After 1-2 starts, Seahawks face a defining stretch for the season
RENTON, Wash. (AP) – Throughout the times it looked like the Seattle Seahawks were heading for a crash during the…
RENTON, Wash. (AP) – Throughout the times it looked like the Seattle Seahawks were heading for a downfall over the past decade, they’ve found a way to navigate these potential tipping points in their favor.
Just three weeks into the season, the Seahawks are on to another after Sunday’s 30-17 loss to Minnesota, Seattle’s second straight loss. And this moment is different from the past.
It’s no understatement that the next 11 days will determine the course of Seattle’s season. With back-to-back divisional games against San Francisco and Los Angeles, the Seahawks can sort out their issues and get back into the aerial combat that is NFC West.
Or they may continue to lose yards and runs on defense and be unable to establish offensive consistency in the second half. If that’s what happens over the next week and a half, the Seahawks could likely find themselves out of the NFC West race by mid-October.
“We can always be cleaner and we can always be better,” Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson said. “But I believe in this football team. I believe in what we can do and what we will do.
What works in Seattle’s favor is history. Wilson has never lost three consecutive games in his professional career. The Seahawks’ previous three-game losing streak under Carroll? Ten years ago, one of Seattle’s two seasons didn’t make the playoffs with Carroll in charge.
Seattle’s first-half offense wasn’t a problem. As of Monday, no team in the league had scored more than Seattle’s 62 points in the first half. The Seahawks were particularly effective in the second quarter where they scored 42 points in three games.
The problem is the lack of consistency. While Seattle is the best scoring team in the league in the first half, it is the lowest scoring team in the second half with just 13 points.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
It was the biggest defensive question of the season and remains the biggest problem. Seattle’s cornerbacks were mediocre at best. While there were concerns about Tre Flowers returning to a starting role, DJ Reed was also harassed by his opponents.
They became the focal points of a pass defense which, after Sunday, ranked 26th in the league for allowed completion rate (70.7%), 26th for allowed passer rate (108, 4) and is one of the four teams without interception.
Carroll has hinted that Seattle played conservatively in its covers against Minnesota to avoid being thoroughly beaten, but in turn, the Vikings took advantage with smart throws.
“It was kind of like that, they threw the ball under us a bit and then we didn’t do much to disrupt that,” Carroll said. “I thought they were playing a pretty solid and conservative game.”
Seattle is expected to have passing game coordinator Andre Curtis return this week after missing Sunday’s game with an illness unrelated to COVID-19.
RB Chris Carson looked set for a career day against the Vikings until the Seahawks’ offense collapsed in the second half. But his success on the pitch in the first 30 minutes reinforced his importance in how Seattle can operate offensively. Carson had 74 rushing yards on 10 carries and a 30-yard touchdown in the first half. He finished with 12 runs for 80 yards.
True to the theme of defensive issues, Seattle’s run defense was equally poor. Giving Derrick Henry a big game was one thing. Letting substitute Alexander Mattison scold for 112 yards is another.
The Vikings averaged 4.1 yards per carry per week after the Titans averaged 5.3 yards per carry and that was with Dalvin Cook as a spectator. The first seven were meant to be the certainty for Seattle and even playing a five-man defensive front at times, the group have failed in the past two weeks to get their job done.
“The running game is all about discipline and making sure everyone is in the right places and everyone is hitting well and we’re a little bit lousy sometimes,” Carroll said.
Carroll was optimistic that WR Dee Eskridge would be back this week after missing two games with a concussion suffered in Week 1. He was unsure of RB Rashaad Penny (calf), DE Benson Mayowa (neck ) and RT Brandon Shell (ankle). Carroll said they should find out more by the middle of the week.
7:20 a.m. – Seattle had the ball for just 7 minutes, 20 seconds into the second half. They only ran 19 offensive plays and gained 81 yards.
Whatever the outcome, the Seahawks will likely play a close game in San Francisco on Sunday. Four of the last five games against the 49ers on the road have been decided by three points or less. Seattle has won six of its last seven visits to San Francisco.
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