I’m Sick & Tired Of The Seahawks Having A Mediocre Defensive Line

I never know what to make of seasons like this one. The Seahawks finished with 45 sacks in 2022, which puts them in the top quarter of the league. Indeed, we finished with one more sack than the San Francisco 49ers, who is the epitome of a defensive front seven that I desperately want for the Seahawks!

I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but this year had a very Feast Or Famine sort of feel to the Seahawks’ success on defense. It seems like we feasted on the dregs of society, but then we went totally in the tank in games we lost. Early on in the year, our failure was attributed to the scheme change, so we tweaked things where linemen could single-gap their opponents and be more aggressive in getting up field. That seemed to be the solution, until it wasn’t, and we once again couldn’t get to the quarterback.

As we all know, pass rush isn’t just Sacks. There’s a lot to it. When I look at the Seahawks, I don’t see a top quarter pass rush in the NFL, in spite of their sack totals. Not that sacks aren’t important, but you need to be generating consistent pressure on a regular basis if you want what the 49ers have.

And that comes down to talent. The fact of the matter is: the Seahawks haven’t had a difference-maker along the defensive line since Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril. Which gets back to my biggest pet peeve: always comparing the new guys we bring in to Bennett & Avril. But, that’s going to continue to happen, because we keep drafting guys in later rounds, expecting them to magically transform into Pro Bowlers.

It’s my greatest frustration as a Seahawks fan. After that perfect storm of amazing moves from 2010-2012, we were on top of the world. But, from 2015 onward, all we did was make the playoffs, lose in the playoffs, and draft in the mid-20’s. You know what you can’t find in the mid-20’s? Or, at least, you know what the Seahawks have NEVER been able to find in the mid-20’s? A difference-maker along the defensive line.

There’s L.J. Collier. There’s Lawrence Jackson back in the day. There’s Lamar King going back a little further. And then there’s all those guys we’ve taken in the 2nd-6th rounds, who’ve been kind of speedy and undersized, who we hoped would develop into edge rushers and/or strong-side linebackers. Boye Mafe and Tyreke Smith last year, Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson in 2020, Rasheem Green and Jacob Martin in 2018. We keep waiting for these guys to really pop, but there’s no consistency from game-to-game.

Sure, Darrell Taylor improved from 6.5 sacks in 2021 to 9.5 sacks in 2022, but where was he for the entire first half of this year? Where’s that consistency? Every time we point to a modicum of success these guys have as a possible jumping-off point for greater success, they come back the next year and underwhelm our increased expectations.

I just want a fucking stud, man. I want a fucking animal on the defensive line that cannot be stopped. I want an Aaron Donald, I want a Myles Garrett, I want a fucking Bosa! I’m tired of trying to cutesy-poo scheme our way to an improved pass rush; I just want a game-wrecker back there, mucking things up and opening up opportunities for everyone else.

Football isn’t as fun to watch if your team sucks on defense. And the way to get good on defense is to bolster that defensive line with legitimate stars, not undersized prospects we hope might one day blossom into some damn thing. Not slow and plodding ‘tweeners who get eaten up by even subpar offensive linemen. But, you can’t get there without drafting in the top 3-5. You can’t get there when you’re overpaying at nonsense positions like off-ball linebackers and safeties.

That’s why I’m going to be harping on the need for the Seahawks to use this 5th overall pick on a defensive lineman. Don’t trade it! Don’t use it for any other fucking position. Lineman. Figure it out. And stop paying for all these damn safeties and linebackers, so the next time a Frank Clark type is ready to hit free agency, you can hang onto your own, rather than going dumpster diving for other team’s bullshit like Jadeveon Clowney and Sheldon Richardson.

The Seahawks Beat The Browns, Just Like I Knew They Would

See, the key to any good Reverse Jinx is to never call out the fact that you’re performing a Reverse Jinx. It’s like a birthday cake wish, if you say it aloud, it won’t come true!

I’m with all of you, I thought the Seahawks had no business losing to the Browns yesterday. But, as we saw with the 20-6 start to that game, it was certainly on the table. I had to go so far in my Reverse Jinx as to triple-down on it, making bets with family and friends totalling a whopping $45! I lost cold, hard cash just so the Seahawks would win this one! I’m the Jesus Christ of football fans!

Let’s dig into it, because I feel like I’ll have a lot to say. First up, the defense.

