When the schedule first came out, I penciled a loss in for the Seahawks in week two, on the road, against what I imagined would be a pretty fired up San Francisco team. I wasn’t wrong.
I even imagined that the loss could turn into a good old fashioned ass whooping, given that the Seahawks no longer had Russell Wilson. I wasn’t really wrong on that, either.
So, it’s weird that I actually thought all last week that Seattle was going to travel down into that environment, and beat these 49ers, who I believe are a vastly better team right now. I suppose I got caught up in an emotional state of delusion after Monday Night Football, when Seattle snuck by the Russell Wilson Denver Broncos, and Geno Smith looked pretty serviceable in his first start as Russ’s replacement.
Honestly, if you looked at his stat lines from this beat down, Geno, again, showed decent efficiency. I know that there’s going to be a bunch of I Told You So’s chiming in that Geno Smith is not an NFL starter after this match, and they may well be right, but let’s be real here; Geno Smith did not lose this game for Seattle.
In fact, when the score was still relatively close, Geno had the offense deep in the red zone, and the Seattle coaches thought that it would somehow be cute to run two wildcat plays with four backs on the field with Geno not at quarterback. It was fun when the first play netted some positive yards not he game with Ken Walker III running it, but it got decisively un-cute when the second play resulted in reserve running back DeeJay Dallas throwing one of the worst wobbly throws for an INT in the end zone that I’ve ever seen in the professional game of football.
Let’s think about what those two plays meant for this offense. Smith finally got the offense rolling enough to score, and then, amazingly, he was somehow not trusted enough to throw the ball into the end zone, that they wanted a reserve running back to make that throw instead. Wow. Let’s scrap that one for a while.
If memory serves correct, Geno Smith also wasn’t on the defense that couldn’t fill gaps or tackle worth a poop in the first half of ball, which lead to easy drives and scores by San Francisco, and I don’t believe that he was blowing any coverages on defense either.
So, no, Geno Smith did not lose this game for Seattle. Not even close.
The good news is that the season is not lost. Seattle is tied in the division with all the other teams, and hosts Atlanta and then plays at Detroit. It’s entirely possible that they could be 3-1 in two week’s time, but they will need to clean things up right now. They can’t play like this on both sides of the ball and expect to win both of those games.
They need to get the run game going, and they need to be able to stop the run, or this is going to be an ugly season. I’m not expecting miracles from Geno Smith, but I am expecting these two things for a Pete Carroll coached team this year; that they will be able to run the ball, and they will be able to stop the run.
Through two games, they have done neither, and Geno Smith can dink and dunk himself to all kinds of respectable efficiency numbers, but if they are not balanced on offense, they will not score enough points, and if they are not able to stop the run, they won’t stop other teams from scoring. It’s as simple as that.
Having said that, they did just play two pretty talented teams who are known to run well, and play strong on defense. So, it is fair to say that this was a tough start to the schedule, and they split these two games. That’s the positive spin, anyways.
But my God!
They must run the freaking ball, and they got to be able to be able to stop the run. I hope that this won’t become my new broken record thingy that I’m writing about every week. Oooof. I need a dozen Rolaids after that thought.
I honestly trust that they will get this run game going, though. Pete Carroll will make a point of that. Given that they are starting two rookie offensive tackles, it’s fair to say that it might take a bit of time, but it’s coming.
What worries me most, however, is the shift to Clint Hurtt’s 3-4 defense, and how that three man front can make it harder to stop the run than the 4-3 front they’ve been known for in years past. Again, it seems like the outside gaps were being exploited early and often, as they were against Denver, and Darrell Taylor, in particular, has to get better as a run defender on the edge.
It did seem like he got better as the game wore on, but he’s got to master playing the run. Boye Mafe played a nice game behind him, and he’s a high second round pick for a reason. If Taylor doesn’t start playing more stout, it’s not out of reason that Mafe could find himself in with the first team more.
But Taylor was not the only defender not showing up against the run right away. The interior defensive line got pushed around. Josh Jones whiffed on a tackles against the run and pass at safety. I didn’t exactly see Jordyn Brooks or Cody Barton blowing up running backs much, either.
It’s a new defense that is going to take time to master, and I get it, if this defense continues to play this bad against the run, I honestly wonder how much longer Pete Carroll is going to be willing to stay with the whole 3-4 look, and want to get back to some of his 4-3 principals.
Things to think about.
Run the ball, and stop the run. It’s really that simple. Hopefully, Pete Carroll and company get back to that this next Sunday against Atlanta. They need to do it. I’m ready for it.