Curtis Allen’s week eighteen watch points (vs Arizona)

January 7th, 2022 | Written by Rob Staton

Note: This is a guest post by Curtis Allen and the latest piece in a weekly series. Curtis looks at the Seahawks and their opponents and discusses key factors.

I’d also like to encourage all members of this community to celebrate how awesome this series has been. This has been a challenging season for the Seahawks, yet Curtis continued to dig into the details and provide amazing content.

I would personally like to thank Curtis for his weekly article. They have been fantastic and have really added something special to the blog.

Thank you.

We are almost at the finish line of this incredibly disappointing season, with only a stop in Arizona to visit the Cardinals left.

And so it must be. Witnessing what might be the final game of the Pete Carroll / Russell Wilson era being played out in a stadium where the Seahawks have won so frequently but also endured some of the most wrenchingly agonizing moments a franchise can possibly be subjected to is just so ironically fitting it hurts.

Among the many, many lowlights experienced in Arizona:

-Super Bowl 49

-Losing Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor to injuries in Week 9 of 2017 for good in the same game

-Losing Earl Thomas the very next time they came to Arizona to a season-ending leg injury – Week 4 of 2018, and watching Thomas give Pete Carroll the middle finger while being carted off

-The Week 7 game last year featuring the second-half collapse, also known as the ‘If Game’…if Damien Lewis makes the right block, if Benson Mayowa doesn’t jump offside on the field goal try, if Bobby Wagner doesn’t get that ticky-tack roughing penalty, if David Moore doesn’t commit a needless holding penalty on the DK catch and run TD winner…

Why not witness what is likely to be the final iteration of the franchise in this house of horrors?

This season, this tenure, this run as a franchise could not end any other way but on the field that has marked so many painful memories.

While it appears there would not be much more left to play for than pride, there are some markers to think about that could have an impact on the books of this season:

-They can play division spoiler by forcing the Cardinals to play as a wild card instead of hosting a playoff game at home as division champion.

-A final season record of 7-10 looks far, far better than 6-11. A seven-win season would also oddly bookend Pete Carroll’s first season with the team.

Here are some things to keep an eye on in this matchup…

The defense simply must not miss tackles

Last season, the Seahawks defense was not great but it did finish fifth in the NFL with only 88 missed tackles. That is something to hang your hat on.

How are they doing this season? Well, they reached 88 missed tackles three weeks ago in the Houston game. They have slipped from fifth in the NFL last year to twenty-second this year, which does align with the defensive challenges we have seen.

Have a look at this quick chart showing their missed tackles per game since Week 10, the time of possession difference and the game outcome:

 

Have the Seahawks lost the time of possession battle and games specifically because of this one stat? No — but it does point to their troubles.

This issue is a chicken-and-egg problem for the team. They cannot get off the field as a defense, so they get tired and the opportunity for missed tackles increases. Which means they still cannot get off the field.

Why is it being brought up now, against the Cardinals?

Unfortunately, 17 of those 88 missed tackles last year came in their two games against the Cardinals, including an awful thirteen in Week 7. As you can see from the chart above, they didn’t do themselves any favors by missing eight tackles against this team in Week 11 this year.

They must tackle better in order to keep pace in this game.

Guys vying for jobs in 2022, this is an opportunity to showcase yourselves

This aspect at the end of the season always seems a bit overrated to me. A guy who has not turned the coaches’ heads enough in practice to get on the field and get real game reps may not be able to make his case in a relatively meaningless game at the end of the season enough to really change any minds.

However, with this team in its current state of potential flux, almost twenty roster spots up for grabs next year, and several injuries that have been sustained lately, there is an opportunity to see some of the players that may have a real chance to contribute to 2022’s success on display this week.

-Colby Parkinson is the only tight end contracted for 2022. He has rarely been targeted this year, let alone featured in the offense. The Seahawks have used him for blocking and special teams more than as a pass-catching weapon. A few catches for first downs and maybe even a touchdown would relieve a lot of anxiety about the position.

-Cody Barton will likely feature heavily at linebacker. He had perhaps his best game as a professional Sunday against Detroit, filling in for the injured Bobby Wagner. Chances are he will play quite a bit again this week but against a much better opponent. Can he force his way into the conversation and be more than just a special teams player and backup next season? The team has twenty million reasons to want him to take a major step forward.

-Jake Curhan has been filling in for the injured Brandon Shell at right tackle and playing well. Have the Seahawks found something there? The possibility of paying a rookie salary for a starting right tackle for the next three seasons would go a long, long way towards helping this team to quickly get back on their feet roster-wise. How will he play against Chandler Jones and Marcus Golden?

