Instant reaction: Seahawks beat Commanders (just)

Firstly, thank goodness the Seahawks won. Losing to a team as thoroughly mediocre as this Commanders outfit, playing out their schedule with new owners just waiting for the chance to appoint their own coaches, would’ve been tough to handle.

Scraping to victory, though, exposed issues that simply can’t be ignored any longer.

The offense just isn’t functioning as it should be. For example, every week Pete Carroll reaffirms his commitment to trying to run the ball. Every week, they do the opposite. The Seahawks have used two second round picks on running backs and yet the ground game takes a weekly back-seat to the passing game.

The execution is off across the board. Confusion on routes. Miscommunication. The quarterback missing throws. They can’t do anything for long stretches, then they come to life for a bit. Carroll constantly talks about needing to clean things up (he did it again at half-time today, per the sideline reporter) and yet we’re nine games into the season. When’s it going to happen?

They’ve spent picks and cap-space galore on their skill players yet seem incapable of featuring any of them specifically to exploit opponents. Look at the Chargers today and the way they used Keenan Allen. I’m starting to wonder if the Seahawks have too many options? Other teams would find a way to bamboozle opponents with so many weapons. I think in Seattle, they’re simply bamboozling themselves. Receivers, tight ends, running backs. Are they spoilt for choice? This feels like a team that is almost worse for having so many options.

We’ve been talking about it for weeks but Geno Smith simply isn’t playing consistently well enough. If there was any doubt remaining, the Seahawks have to address the quarterback position in the off-season. This team will not reach its full potential without a better QB. Credit for the final two scoring drives, especially the game-winner. But we don’t need to pretend that, actually, he’s the answer for the long-haul after all just because the game ended well against a very average opponent, delivering a three-point win. Even the penultimate scoring drive at the end benefitted from a slightly fortunate fourth-down flag on Benjamin St.Juste in what otherwise would’ve been a turnover on downs.

Yet it’s not just the quarterback. They are schematically lacking on both sides of the ball. You can’t trust the coaching staff to cook up plans to outsmart their opposite numbers.

Are we supposed to believe in this defense? Not when they give up two way-too-easy scoring drives in the fourth quarter. That’s when you finish. They didn’t. They kept Washington alive. The safeties are too expensive. The pass rush, Boye Mafe aside, isn’t great. Watching at the end, you’re desperate for them to make a big play. They just couldn’t — and they actually gave up big plays instead.

There are positives. Devon Witherspoon is clearly a very good player. Mafe might never be a game-wrecker but he’s certainly showing he can be productive and could easily grow into a Cliff Avril-level talent. Ken Walker is a highly explosive playmaker who should be used better than he is (imagine what a s**t-hot coordinator could do with him). These are very good high draft picks for Seattle and highlight how well they did in the last two drafts. You need to hit on your early picks.

I suspect the next high pick they’ll need to hit on will be at the quarterback position.

The Seahawks move to 6-3 and even with Sean McVay’s stranglehold over the franchise, the Rams have stalled and Seattle should be 7-3 by this time next week. I can’t write that with much conviction though. The thought of this team emerging as a serious contender from the gauntlet of games coming up after their trip to LA is the stuff of dreams, sadly.

I just hope they’re willing to make the difficult decisions needed in the off-season to make sure we’re not having these same conversations in 12 months.


  1. Anthony

    Seahawks Twitter said that Geno is fixed because of the second half and we had almost 500 yards of offense. You can stop scouting QBs now, Rob. We have the second coming of Tom Brady.


  2. Scot04

    Well we’ll get to hear how great Geno all game.
    Worth it for the win though.
    He does deserve credit for that drive to get them the win though.
    Can we now please go get a redemption win vrs the Rams next week.

  3. 12th chuck

    At least they have 3rd down dialed in, Jamal Adams having such an impact on the game, and the ability as a team/coaching to put the game away early. Unfortunately, today is exactly how Pete wants to play every single game.

  4. Mychestisbeastmode

    Let’s talk about Thanksgiving. Where can we buy you a beer before/after the game?

    • Rob Staton

      Would be good to see people at the game! (Although I probably won’t be drinking — one for the live stream after, two because I’ll be jet lagged to F 🙂 )

  5. BrandoK

    Geno has been terrible he will never be the right guy for this team

    • Chavac

      There is just too much talent on the offensive side for it to look like this. So many plays there are windows that elite QBs can take advantage of but Geno won’t even try. I keep wondering if he refuses to throw tight throws because he has QB rating and completion % baked into his contract as incentives.

      • STTBM

        To be fair, I don’t think that’s why Geno is double-clutching, locks in on one receiver, and ignores wide open Bobo to force throws to DK or Locket. It’s because he’s being coached to be too cautious, and because he’s just not good enough.

        Even Wilson at his peak had stretches where you could see he was being coached to be overly cautious. Overreactions to a bad play or a bad game, and it usually took 3-4 games to work it out. Geno is no Wilson, this is all we’re gonna get from him.

