Sometimes the end of a football game spells it out to you.
A defense that couldn’t stop anything, failing to protect an eight point lead.
An offense in the clutch moments, failing to deliver.
The end result is the Seahawks are a .500 team tonight.
Here’s what the end of that game tells us. Firstly, the defense isn’t good enough. Some have bent over backwards recently trying to convince people otherwise. Here was the reality check. Dallas had only one drive in the entire game where they didn’t score — unwisely going for a fourth down conversion instead of kicking a field goal to take the lead. CeeDee Lamb, who was wide open, dropped a rare pass. That was the only time the Cowboys didn’t score.
The unit is not aggressive enough to create pressure yet not talented enough up front to allow the defense to sit in soft zones and be picked apart. Experienced players such as Bobby Wagner and Jamal Adams are a liability in coverage. The pass rush, currently, isn’t good enough to create problems to compensate.
This is despite a massive resource spend on the defense. The picks, the salaries, the trades.
It’s not good enough.
It’s time more attention was focused on how bad this Seahawks defense has been for too long. As Gregg Rosenthal pointed out this week, Pete Carroll’s defense has been a problem for a number of years. The same issues are evident, year after year.
Then the offense. It actually stepped up to the plate today. For three quarters it was looking like a fantastic performance. They exploited Daron Bland apart from one exceptional interception. They asked questions of Dallas and kept putting points on the board. The receivers played well, they made better use of the tight ends. Protection was better.
Yet when the game was on the line, they were found wanting. Three failed fourth down conversions in a row. They needed one, four and two yards on each occasion and couldn’t do it.
The final play was a disaster. Micah Parsons was unblocked and Geno Smith panicked, throwing it at the feet of Deejay Dallas. It was a total bust. After the game, Smith said the plan all along was to allow Parsons a free run, with Dallas the intended target.
On the biggest play of the game, that was your go-to call?
What about max-protect to try and stop one of the best in the world having a free run at the QB and throwing an effective slant to D.K. Metcalf, who had played well all night? How about anything in fact, rather than that play call?
It further speaks to the way Shane Waldron isn’t getting it done as offensive coordinator and the quarterback isn’t absolved of blame either. That comes with the territory of being a QB. When the game is on the line, you need to step up. Dak Prescott did just that with critical scoring drives with the game on the line. Geno couldn’t, in a winnable game the Seahawks had to have. They had three fourth down opportunities and converted none.
For years the Seahawks could rely on Russell Wilson in these situations to give his team a punchers chance. I’m afraid, despite playing well for three quarters, when it mattered Geno Smith came up short.
Here’s what I think it means. Carroll, by now, should’ve been able to produce a better defense than this. Especially for the investment in the unit. How much longer is he going to get to sort this out before serious questions are asked — from the media and from the people making the decisions at the top of the franchise?
The team clearly needs a better play-caller and offensive decision maker. The team needs to draft a quarterback who can become a difference maker.
Many will clamour for a change at the top and frankly, it’s justified. Pete Carroll was 15-19 in Seattle before drafting Russell Wilson and he’s 15-15 since trading him to Denver. Without a top performing quarterback, he has not had sustained success. Just as he didn’t have success with the Patriots and Jets before.
His inability to build another great defense after years of trying — or to create a consistent identity this year — is just cause for having a discussion about whether he is the best man to lead the Seahawks. He shouldn’t just get a pass because of successes a decade ago or because people think an ownership change is imminent. Jody Allen says it isn’t and she also says she’s committed to winning. Therefore, everything should be on the table.
Drafting a quarterback and pairing them with an offensive-minded Head Coach — while bringing in an experienced defensive coordinator to sort out the defense — feels like a plan an increasing number of people can get behind. It would launch a new era of Seahawks football.
What I think is more likely is Waldron will be fired in the off-season, Carroll will remain and they’ll appoint a new offensive coordinator. I would hope there would be some pressure to open the wallet and go ‘big’ on a key hire but that would be a change from the norm. Carroll has had four go’s at appointing an OC and each will have ended in a firing. How many more chances does he get? If it happens, I think they then will be aggressive to get a quarterback in the draft, possibly trading up.
Carroll will be well aware of his record with and without Wilson. It’s clear as day he needs a difference maker. With time running out and with little concern, it seems, for the long term — I wouldn’t be surprised if they traded a fortune to move right up in round one to land someone who can be that difference maker for them.
Whether that happens or not, one thing is absolutely sure. They are currently set to pay a combined cap-hit of $48.1m for Quandre Diggs and Jamal Adams next year. That cannot happen. That, plus money spent in certain other areas, must be transferred to the trenches. This is long overdue.
If you missed by post-game stream, watch it here: