Clayton: Stumble vs Chargers isn’t enough to doubt Seahawks QB Russell Wilson

Nov 6, 2018, 3:46 PM
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson didn't have his best game in a 25-7 loss to the Chargers. (AP)...
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson didn't have his best game in a 25-7 loss to the Chargers. (AP)

Sunday’s 25-17 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers is still stinging in the city, the Seahawks’ locker room and the Seahawks’ coaching rooms.

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A nearly-amazing comeback fell short in the final seconds and the team’s record dropped to 4-4. What’s been interesting is the reaction throughout the Northwest. Russell Wilson is getting overly criticized. Fans are now getting worried about the offensive line again. And there was disappointment with the defense.

Still, the loss to the Chargers is a good game to review because the Seahawks might be in the same debates over the next two weeks.

Here’s where things stand entering Week 10.

• What first has to be recognized is this is the Seahawks’ toughest stretch of the season. You knew the defense was going to be challenged going against quarterbacks such as Matthew Stafford, Philip Rivers, Jarod Goff, Cam Newton and Aaron Rodgers. What isn’t being discussed is the three-game stretch against three of the top six teams in football.

My preseason forecast was the Seahawks would be a nine- or 10-win team but not a Super Bowl team, and I still think the Seahawks can get a wild card. But reality speaks.

Teams like the Chargers, Rams and Panthers are better at the moment. The Seahawks are in a re-set and they are doing well with that. The defense ranks seventh in the league, giving up only 19.5 points a game. That is better than expected. The offense has its identity in operating as physical, run-first team.

Against these good teams, there are going to be ups and downs.

• It’s wrong to be down on Russell Wilson after the Chargers game. Sure, it wasn’t his best game. He missed some throws. He ran himself into two sacks. Still, there is so much progress with this offense thanks to his play and the improvements on the offensive line.

The Seahawks still rushed for 154 yards. They couldn’t do that last year. They are one of the best teams at scoring touchdowns in the red zone. That couldn’t be said for years. Their deep running back group is getting production that hasn’t happened in a couple of years.

• Self-inflicted wounds were a big issue for the Seahawks’ offense last Sunday. Penalties and two sacks Wilson should have avoided forced the Seahawks to have seven third-down plays where they needed 8 yards or more to convert. Those are hard plays for any quarterback to overcome.

• Pete Carroll counted 11 explosive plays the Seahawks’ defense allowed in the loss to the Chargers. The Seahawks have to worry that the Rams could do the same this Sunday. They are that explosive on offense. On the positive side, the defense tightened up and contained Philip Rivers in the second half, even getting the ball back to Wilson for one last chance to tie.

• You have to think the Seahawks will sign Bruce Irvin after he cleared waivers from the Oakland Raiders. The Seahawks need another pass rusher. Frank Clark is having a Pro Bowl season with 7 1/2 sacks. Jarran Reed is next with an interior rush that has produced five sacks. Overall, the Seahawks have 19 sacks, which is close to the pace they need to get to the target of 39 sacks. But from the defensive ends, the Seahawks have only two from coming from players not named Frank Clark. Irvin is needed.

O’Neil: We learned why Seahawks have a ways to go in loss to LA

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