-Dee Eskridge seems doomed by the Seahawks Rookie Curse, which demands that first-year players just spin their wheels in the trainer’s room or on the practice field for the entire season. A weapon of his ability needs to be integrated into this offense in order to introduce an element of unpredictability that gives defenders just enough pauses to open up some other areas. Is it too much to ask for a couple plays of this nature on Sunday to give us something positive to talk about this offseason?

-Rashaad Penny has done extremely well against poor defenses and yet has not been able to establish himself against good defenses. The Cardinals are the 11th-ranked defense against the run this year. These last few games have been an extended interview for the Seahawks and other teams to show what he can do next year. A good to great game against the Cardinals would put a punctuation mark on that resume and push it further up the pile.

Contain Kyler Murray

This will probably be a watch point for a Seahawks-Cardinals matchup until he retires or moves on to another team. He has taken a big, big step up this year and is leading the Cardinals into the next echelon of teams.

I put his 2021 play this way in my Week Eleven Watch Points piece:

He is maturing as a passer and taking it out on defenses across the league.

Is he playing the same style he always has, just at a higher level? No. He has changed his play significantly. He has vastly reined in his rushing attempts in 2021. So far this year he only has 147 rushing yards in eight games. For comparison, he gained more rushing yards in only the first two games last season.

The Cardinals have given him so many weapons for the passing game, and supplemented that with good runners, Murray does not need to run the ball as much to provide the team with offense.

He is still deadly with his feet though. He just uses them differently. Primarily this season, it is to escape the pass rush and buy time for receivers to get open — and he is doing an absolutely incredible job at it.

The ball just zips out of his hands. Which is nothing new — but now it comes out with more touch and accuracy than ever before. He is currently completing 69% of his passes, which is higher than Russell Wilson has ever achieved in a season.

He appears to not have as much trouble as you would think with his height and seeing his targets clearly. As I noted in Week Eleven, he is able to use his feet to move away from blitzers and at the same time, get a good view of the field. Now he can do it without sacrificing much accuracy in his throws.

I suggested a way to defend Murray in the piece:

Is there a way to take the edge off of his play, perhaps at a few key times that can disrupt him and frustrate this brilliant player? There is.

The Seahawks need to employ a delayed blitz / spy role defender against Murray on Sunday.

He has developed a habit this year that has yet to be properly exploited. He scrambles to get a better view of the field and buy some time – not simply because he is being chased by a rusher and is an amazing escape artist.

Someone like Jordyn Brooks, Jamal Adams, Ryan Neal or Bobby Wagner would be an ideal weapon to just stay put for half a heartbeat after the snap, see the play develop and where the lanes are open to Murray and then use all your speed to take off into that lane.

At worst, you block his view and clog a passing lane. Maybe even get your hands up and defense a pass. At best, you frustrate him by taking a way a comfortable habit he has developed and make him stay in the pocket more often — containing those incredible feet and making him susceptible to being sacked.

Watching the highlights of the last few weeks, it does appear that Murray has addressed this weakness to a degree. He seems more assertive in the pocket and willing to rely on his protection and his receivers running good routes than he did earlier this season.

However, this still would be a valid method to employ on defense in order to keep him contained. If he can consistently either create time to throw and/or find lanes to take off and gain some yards and first downs on the ground, it will be a very long day for this defense.

Contain the Cardinal running backs in the passing game

The Seahawks have continued to be the worst team in the NFL by a wide margin in this area. They have given up a massive 18% more passing yards to running backs this year than the second-worst team. That is inexcusable.

They badly miss K.J. Wright in this area of their game.

Chase Edmunds and James Conner have excelled for the Cardinals, giving Kyler Murray a perfect way to move the offense forward without expending any of his miracle-creating energy.

Combined they have 74 catches for 645 yards and 27 first downs.

Watch Conner help his quarterback out with a beauty of a one-handed grab early in the game against the Rams:

The Cardinals use this game as a real part of their offense, not as a mere ‘get me out of danger’ dump-off but a real way to move this defense down the field that is very dangerous. With Murray’s legs and a plethora of options at tight end and wide receiver, passes to the running backs are that ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ element to this offense.

As we noted above, the defense must tackle well.

Jordyn Brooks, Cody Barton, Ryan Neal and D.J. Reed must be excellent in coverage in order to keep this part of the Cardinal offense in check.

