DANNY ONEIL

Seahawks’ offense hits a low point as it threatens to undermine their season

Dec 6, 2020, 7:23 PM
Seahawks DK Metcalf...
The Seahawks' only TD on Sunday was a pass caught not by DK Metcalf but a running back. (AP)
(AP)

Seattle’s weakness was supposed to be its defense. That’s what everyone feared was going to catch up to this Seahawks team and its world-beating quarterback.

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It’s the offense that is threatening to undermine this season. It was certainly the reason the Seahawks suffered their first loss at home and worst loss in years when they were beaten 17-12 by the New York Giants. Yeah, this one’s going to leave a mark on more than just Seattle’s win-loss record.

“I’m really surprised this is how we looked,” coach Pete Carroll said.

Surprised is pretty mild. Appalling might be more like it. Concerning at the very least. Let us count the ways.

This offense that ranks third in the league in scoring couldn’t manage a touchdown in the first half. Russell Wilson’s longest completion of the game was 28 yards, and it was to a running back in the fourth quarter, by which time the Seahawks were in a double-digit hole. And if you want to get nerdy about it, Wilson averaged 6.1 yards per pass attempt, which is a statistical way of saying he didn’t throw the ball down the field very often nor very effectively. It was his lowest rate of the year.

But let’s take a bigger-picture view of the situation because that’s what is really important here. In fact, the loss to the Giants in and of itself isn’t some sort of dealbreaker. Yes, it dropped the Seahawks into a tie with the Los Angeles Rams, who beat the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, but Seattle was likely to need a win over the Rams in Week 16 anyway to win the NFC West.
The deeper concern here is that Sunday’s loss was a low point in what was an already concerning trend. Starting somewhere in the second half of Seattle’s Week 7 loss at Arizona, this offense has gone from being great to being only good to leaving skid marks during what should be the easiest part of the schedule.

Now, there are plenty of explanations for that starting with the fact that Tyler Lockett suffered a knee injury in the second half of a Week 10 loss to the Rams. Lockett hasn’t missed any games, but he hasn’t been as productive either.

The offensive line has suffered injuries, too. They lost a center in back-to-back weeks, forcing them to use rookie Damien Lewis in one game at that position, which he had not played in his career. Ethan Pocic is back in the middle of the offensive line, but it’s right tackle where guys are dropping. Seattle started Jamarco Jones there this week in place of Cedric Ogbuehi, who himself was stepping in for Brandon Shell. Jones suffered a groin injury, which meant that Chad Wheeler, who had just been promoted from the practice squad on Saturday, was on the field to finish the game.

That brings us to the quarterback, who held on to the ball entirely too long entirely too often on Sunday. It resulted in five sacks, and whether that was because no one was open or because Seattle’s quarterback is gun-shy after that spate of 10 turnovers in four games, it doesn’t change just how debilitating those five sacks were. Four effectively ended drives. Only once was Seattle able to gain a first down on a drive after Wilson was sacked, and that was due to a defensive holding penalty against the Giants, which bailed Seattle out on a third-and-15.

Remember when everyone was worried about Seattle’s defense? Man, those were the days. Back when the biggest concern was that the Seahawks would stake out double-digit leads in the second half and then weather a late flurry of passing yards before escaping because someone managed to make a play for Seattle’s defense.

Well that defense isn’t the problem right now. Not in last Monday’s game in Philadelphia when the Eagles failed to gain a first down on any of their first five possessions. Not on Sunday against the Giants because while no one should brag about holding a team quarterbacked by Colt McCoy to 17 points, 10 of those points were scored off turnovers.

This was a loss that belongs on the offense that wasn’t just supposed to be the strength of this team, but needs to be the strength if the Seahawks are going to do anything of consequence this season.

Follow Danny O’Neil on Twitter.

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Seahawks’ offense hits a low point as it threatens to undermine their season