There’s a lot to dig into with this game, so I’m gonna split it up into two posts. Look for My Happy Fucking Seahawks/49ers Review a little later. Spoiler Alert: it should be a lot shorter than this one.
The Seahawks played like dogshit yesterday. There’s no other way to describe it. Even when the offense was going good, there’d be a drop, or a breakdown in protection, or a lack of pocket awareness by Russell Wilson, or a baffling string of play calls, and all that good would be derailed. And yeah, the defense held Brian Hoyer to 99 yards passing, but they gave up a whopping 124 yards rushing to Carlos Hyde, on only 15 carries! On the day, the 49ers rushed for an average of 8.4 yards per carry! If you put even a SEMI-competent quarterback on that team, the Seahawks would’ve lost handily.
Let me repeat that: the Seahawks – AT HOME – nearly lost to the 49ers, a team coming off of a 2-14 season, with a new coaching staff, a rookie GM straight out of the broadcast booth, and a backup quarterback masquerading as a starting quarterback until they can draft somebody better in 2018. Now, granted, I like Kyle Shanahan a lot. I think he completely transformed the Falcons into a dominant force last season, and I think he’s got a lot of great things in store as a head coach. I also like what they were able to do with their draft this year, and could see John Lynch really working out if they can manage to find their quarterback of the future (either via the draft, or via signing Kirk Cousins to a megadeal). But, come on! At this point, the 49ers shouldn’t pose a threat! They CERTAINLY shouldn’t find themselves ahead 9-6 in the fourth quarter in the driving rain of Seattle, Washington!
Look, there was never a point where I was looking forward to this game last week. It’s almost one of those proverbial “no-win” situations. If you kill the 49ers, then great, you’ve killed the 49ers and it’s a boring game. If you LOSE to the 49ers, then that’s it, the season’s over and we can all kill ourselves. But … this? Scratching and clawing to a 12-9 victory at home? That’s almost as bad as a loss. Now, obviously, it’s not worse. A win is still a win and they all count the same, regardless of how pretty they are, but with the win everyone gets to gloss over the fact that the Seahawks looked terrible and in no way look like a viable playoff team going forward.
You know what I thought of when I was watching this team? The Houston Texans. The Texans are notorious for their 9-10 win seasons where – by virtue of the terrible division they reside in – they frequently make the playoffs as a 4-seed, before getting bounced in the first round whenever they don’t play the Bengals. Yeah, it’s cool having an awesome defense, and it’s cool to call yourselves “Division Winners”, but how cool is it to lose every time you play a quality team?
And that’s the bottom line here. The last two years, against the Best of the Best, the Seahawks have a record of 4-7. When you go back to our two Super Bowl years, sure the Seahawks would drop a clunker every now and then, but they also seemed to get up for the big ones! If they’re going to spend all their time just beating up on the bad teams and losing the games that really matter, they might as well call themselves the Mariners and get it over with!
But, if they keep playing offense the way they have through two weeks, I don’t think “beating up on the bad teams” is even on the table.
I’m going to start with Jimmy Graham, because this guy is the fucking worst. Oh yes, I’ve found my new whipping boy!
Look, we all knew Graham was soft. He was a big puffy cloud of cotton candy in New Orleans, and he didn’t suddenly get hard because he joined the Seahawks. We KNEW this! We knew this when we played against him: if you hit Jimmy Graham in the mouth, he will become a non-factor for the rest of the game. I don’t mean that literally, of course, but if I had all the time in the world, I’d love to do a deep dive into his career and watch all of his video. What are his numbers when he takes a huge hit in the first quarter of a game? Because it seems just from watching him that he shrivels up like a dick in the Arctic Ocean. Gutless. Weak. A punk. And probably worst of all: a frontrunner. When things come easy to him, when defenses play off-coverage, when he’s able to nab a few balls and get into the flow of the offense, Jimmy Graham will pile on the catches and yards and really look like a dominant force. But, when the chips are down and you need a big catch in the fourth quarter of a game, where is he? Nowhere to be fucking found.
And I’m not buying this argument that the Seahawks don’t use him right. Fuck that. If you’re a tight end, you have to do ALL the things tight ends do. If you want to be a wide receiver, then tell your team that ahead of time. But, I’ll tell you what, I don’t know a lot of teams that want a slow wide receiver on the outside with bad hands. Sure, it’s fine when you throw fades to him in the red zone, when he can contort his body and only has to contend with one defender. But, that’s not realistic. He NEEDS to be able to make catches in the middle, in traffic, absorb the hits, and most importantly COME DOWN WITH THE FUCKING FOOTBALL!
The Seahawks use him just fine. They throw to him probably MORE than he deserves. And what has HE done to deserve the benefit of the doubt? There’s got to be a give and take here. Quite frankly, I no longer think it’s a coincidence that this team looked VASTLY improved in the second half of 2015 when he was OUT of the lineup. You know what, throw all your bullshit stats at me; I’ll throw “Scoreboard” back at you. How has this offense looked throughout 2016 and through the first two games this year? How did this offense look in those few games in 2014 when they tried to revolve the offense around Percy Harvin. Prima donnas don’t fucking WORK in this offense! At this point, I’d take 8 Jermaine Kearses over an offense that tries to make Jimmy Fucking Graham its centerpiece.