A final note to the community

A special thanks is due to Rob Staton, who has generously shared his personal platform in order that these posts can get a wide distribution. It never occurred to me over the years that I would have this kind of an opportunity in the community. It is a place I value highly and enjoy thoroughly. Your support and encouragement made it happen. Thank you.

Thanks to all in the community for reading along with my watch points this year, and for all your positive feedback. It is actually because of you that I got the motivation to put these posts together in the first place.

Last year, what started as a lockdown-fueled exercise to stave off the boredom of inactivity quickly took off with all the commendation and support from the community when I would scrawl some thoughts down in the comments section.

It has been a joy and another nice distraction during this drudgery of a season to commiserate, dissect the good and the bad and attempt to put words and thoughts together to properly understand the mess we witness on most Sundays. Thank you for that.

Here is hoping the 2022 season is filled with all the excitement we can possibly handle.

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48 Responses to “Curtis Allen’s week eighteen watch points (vs Arizona)”

  1. Big Mike says:

    Thanks to Rob for recognizing that Curtis has a great insight to the nuts and bolts of the game and giving him the platform to express them. And thanks to Curtis for that insight and and giving us all more knowledge about what to keep an eye out for heading into each game.
    This board is must visit for me several times a day and it’s because of the 2 of you as well as plenty of other great posters on the comments section.

    • DriveByPoster says:

      Well said Big Mike. I thoroughly agree. Congratulations to Rob & Cha for excellent work & entertainment And all for free!

      Inspired by Curtis’ comment about lockdown boredom, I did a little bit of analysis myself using OverTheCap’s figures for 2022. Currently the ‘hawks have c.$56million in cap space. If they cut *everyone* except Russell Wilson, Tyler Lockett, Jamal Adams, Michael Dickson & Jordyn Brooks, they would have another $4.7million to add to that. If you also keep Gabe Jackson, Carlos Dunlap, Duane Brown & Dee Eskridge then $4.7 million becomes $19.8 million, giving you total cap space of c.$76million. How’s that for a burn it all down & start again scenario! Alternately, they could cut everyone not mentioned above & can then afford to cut Jamal Adams!

      That’s how the cap figures work right? Right???

  2. Big Mike says:

    And of all the great points you made in this post cha, the one about missing KJ in defending the pass against opposing RBs may have been the best one of all. The stats you referenced sure support that point.

    • TomLPDX says:

      100%

    • cha says:

      It’s ugly.

      28. Cincinnati 739 yards
      29. New England 810 yards
      30. Kansas City 863 yards
      31. NY Jets 877 yards

      32. Seattle 1038 yards

      • cha says:

        Alright you made me do this, Big Mike

        The modern NFL record for receiving yards by a RB? Marshall Faulk with 1048 yards in 16 games in 1999.

        So on average, the Seahawks defense played prime-era Marshall Faulk every single week this year.

        • cha says:

          Darn you Big Mike, you did it again

          Worst in the NFL defending RBs in the passing game:

          2020 Kansas City 846 yards
          2019 Kansas City 951 yards
          2018 LA Chargers 973 yards
          2017 Tennessee 967 yards
          2016 Atlanta 870 yards
          2015 St Louis 976 yards

          But yeah, this Seahawks defense is juuuuust fine.

    • TomLPDX says:

      Maybe if we stop dropping Poona, Big Al and Carlos into coverage (what do that call that, anyway!) we can get better coverage on RBs.

  3. hobro says:

    Thanks for doing this, cha. Your insights always make watching the game more interesting. And thanks to Rob for providing the platform.

  4. Peter says:

    Cha these have been great! I feel a little bad that you put in so much effort ever since Seattle got bounced.

    1. Man do I agree Seattle needs a KJ going forward. It’s been rough this year with his absence on a very specific set of plays from other teams.

    2. Murray to me is one of the few young QB’s I really enjoy. He just gets a little better every year. However….a tiny asterisk about passing percentages. Yes it us better than Wilson. But let’s not entirely look away from Wilson ONLY managing 68.8 completion percent last year while throwing 116 more passes. I kid. Sort of…

    3. I think Seattle is going to have a hell of a time in Sunday if thee’s any seeding implications left. If there’s no seeding that matters AZ’s smart move is to pull everyone they can after a half.

    • cha says:

      Thanks Peter

      1. I don’t have a PFF but I’ve read that Brook’s low number is being dragged down by his coverage grade. He has high 60’s/low 70’s in tackling and run defense but something like a low 40’s in coverage.

