You can certainly look at this game and think, “Well, here we go again.” On the year, after half a season, the Seahawks have exactly one dominant win. That was over the Green Bay Packers way back in week 1. And, since they can’t all be night games at home, the team has struggled ever since.
A close victory over the likes of the Broncos is acceptable, because the Broncos are a very good team. But, a close victory over the Raiders? The winless Raiders? The winless Raiders in your own home stadium?
No good. After the struggles this team has had, all we needed was a walk-over victory. Where our talent just steamrolls them into submission. In the first half – in spite of some offensive struggles – it looked like we were going to get exactly that: 24-3 after two quarters. Things were nice and cool and relaxing. The defense was swarming all over the place, creating turnovers and short fields – even scoring on a pick six from Bruce Irvin! It should have been smooth sailing with a 3-touchdown lead going into the second half, but it was anything but.
Let’s start with this: the special teams are a disaster right now. For that, you can blame injuries. Injuries and, quite frankly, a loss of key personnel in the offseason like Heath Farwell and Chris Maragos. I know we all thought we could get by without these two guys, but it’s abundantly clear we cannot.
Hopefully, some of these younger guys start to step up, but I’ll tell you this much: Brock Coyle was responsible for the blocked punt early in the third quarter that led to a Raiders touchdown. That can’t happen. You can’t let a guy run up the gut untouched!
Later on in the same quarter, we had a Jon Ryan punt for 39 yards. Again, completely unacceptable. We’re trying to get out from our own end on that play, and not only does the MVP fail to get enough distance or height on his kick, but the return team lets their man return it another 27 yards to the Seattle 30 yard line, for a net of 12 yards. Where’s this great coverage that was going to set the single-season record for fewest return yards allowed last year? That was pitiful! I won’t blame a defense for giving up a touchdown when the other team only needs 30 yards, I just won’t.
Really, you could say the special teams was responsible for 14 of their 24 points yesterday. But, that doesn’t absolve the offense of settling for too many field goals and otherwise just doing a poor job of moving the ball consistently.
Russell Wilson had another poor game. He missed some throws, was high on some others, and finished the game completing less than 50% of his passes. The play-calling was a little suspect as well. The wide receiver screen has to go. You can call it “poor execution” if you want, but obviously we don’t have the guys to make this play work. Not only that, but we throw it so much that everyone is expecting it at this point. If it’s not going to be effective with Percy Harvin, what makes you think it’s going to work with Doug Baldwin? I like Baldwin and everything, but come on now!
The offensive line was a God damn trainwreck, but what do you expect with Okung, Carpenter, Unger, and Schilling all missing parts or the entirety of the game yesterday? Who would’ve imagined our O-Line being WORSE than it was last year? For the record, I’m of the opinion that the Seahawks are better off not re-signing any of these guys once their contracts come up. Okung has proven he will never be capable of finishing a whole season. Ditto Max Unger. And the less said about Carpenter, the better. We’d be better off with a whole new left side of the line rather than retaining these stiffs beyond their current deals.
Ironically, the only guy who showed up to play yesterday was Marshawn Lynch, who’s supposedly so disgruntled and such a “problem” that the team has all but declared he won’t be back next season. Yeah, good luck in 2015 without your workhorse.
On the defensive side of the ball, I liked what I saw for the most part. It got a little scary at the end, but overall I thought they had a good game. Irvin had the aforementioned pick-six on a nifty little deal where he tipped the ball up in the air to himself. Richard Sherman had his first interception of the season on an ill-advised back-shoulder throw down the sideline (or, the 2013 Richard Sherman Special). We even managed to recover a fumble off of a kickoff return! Tack on the fact that we held them to 226 yards of offense and only 37 yards rushing, and I’d say overall it was an effort on par with last year’s championship squad.
On a closer note, I’d be interested to see how many times Tharold Simon was targeted. On the day, he had 1 tackle and 1 pass defended, which is pretty good for a corner. Just watching the game and not really keeping close track, it didn’t look like they targeted him more than 1-2 times. He could be a nice little Byron Maxwell replacement going forward. Awesome to see as Jeremy Lane returns from injury this week.
Cliff Avril had our lone sack and two more hits on the quarterback. Michael Bennett had at least one hit on the quarterback, but that hit was a 15-yard facemask penalty, so I guess it doesn’t count. Nevertheless, after the first drive, I thought we got decent pressure throughout the game.
Offensively, I can only acknowledge Marshawn Lynch’s contribution: 67 yards on the ground, 76 yards through the air on 5 receptions. Two touchdowns overall. He’s just crushing it this year. If it’s his last as a Seahawk, it’s nice to see he’s going out on top.
The Seahawks are now 5-3. If you had asked us before the season, “Would you take a 5-3 record after 8 games?” I know each and every one of us would have said, “Fuck no! That’s a terrible record for a championship team!” But, here we are, finally at the halfway point. Still waiting for our second dominant victory of the season.