing on it.
We know they’re 2-4-1 on the road, very un-Seahawk-like compared to the past three years when they posted winning road records. But when you take a closer look, they’ve really sputtered in road games on grass fields, outscored 67-24 in four games at Los Angeles, Arizona, Tampa Bay and Green Bay. That’s an average of 4.8 points a game, and I’d argue that it’s even worse than it appears. At Tampa Bay, they got two points on a safety from their defense, and they scored seven of their 10 points in garbage time at Green Bay.
If you take those nine points away, the offense is averaging less than four points in the games on grass this year.
It might be too small of a sample size to draw any concrete conclusions. After all, the Seahawks have not had issues on grass fields in the past, aside from Stephen Hauschka, who has a history of kicking troubles at University of Phoenix Stadium. But it’s something of a trend this year, and it sticks out because in their three road games on artificial turf (against the Jets, Patriots and Saints), the Seahawks have averaged 26 points a game.
Which begs the question: Why is this happening? And I’ll give you my usual answer: I don’t know. I’d guess that they might not be as fast and quick on grass as they are on artificial turf, neutralizing their advantage in talent. But you might counter by saying the other team is playing on the same field. I’d contend that those teams are used to playing on grass because they play on it all the time.
I know the Seahawks have an equipment manager who gives the players the best cleats for the conditions. But at Green Bay, as an example, we saw Richard Sherman and K.J. Wright having problems with their traction.
The good news – if this is an issue with this team and not just some flimsy factor I’m throwing out there, the Seahawks have only one regular-season game left on grass, at San Francisco on New Year’s Day. They could beat the 1-13 49ers no matter the playing surface – mud, dirt, asphalt … it shouldn’t matter. And if the Seahawks secure the No. 2 NFC playoff spot, they won’t have to play a game on grass in the playoffs.
The best news of all? If they make it to the Super Bowl in Houston, the Texans changed the playing surface at NRG Stadium from grass to artificial turf this year.
The Go 2 Guy also writes for SeattlePI.com and KitsapSun.com. You can reach Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.