My last two articles were about injuries and suspensions for a reason.
The Seahawks are decimated and things are getting worse.
Instead of going into next week’s NFC West decider against San Francisco with their chest’s puffed out, ready to go and try to secure the #1 seed in the NFC — the Seahawks look like a battered mess.
Here are the players who were absent today or picked up injuries during the game:
LG (Iupati returned in the second half)
Very few teams can withstand this number of injuries.
This was still a humbling afternoon.
They were beaten, handily, in all four facet’s of the game — offense, defense and coaching. They suffered a third home spanking of the season.
If they lose to the Niners next week, they’ll finish 4-4 at home and they’ll be 14-10 at home over the last three seasons.
This result in isolation doesn’t mean anything in the race for the NFC West Championship. Win next week and the Seahawks will at the very least be the #3 seed. It also seems clear that certain players were rested with next week in mind.
That said, this performance was so utterly abject that it has sucked the life out of the build-up to next week’s game. It destroyed the realistic hope of securing home-field advantage in the playoffs. It also exposed some serious weaknesses within this team if key players can’t return.
The idea of this group — minus Quandre Diggs, Jadeveon Clowney, Shaquill Griffin, Duane Brown and Chris Brown — going toe-to-toe with the 49ers is fanciful. Brown and Carson have already been ruled out for the Niners game and beyond. The season is teetering on the edge.
The Seahawks were absolutely whipped on both sides of the line of scrimmage. Both the O-line and the D-line were terrible. The complete inability of both lines shut down any opportunity to do anything on offense or defense. They weren’t competitive.
It took the Cardinals a bit of time but by the second quarter they’d sussed out Seattle’s run game. They moved Russell Wilson out of his comfort zone and on a day when he had to do his one-man-show act, he was at his most jittery and antsy.
The Seahawks couldn’t do anything on offense. Once the scripted first drive was in the books, it was painful to watch. They couldn’t run, they couldn’t pass. A one-yard gain was hard earned. The Cardinals flew around and hit. They were faster, stronger, more physical and imposed their will. They were better in every aspect.
After Seattle’s initial scoring drive, here’s what followed until their next points:
Punt in Arizona territory
End of the first half
Fumble by David Moore
Three-and-out, field goal (after the blocked field goal)
They gained one first down in nine drives.
Their first two drives in the first quarter totalled 135 yards. They finished with 224.
The Seahawks simply had no answers to problems and the questions posed to the opponent were often the wrong ones. There was no counter, no adequate adjustment. Arizona lost their starting quarterback and still outscored Seattle.
It’s a brutal reality that Brett Hundley moved the ball far better than the Seahawks. Kyler Murray’s hamstring injury creaked open a window of opportunity for an undeserved comeback. Yet the offense simply wasn’t capable, in any way whatsoever, of creating anything. No time. No explosive plays. Everything underneath, short, or Wilson under pressure or feeling phantom pressure.
On defense the usual problems were prevalent. The pass rush simply isn’t good enough. That’s a kind review. The D-line looked inept without Clowney and Al Woods.
The defense gave up big plays and they gave up the frustrating conversions to extend drives. Nobody — nobody — could make a play to swing back any kind of control. That was especially the case at 20-13 and needing to get the ball back to mount a comeback. Hundley simply marched downfield and scored an easy touchdown.
Compare that to the inspired play of Budda Baker, relishing his return to Washington, partnered with a dominant and disciplined D-line. Chandler Jones had four sacks and was sprinting downfield to force a fumble at the start of the second half. Baker and Jones set the kind of tone Clowney and Diggs have been setting for the Seahawks. Without them, they looked hopeless.
They beat San Francisco in Santa Clara by creating consistent pressure and making plays at the second level. I’m nervous about next week. I fear that this defense won’t be able to do anything. We might see a repeat of the Rams loss two weeks ago — but worse. If they can’t pressure Jimmy Garoppolo, good look watching a banged-up secondary defend George Kittle and Emmanuel Sanders.
With no Brown and no Carson — how are they going to be able to function on offense?
It could get into 2017 Rams at home territory.
This is a team hanging by a thread due to the injuries. It’s incredibly unfortunate and the resilience they’ve shown this season warrants greater fortune than this.
There’s a fairly stark reality here though. They’re just too injured. That, more so than this embarrassment, is the great festive season damper here. A year of close wins, promise and finding a way is threatening to end with a whimper.
Merry Christmas 😐
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