Rost: Something has finally caught up to the Seahawks

Nov 29, 2021, 9:54 PM
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson...
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson lies on the field after being sacked in the third quarter against Washington. (Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
(Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)

Whatever secret magic Bill Belichick and Tom Brady bottled up during the Patriots’ 20-year dynasty, Monday night’s performance by the Seahawks was a sobering reminder that the efforts of others have always fallen short.

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It’s not because those teams aren’t talented, nor their feats unimpressive. It’s because finding that kind of sustained success should be – and for the most part, has been – impossible in the modern NFL.

For their part, the Seahawks have come close. Only New England, Green Bay and Pittsburgh have more wins than Seattle since 2010 and few other teams can touch Seattle’s 15 postseason wins during that same time.

But something has finally caught up to the Seahawks. If it wasn’t already obvious in their earlier losses this season, it was painfully evident in primetime.

As for what’s caught up to them, the answer is a bit murky. There are missed draft picks, of course. Pete Carroll’s offense doesn’t have the weapons it needs to be at its best – a bulldozing running back, a top-tier offensive line.

Perhaps most importantly, there’s Russell Wilson’s peculiar downturn. The Seahawks’ franchise stalwart has been struggling on and off since the middle of last season.

His inconsistent play over the course of Monday’s 17-15 loss to Washington felt like a microcosm for his struggles this year; there was a clutch fourth-quarter touchdown and another score flicked through an impossibly tight window to tight end Gerald Everett. But there were also overthrows on pivotal third downs and missed opportunities. Then there’s the fact that DK Metcalf didn’t have a target until the third quarter and didn’t have a reception until the fourth, a baffling decision against a Washington defense that has been one of the worst against the pass.

The final two minutes brought plenty of excitement, but in the end the result was the same. The offense finished with just 10 first downs to Washington’s 27 (several of those came on the final drive, though) and possessed the ball for just 18:20 to Washington’s 41:40. Credit the defense for holding Washington to just 17 points with that split.

“The third downs don’t let us go,” Carroll said when asked about Seattle’s offensive struggles. “It’s just such an obvious issue for us that we’re not converting … there’s so few plays that every single play counts so much and we’re just not getting it going.”

Seattle entered the game ranked last in the league in average number of plays per game (no surprise, considering they also rank last in time of possession). They were 4 of 12 on third down (33%), which is barely above their season-long average of 32%, the league’s worst.

It was another ugly loss for Seattle sports fans, who at least this week have some encouraging news to fall back on. There was the Mariners’ huge deal to ink reigning AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray and the Seattle Kraken winning their fourth of five games in the last nine days.

But it might not be enough of a distraction to quell the worries of Seahawks fans who are wondering what iteration of this squad will hit the field in 2022 – and most importantly, whether that group will still house both Carroll and Wilson.

Without looking too far into the offseason, it’s clear that one thing needs to change soon: the offense needs to improve, and Wilson needs to be part of those improvements.

“He needs to make his plays when he gets his chances,” Carroll said. “I can’t imagine that he won’t get it done.”

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