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

Sep 20, 2021, 2:58 PM
Seahawks RB Chris Carson...
Titans LB Rashaan Evans attempts to stop Seahawks RB Chris Carson shy of a touchdown during the second quarter. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

When the Seahawks and Titans faced off in Week 2, it was a matchup between two teams that have shown they want to run the ball.

While Tennessee struggled on the ground early, star back Derrick Henry wound up rushing for 182 yards and three touchdowns. For Seattle, the run game never got going. Lead back Chris Carson had two touchdowns but wound up tallying just 31 yards on 13 carries on the day.

Pete Carroll Show: Too many fixable miscues sink Seahawks vs. Titans

The run game’s struggles were even more glaring after the game due to the Seahawks’ struggles offensively in the second half. Seattle entered the third quarter up 24-9, but Tennessee controlled the clock and forced overtime at 30-30 before kicking a game-winning field goal.

Former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps pointed to the run game when examining why Seattle struggled so mightily on offense in the second half in the team’s loss to Tennessee.

“I really believe that is has to do with their first down production,” he said on Monday’s edition of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy. “They were not great on first down, which set up a lot of third-and-longs for them, which is not an advantageous situation whatsoever. It just really goes to show to me that the running game is so vital to (offensive coordinator) Shane Waldron and this offense.”

In Week 1, Carson and the Seahawks had 140 yards on the ground and were very balanced on offense. But Carson never got going against the Titans, and after finding success through the air in the game’s first two quarters, quarterback Russell Wilson couldn’t find his weapons nearly as consistently in the second half.

“It allows everything else to open up,” Heaps said of the run game. “I’ll be curious to see how they approach this moving forward in terms of not how committed they are to the running game, but in their style, in their way because they didn’t deviate from their plan. They wanted to be in 12 personnel (one running back and two tight ends), they wanted to try and run the ball downhill in their outside zone scheme. They didn’t deviate from that at all when it was not successful.”

When it came to running on first down, Carson got 11 of his 13 carries on the down, and he rushed for just 2.6 yards per carry on the down.

“Not great,” Heaps said. “And everything else – the play-action game, the naked bootleg game, the screen game – everything is predicated off that run game being successful, especially on first down.”

The run game wasn’t the only big issue Heaps had with the Seahawks on offense from the third quarter until the game’s conclusion, though.

“Also, just ill-timed plays. You look at third-and-3 for this Seahawks offense and you throw a 50-50 ball to DK (Metcalf)?” Heaps said. “DK is pretty special, but that’s also not a high-percentage play. There’s not another play that could have been called in that moment that would have been better on third-and-3 in that moment?”

There was also a major difference in how the offense looked before the snap between Week 1 and Week 2.

“There wasn’t as much motion,” Heaps said. “I didn’t see the same level of creativity that we saw in Week 1, and that was concerning to me.”

Listen to the full conversation in the podcast at this link or in the player below.

Groz: Seahawks’ defense is the big concern after Week 2 loss

Jake and Stacy

Seahawks RB Alex Collins...
Brandon Gustafson

Heaps: Seahawks’ disheartening offensive issues aren’t on Shane Waldron

When it comes to the Seahawks' struggles on offense, Jake Heaps thinks that it goes far deeper than play calls by new OC Shane Waldron.
1 day ago
Seahawks Ken Norton Jr. Pete Carroll...
Stacy Rost

Rost: Why did the 2-5 Seahawks’ latest loss feel so ugly?

At 2-5, the Seahawks are far from where they imagined being as they near the season's midway point, and Monday's loss was their ugliest yet.
1 day ago
Seahawks DK Metcalf...
Brent Stecker

Rost: Why the state of the Seahawks should be setting off alarms

Stacy Rost of 710 ESPN Seattle's detailed all the factors that make the Seahawks' 2-4 start to the season such a big story.
3 days ago
Seahawks Gerald Everett...
Jake Heaps

Heaps: How Seahawks can — and why they need to — get TEs more involved

In his latest Chalk Talk video breakdown, Jake Heaps looks at the encouraging use of tight ends by the Seahawks against the Steelers.
6 days ago
Seahawks RB Alex Collins...
Brandon Gustafson

Heaps: Seahawks ‘don’t really have a choice’ but to be a run-first team

Whether the Seahawks want to be a run-first offense or not, Jake Heaps explains why they don't really have any choice but to try right now.
7 days ago
Seahawks Tre Brown...
Brandon Gustafson

Heaps: Have the Seahawks found the answer at CB in rookie Tre Brown?

How encouraging was the play of rookie cornerback Tre Brown for the Seahawks in his first ever NFL game? Jake Heaps breaks it down.
8 days ago
Heaps: Importance of running game in Seahawks’ offense on display in loss to Titans