      2. I agree it is a small distinction to make but it is significant. RW has not been able to get to 69% in 10 seasons. Murray is doing it in his 3rd season and is trending upward. 64% in Year 1, 67% in Year 2, now 69%. I think it speaks to the support Murray gets from the organization. They got JJ Watt on defense and Rodney Hudson, Zach Ertz and James Conner to support him and have figured out how to implement them into the offense and the results are showing. Meanwhile Russ gets Kerry Hyder, Ethan Pocic and it took 8 games for the team to even notice Gerald Everett was on the roster.

      3. There is a good chance this team gets their tails kicked by the Cardinals Sunday.

      • Peter says:

        Murray is pretty special. I wish Seattle was in the business of turnovers. I noticed his td to int’s aren’t bad but he is turning it over fairly high considering his overall stellar accuracy.

        Their roster is ridiculous what they’ve built. Shades of early pc/ Wilson era.

  5. Kyle says:

    Thank you Curtis, and thank you Rob. This is the last truly great Seahawks site left on the internet, and it reflects a lot of hard work done solely for love of our team. Cheers.

  6. Roy Batty says:

    I appreciate your dedication to these articles in such a crappy year, Curtis. Many posting articles on a not-for-profit blog would have tuned out, or half-assed it.

    You didn’t, so thank you.

    And Rob, no matter the franchise’s fate, I hope you remain passionate enough to continue hosting this wonderful place for us to congregate virtually and feed our fanatic side. Without the ability to come here and contemplate the future, fume about the present, and generally comment without vitriol spewed back at us is a very, very refreshing thing.

    Thank you both.

  7. BobbyK says:

    Thank you, cha (Curtis Allen).

  8. Ashish says:

    Thanks Cha. I’m glad season is over not sure how you do it when everything is up in air and nothing positive. Appreciate your efforts.

  9. Sea Mode says:

    The amount of research and detail put into this series has been incredible. Then on top of that you continue to transcribe many pressers and interviews and otherwise engage in the comments.

    While Messi was still at Barcelona, we had an inside thing on the Barça blog we called MOTMOTM: “man of the match other than Messi”. You truly are the SDB MVP this year “other than Rob” no doubt, and we appreciate you.

  10. Mick says:

    This was one of the highlights of the week for me. I really enjoyed your articles. Thank you for the great work, cha! And Rob, great idea of doing this.

  11. bv eburg says:

    These posts are well thought out and articulated, thank you Cha.

  12. AlaskaHawk says:

    It’s been great to have you as a commentator/writer Cha. Nice to have those game watch points to think about. Here is to a better next year!

  13. UkAlex6674 says:

    Quality writing and breakdown as always Cha.

  14. TomLPDX says:

    Thanks Curtis!

  15. Tomas says:

    Great stuff as always, thank you, Curtis. And thank you Rob.

  16. KennyBadger says:

    Rob runs the best Seahawks site around. Cha has only made it better. Cheers fellas and thank you.

  17. Tomas says:

    John Clayton just got blistered on his Saturday radio show by an articulate caller who accused Clayton of being an apologist for the Hawks, and Pete, which naturally Clayton denied. The caller’s major point … he had several good ones – was that it’s easier to find a new coach than a new QB. Clayton disagreed, called the caller “clueless,” and threatened to hang-up on the guy if he continued to argue that Pete should be replaced. Clayton then pretty much did exactly that, and bad-mouthed the caller afterwards. I was delighted to hear Clayton called out. Some of Pete’s defenders are fanatical almost to the point of madness.

    • Scot04 says:

      1st time i actually listened to Clayton was today & heard same call.
      Was amusing.
      Only one thing though; He said he’d hang up if the guy called him an apologist again.
      But agree was nice to hear him called out. Actually surprised Clayton let him finish.
      Amazing he still believes 0% chance Russ goes anywhere & seems to feel similarly about Carroll. I turned him off a few callers later. 10-15 minutes was plenty. Good to know I wasn’t missing anything.

  18. cha says:

    Thanks for the fantastic feedback everyone. I truly appreciate every single comment!

    • jed says:

      You’ve earned every single positive comment. I look forward to your preview every week and IMHO, it’s the best article of its type out here. A welcome addition to my favorite Seahawks website.

  19. Scot04 says:

    Cha, Probably my favorite Points Watch writeup.
    Painful to re-live the horrors Arizona has had on us though.
    From the points on missed tackles to affecting Murray were spot on.
    Been awsome having these on a weekly basis along with all the other content.
    Best Seahawks content right here & it’s greatly appreciated.
    Thanks all.

