Clayton’s Observations: Seahawks’ offense will be OK without Gordon
The road schedule of the Seattle Seahawks is done.
A 7-1 record and the No. 1 seed in the NFC are the success stories for the Seahawks after the first 15 weeks of the season. Even though they were down as many as six starters on defense by the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win over Carolina, the Seahawks clinched their franchise-record seventh win on the road.
They were also able to celebrate on the plane ride home from Charlotte when they found out the San Francisco 49ers lost in the final seconds to the Atlanta Falcons, giving the No. 1 seed for now to the Seahawks and the No. 5 spot to the 49ers.
All this can change over the next two weeks, but the only thing that won’t change is we know four of the NFC’s six playoff teams – the Seahawks, the Niners, the New Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packers.
Let’s look at what we learned in Week 15.
• Even though the game plan on defense for the Seahawks was not to stay too young, injuries forced the Seahawks to be young. Of the 19 players who took part in defensive plays against the Panthers the Seahawks, 10 were 24 years old or younger. Pete Carroll on Monday joked that it looked like a preseason game.
Quandre Diggs went down with a high ankle sprain. Bobby Wagner went down with an ankle injury, though he should be able to recover from coming up for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals. They entered the game down four starters. To be able to come out with a win with so many starters out was pretty impressive.
• The biggest positive out of Sunday’s win over the Carolina was the return of Tyler Lockett being a No. 1 wide receiver. After three tough games in which he was barely targeted, Lockett exploded, and you could see what his presence does for the offense.
When Lockett is at his best, the Seahawks can be a 28- to 30-point offense. Russell Wilson can scramble and get the ball downfield to Lockett. Lockett is so important in the play-action passing game. DK Metcalf is now a solid No. 2 receiver with his 52 catches and 816 yards. They help the offense get the ball downfield.
• Do you really want to call it the loss of Josh Gordon? Gordon’s indefinite suspension hurt him, but remember, he was a bonus to the team. He wasn’t in the plans during the season. His name went on the waiver wire and the Seahawks claimed him as a bonus. He was a gift.
Though he showed great potential to help the offense, he was barely targeted. Great talent, but the Seahawks won before he arrived. He did well enough for the Seahawks, and they might bring him back if and when he clears his NFL suspension.
• There was no surprise the Seahawks put in a waiver claim on Terrell Suggs. He would have added an experienced hand at rushing the quarterback, particularly at a time the Seahawks starting defensive ends are hurt. You noticed he went to Kansas City but three 11-win NFC teams also put in claims: San Francisco, Seattle and New Orleans.
I was a little surprised the Seahawks didn’t put in a claim for Janoris Jenkins. He went to New Orleans, but the Seahawks were one spot ahead of the Saints in the waiver claim pool. Jenkins is a talented coverage guy, one of the best in the league.
• Chris Carson continues to be a star with the running game. He had a career game Sunday with 136 yards rushing and remains one of the best yards-after-contact runners in the game. What would help him is getting a bye week in the postseason, giving his body a chance to rest and recover.
More Seahawks coverage
• Gallant: How are we supposed to feel about Gordon’s suspension?
• Moore: Seahawks are top seed, but are they NFC’s best 11-3 team?
• Seahawks notes: Diggs has high ankle sprain, Carroll confident in WR group
• Pete Carroll on Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett’s 100-yard game: ‘He’s back’
• WiFi failure gave Hawks tense moment during end of 49ers-Falcons
- Tune in to 710 ESPN Seattle weekdays at 10am for John Clayton's show.
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