Seahawks must fix slow starts on offense
By Andy Larkin
Where past Seattle Seahawks teams were able to overcome them, the 2016 team simply isn’t built to consistently overcome their slow starts.
Well, it happened again. The inept offense monster reared its ugly head, this time on Christmas Eve. The slow start on offense cost the Seattle Seahawks dearly as they were defeated by the Cardinals 34-31 at home over the Holiday weekend.
Not only did Saturday’s loss result in the Seahawks falling to the Cardinals at home for the third time in four years, but it also ended what could’ve been a perfect season at CenturyLink Field. Instead of going undefeated the Seahawks will finish the regular season 7-1 at home in 2016.
More importantly than any of that, the loss to Arizona means that Seattle can no longer control its own destiny in the battle for the number two seed in the NFC. The Hawks will now have to beat the 49ers on New Year’s day and hope that the Saints get a win on the road against the Falcons in order to secure a first round bye. Instead of relying on taking care of business, the Seahawks will now need help to reach their ideal playoff scenario.
Part of the reason the Seahawks have struggled at points this season is due to the offense coming out sluggish early in games. Pete Carroll will always say you can’t win a game in the first, second or third quarter. While that may be true it’s starting to feel like you can sure lose a game in those quarters. In every game Seattle has lost (or tied) this season, the offense has laid an egg in the first half.
Take a look at the first half offensive scoring output from those games:
@ LA Rams- 3 points
@ Arizona Cardinals- 0 points
@ New Orleans Saints- 7 points
@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers- 3 points
@ Green Bay Packers- 3 points
vs Arizona Cardinals- 3 points
That’s a combined total of NINETEEN first half points in these six games. Is that bad? Well it’s definitely not good.
It’s really pretty simple; slow starts kill this team. In all of these contests the lethargic first half outings seemed to have been the nail in the coffin. You simply can’t go into halftime down two or more scores and expect to win in the NFL.
If the Seahawks want to seriously compete for a Super Bowl title this season they must learn to avoid slow starts on offense. Sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce your way, and that’s okay. But a Super Bowl caliber team has to find a way to put more than three points on the board in a half.
Next: Seattle's 2016 playoff road
This late in the season it’s difficult to be confident that the Seahawks can turn the corner and find early game consistency on offense. However, they don’t really have a choice if they want to avoid an early postseason exit.
Yes, it may be true that you can’t win a game in the first two or even three quarters. Though as we have seen this year, you can certainly lose one.