JAKE AND STACY

How do Seahawks get offense on track? Answer is in Week 17 comeback

Jan 6, 2021, 5:06 PM
Seahawks Russell Wilson...
The Seahawks were able to largely avoid third down in the fourth quarter vs. the 49ers. (Getty)
(Getty)

The Seahawks’ offense didn’t have a strong four quarters in the 26-23 win over the 49ers on Sunday, but it did have a strong fourth quarter.

What We Learned: Seahawks’ best move was one they didn’t make

After San Francisco built a 10-point lead early in the final frame, the Seahawks did a 180 on offense to take over the game. Though Seattle had managed just six points to that point and went the entire third quarter without converting a first down, the Hawks exploded for touchdowns on three straight drives in the fourth (the last being helped out by a defensive takeaway).

There’s something the 12-win Seahawks can take from that impressive showing in the final moments against San Francisco, which was a topic of discussion on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy.

During a recent Four-Down Territory segment on the show, Stacy Rost spoke about how third down has been a problem for Seattle this season. They enter the playoffs ranked 20th in the NFL in third down conversions at 40.21%, but something in the offense’s huge comeback against the 49ers negated that.

“They were outstanding on first and second down,” Jake Heaps said. “They were able to get first downs and chunk plays on first and second down (to the point) where they didn’t even see third down until they got to third-and-goal (on each of their first two touchdown drives).”

OK, so what was the difference between those drives and what Seattle did on offense earlier in the game?

“Really what it is is tempo,” Heaps said.

The Seahawks were an especially explosive offense for the first half of the season, but that stopped being the case as opposing defenses figured out how to slow down quarterback Russell Wilson and his receivers. The deep passes that highlighted the strong start to Seattle’s season didn’t return in the comeback against San Francisco, as the Seahawks instead racked up yardage by speeding up their tempo in between plays.

“They weren’t deep balls down the field,” Heaps said. “They were checkdowns to Chris Carson, they were throws underneath, runs after the catch. They were Russell Wilson taking off and running, Chris Carson then being able to knife through the middle of that defense with quick hitters. So you combine all that together, that’s really how they were able to get it all going, how they were able to spark such a big fourth quarter comeback.”

The former Seahawks quarterback delved deeper into that point later while on the 710 ESPN Seattle Playoff Roundtable with Bob Stelton and Dave Wyman (listen here).

“One way to get a defense out of all the exotic, crazy stuff that they have dialed up and planned up for the week is to go into that uptempo mode,” Heaps said. “When you know that they’re trying to bring all those different, exotic pressure packages, go uptempo because that forces them to play into more of their base scheme. Notice in the fourth quarter (against the 49ers), that’s exactly what happened. They turned up the tempo, they turned up the heat, and I do think that they have to do that more regularly.

“The Seahawks can’t let a defense get comfortable saying, ‘Hey, we know exactly the tempo they’re going to play at each and every single drive.’ You have to be able to change that up and be able to keep them on their toes, and that’s something they were excellent at in the beginning of the season. They’ve sprinkled it in and have had success with it during the season but I just haven’t seen it consistently enough. I do think that would help them in the playoffs if they can find that right balance.”

If the Seahawks can do that, they’ll take care of the concerns presented by Rost’s initial point.

“Really it’s been feast or famine for them on first and second down. If they’re not successful on first and second down, as Stacy pointed out, all season long third down has not been a particular area that has been great for this offense,” Heaps said. “The solution to that, unfortunately as much as I would like to say, hey, get better on third down, really what they need to do is continue to strive to be explosive, to be dynamic on first and second down and to get positive chunk plays.”

Follow Brent Stecker on Twitter.

Seahawks GM John Schneider is gaining leverage for extension talks

Jake and Stacy

Seahawks Russell Wilson, Tyler Lockett...
Brandon Gustafson

Heaps: How WR Tyler Lockett has started 2021 red hot for the Seahawks

Tyler Lockett has been on fire for the Seahawks through two games. Jake Heaps breaks down what's working well for the veteran wide receiver.
16 hours ago
Seahawks RB Chris Carson...
Brandon Gustafson

Heaps: Importance of running game in Seahawks’ offense on display in loss to Titans

The Seahawks struggled mightily to establish the run Sunday, which Jake Heaps says really impacted how they operated against the Titans.
2 days ago
Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner...
Brandon Gustafson

Heaps: Wagner and Adams must shine when Seahawks face Titans’ running game

When the Titans visit Seattle, Jake Heaps is looking for the Seahawks' two highest-paid defenders to have massive games stopping the run.
4 days ago
Seahawks DK Metcalf...
Brent Stecker

What Seahawks need to do vs Titans to build on Week 1 performance

Jake and Stacy of 710 ESPN Seattle have two things they think the Seahawks should build upon to avoid a misstep after an encouraging debut.
5 days ago
Seahawks offense...
Brandon Gustafson

Heaps: The 2 matchups that will determine whether Seahawks beat Titans

The Seahawks can start 2021 2-0 if they beat the Titans on Sunday. Jake Heaps has two matchups to watch for that could determine the winner.
5 days ago
Seahawks Will Dissly...
Brandon Gustafson

Seahawks TE Will Dissly: New offense started strong but ‘there’s a ton left in the tank’

Seahawks TE Will Dissly stopped by The Huddle to discuss Seattle's Week 1 win over the Colts and the team's new offense under Shane Waldron.
6 days ago
How do Seahawks get offense on track? Answer is in Week 17 comeback