NFL fans should be embarrassed by what happened tonight. Sure, the Seahawks will take the win. Seattle is now 2-1 against the odds and with a bit of extra luck against a red-hot Arizona team they’d be unbeaten. The fact still remains – nobody can watch that replay and say the final play of the game tonight was anything but an interception. The league is a laughing stock this evening. That’s not taking anything away from the Seahawks who have endured a fair share of misfortune over the years, but they caught a break tonight.
It wasn’t just the final play either. The Packers’ touchdown drive was extended by a farcical pass interference call against the Seahawks. Likewise, Seattle’s penultimate drive benefited from an equally stupid flag. An ugly, messy, difficult game got the ending it deserved.
This is a Seahawks blog though and not an officiating blog, so let’s look at the team. The ending kind of masks a big issue facing the Seahawks. They clearly possess one of the league’s best defenses – it could even be #1 in the NFL. But they also possess one of the worst offenses and that has to be a big concern. It’s not about individuals either, it’s about a severe lack of balance.
The Green Bay Packers failed to score a point in the first half as Seattle sacked Aaron Rodgers eight times and shut down both the pass and the run. It was a massacre, like a home game against the Rams over the last few years. Completely one sided. Most other weeks it’d be the precursor to a comfortable and maybe even emphatic victory. But the Seahawks offense wasn’t playing ball.
Russell Wilson became the first QB in history to throw a game-winning interception.
— Reign of Troy (@ReignofTroy) September 25, 2012
At half time the Packers planned to slow down the pass rush by running the ball up the gut. Once they’d established the run, it afforded Rodgers more time and he got things moving. Throw in two no-huddle drives and momentum had shifted. The Seahawks needed to respond. It became a game where the Seahawks needed to keep up. They didn’t just fail, they failed in a big way.
I’m still trying to work out the play calling. Even with a bigger lead than 7-0, you can’t expect to beat the Packers by being ultra conservative. We know the Seahawks want to run the ball and make that the identity of the team. That’s fine, but you still need balance. Russell Wilson barely threw double digit passes going into the final quarter. You can’t do that against the Green Bay Packers with a slender lead. You can’t do that against most teams. Not unless your running back is on the path to a 200-yard game which he wasn’t. The Seahawks are essentially playing without a passing game at the moment. At best it’s a token gesture.
Do they not trust Russell Wilson as a rookie quarterback? Is it merely a misguided game plan? Whatever it is, they need to take a long look at what they’re doing on offense and try to establish a passing game of some form. Next time there won’t be a favorable refereeing decision to bail the team out. The game plan in the second half was almost as difficult to stomach as the replacement officials.
We try to look at needs on this blog because the people who visit want to talk about the draft and the future of the team. Seattle’s greatest need right now is to review the offense. By all means keep the run game at the heart of what you want to do – Marshawn Lynch had another great game today. But you have to be prepared to mix it up a bit, get creative, trust Russell Wilson and the playmakers on the team. How can we criticise the quarterback when he isn’t throwing the ball? How can we criticise the receivers when they aren’t involved? Why bother paying Sidney Rice and Zach Miller $13m this year if you’re not going to use them? Or Golden Tate… or Anthony McCoy…
And let’s not kid ourselves this isn’t a rare one off stumble. The offense stuttered mightily against Arizona and was poor in the first half against Dallas. The Cowboys were beaten into submission in the second half last week and they duly waved the white flag – but that won’t happen every week especially against the top teams. This is one of the most unbalanced offenses in the NFL, too heavily weighted towards the run. Time to take the training wheels off the passing game and use it.
This game will always be remembered for the referee’s. The most important thing Seattle will get out of it other than a notch in the win column, is to have a serious look at the offense before next Sunday. They need to if they’re going to max out their potential this season.
And Roger Goodell and the NFL owners need to sort their own mess out long before Sunday.
Note: For what it’s worth, this is the first argument I’ve seen made for justifying why the referee’s called it how they did.