  20. pdway says:

    Adding my thanks – these are always great – I’ve watched a lot of football over the years, and still feel like a learn a nugget or two from every one of your posts. Which is more than I can say about 99% of the stuff I read online. Your effort and analytical skills are really appreciated.

  21. Trevor says:

    Thanks for all your hard work and effort this year Curtis. Really appreciate everything you bring to the blog!

  22. JJ says:

    Seeing Dan Quinn connected to Seahawks and Broncos, but can’t find the origins of it. Anything to it?

  23. JimQ says:

    I join those that appreciate Cha’s (and Rob’s) analysis pieces, Bravo, that’s just great work that enriches all of us Seahawk fans.

    A little off topic, but still pertinent to the current QB situation or lack thereof, so, I’ve been looking hard for
    draftable QB alternatives and I keep coming back to this guy in next year’s draft (he’s back to school this year so we have a year to watch him yet).

    A 2023 draftable QB to keep in mind IMO is Costal Carolina’s 6-3/210 Grayson McCall, in the 2021 season McCall produced exceptionally well. He also was the 2020 and 2021 Sun Belt Player of the year. Lots of his WOW numbers from cfbstats.com are listed below.

    2021 Season:
    ** #1 in FBS in QBR (**207.65**)
    ** #1 in FBS in yards per attempt with 11.9, (great at medium/long passes & fits the ball to receivers well.)
    ** #1 in FBS in adjusted pass yards per attempt with 13.6
    ** #1 in FBS in total yards per play with 9.5.
    ** #2 in FBS in completion percentage (73.0%) while having a modest stat line of 176/241/2873-yds./27-TD’s & 3-INT in 11 games played. As a mobile, dual threat QB he also had a pretty good rushing stat line of 93/290/with 4-TD’s. McCall executes option plays well, remains calm under pressure and avoids big hits.

    McCall = #2 in NCAA ****since 1956**** in career passing yards per attempt with 10.9.8
    McCall’s 207.65 is the highest season QBR in the NCAA since at least before 2009, as far back as I could check, but NOTE: McCall = #3 in NCAA, ****since 1956***** with his “career” total QBR of **196.1**.

    Obviously NOT a high volume (21.9 passes/game average) & NOT a system passer + he’s VERY accurate & is extremely **efficient**. I think he could be developed into a really good NFL QB with a little bit of good coaching. Moves well, very smart, has a fast release, good feet & is so damn accurate. McCall looks like a really good RW alternative (a taller clone of RW?) in the 2023 draft to me.

    Highlights: Grayson McCall || 2020-2021 Coastal Carolina Highlights || HD – Bing video

    ****Also watch & don’t sleep on these two receivers for THIS draft: WR-Javon Heileigh (a round 5 pick?) & TE-Isiah Likely (a round 3 pick?), they are pretty good too & would make an easier QB transition if the Seahawks drafted one or both of them this year along with McCall next year.

    • Sea Mode says:

      Cool names to look into. I always like your statistical approach to unearthing potential gems.

  24. Sea Mode says:

    Not much of a “report”, but anyways:

    Michael Silver
    @MikeSilver
    · 6h

    I can tell you this about the Seahawks’ situation: No one in the building–not John Schneider, not Pete Carroll, not Russell Wilson–can speak with any authority as to what owner Jody Allen will do (or not do) at season’s end. ‘Only she knows’ is a common refrain.

  25. vanhawksfan says:

    Cha, thank you for the write ups. I’ve truly enjoyed them.

    Rob, thank you, as always for this amazing forum and your thoughtful analysis.

  26. Justaguy says:

    Nothing good will happen tomorrow

  27. Gross MaToast says:

    Thanks for these great previews, cha – always a fun read.

    From LaCanfora:

    “The Seahawks are considering whether or not a rebuild is required in 2022, sources said, which could lead them to move on from longtime coach Pete Carroll, who is nearing the end of his career and already in his 70s. Moving on from such a winning coach, who has built a unique culture in Seattle, would not be easy, nor would trading future Hall of Fame quarterback Russell Wilson, but given the state of the team’s personnel and its lack of draft capital, neither moving on would be surprising at this point.”

    I would love to know who is doing the considering for ’The Seahawks.’

  28. Robert M says:

    Thanks Cha, and thanks Rob. I appreciate all the content you provide.

  29. RugbyLock says:

    Cha,

    Your articles have been a weekly must read and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them. Thanks for that and hope to continue seeing your work on SDB!