Week 10 Game Recap: SEA @ LAR
For the second week in a row, Seattle has looked like a shell of its former self. Almost in a mirroring of their previous game in Buffalo, the culprits that spelled the Seahawks’ demise yet again were: a frustratingly soft defense and a trio of turnovers by the offense.
Things looked sloppy throughout the entirety of the game. In their first outing to the new SoFi stadium, things just seemed to never really get on track for Seattle. It started off promising with a redzone stop on Goff and the Rams forcing a field goal followed by a well put together touchdown drive – the only touchdown the Seahawks would score all day. After their first drive was stifled, the Rams went on to score 2 touchdown drives of their own with Seattle only able to trade field goals in exchange. This led to the Rams commanding a 13-17 lead at half.
Aside from their 3rd quarter touchdown, the Rams ran into a wall as the defense finally hunkered down on McVay’s scheme. For the first time in what seems like weeks, Ken Norton's defense kept Wilson and the Seahawks in the game. However, Wilson and the offense were disappointingly unable to take advantage of their various opportunities as turnovers were once again the deciding factor of the game.
After electing to kick a short field goal with just 0:25 left on the clock, Seattle was once again forced into an onside kick situation which failed, again. Goff kneeled that was that. The Seahawks fell to 6-3 and to 3rd in the NFC West.
Praise, Frustration and Everything in Between
● Carroll’s overall attitude towards the result of the game was a tad worrisome. His rationale for not going for it on 4th and inches was, as he put it in the post-game press conference, “I don’t coach a game thinking that teams are going to score on our defense everytime”. That sort of mindset is disappointing to see given the defense is quite literally letting teams score at will sometimes. Sure, it’d be nice to TRUST the defense, but reality is that we CAN’T. The reality is that the Seahawks are the BEST scoring offense in the NFL, averaging 32.2 PPG, while the 28th ranked scoring defense is allowing 29.6 PPG. Why trust the defense over the offense on a 4th and inches given the state of the team?
● The offensive line, despite injuries to key positions, has remained steadily reliable. The notion that Seattle’s o-line is among the league’s worst is becoming a talking point of the past, largely thanks to the stellar performances of Duane Brown. Brown is ranked 5th out of the league’s 77 active offensive tackles per PFF. Iupati and rookie Lewis’ performances also deserve their own praise as they have held their own after coming back from their respective injuries. With Pocic out and Fuller playing an awful game, it feels like this group is just their starting center away from being among the league's best units.
● Jason Myers doesn’t get enough praise, whether that’s because he’s a kicker or because his services have sparingly been needed remains to be seen. Myers has now made 18 straight field goals dating back to last season and has currently only missed 1 kick all year coming on a missed PAT. As of Sunday he now also holds the Seahawks franchise kicking distance record, nailing a 61 yarder to close out the first half. After all the awful anxiety inducing memories of watching Walsh and Janikowski fall short of even 30 yard field goal attempts, Myers has been a breath of fresh air.
● This game might have all but ended Wilson’s MVP aspirations as he, yet again, had a multiple turnover game. Wilson has now doubled his 2019 interception total of 5 with a total of 10 in just 9 weeks of play. He stands to completely shatter his season high of 11. This doesn’t even include his 4 lost fumbles, all of which came within the past 2 weeks. Wilson told reporters following the game, “I know who I am. I know that I’m a great football player”. Take from that what you will.
● The Seahawks are no longer in the driver's seat of things. This stretch of games proved to be a realization for what this team truly is: a below .500 team when Wilson plays poorly. Seattle’s best team win came against Miami in Week 4, which seems like eons ago. An allotment of things have changed since then, with the Seahawks going 1-3 after starting the season off strong at 5-0. Currently, Seattle just doesn’t look like the Super Bowl contenders they were once thought to be.
● The defense’s underperformance has been a season long story that didn’t end on Sunday in LA. Despite allowing just 23 points, tied for the season-low, the Rams still racked up nearly 400 yards of offense. The Rams led by multiple scores for the majority of the game, so one could argue that, if needed, McVay’s squad could’ve done much more offensively. Seattle’s supposed “solid” run defense crumbled against the Rams’ rushing attack. Don’t let the 3.7 yards per carry in the game fool you, though, as ALL 3 Rams touchdowns came on the ground. Goff, like every other QB the Seattle secondary has faced, carved up the defense to a tune of 8.2 yards per attempt.
● Adams had himself a bit of a hot and cold game on Sunday. Getting to Goff was no issue for him, as the pro bowler notched himself 2 sacks and a forced fumble. Despite his knack for getting to the quarterback, his performance on Sunday was shaky at best. One play he would be tackling Rams running backs in the backfield and another he would be missing a touchdown saving tackle at the goal line by ducking his head (yes, he quite literally ducked his head). Coming off his second week since returning from a 5 week long injury, Adams is currently graded a 77.6 as a pass rusher and a 47.6 in coverage.
Next on Deck: A Second Date with the Arizona Cardinals (TNF)
After losing two in a row and going 1-3 in their past 4 games, the Seahawks have plummeted from their dominant form and are in danger of spiraling out of control. As I have said before, thanks to the Cardinals, the strategy on beating this team is out and in the open for the league to see – pressure Wilson. Our franchise QB has been uncharacteristically HORRENDOUS when facing pressure this season, something that, surprisingly, was not much of an issue behind a much-improved offensive line. With Pocic on track to miss yet another game due to a concussion and Simmons battling an injury of his own, the offensive line is once again a liability.
The only way I feel that Seattle can sneak away with a win on Thursday is by getting to Murray often and early. The newly recovered and acquired Adams and Dunlap should be able to help us get even after not even registering a hit on Murray in Week 7. Adams’ versatility and athleticism should allow him to effectively contain and/or spy Murray. Dunlap himself has 1.5 sacks since joining the Seahawks and has arguably made the pass rush better as a whole. The Seahawks now have 10 sacks in the past 2 games after having just 9 sacks in the 7 games prior. As many have pointed out, the Seahawks needed a perennial pass rusher to draw attention away from other rushers on the defensive line and Dunlap, despite his age, has been that guy.
In a tight race for the NFC West title, this Thursday night matchup in Seattle could be the early deciding factor between hosting a home game come January and contending for a lowly wild card spot. I still have hope in this team. As long as Wilson is on the field, regardless of his recent blunders, we have a chance. Asked Tuesday on his thoughts on the upcoming final stretch, Wilson admirably replied “I’ve been doubted before. One thing about me is I’m going to keep swinging”.