I’m very conflicted. Sometimes, they can look SO TERRIBLE. They give up an avalanche of yards and touchdowns and you think it’s never going to relent. They might put the team in some significant holes, but they almost always adjust and figure out a way to at least slow it down to a dull roar. You try to wrap your head around ’em, try to figure out who this defense is REALLY, but they won’t ever let you solve the riddle.

With those first three Browns drives (I’ll lump the opening kickoff return in with the defense in this case), we’re talking about 102 return yards and 184 yards of offense; it’s like the Seahawks weren’t even there! The D-Line wasn’t able to get any pressure, the run defense was abysmal, and receivers were wide open all day.

Then, the game just got goofy. A blocked punt, a couple tipped passes turning into interceptions, and a methodical Seahawks offense almost bringing us all the way back to even by halftime. By the way, I don’t love the handoff to Prosise for the 2-point play (I guess it would’ve been too obvious if they’d put Carson back in the game, since he was off the field for the entire 2-minute offense). When you’ve got Russell Wilson as your quarterback, put the fucking ball in his hands and let him go to work! Spread everyone out, and let him throw it to whoever or scramble around and run it in if that presents itself!

The wackiness continued throughout the second half, as the Seahawks finally got the lead, then fumbled it away, then stopped the Browns improbably on 4th & Goal at the 1 (after a hilarious challenge by their head coach that cockblocked a would-be touchdown). The Seahawks proceeded to have one of the worst 3-play sequences of all time from their own 1-yard line, only to punt the ball 23 yards away (which Pete Carroll apparently wanted him to take a safety on; did he decide this at the last second? Why wasn’t this instructed to the team in the huddle?), which led to the Browns re-taking the lead two plays later.

With 9 minutes left in the game, down by 3 points, nothing would’ve surprised me. The Seahawks could’ve turned the ball over, could’ve been set back by penalties, could’ve driven the ball into Browns territory only to settle for a field goal, or could’ve done what they did and taken back the lead. For what it’s worth, I was convinced that had we settled for the tie, we would’ve lost this game in regulation. But, on the very next drive, the Browns turned it over for the fourth time, and thankfully the Seahawks were able to capitalize by running out the clock.

Russell Wilson continues to look like the MVP of the league, with 295 yards passing, and 3 total touchdowns (against zero turnovers). Chris Carson continues to look like one of the five best running backs in all of football, with 124 yards and a touchdown (while just straight up murdering people late in games). Tyler Lockett continues to look like one of the ten best wide receivers in the league, but also shout out to Jaron Brown for his 2 TDs, and D.K. Metcalf for some clutch catches throughout.

It was a nice effort out of the offensive line in this one. I had Myles Garrett getting 3 sacks, and he fell one shy (though I think one was called back on penalty?). But, otherwise with Fant starting for Brown, and Jones in for Fluker, I thought they held up pretty well. Mike Iupati had his best game as a Seahawk, which came at the perfect time.

Huge bummer in losing Will Dissly. It fucking sucks when someone is so special and keeps getting knocked out for the season due to fluke injuries. The Seahawks were smart to call up Jacob Hollister from the practice squad before the game, and we’re relatively lucky that Ed Dickson should be returning soon from his injury.

Also returning this week will be Jarran Reed. Here’s hoping he doesn’t immediately pull a hamstring or something in practice in his enthusiasm to return from suspension. It’s not a moment too soon, as this D-Line could use another infusion of talent. They still really haven’t gelled, particularly as a pass rushing unit, so hopefully a stud in the middle will make all the difference (considering how much Baltimore likes to run the ball, we’ll need his presence there as well to help slow things down). Nick Chubb is the real deal (making that Penny draft selection all the harder to swallow, especially when you factor in how injury-prone Penny has been in his brief NFL career; that was supposedly the reason why the Seahawks were down on Chubb); and he made the Seahawks look like idiots in this one. I would expect we’ll see a lot of Mark Ingram next week (though, I’m getting ahead of myself a little bit).

0 sacks and 0 quarterback hits for the defense (though Mayfield did take some big hits as a runner, leaving this game hobbled for a brief spell). I thought a lot of the turnovers were pretty lucky on our part – being in the right place at the right time – so kind of a mixed bag all around.

Not a lot to praise on the special teams. A missed extra point, a long return, and a muffed punt pretty much dominated the story for this unit. Flush it and move on to next week.

