DANNY ONEIL

O’Neil: The Seahawks’ D has a big problem, even if Russell Wilson made up for it

Oct 30, 2017, 12:35 PM
The Seahawks gave up 30 points for the 18th time under coach Pete Carroll. (AP)...
The Seahawks gave up 30 points for the 18th time under coach Pete Carroll. (AP)
(AP)

We learned that Russell Wilson was capable of carrying the Seahawks’ offense in the second half of the 2015 season.

This victory over Houston was a powerful reminder of that fact, though. In a game that showed the Texans have found their franchise quarterback, Seattle got to find out – again – how fortunate the Seahawks are to have Russell Wilson at quarterback, which tops the list of things we learned:

Three things we learned

1. THAT’S why quarterbacks get the biggest salaries.

Because the quarterback is the one guy who’s capable of saving a team when everything else goes in the tank, which is exactly what Russell Wilson did for Seattle on Sunday. The rushing game was an absolute non-factor for Seattle, Wilson accounting for 30 of the 33 yards on his own. Not only that, but the defense that is the bedrock of this team was utterly incapable of containing Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson, who became the fourth player to throw for more than 400 yards against Seattle since Pete Carroll became head coach. The Texans scored 38 points, which is usually more than enough to beat Seattle as the Seahawks were 1-16 under Carroll when giving up 30 or more. Make that 2-16 as Wilson finished with a career-high 452 yards passing, making up for just about every other deficiency including his own interception with less than 3 minutes remaining.

2. Seattle’s defense has a big problem.

Namely big plays. The Seahawks have allowed five plays of more than 50 yards this season, four of which have resulted in touchdowns. All five of those plays also occurred before Earl Thomas strained his hamstring, and with his status in doubt for at least the next couple of weeks after that injury, Seattle is going to be even more vulnerable. What makes it more concerning for Seattle is that only one of those five plays has been a deep throw. The other four have been rushes off the edge or screen passes, which indicates a problem what it comes to assignments and tackling. That’s not what you would expect from a defense as experienced as these Seahawks are.

3. Seattle’s offensive line is better in pass protection than run-blocking.

That’s absolutely the opposite of what we’ve come to expect from this group. Wilson has been running his way out of trouble since his second season in the league, but the Seahawks were always one of the best rushing offenses in the league. Well, on Sunday the Seahawks actually protected Wilson fairly well but couldn’t run the ball a lick, especially when trying to run in the direction of defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. And for all the criticism that Seattle’s offensive line has received this season, give the Seahawks credit. Wilson had time to throw downfield throughout the fourth quarter, allowing Seattle to prevail in a shootout.

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