  6. Lord Snow

    This team is just “meh”

  7. pdway

    credit to Geno for playing better in the 2nd half – but he just ain’t the guy. I actually think it’s sort of in his head right now. He’s so hesitant w the ball, and hesitant to take off and run – and it’s just a deadly sinking combination.

    I think this game just shows where and what we are – we’re a slightly above average team, w probably still something of an above-average tradition/culture, whatever you want to call it (a little like the steelers) that gets our record a little better than you’d think each year.

    Defense played so well for most of the game, that 4Q was a real letdown, b/c it’d be nice to thing we’ve solved things on one side of the ball.

    All our off-season focus needs to be on finding the next QB – will be a ceiling on this team until we do.

    • Joseph

      Considering the way the defense collapsed in the 4th, finding a QB isn’t the only issue. We need another premier pass rusher opposite Mafe. We need LBs like Fred Warner and Roquan Smith, guys with great lateral spread, and can blitz and cover. Diggs and Adams need to be replaced. And we’re getting kill with soft zone coverage, crossing routes, quick passes, and RBs sneaking out of the backfield. And once again the offensive line is an issue.

      • Peter

        Need Nwossu. Playing Jones as and END…hard pass.

        Premier pass rush? Maybe. Seattle didn’t have that when they were great. But they didn’t have the dead weight at safety either.

        You can either be great at spots or super balanced…this team is neither.

    • Donovan

      Well put.

    • Peter

      Agree with this. You see the sparks of the future and its pretty hopeful. Witherspoon, Mafe. The runningbacks. There’s something there with JSN.

  8. Producehawk

    We are maybe a wildcard team that is one and done. Maybe.

  9. Pran

    This team needs a game wrecker on Edge and #1 QB to take next step.
    The other important hole will be MLB if Bobby retires. Safeties can be better with cheap rookies.

    With Kyler coming back even AZ game is not a gimme

  10. geoff u

    The offense plays like Geno Smith. Streaky and inconsistent. This is as good as it gets.

  11. cha

    Jeremiah 12:5 seems appropriate

    If you get tired running with footmen, How can you run a race against horses? Even if you are confident in the land of peace, How will you fare among the dense thickets along the Jordan?

    • Gross MaToast


      “What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow: Our life is the creation of our mind.”

      Meditate on Jody selling. Ohmmmm…

      • Tony

        There’s just no way I don’t see mcvay coming off a bye week, with kupp back even tho he’s not 100%, running non stop crossing routes on this defense. I absolutely refuse to get my hopes up for next week. I expect the same frustration I have every week watching this team.

        • Big Mike

          If Stafford plays and is reasonably healthy, Hawks lose. McVay owns Carroll.

          • Palatypus

            The good news is that we have Witherspoon this time. How many shots to the ribs do you think TuTu Atwell can take?

            • Tony

              Tutu hasn’t done much since kupp returned. It’s all puka and kupp. Hopefully riq is back to being good. We need 3 good corners and a consistent pass rush to keep mcvay contained. But I’m sure he’d adjust and pick on bobby all day.

  12. whit21

    can anyone explain why I was watching the youtube video that had Rob, Adam, and Robbie and I tried to click on chat and it switched to Rob just solo….

    • Rob Staton

      It was a solo stream today. Adam and Robbie were never on it.

      • whit21

        well dang.. I thought you were wearing the same gear.. and I clicked on the top video.. and it was all about the upcoming rams game.. what was I watching? Thought I was on the live stream

      • whit21

        I know I was talking to another person at home.. but I swear I clicked on the video above and you had the same hat on..Talking about the rams.. then I tried to click chat because I was not on live at that point because I didnt watch the end of the game today on live.. Weirdest events ever.. makes me question life itself…

  13. BK26

    The Seahawks Facebook page had a post with the caption “A win is a win.”

    Really? They are elite us that the only takeaway is “oh, we won I guess.”

    • whit21

      Maybe thats the PR guy also getting fed up with Geno Smith

    • cha

      Their official twitter posted the same exact thing.

  14. PJ in Seattle

    Just got home from the game and saw that Geno threw for a career high 369 yds today. It certainly did not feel that way in the stands. If he’d have been on his game, I guess he would’ve gone for 500+

    I agree with the sentiment that a win is a win. Nothing is a given in the NFL. Maybe this should’ve been a cakewalk and Drew Lock should’ve been in there in the fourth quarter handing off to Charbonnet while we milked the clock with a 3 TD lead. Instead, we got another nail-biter against a team that we somehow kept letting back into the game.

    I thought this was the game JSN would break out and it looked like that might be in the offing early. Then he disappeared. But Tyler Lockett, the most underrated WR in the NFL, more than ably filled that void. As he so often does.

    All the pieces are there. We still can’t put it all together, but we are scraping out wins against the teams we should beat. We have one more week to get all the tumblers to click into place, otherwise we are looking at a 4 game gauntlet of losses on par with the Baltimore beatdown. Cmon Hawks, I want to believe. I so want to believe.

    • DJ 1/2 way

      I agree on Lockett. Not sure what stats will back up the idea. I looked it up and he is barely top 50 in yards. Something like 33 in receptions and not top 50 in yds per catch. It just seems like every time he makes a catch it is for an important first down and I want the Seahawks to throw it to hime every time.

