JOHN CLAYTON

Clayton: Seahawks have more problems than just running back

Dec 23, 2019, 2:32 PM | Updated: 9:31 pm
Seahawks' Pete Carroll, Marshawn Lynch...
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is reunited with Marshawn Lynch but has plenty more problems. (AP)
(AP)

Simply stated, the Seahawks laid an egg on Sunday with their 27-13 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

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The offensive line offered little protection for Russell Wilson. The defense gave up too many big plays. Mental mistakes were numerous. The Week 14 road loss to the Los Angeles Rams was bad. This game was worse.

Still, the Seahawks have the ability to write off the loss because they can still win the NFC West and possibly get a No. 2 seed if they can beat the San Francisco 49ers Sunday night. Because this game is one of few great matchups of the Week 17, the NFL flexed the game to primetime on Sunday night.

The loss to the Cardinals was a bad one and it comes with some long-term problems. It will require an above and beyond effort for the Seahawks to win this game. Let’s study the damage done Sunday.

• The Seahawks had two players selected to the Pro Bowl and seven Pro Bowl alternates. By the end of the game, the Seahawks were down to four healthy Pro Bowl-caliber players. Chris Carson fractured his hip. Duane Brown sat out the game awaiting knee surgery. Quandre Diggs and Shaquill Griffin missed the game because of hamstring injuries. Jadeveon Clowney was inactive because of his core injury.

You can add to that the fact that the Seahawks lost two key players to suspensions – Al Woods and Josh Gordon. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll seemed optimistic Clowney could return but it’s going to be a stretch to see Diggs back. He has a high-ankle sprain and those injuries can sideline a player four to six weeks. The Seahawks need Griffin back but probably won’t know until later in the week.

• Not only did the Seahawks lose all their depth at halfback, but the injuries will carry into the offseason, putting the team in a position to get more backs for next year. Carroll said Carson’s hip fracture is similar to one suffered last year by safety Lano Hill. It took Hill eight months to come back from his injury.

Rashaad Penny just had ACL surgery. He won’t be back until training camp. C.J. Prosise is out for the season with a fractured forearm. He’s a free agent and probably won’t be re-signed. That leaves promising rookie Travis Homer as the only option at halfback until they sign somebody.

• It is fascinating that the Seahawks have signed Marshawn Lynch to get the team through this desperate period in the backfield. He flew to Seattle Monday. If he can make it to the field Sunday against the 49ers, imagine the reaction from Seahawks fans. Lynch was one of the most popular icons on the team in the past decade. He gave the Seahawks the physical running attack they want. Seattle also signed Robert Turbin to help fill the void at running back.

• Carroll has to figure a better solution at left tackle and may look at George Fant. Brown needs knee surgery and could be out two or three weeks. The Seahawks went with Jamarco Jones against Arizona, but he struggled against Chandler Jones, who had four sacks and two forced fumbles.

The thinking was the Seahawks could still use George Fant as a blocking tight end. The Seahawks may have to scrap that plan and put Fant at left tackle where he started eight games as a rookie.

• With the pass blocking problems, the Seahawks might have to go to a quick passing offense. The Cardinals did a good job of taking away Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf with their cornerbacks. Wilson had to go to his third and fourth options, getting the ball to Jacob Hollister and Homer out of the backfield.

So much of the hope in the 49ers game is in what Russell Wilson can do. He’s the one player who can get the Seahawks over the top and win the division.

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