This was the most unpleasant experience of my Seahawks fandom.
Let me quantify that. Watching a hopeless or rebuilding team getting blown out isn’t unpleasant. For the most part it’s expected and not in the least bit surprising.
This game made me want to take a shower. It made me pace around the room clutching a foam football. It made me agitated at a time when, as a new parent, I’m already getting a minimal amount of sleep.
And worst of all it made me question what on earth they were thinking.
I’m happy to win ugly. Who isn’t? That old cliche says the good teams frequently win ugly.
But this was beyond ugly. It reminded me of the scene in Hostel with the eye.
In fact, it was worse than that.
Where do we start?
Oh yeah. Pass protection.
Tonight it was a national embarrassment. Yes, the Rams have a sensational pass rushing duo and a not too shabby interior rush. Their front seven is one of the best in the league. Tonight though, they had it easy.
I spent the entire game trying to work out what exactly Seattle was trying to do on offense. I mean, usually when you come up against a top pass rush you try to establish the run to slow it down, then use play action. This didn’t work against Houston, so I kind of figured why they weren’t doing that. Plus the eight man fronts made it difficult early on.
The best way to spread out a loaded box is to go empty backfield. They tried that, but then had everyone running routes and left the two backup tackles 1v1 against Chris Long and Robert Quinn. That’s fine, if you’re going snap-throw to purposely designed quick-hitting routes. They never really got this going.
They threw three screens in the game and all worked for positive yardage. Hey, you can’t keep milking the same cow but it’s the one thing that seemed to work all night and yet they never went back to it.
They didn’t really try to move the pocket or utilise Russell Wilson’s scrambling ability. I don’t recall many bootlegs. It was just a head-scratching mess.
Clearly the offensive line was over-stretched. Individuals will be criticised. And this isn’t my attempt to exonerate blame. Nobody played well on that line.
However, this is a team that would’ve struggled against Quinn and Long with Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini starting. They had to be ready to help out the tackles by playing max-protect with backs and tight ends spending nearly the whole game as extra blockers.
Paul McQuistan isn’t a left tackle. Michael Bowie is a seventh round rookie.
Help them like you’ve never helped two tackles before.
The coaching staff needs to take full responsibility (and I suspect they will). I’m guessing we’ll have a week now of people talking about how we need to draft for the offensive line. That’s fine. But if your new first round pick gets injured, or Okung goes down again, tonight can’t be repeated. This was all about a hopeless scheme and a badly prepared offense that did nothing to limit St. Louis’ greatest strength.
This isn’t just on offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell either. Tom Cable and Pete Carroll need to shoulder an equal portion of blame.
Take away an 80-yard touchdown (that arguably should’ve been picked) and you get 59 passing yards and 44 rushing yards on the night.
It didn’t need to be this way.
– For the first time, I really felt Wilson got jittery and started to worry about the protection issues. Who can blame him? He deserves no blame for that. The coaches and offensive line take full responsibility. If Wilson’s game suffers over the next few weeks as a consequence of bad pass protection, they’ll be to blame.
– Drops. Too many tonight from the receivers. On a night when big plays were at a premium and all but two drives ended in a punt, the simple plays needed to be completed. Jermaine Kearse’s key third down drop late on was a killer.
– The defense was on the field for 38 minutes and nine seconds. They looked shattered at the end and still made a brilliant goal line stand. The offense hung them out to dry tonight and they still won the game.
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) October 29, 2013
– The ref’s were a joke for both teams. Let the guys play for crying out loud. The NFL needs to know this kind of display is hurting their product.
– This is the first week the offense had no turnovers. There’s your positive.
– Even despite the obvious schematic shambles, it’s unacceptable that Marshawn Lynch had just eight carries tonight. How did that happen?
– As Golden Tate taunted his way into the end zone, all I could think of was Cordarrelle Patterson’s called-back touchdown for Tennessee last year. Thankfully, the NFL rules are different to college rules. I bet Golden Tate is grateful for that, too.
– This was pretty much a mini-bye after the Thursday night game last week. Is anyone else concerned how sluggish this team looks after an extended break? See tonight, and Miami last year. This season, Seattle’s bye is the week before the Saints game…
A comprehensive win is required to wash away the memory of this game. Thankfully the 0-8 Buccs are in town next week.
And yet this is without doubt the best start to a season in franchise history. And the Seahawks are still a really good 7-1 football team.
What a weird sport this is.
Time for that shower.