  15. Gross MaToast

    Seattle Times:

    “Seahawks need the Geno Smith who beat the Commanders in order to reach their goals | Matt Calkins”

    • geoff u

      So we just need to play bad teams and we can be a great team? Well I have some bad news for captain obvious here concerning our upcoming schedule….

      • Peter

        Edit: we just need to beat bad teams so we can be a better than them team.

    • Rob Staton

      Oh Matt

  16. geoff u

    First team in the NFC that gets a franchise QB is going to have a hell of a run. Not entirely sold on Herts or Purdy, but there’s literally no one else. I’ve never seen it so unbalanced.

  17. Mick

    Glad we won. Again very negative impression on missed tackles and not stopping our opponents.

    I believe we’re gonna have a tough job getting a QB next year. So many team with worse record than us need one, and we’ve seen last year that even pick #5 might not be high enough.

  18. Anthony

    I can totally see Pete being stubborn and sticking with Geno Smith beyond this season. His ego wants to prove to the league that “I don’t need a Pat Mahomes or Joe Burrow to succeed, I do things my way.” JS may very well draft a QB, but Pete wants to prove that he can win without a big-time QB and so he will die on the Geno Smith hill until he decides to hang it up.

    • Rob Staton

      I doubt even Pete is that deluded for what we’ve had in 2023 for the price of $33.5m

  19. Peanut

    just imagine how life would’ve been if the 4 teams before seattle had been baited away from Stroud.

    told my friend, as dramatic as one can be, that if seattle doesn’t spend actual draft capital on a QB in 24, they are more or less accepting being a “maybe we get past the wild card with the right winds” team for the rest of Pete’s tenure.

  20. DriveByPoster

    I agree with Rob about the frustrating inconsistency. Particularly in implementing the running game. For one drive Charbonnet destroyed the Commanders & then was never seen again. Did he get injured? Who knows! But they immediately went back to the passing game that was, largely, so ineffective earlier on. It makes me grind my teeth in a most unhealthy way!

    Also, & I don’t know if someone can corroborate or refute this, it seems to me that during the first half of last season, when the offense was playing werll, the ‘hawks were getting out of the huddle much earlier. As time has gone on, they have been taking longer & longer. Giving themselves much less time to get the snap off & the opposition linemen a much better chance of anticipating the snap. To me, this is why Geno is finding himself under so much more pressure & his decision making ain’t that good under pressure.

    • EmperorMA

      I don’t really believe Geno is under all that much “pressure.” I do, however, believe that Geno holds the ball way too long and I also believe Geno locks onto his #1 read and panics and tucks it in if that guy isn’t wide open.

  21. king

    The same conversations in 12 months? The talent fluctuates, but we have basically lived the same year on repeat for a decade. It is why I actively root against the team I have loved since 1976. Until they fire Pete, it will never be anything but the same conversations. 9-10 wins, the odd division title when the other teams have collectively down years, maybe squeak out a WC win, get embarrassed in the divisional round if they do (they have been down at least 17 points in the second half of every divisional round game since 2015), and the only hope for a deep run predicated on pulling off playoff upsets that never come. The most maddening aspect of this stretch is Pete’s mistaken conviction that the team is right on the cusp. that they just need to convert third downs more consistently (know what a quarterback that consistently converts on third down is called; elite) and win the turnover battle, which is probably the highest variance, least controllable aspect of the game. All of which leads to misuse of resources right at the moment a little patience would actually let the team turn the corner to become something resembling the ultra talent rich core that Pete has to have to win with his traditional conservative philosophy.

    • Rob Staton

      The same conversations in 12 months? The talent fluctuates, but we have basically lived the same year on repeat for a decade

      This is a QB specific point though, which we didn’t have during the Wilson years

    • EmperorMA

      I also believe that Pete’s almost crazy insistence on getting turnovers is one of the biggest reasons behind this defense’s propensity for missed tackles. Using both hands to try and strip the ball while the ball carrier is running by you is no way to get said ball-carrier to the ground!

  22. DJ 1/2 way

    Another excellent read and comments section. Here are a few unrelated thoughts.

    Robs comments on the winning QBs of the last ten Superbowls is correct in hindsight. Foles is the one that does not match. It is worth noting that 6/10 were drafted 3rd round or later. That said, I think the Seahawks should pick Rattler or Ewers with their first pick.

    The NIL deals have changed everything. The speculation that Ewers plays another year of College could also apply to Caleb Williams. That may seem unlikely, but is there a limit to the NIL money? If either one transfers it could be a multi-million dollar deal. Also note that one of the best landing spots for a transfer QB is UW.

    That brings me to the coaching. Could an NFL team draft a system dependent QB and then hire the coaches? Could Ewers bring along Sark as an OC with a promise to be head coach later? Would a team want Penix and half the UW staff?

    Here is a reminder that the NFL is a copycat league, so there will be a lot of teams looking for the next CJ Stroud and whoever quarterbacks the next Superbowl winner. That will likely be one of five or six teams who’s QB stays healthy.

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