The Seattle Seahawks controlled their destiny coming into this game. Sadly, they couldn't control the Steelers running game. This defense needs answers, but they're not coming from this group. Any thoughts of the postseason are laughable at this point.
Your Seattle Seahawks came up with far too many dud performances in this game to even think about the postseason as a goal. I say "your" Hawks, because after this nightmare, I sure don't want to claim them. Yeah... okay, that's not true, but that defense didn't exactly make it easy.
Last week, site expert Lee Vowell posited this question on Facebook: "Do you think the Seahawks defense is fixed?" Remember, this with the Hawks coming off back-to-back 17-point efforts. Not great, but much improved over the four-game stretch of losses. Pat yourself in the back, 12s. Every single commenter knew the defense still had issues. Sadly, you were right.
By the way, for the few trolls out there who love to say things like, "What a stupid question," there are no stupid questions; only stupid answers. The entire idea of asking that question is to get responses and see what the 12s think might be the issue. The real question is, did the Seahawks coaching staff think the defense was fixed? If they did, then some folks need a new work address next season. As Geno Smith said, opponents are playing "keep away", and the Hawks don't seem to be able to stop them.
The Seattle Seahawks couldn't tackle anyone at any point in this game
I was going to say that the Hawks couldn't tackle my grandmother, but that would be an exaggeration. That's only because she passed away more than 20 years ago, so she's fairly stationary at this point. Pretty hard to whiff on a - should I say it? Sure, why not - a stiff. Hey, it's my grandmother, not yours.
After the Seahawks' New Year's Eve "tackling clinic", I'm not entirely sure they could do that. This was a lesson in how a team does not tackle. The sad thing is that just about everyone got into the act. How can tackling still be an issue in the 17th week of the schedule? If Clint Hurtt knew how to fix this, you'd think he would have done so by now.
Look at the photo above, if you can bear it. That's at least six Seahawks getting trucked by the Steelers Najee Harris and three of his pals. Bobby Wagner is at the bottom of that pile. I don't blame him, though. He made the initial contact and stood Harris up at the four-yard line. The problem was that Harris immediately had two linemen giving him a substantial push forward, while only Quandre Diggs joined Wagner to push back.
Multiple Hawks joined in, but all from the side. All they did was divert the path from a north-south line to the northwest. It still carried Harris over the goal line. That play was a microcosm of this game. As quoted by seattlesports.com, Mike Salk said it most eloquently (and brutally):
" It was a straight-up lesson in what the strong can do to the weak, punctuated by a pair of Najee Harris plays that should cause shame in the film review. Seeing him toss Riq Woolen to the ground with a nasty straight arm was bad, but watching him push a handful of players nearly five years into the end zone was humiliating."- Mike Salk
In the same article, Bob Stelton pointed out that the Steelers had over 100 yards rushing not even five minutes into the second quarter. As Mike Lefko was quoted in the same article, Pittsburgh came into the game ranked 26th in yards per game and 28th in points per game. The Steelers piled up their most yards in over five seasons and did it behind their third-string quarterback.
Pittsburgh had already fired their offensive coordinator, and QB Mason Rudolph was coming off a 34-point win over the Bengals. So maybe the Steelers weren't as inept as their overall stats would indicate. But the Seahawks defense made it look like they were facing Bradshaw, Harris (Franco, not Najee), Swann, and Stallworth. I'll give Pete Carroll credit: he's a master of understatement. As quoted after the game by Brandon Gustafson for seattlesports.com, Carroll had this to say: "The tackling just seemed like it was really off.” At least when he retires, Pete can go into standup comedy.
One last thing about this defense that struck me as, um, what the heck? The Hawks' defense recorded 55 assists to go with their 39 solo tackles. You might think at first glance that it's a good thing. 55 assists mean the Hawks were swarming to the ball. Well, kind of. The issue is that it truly reveals that Seattle wasn't making the stop with the initial contact.
Coming into this game, the Hawks had made 684 solo tackles and 369 assists. That's a ratio of roughly 1.8 to one. We can all agree the Ravens have a pretty stout defense, right? Prior to dismantling the Dolphins, their stats were 628 and 318, a 2.0 to one ratio. The Niners were at 626-324, a ratio of 1.9 to one. The point being, good defenses stop the opposition with the first hit. The Hawks ratio for this game was .7 to one. That is abysmal, and that is why they lost this game.
The Seahawks face the Cardinals in Week 18 and FanDuel Sportsbook is giving you a $150 bonus for any $5 bet! Just sign up, deposit at least $10 and bet $5 or more and you'll get $150 in bonus bets win or lose. Start the year with a huge win - sign up for FanDuel today!