12-3, Yet Many are Worried
The Seattle Seahawks did something Sunday we thought just might be impossible for this team.
They lost a game at home.
Yes, despite four interceptions, including one that set the offense up with a 1st and Goal at the five-yard line, the Hawks looked liked pigs on ice skates when it came to scoring points, all day long.
This is not a new story. Ever since the Monday-night trouncing of the New Orleans Saints three weeks ago, Seattle’s offense has been inconsistent, to say the least.
Marshawn Lynch hasn’t rushed for over 100 yards since week 11 against Atlanta. Russell Wilson had arguably his worst game ever as a pro, and the much-maligned receiving corps continues to collect injuries now that Jermaine Kearse has an ankle issue.
What can they do?
I’ve taken more than one shot at Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell’s play selection being less than creative in the past, but in this latest game against the Cardinals, his calls were particular aggravating an unimaginative.
The first thing that should happen is that Bevell should hire Tim Ryan as his publicist because if you watched this game on TV, Ryan was talking up Bevell like he was the second coming of Vince Lombardi. Ryan went on to say that Bevell was going to be such a hot commodity as a head coaching candidate in the offseason.
Forgive me if I don’t see that level of excellence… AT ALL!
The Seahawks‘ running game continues to scuffle particularly in short yardage/goal line situations. You’d think a guy like Marshawn Lynch would have no problem with 3rd and goal at the one-yard line. I think it’s not a problem with this team if Bevell can call the correct type of run for Lynch in those situations. There are two types of formations, and running plays that could and should have been used in that situation during the Cardinal game that would have netted the Hawks a touchdown.
1. Spread formation, 4 wide receivers, single back set, with Russell Wilson under center. This needs to be a quick snap, turn, and give by Wilson to a full speed Lynch up the gut.
By spreading out the Arizona defense with 4 wides, and by making the hand off a quick, fast shot up the middle the Cardinals would have no chance to play 8 guys in the box against Lynch like he continues to see this year.
2. Tight formation, 3 tight ends, I formation with Michael Robinson leading Lynch. Again, the play needs to be a quick handoff to the upback Robinson, with Lynch being used as a decoy in this instance.
Time after time I saw the Cardinal defensive ends crash down on Lynch on a slow developing, deep hand off which never allowed him to get out of the back field. The quick hitter run up the middle would have caused those ends to run right past the play.
Bevell resisted changing his strategy, even after halftime, and stuck with running Lynch on deep hand offs, and slow developing plays.
On the passing plays, Bevell remained sterile as well. I give the offensive line a lot of credit in this game. Wilson had plenty of time to throw, but struggled to find open receivers.
Yes, there were a few blitzes that caught the Seahawks unprepared that lead to sacks, but overall, Wilson had time and when he didn’t he found time with his legs.
It’s the lack of anything different or unconventional and the unwillingness to try to mix it up with things not working that allowed the Cardinals to stay in the game. Bevell kept sending the same routes out there and took surprisingly few deep shots.
Where was the creativity? Where was the flea flicker we saw a few weeks ago? Where were the designed roll outs and designed runs for Wilson? How about a reverse? How about giving Christine Michael a chance to run the ball to the outside on a speed stretch play?
None of those things were attempted. Instead we were left to watch the same plays, over and over, fail.
It’s time for willingness to change
I have no problem with the conventional offense that Bevell runs. However, when it fails, he has to be willing to change and change on the fly.
I saw no willingness on his part to even try something else during the Cardinal game and that was very frustrating to watch.
Let your hair down Bevell. We know you have a few plays up your sleeve. Don’t be a afraid to try them 3-4 times a game… That’s all I ask. Failure to do so next week likely means the difference between being the No. 1 Seed in the playoffs vs. being the No. 5 seed.
I don’t know about you, but I’m in no hurry to play a wildcard game in Green Bay. It’s championship week again this Sunday, and this time it’s for real.