The Seahawks are 5-1 and with the 49ers at 5-0, that showdown in a few weeks looms LARGE. The fact that it’s on Monday Night will make things doubly exciting.

Battening Down The Hatches For The Seahawks This Weekend

Last week, my gut prevailed over my brain for once, as I thought the Seahawks might prevail over the Rams, but didn’t really have a good reason why (as opposed to the litany of reasons for why the Seahawks might lose). This week, that same gut reaction came to me: don’t be at all surprised if the Seahawks lose to the Browns this week.

I’ll come into this with the usual spiel: I believe the Seahawks SHOULD win this one. Of course, I said the same thing before the Saints game, and look at what happened.

Then, you come back to tell me that the Saints are actually a good football team, whereas the Browns are trash. I can’t argue with that. Not even a little bit. The 49ers made them look like a college team. The Browns handled a bad Jets team, and got one over on division rival Baltimore (who itself might not be as good as they looked earlier this season); they also got smashed by Tennessee and the Rams. The offense is a mess, the O-Line stinks, and Baker Mayfield is running for his life (and not handling it very well).

Suffice it to say, I don’t have a GREAT argument here, other than I’ve watched a lot of Seahawks football in my life, and I know when I’m being suckered.

The Seahawks have had 10 days off; the Browns just played on Monday Night and had to fly all the way back from San Francisco. The Seahawks have the best player in the game in Russell Wilson; the Browns have nothing but hype. The line originally had the Browns favored by a few points, but that’s swung completely in Seattle’s direction. The Browns are reeling – and are probably being led by a head coach who isn’t too terribly long for his job – while the Seahawks are soaring, with visions of divisional championships dancing in their heads.

Look, it’s the perfect storm, is what I’m getting at. Yeah, the Seahawks have had a few extra days off, and they’ve certainly been spending those days reading all the press written about them. Meanwhile, the Browns are backed into a corner, desperate to claw their way back into the thick of things in the AFC. They just need an impressive win over an impressive opponent to get this monkey off of their backs.

Also, given how Seattle looks, I foresee a lot of matchup problems. First and foremost, what are we going to do with Myles Garrett? He quietly has 7 sacks on the season, but he might be the most impressive defensive end in the league today; he’s certainly on par with the kind of trouble Aaron Donald poses. The over/under is 2.5 sacks for Garrett in this one, and I’m betting on the over. I think he’ll make Ifedi look like Ifedi usually looks (terrible), and I also think he can make Duane Brown look his age (34 years, oof). I think this pass rush in general is going to completely annihilate us from the moment we step out onto that field and put us into a huge hole.

Now, you can run on the Browns, but if we have the kind of trouble blocking Garrett like I’m betting on, then holding penalties and false starts are sure to be sprinkled in liberally. Being behind the sticks constantly is going to take us out of the run game and force us into a lot of 2nd & Longs and 3rd & Longs. That, unfortunately, puts us right where the Browns want us. The Browns are in the Top 10 in sacks, as well as the Top 10 in fewest passing yards allowed per game. Now, maybe that’s a product of them constantly being down in ballgames, and other teams rushing accordingly. But, they’re also getting healthy in their secondary for the first time in a while, which further fuels my Debbie Downer fire.

Safe Prediction Alert: I think Russell Wilson throws at least one pick in this game.

On the flipside, with the way the Seahawks’ defense has played this year, I think the Browns will be able to move the ball at will. Nick Chubb is one of the best running backs in football. Odell Beckham Jr. is as unstoppable as it gets. Jarvis Landry is a target machine. I predict all three of these guys will have huge numbers. Pencil in 100 yards and a TD for ODB, 120 yards and a TD for Chubb, and maybe another 90 yards and a TD for Landry. Our only hope is to get to the quarterback, but the book is out on us: get rid of the ball quickly and enjoy the spoils of the Seahawks missing a billion tackles.

Also, I’m further calling it right now: we’re in the midst of Bobby Wagner’s long decline into mediocrity. I think last year was his peak, I think he’s lost about half a step, and I think it’s only downhill from here. Gone are the days where he can will this defense to respectability on his own. He needs help. And I don’t think the Seahawks have the horses to pull this wagon.

The smart money’s on the Seahawks this weekend, but I’m not a smart man. This one’s going to look like all the other stupid Seahawks losses. With the score somewhere in the realm of 29-21.