Seahawks Silver Linings; it isn’t as bad as it looks
By Dan Viens
The Seattle Seahawks are still in excellent shape as they head into their stretch run, despite an ugly loss in Tampa Bay on Sunday.
Upon further review…… the Seahawks 14-5 loss to the Buccaneers isn’t as bad as it appeared at the time.
OK…..so the RESULT was bad, but the consequences of the loss are fairly insignificant. And there’s no reason to think they still can’t steamroll their way into the playoffs as the NFC’s #2 seed.
Look, I get it. Watching Seattle give up scoring drives on Tampa’s first two possessions was disheartening. Watching the “offense” flounder around in what appeared to be a still-winnable game after that was stomach-turning. But the sheer overreaction by most of the fan base is simply unwarranted.
My colleague and site-mate Keith Myers makes some excellent points in shining the spotlight on all the red flags that were exposed Sunday. But let me take you back to week #2, when yours truly was so upset by the pathetic showing against the Rams that I wrote this piece, essentially waving the white flag and giving up on the entire 2016 season before it hardly even began. I reminded myself of what I was feeling after that putrid performance as I was watching the Tampa game unfold.
Some may call the following points “excuses,” but I prefer to see them as legitimate reasons why one need not worry too much about the result we saw in south Florida.
INJURIES ARE A THING:
Sure, every team deals with injuries. But how many teams have to travel 2,500 miles to play a quality opponent with six starters on the shelf, two of which are All-Pro caliber? Furthermore, 11 key players missed significant practice time during the week, and TE Luke Willson left the game in the first half with a knee injury and didn’t return.
Steven Terrell appeared to play well in the absence of Earl Thomas, but there was very little pressure up front from the Bennett-less defensive line, and while Joey Hunt appeared to hold up well at times, Justin Britt’s presence would surely have given some much-needed help to right guard Germaine Ifedi, who struggled mightily.
Willson’s injury can’t be minimized. Pressed into service in his place, Brandon Williams mostly looked hapless trying to help in pass protection.
HOW YOU START IS EVERYTHING:
One of Pete Carroll’s favorite sayings is that “games aren’t won in the first quarter.” That’s cute and everything, but he’s wrong. Just ask Peyton Manning when Super Bowl XLVII was lost. Playing from 14 points behind, especially on the road, is daunting to say the least. Ultimately, the offense couldn’t perform at a high enough level to bring the team all the way back, but the defense held the Bucs at that 14 until the game was decided late in the 4th quarter.
And despite cries of “they’re running all over us!” on social media during that first quarter….it’s simply not true. One or two plays could have completely turned the game around. On the Bucs first drive, they faced a 3rd and 12 on their own 44 yard line. Jameis Winston floated a 26 yarder down the left sideline to Mike Evans that Bobby Wagner nearly had a fingernail on. If he makes that play the Seahawks get off the field, the game is still scoreless when they get their first crack on offense, and it becomes a completely different game.
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THIS IS THE NFL, BAD GAMES HAPPEN:
As I get older, I find myself saying this a lot more…. sometimes you just play bad.
When I was younger, that wasn’t an idea that made any sense to me. There are no excuses! MY team should show up and play their best every week!
For all the analytics and statistical probabilities… sometimes you just don’t have it. You get off to a bad start, you turn the ball over uncharacteristically, or you just don’t make the key play at the key moment while your opponent does.
It’s human nature to assume that everything you see on a given Sunday is a sign of things to come, a trend, a warning! Perhaps some of them are, but not based solely on one game.
If the Seahawks roll out another dud this Sunday against Carolina, particularly one in which the offensive line struggles mightily again, then there may be cause for concern.
But that’s not likely to happen because of one final point about the loss to Tampa…..
RUSSELL WILSON HAD A REALLY BAD GAME:
It wasn’t just that his pass protection was so spotty. He was just bad. When he had time to throw he was inaccurate. When he only had a split second to make a decision, he made the wrong one. As bad as you think the Seahawks played as a team, there have been many Sundays when it all looked just as bad, but Wilson would wave his magic wand, make some plays, and pull out a victory. When that happens it easy to dismiss all the negatives, you just take the win and move on.
Wilson couldn’t make that happen Sunday, but it’s unlikely he’ll string many games like that together.
Look, I’m not saying everything is rosy. I’m not even saying the Seahawks can be expected to be a Super Bowl team this year. I’m simply saying that Sunday’s result in Tampa shouldn’t overshadow all the good things we’ve seen this year. The three losses (and 1 tie) shouldn’t wipe out the seven wins. Some of our injured stars will soon return, in fact Bennett, Britt and maybe even DeShawn Shead are expected back this week. Every team left on the schedule has a losing record, and three of them are at home.
This roster, when healthy, is one of the most gifted in the league. Don’t let Sunday’s loss allow you to forget that this is still the same team who beat New England in Foxboro just two weeks ago.
Step away from the ledge.