So, what do you do? I mean, you can’t cut him, but I think you can demote the shit out of him. I think you can make Luke Willson the starter. I think you can keep Graham on the bench outside of clear-cut passing situations. I don’t need him fumbling blocks and being a waste of space on all running plays. On any straight hand off to the running back, it’s already 10 vs. 11 because the quarterback is a non-factor; but, with Graham on the field, it’s like 9 vs. 11, and that’s why this team time and time again fails to move the ball on the ground. I agree, you CAN’T call Jimmy Graham your starting tight end, but only play him in passing situations; so stop starting him.
And, when he’s out there in passing downs, keep throwing him into heavy coverage. Either he’ll adapt to the harder hits and start catching these fucking passes, or he’ll get himself injured, and you can just cut him and move on. Yes, I’m ACTIVELY rooting for Jimmy Graham to get injured; better him than someone who can actually help this team win fucking football games!
I would suggest trading him, but that doesn’t seem very realistic either. Part of me thinks putting him in the AFC would be ideal (my fantasy team would appreciate it if he joined the Patriots, who very much should be trying to trade for him at this point, what with their receiver situation and Gronk’s injury history), but from a strict football standpoint, I think it’d be better for the Seahawks to send him to an NFC rival. Stick him on the Packers, let them start to depend upon him, and then beat the shit out of him in the playoffs and leave them scrambling to find answers for when he inevitably no-shows. It’s how we kept beating the Saints; I don’t see why it wouldn’t work again!
And, again, as with Percy Harvin costing us a chance to extend Golden Tate, I wonder if having Jimmy Graham around cost us a chance to keep Jermaine Kearse around for one more year. I won’t overreact to his 2-TD day with the Jets yesterday, but I will say that I’d straight up trade Graham for Kearse right now. Regardless, having Kearse around would’ve been nice considering Tanner McEvoy dropped everything thrown in his direction, including a surefire touchdown that would’ve changed the complexion of the entire game. Between him, Prosise, and the rest, guys were dropping balls left and right! Prosise particularly, as Russell led him with a pass that would’ve taken him straight into the endzone on our opening drive. He also dropped a potential third down conversion later in the game that was a crusher.
It really made Russell Wilson’s day look so much worse. I’m not going to sit here and say he played great – he definitely had his share of poor throws and poor decisions – but it could’ve been a decent, forgettable performance had he not been greeted by so many drops. Also, let’s not kid ourselves, he’s still running for his fucking life back there, even when the protection is kinda okay.
But, for the most part, it wasn’t okay. It’s never GOING to be okay. Mark Glowinski is a disaster, and he needs to not be starting for this team anymore. I know Oday Aboushi is just a veteran on a 1-year deal, but I refuse to believe he’s worse. I think the Seahawks see a guy they drafted, a guy under club control for a bit longer, and they want to shoot for continuity over simply just playing the five best linemen, and I get that to a point. I think we’re in a no-win situation with Luke Joeckel, because if he turns it around and somehow plays well, he’s going to command a mint on the open market. If he’s terrible, then he’s likely going to find himself back on the street next offseason, playing for another 1-year prove-it deal (only this time as a clear backup). Either way, it doesn’t seem likely that he’s a longterm solution for the Seattle Seahawks at left guard. So, to play two of these types of guys – with Aboushi at right guard – and risk losing both to free agency next year if they both play well, is a lot to handle.
But, I mean, how much more of THIS can we withstand? Sure, there are a couple of underwhelming defensive fronts the next two weeks with the Titans and Colts, but then it’s right back to getting your ass kicked against the likes of the Rams, Giants, Texans, Cardinals, Falcons, 49ers, Eagles, Jags, Rams again, and the Cardinals again. That’s 10 of your remaining 14 games against really good defensive fronts that should certainly give this Seattle O-Line fits. RARE is the game we can look forward to this team being in control of the line of scrimmage. And, I’m sure, even against those terrible fronts, we’ll still struggle, because of course we will. No name assholes will make mincemeat out of us, and Russell Wilson will have the bumps and bruises to prove it.
And holy shit, what was THAT on defense? That’s two years in a row where Carlos Hyde has come into our building and come away with a 100-yard game! We’re supposed to be this elite defense at stopping the run, and we can’t stop a just-sort-of-okay running back? He almost single-handedly cost us the game with his explosive plays! They couldn’t do SHIT aside from his long-distance runs!
But, you know, pobody’s nerfect. The defense has been outstanding these first two weeks, only to be repeatedly let down by this offense. Really, since 2012, we’ve been sitting around and daydreaming about a time where the offense finally takes over. We thought, maybe in 2014, the script would flip. Then, after that dominant run to close out the 2015 season, we thought YES! 2016 is the year! And here we are, now in 2017, and this offense is more inept than it’s ever been. The defense is STILL carrying this team. And somehow, we’re not greeted with weekly rantings by disgruntled stars on that side of the ball.
You know how I know that pre-season Seth Wickersham article is 100% accurate? Particularly the parts that talk about the defense being upset with this offense costing the Seahawks ballgames? Because I’m sitting here watching this team fall all over itself in the running game, and in the red zone, and everywhere else, and I know for a fact I’d be going ballistic if I was a member of this elite defense and I knew every single game was on our shoulders. We all wanted to dismiss Wickersham – myself included – but this is a real problem, and if we blow another shot at a championship with all these stars in the prime of their careers, I think we’re going to see all the bad vibes start to snowball.