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Will Seahawks’ offense be ‘cooking’ or balanced going forward?

The Seahawks offense hasn't been as explosive over the last six games. (AP)

The Seahawks started the season with one of the best, most explosive offenses in the NFL while having a poor defense. Over the last six weeks, it’s been the defense that’s been looking top tier while the offense has been less dynamic.

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After allowing 44 points to the Buffalo Bills, the Seahawks have allowed an average of 16 points per game since. The offense, meanwhile, has scored more than 30 points once since that Week 9 loss to the Bills. The Seahawks offense scored 30 or more points in seven of their first eight games.

So the defense appears to be on track while the explosive, dynamic offense we saw early on where quarterback Russell Wilson was ‘cooking” appears to have been replaced by a more balanced approach with the run game, which head coach Pete Carroll has made clear he prefers.

What will we see from the offense going forward, especially with the playoffs right around the corner? Former NFL quarterback Brock Huard shared his thoughts on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant on Tuesday.

“(Wilson) may have to cook for an entire half in the playoffs if the team gets down and he’s got to open it up and they’ve got to pass protect and he’s got to throw for a couple hundred yards in the second half and multiple touchdowns in a game to come back and win in the playoffs,” Huard said. “I think he can cook and cook almighty, but going in to some of these matchups and in particular the next couple weeks to end the season … and then into the playoffs where you’re going to see excellent defensive fronts, I think you have to have a level of balance as coach Carroll will tell you.”

Huard noted that even though Carroll and the Seahawks through the years have shown an affinity for running the football, they don’t identify as a run0first team, but as a balanced team, and he thinks we’ll see that going forward.

“I think balanced football is going to be the key to them advancing in the playoffs,” he said.

The Seahawks after missing the playoffs in 2017 made the playoffs the last two seasons and are returning to the postseason this year.

Danny O’Neil noted that the Seahawks tried to have a balanced attack in their playoff losses to the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers in 2018 and 2019, respectively, and that the team got off to too slow of a start in both those games. He questioned if that sort of approach could again sink the Seahawks. Huard said it depends a bit on the play of the defense, but more importantly, the offense just needs to regularly keep drives alive, which they didn’t do in the two recent playoff losses and have struggled a bit with this year as they’re not great on third down.

“I think that’s the disappointing part for Pete and for Russ and the crew is if you’re going to play this style, you’ve got to sustain drives and defensively as we talked about yesterday, you’ve got to get off the field,” Huard said.

That balanced approach can fall flat if the drives don’t stay alive, but the “Let Russ Cook” offense showed a major downside during the Seahawks’ worst stretch of 2020, when they lost three of four.

“(The last time they went) full-scale ‘let’s go and cook it,’ remember what happened,” Huard said. “There were 10 turnovers by your quarterback in four games and looked out of sorts and to his head coach looked unrecognizable in that stretch of cooking. It was red hot early, playing what turned out to be some pretty average football teams and then played (better) teams and a lot of turnovers ensued and followed and thus it was hey man, let’s get back to some of this balance.”

But whether the Seahawks come out with a more balanced approach or if Wilson is “cooking” again comes down to game planning the opponent, Huard said, though he thinks ultimately the former will beat out the latter.

“I would be disappointed, you would be disappointed, I think everyone would be disappointed if you try to employ a game plan that didn’t put your people in the best position for success,” he said. “… Let’s hope they get to a point and get to the playoffs and get those matchups and say ‘OK, what is best for this crew?'”

Wilson’s numbers and the offense’s numbers in general weren’t great against Washington in Week 15, but the Seahawks got the win and Huard thinks that showed Seattle is adapting to what the opposition is doing.

“If they would have dropped back seven steps or five steps against Washington, I don’t think that would have been (the best thing) for you,” he said. ” … I liked a lot of their plan Sunday, but you’ve got to sustain drives and you’ve got to get the other team off the field, end of story.”

Listen to Huard and the entire Blue 42 segment at this link or in the player below.

Follow Brandon Gustafson on Twitter.

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