O’Neil: What happened to Seahawks’ big plays in the passing game?
Explaining why the Seahawks lost on Sunday in Los Angeles isn’t nearly as tough as explaining what that defeat means to the rest of this season.
Here’s a list of what we’re still trying to figure out about this Seahawks team:
1) Where have the big plays gone in the Seahawks’ passing game?
Injury and illness certainly haven’t helped as Tyler Lockett – the team’s top receiver – has caught only one pass for more than 20 yards over the previous four games. He suffered a scary-sounding leg injury at the end of Seattle’s win in San Francisco and then suffered from the flu in the week leading up to the Monday night win over Minnesota. The run game may be the heartbeat of Seattle’s offense, but it’s the big plays that differentiate the Seahawks. Seattle hasn’t been quite as proficient in that area this past month as it was in the first two months of the year.
2) Is it something about the Rams specifically that gives Seattle trouble?
The temptation is to connect the Seahawks’ difficulty in stopping the Rams in the first half with the struggles the defense had earlier in the year when guys like Andy Dalton and Matt Schaub (yes, Matt Schaub) were racking up gaudy passing totals. But last Sunday’s game might be more about a specific matchup than a season-long trend. The Rams have scored 28 or more points in each of the last five regular-season meetings against the Seahawks, and their perimeter run game has consistently gashed Seattle’s defense. So maybe the Rams are just a bad matchup for Seattle.
3) Can C.J. Prosise make the most of an unexpected opportunity?
He has been an afterthought this season whose most noteworthy accomplishment is being healthier than he has been at any point in his first three seasons with the Seahawks. With Rashaad Penny out for the rest of the season, Prosise steps in as the backup. The former third-round pick – who flashed dual-threat potential as a rookie in 2016 – is going to get chances not only to run the ball, but receiving out of the backfield in what amounts to a three-game showcase for his pending free agency. Travis Homer has shown great speed as a rookie, but it’s Prosise that figures to get most of the carries that don’t go to starter Chris Carson.