Gut Reaction: Seattle @ St. Louis


September 30, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) is sacked by St. Louis Rams defensive end Robert Quinn (94) during the second half at the Edward Jones Dome. The Rams defeated the Seahawks 19-13. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

The Seahawks are now a quarter of the way through the season. They are 2-2 overall, and 0-2 in their division.  They could be 4-0, barring two late game offensive collapses against Arizona and St. Louis, and they could be 1-3 if the call goes differently at the end of the game against Green Bay.  The only game the Seahawks absolutely won was at home against Dallas.  Seattle should have beat St. Louis.  There is nobody that can convince me otherwise.  The Rams didn’t beat the Seahawks, the Seahawks beat themselves.   The Seahawks once again showed a completely dominant defense (not allowing a single touchdown) and a potent ground attack (both Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin had great games).  The passing offense was completely impotent.  In fact, it was embarrassing and it was clear the Rams didn’t respect it.  The Rams would rush around both ends of the line and, while I think the offensive line did alright, Wilson did not have the poise required.

I have received some pretty vitriolic and ridiculous comments from people who feel I am being too hard on Russell Wilson and I have no doubt that there will be a few after this post.  Reality, however is that he is not effectively running Seattle’s offense.  Pete Carroll can take responsibility for the uncreative play-calling but Wilson is the one on the field, leading the charge.  I have no doubt that if the Seahawks were doing well, Wilson would get the lion’s share of credit, which is fair, but credit and responsibility cuts both ways.  As Jason pointed out on Twitter, if three events don’t happen we’d be thinking differently about Wilson.  While this is true, the fact is, it happened the way it did.  Doug Baldwin should have caught that ball that went through his arms.  Anthony McCoy shouldn’t have slipped.  And Seattle should never have fallen for the fake field goal.  (The third is totally inexcusable in my opinion.)

Wilson is yet to have any sort of “break-out” performance.  When I listen to Fox, CBS, and NFL Network’s pre and post-game “discussions,” Wilson is no longer mentioned along with Andrew Luck, Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden, and Robert Griffin.  I’m not saying I like the punditry or even agree with it, but it is telling.  Seattle does have more rushing yards than passing yards and has shown a complete ineptitude in the passing game.

I don’t know that Matt Flynn would be better.  It might even be that is injured in some way and that is preventing him from playing (even though I’d require more clarity on this phantom injury that Carroll is citing before buying it).  What I do know, though, is that as a fan I’m tired of waiting.  I’m tired of rebuilding.  We have an elite defense and we’d be a 3-1 team, with at least one division win, if we had even an average offense.  I’ll admit that I’m very frustrated.

I want Russell Wilson to succeed.  Believe me when I say that I do.  I want him to succeed because I want the Seahawks to win.  I want Seattle, as a city, to have a team that is a perennial contender.  The current iteration of the Seahawks, though, is not a contender.  Wilson is bothered by blitzes and it takes a little extra work, and time, for him to get a good vantage of the passing lanes.  I see the potential for him to be a good quarterback but, as a fan, I’m not willing to burn a season on him getting there.  I’d rather have Wilson as backup for three seasons while he learned the pro-game and, hopefully, win in the meantime with a quarterback that has spent time as a backup and does have a better familiarity with the offense.  Essentially, I care about the team’s success above any individual player’s success.

In short, I want to win, and I want to win now.  I don’t care who leads us to victory but after a quarter of the season, I feel less and less like Wilson, at this very early point in his career, can do that.  When Seattle needs to score a touchdown late in the game, I feel anything but confident.  For the defense to allow only field goals, some of them at a ridiculous distance, and still lose upsets me as a fan.  It’s frustrating to see a lot of energy spent, and ultimately wasted, because the offense, and special teams in this game, can’t get their act together.

Finally, I would like to know that certain key members of the team share my sense of urgency and desperation.  I know Lynch does because of the way he runs on every carry.  The normally thoughtful Sidney Rice does, as well.  I think the vast majority of the team does because they are built that way and if they live around the Seattle area, it’s hard not to realize how much Seattle wants this team to succeed now.

I would like to know Russell Wilson also feels that way.  I am not questioning who he is as a person or a leader.  This is something purely personal that I want to know about my team’s athletes.  As a fan, when my team loses, I feel crappy the rest of the day. My dad knows not to call me to talk about the game. My girlfriend gives me my space. It’s who I am.  I am proud of my city in all its aspects, including is sports teams.  And when something happens that reflects badly upon that which I love, I wear my heart on my sleeve and take it (too) personally.  Therefore, I feel better when I know that players hate losing as much as I do.  I don’t think Wilson likes to lose, but I want him to understand he is representing a city that has been screwed by sports fairly regularly.  I want him to have that sense of urgency and competitive edge.  I don’t like seeing optimistic “positive” tweets after a loss about moving forward and learning.  I assume professionals learn after a loss. I don’t need to be told that.  If you didn’t learn you wouldn’t be a pro.  I want to know that the disappointment is shared.  I wouldn’t be upset if there was an overt flash of frustration after the first four games. Breno Giacomini’s two personal foul penalties were not an acceptable expression of frustration.

Fair or not, the quarterback is generally the “leader” and “face” of a team and right now, that’s Wilson. That comes with all of the perks, accolades, and blame (all of which may sometimes be out of proportion) to actual events.  And have no doubt; if Matt Flynn or anyone else was running our current offense and everything was the same, I’d be equally critical of them.

It is painfully clear that things aren’t firing on all cylinders and there is a lot of untapped potential in the offense.  If I knew my frustration was shared by key leaders, I’d feel better following a very disappointing first four games.

*Quick disclaimer.  These posts are titled “Gut Reaction” for a reason.  They are literally my immediate thoughts and feelings from within 24 hours of the game (sans the profanity) in written form.  While there may be some actual nuggets of analysis in these posts, they generally aren’t acmes of analysis.  (I’d say they are approximately 80% emotion and 20% analysis.) I encourage all forms of discussion and comments, but I want readers to understand that the intent of these posts before making ridiculous accusations against yours truly.