It feels like a first world problem that the Seattle Seahawks are 4-4 to end the first half of the season with wins against the Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys.
But here we are Twelves, forlorn and seeking the light after another road game loss — and the second loss in a row — this time against a Detroit Lions team that gave up 44 points to the Tennessee Titans in an overtime loss. This season is about as uncomfortable as a masseuse who just found out he’ll be working knots out of the back of John Travolta.
So much went right this game, and any other day it may have been a win. When your team, however, is going up against Matthew Stafford — second only to Tom Brady for passing attempts this season, third in passing yards per game and fourth in overall yardage at 2,108 — it takes more than just a great offensive road game.
The Seahawks’ losses this year are more frustrating than many in the last few to me. We’re winning games that few believed we could and giving up sad road losses to teams that basically everyone believed we shouldn’t. There doesn’t appear to be much consistency with this team, particularly with out losses. If the defense has a stellar day, the offense lays an egg. If the offense starts to shine, the defense falters. Perhaps the only thing that seems consistent is that our coaching appears to be poor in 2012. And it appears aligned with the inconsistency on either side of the ball.
I’m a complete laymen when it comes to understanding coverages, but here are my very rudimentary observations: During games against the Packers and Cowboys our defense played a ton of man coverage it seemed, frustrating quarterbacks who had few options, getting sacks and laying huge hits on receivers. On a few of our losses, at least, we see the secondary playing zone coverage, off players and providing tons of space between themselves and the opposing receiver. This is a call from the defensive coaching staff.
With large cornerbacks in Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner, the modus operandi should be man coverage at the line of scrimmage and a quick smack in the mouth or shoulder pads to stop the wide receivers within the allowable five yards. Letting someone like Wes Welker or Titus Young have space only allows those quick receivers the ability to get open enough for quick slants and downfield bombs after a double move. The more aggressive coverage, lacking in Detroit, worked well against Steve Smith for the Carolina Panthers, for instance.
I’ll admit to being just as entertained as everyone else about Richard Sherman transforming into Optimus Prime for the game against Calvin “Megatron” Johnson, but there was more than one weapon on the field for Stafford Sunday. It showed. The ‘Hawks seemed so focused on that one player.
Conservative defensive playcalling on the road simply feels wrong for this hard-hitting Seahawks team. The type of coverages called today also seemed to impact the ‘Hawks stellar run defense. While the Lions only ran for 84 rush yards, it seemed clear they could have ran for more if they didn’t need Stafford to command passes downfield to catch up. It’s the second week in a row that an opposing offense has found solutions to what was supposed to be one of our greatest strengths.
I’m just so utterly frustrated today because this is not a game the Seahawks should have lost. It’s hard to really even focus and figure out what to say. How do you assess a team with different struggles basically every single week?
The only thing that seems consistent is the baffling calls of our coaching staff. If it’s not conservative offensive play calls in early games because (allegedly) we have a rookie quarterback, it’s conservative defensive calls against a very good Lions quarterback.
And where the hell is that pass rush pressure we brought against Tom Brady, Tony Romo and Aaron Rodgers? How can we have a response to those guys but not the Lions?
This is not the type of game the Seahawks should lose. Many are seeing a ton of positive in the fact that the Seahawks have five home games in the final eight. That’s all well and good but we’ll need more than winning those five home games to make it to the playoffs, likely. Our playoff chances got very slim after today.
I should end here with a few silver linings (and then I’m off to kick a puppy or steal candy from a baby. Or both):
— Marshawn’s 77-yard touchdown run was the longest run of his career.
— Russell Wilson had a great game with 236 yards, two TDs and one INT. He had a passer rating of 96.8 and an ESPN QBR of 93.7. That ESPN rating is supposed to help better state the “clutch” plays of a quarterback to help lead toward a win. Wilson did everything in his power today to get that win.
— Wilson spread the ball out and had nine receivers with catches.
— Golden Tate generally had a redeeming game catching all seven of his targets for 64 yards. One minor complaint within this silver lining: On several catches he ended up running backwards or spinning to negate some of the yardage he’d gained, including losing a first down he would have had due to forward progress if he’d simply have stopped his feet. For the record, Tate also lost a fumble, too.
— The Seahawks had only two penalties for 10 yards.