It sucks losing in the NFL. It really sucks when you lose at home, and it really, really sucks whenever you lose at home to a team that you should have, and are supposed to beat. This Sunday really, really sucked to be a Seattle Seahawks fan.
Yet, here we are. On a day where Russell Wilson threw for 406 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and ran for 51 yards and a pair of touchdowns, the Seattle Seahawks could not get out of their own way with critical mistakes against the Teddy Bridgewater led New Orleans Saints and that was enough to lose 33-27 (a final score wasn’t even remotely an indicator of how bad Seattle was actually losing this match).
For those stat geeks that think passing it the way to win in the modern NFL, allow this game to be a lesson. The best player on the field on this day was NOLA’s running back Alvin Kamara, and it wasn’t even close. In this league, you still need to be able to run the ball, you need to not turn the ball over, you need to play well enough in all three phases of the game, or most likely, you are going to have a very difficult time winning any match against any team in the NFL.
Let’s unravel this mess.
There was plenty of bad with this Seattle offense today, but pass blocking was not one of them. After giving up eight sacks and tons of pressures over the last two games, Russell Wilson had pretty much solid pass protection against a Saints defense that had been generating lots of sacks and pressures in this early season. This one shining aspect of the Seattle offensive might escape a number of Twelves in this bitter loss, but not this Twelve. I noticed it all game long. It helped that Russell got the ball out early, but he also had enough protection to extend. Good job by the big fellas up front.
Tyler Lockett had a monster receiving day catching almost everything thrown his way for 11 receptions, 154 yards, and a touchdown. He would have had a second touchdown had Russell not slightly over thrown him a bit. For those worried if he would adequately be able to replace Doug Baldwin, Lockett now has 21 catches in the last two games.
Rookie receiving phenom DK Metcalf had yet another splashy day hauling down yet another big time deep pass against tight coverage. If Seattle gets its act together and gets to the playoffs, like I think they can, Metcalf has got to be considered a prime candidate for Offensive Rookie of the Year at the rate he is performing.
Second year tight end Will Dissly also had another solid game making some challenging catches in traffic, keeping drives alive. I love everything about Will Dissly.
Russell Wilson was, again, the show. Not for only throwing for monster yards, but also being Seattle’s most reliable runner. Yeah, he could have thrown Lockett a better ball in the end zone in the second half of the day that would have more quickly shortened the scoring deficit, and yeah, he did chuck a few low balls here and there as the game went on. But there is only so much a quarterback, any quarterback can do when special teams gives up an easy touchdown, your star running back can’t properly plant his feet and then coughs up the ball for an easy defensive score, and then your star linebackers and defensive ends kind of forget how to properly tackle. This loss was not really on Russell Wilson. Let’s be honest about that.
Chris Carson had what I thought was his worst game as a pro last week against Pittsburgh, fumbling twice and nearly costing Seattle a much needed, hard to come by road victory. He followed that bad performance with an even worse game against a Saints defense that supposedly wasn’t very good against the run. Early in this match, he had trouble with his footing. It was odd to watch. This guy has played in Seattle for over two seasons now at a high level. He should understand the turf, and the wet, and know what cleats to wear. That was one thing, the fumble he coughed up after a big run that was returned for an easy Saints touchdown was inexcusable. He has now fumbled the ball four times in three games. I fear his running style has been scouted out, and based on the way he handles the ball, defenses know how to punch it out. When he finally entered back into the game, he was stopped for short gains, and worse, he looked tentative. I don’t want to ring all the alarm bells with this guy, but there feels like there could be possibly some sort of downward Thomas Rawls-like spiral with his game. At his best, he runs with explosion, toughness, and decisiveness. Will changing how he holds the ball diminish those traits? Will he be less likely to fight through contact in order to better protect the ball? This is a situation worth monitoring.
Seattle’s special teams was special suck ass in this game. They start out be missing an easy couple tackles on their opening series punt coverage that gave up a touchdown. Then later in second half, when Seattle desperately needed a stop, veteran defensive tackle Al Woods decided to illegally line up on a long missed field goal attempt, thus giving New Orleans another first down which ultimately led to another touchdown drive that practically iced away the game for them.
Seattle’s stalwart front seven that includes Jadeveon Clowney, Ziggy Ansah, KJ Wright, Bobby Wagner, and Mychal Kendricks apparently forgot how to tackle against Saints running back Alvin Kamara way too many times. Now, granted, Kamara was clearly the best football player in the game yesterday, and might arguably even be the best all around offensive weapon in the league this year, but this is supposed to be the strength of Seattle’s defense, if not the entire team. This was a game where not having defensive tackle Jarran Reed hurt. Clowney couldn’t even wrap him up at times, and he is supposed to be one of the very best run stopping defensive ends in the game. Outside of maybe Wagner, I thought Seattle’s front seven pretty much got punked today by Kamara. They need to regroup and get that all figured out. It was really hard stuff to watch.
Future Hall of Famer Pete Carroll pooped himself with numerous decisions and non-decisions, whether it was failing to call time out at the end of the first half that could have led to a scoring drive, to going for it on multiple fourth downs that could have led to field goals or punts that would have backed up the Saints. Pete pooped himself.
Pete Carroll’s nose because during pregame warms ups, rookie linebacker Cody Barton broke it inadvertently throwing the ball at an assistant, and having Carroll walk right into it as the team was trotting off the field.
It’s nowhere near the time to push the panic button on this team just yet. Seattle is 2-1, and that is what I expected them to be after three games. It’s just that I expected them to win at home against the Saints and lose on the road against the Steelers. This is how the NFL can be, though, and it’s especially how the Seattle Seahawks can be over the years under Pete Carroll. They often win some matches that we don’t expect them to, and they drop matches that we expect them to win.
They have not played anywhere near their best ball yet. There are a lot of new pieces starting on the defense, and it’s going to take some time to gel. They are also playing with a number of new pieces on the offense.
Chris Carson has got to play better, and he can. He’s too talented of a runner to not play better. I suspect Seattle’s defense will get better chemistry up front as the season goes on, and will play better. Historically, when they played a game with poor tackling, they usually follow it by playing a game where they tackle much better. This is also a bit of a Pete Carroll Seattle thing.
This is still a team with a lot of talent. Maybe they look to add more. Maybe they stay put with what they have. Either way, I’m still picking them to win 11 games this year, and a win next week in the desert against the Cardinals would put them at 3-1, and still very much in the thick of things. Just beat those win-less Cardinals.