O’Neil: Why does everyone think Seahawks RB Mike Davis had a good game in loss to Jaguars?
The Seahawks rushed for 141 yards on Sunday, their third-best total on the ground this season.
This week’s opponent, the Los Angeles Rams, are No. 28 in rush defense and have allowed the third-most yards per carry of any team in the league this season.
That’s a good sign for Seattle, right? Except that Mike Davis’ game wasn’t quite as efficient as the numbers make it appear, which is why the reaction to his game against the Jaguars is what leads our list of things we’re still trying to unravel from Sunday’s game:
What we’re still trying to figure out
1. Why does everyone think Mike Davis had a good game?
He had one good drive. One. He carried four straight times on Seattle’s final possession of the first half, resulting in three first downs and a total of 49 yards rushing. He had a 2-yard run later in that drive, meaning that 51 of his 66 yards rushing were gained on that single drive, which culminated in the 38-yard field goal attempt that Blair Walsh missed (Editor’s note: We’ll get to him in a second).
Davis had 11 carries outside of that one possession. Only one of those 11 carries could be characterized as a successful play as he rushed for 12 yards on a first-down play in the third quarter. Seven other carries resulted in no gain or lost yardage, meaning Seattle would have been better off simply spiking the ball. So while the final total may look OK, let’s not go thinking that Davis breathed life into a running game that was at a flatline for most of Sunday’s game in Jacksonville.
2. Why won’t the Seahawks sign another kicker?
The answer is obvious: They don’t believe someone out there is better, and while I’m not going to be some authority on better alternatives now that Mike Nugent signed with Chicago, I’ll ask a different question: What are the odds Seattle would sign an available kicker who would be worse than one who has missed 6 of 14 field goal attempts? Because that’s what Walsh has done over the past six games after a good start to the season in which he made 12 of his first 13.
At this point, Seattle’s decision to hold onto him means that they believe in his ability to correct his mistakes and get back to his career average. In other words, the Seahawks are that stubborn blackjack player staying at the table despite getting absolutely crushed by the dealer in the belief that the odds will eventually even things out. How many times do you remember that same blackjack player turning up the next morning with full pockets and boasting about his persistence paying off? Because that’s never happened to any of my friends. They turn up the next day double-coated in self-loathing.
3. What happened to Seattle’s pass rush?
Another game like last week and it will be time to posting notices on the side of milk cartons. Wait. Do they even have milk cartons anymore? Never mind. The point is that Seattle’s pass rush was missing almost entirely in Jacksonville. One quarterback hit. Just one. The Seahawks didn’t have a single sack. Pete Carroll’s reaction?
“Disappointing,” he said.
You think? It was just the second time this season Seattle failed to record a sack. It was part of a bigger trend, too. In the first eight games of the regular season, Seattle totaled 23 sacks and had three games with more than three. Seattle has nine sacks the past five games and hasn’t had more than three in any of those games.
Injuries would explain a decline in the secondary, but the absence of Cliff Avril isn’t enough to explain why Seattle’s pass rush has dried up.