DANNY ONEIL

What we’re trying to figure out: Did Seahawks’ defense play good Sunday?

Nov 6, 2018, 11:34 AM
The Seahawks allowed 11 explosive plays on defense in their loss to the Chargers. (AP)...
The Seahawks allowed 11 explosive plays on defense in their loss to the Chargers. (AP)
(AP)

The Seahawks have reached the midway point of a season that started with a two-week dip into the nether regions of the NFL standings, rebounded with four wins in the span of five games, and now has been cast into doubt following a loss to the Chargers.

O’Neil: In loss to Chargers, we learned why Hawks have a ways to go

These Seahawks are good enough to keep you interested. They’ve proven that for the first eight games. Whether they’re good enough to get to the playoffs will depend in part on the answers to these three things that we’re still trying to figure out about this team:

1. How did Seattle’s defense play on Sunday?

I’m at a total loss.

On the one hand, the Seahawks gave up an average of 7.3 yards per rush and allowed 11 explosive plays, which in Pete Carroll’s criteria are rushing plays of 12 or more yards and passing plays of 16 or more. Hard to call that a good game, especially when you consider that Seattle allowed 19 points in the first half, most of any game this season. But the Chargers’ Philip Rivers was only 13-for-26 passing for fewer than 300 yards and the Chargers’ only second-half points came courtesy of their defense.

I don’t want to undersell the defensive shortcomings of Sunday’s game, but I don’t want to exaggerate the flaws, either. While there were some troubling signs when it comes to allowing big plays, especially in the run game, the Seahawks’ defense gave the team a chance to win.

2. Is Chris Carson durable?

This has nothing to do with last year’s season-ending injury for the Seahawks running back. He suffered a broken ankle, and unless there’s some bone density treatments of which I am unaware, there’s not much a player could possibly due to avoid something like that. But he missed a game in Arizona earlier this season, was questionable entering Sunday’s game because of a hip injury, and while he wound up playing, he couldn’t finish the game. Carroll indicated that this injury is different than what bothered him back in October, but given that Carson never carried more than 150 times in either college season at Oklahoma State, it’s fair to wonder whether he can sustain the workload of a starting running back given his punishing, unrelentingly physical run style.

3. Does Russell Wilson’s confidence depend upon the running game?

The Seahawks struggled to run the ball after the first quarter against the Chargers. That’s going to happen from time to time in the NFL. And when it does, it figures that Seattle would be able to lean toward an aerial alternative. After all, it’s not like Russell Wilson isn’t a very desirable alternative. But so far this season, when Seattle’s ground game grinds to a halt, Wilson stops being as decisive and starts taking more sacks.

It could be that’s because Seattle’s offensive line is getting manhandled. After all, if the Seahawks aren’t opening holes in the ground game it stands to reason they might be giving up overwhelming pass pressure as well. But it’s also possible that Wilson’s passing performance is somehow affected by the run-game difficulties. Eight games through this season it sure seems that Seattle’s struggles to run the ball have a trickle-down effect in the passing game.

Halfway through season, Hawks have identity – they just need wins

Danny and Gallant Show

Danny ONeil

Seahawks Quandre Diggs...
Danny O'Neil

O’Neil: Seahawks have uncertainty with a player ‘holding in,’ but it’s not Quandre Diggs

While Quandre Diggs appears to be the third Seahawks player to "hold-in" during training camp, Danny O'Neil writes that it's Duane Brown whose future is up in the air.
12 months ago
Follow @dannyoneil...
Danny O'Neil

AZ Good AZ it Gets

SPONSORED – Phoenix was the place where the rest of the country found out that Seattle fans took their enthusiasm on the road with them. That was 2013. It’s also the place where I discovered how restorative a desert vacation can be. That was 2015. Let’s start with the screaming. That’s what caught everyone’s attention […]
12 months ago
Mariners Jarred Kelenic...
Danny O'Neil

O’Neil: Mariners aren’t handing the spotlight over to Seahawks just yet

This is the time of year that Seattle tends to shift its focus to the gridiron, but the Mariners are still commanding attention.
12 months ago
Seahawks Duane Brown...
Danny O'Neil

O’Neil: When Seahawks decide not to extend players, they’re rarely wrong

If you think the Seahawks must sign Duane Brown to an extension, when's the last time they opted against re-signing someone and it came back to bite them?
1 year ago
Follow @dannyoneil...
Danny O'Neil

Oh, LA, LA!

Week 15, Dec. 19: Seattle at Los Angeles Rams, SoFi Stadium, 1:25 p.m. Pacific SPONSORED – Maybe it was fitting that the opening act for the first pro-football game I covered in Los Angeles was a rock band I loved as a teenager. There’s no place that makes me think of growing up more than […]
1 year ago
Follow @dannyoneil...
Danny O'Neil

Star in a Lone Star Adventure

Week 14, Dec. 12: Seattle at Houston Texans, NRG Stadium, 10 a.m. Pacific SPONSORED – Enchiladas and greatness. That’s what I think of in Texas. The enchiladas are pretty straightforward. They’re so delicious at El Tiempo Cantina that it’s hard to take a bite without closing my eyes. There are three locations though the one […]
1 year ago
What we’re trying to figure out: Did Seahawks’ defense play good Sunday?