O’Neil: We’ve learned the Seahawks need to replace kicker Blair Walsh
The Seahawks have an issue at kicker.
What may have been a question mark heading into the game is now a definitive statement, just one of several conclusions drawn from Seattle’s 24-13 victory at San Francisco on Sunday.
Three things we learned
1. The Seahawks need a new kicker.
Blair Walsh already had his bad game, pulling three field-goal attempts to the left of what turned out to be a six-point loss to Washington. He’s already gotten the benefit of the doubt, too, when he came up about 4 feet short on that that 52-yard game-tying field-goal attempt against Atlanta. But after missing a 48-yard attempt wide left in the first half of Sunday’s game against San Francisco, it’s time for the Seahawks to see who else is out there. Nothing personal against Blair, who’s hard-working, conscientious and accountable. But better to let him work this out on his own time as opposed to doing it during a playoff push.
2. The only thing worse than Monday morning quarterbacks are Monday morning kickers.
The next person who says the Seahawks goofed by not re-signing Stephen Hauschka might get slapped. Seriously. No one wants to hear about the seven field goals of 50 or more yards he has made this season or even the 52-yard attempt he missed for the Bills. The guy missed eight kicks for Seattle last season, four of them point-after tries, and while Seattle was willing to bet on a bounce-back season, they weren’t willing to bet $4 million on that bounce-back season. Hard to blame them. In fact, it was the right decision especially when you consider how low the ball was coming out on Hauschka’s kicks last season. The Seahawks used the right decision-making process at kicker even if the results haven’t been what was hoped for.
3. I know the game was played in California, but Seattle’s coach was in a state of denial afterward.
Pete Carroll was positively gushing about Eddie Lacy after the game: “I thought he ran hard, ran tough. I liked it. That’s the first time we’ve had to feel Eddie throughout a game, and you can say, he’s got a presence about him because he is such a load.” Uhhhh, Pete? He averaged 2.7 yards on 17 carries without logging a single explosive run. That’s not a knock on Lacy. The past year and a half have shown that it doesn’t matter who’s getting the ball for Seattle, he’s not finding any room to run on the ground. And while Seattle could feel good about the fact that its quarterback wasn’t the leading rusher, let’s not mistake that for an accomplishment. The Seahawks gained 90 yards on the ground, which is 35 yards fewer than opponents have been averaging against San Francisco. Still, Carroll was encouraged by the 46 yards Lacy gained on the ground and the 22 yards that J.D. McKissic had on his four carries. “J.D.’s such a lightning rod out there for stuff,” Carroll said. “He’s just so quick and explosive that it’s a nice mix. That felt like we got something going here. It’s time. We’ve been waiting, and hopefully we can build on that. We’ll get Mike Davis next week, too, which will be fun to see.” Dare to dream, the Seahawks running backs might actually average more than 3 yards per carry.