Thoughts on the Seahawks @ Steelers

We’re going to learn a lot about the 2019 Seahawks in the next two games.

A trip to Pittsburgh followed by a home game against New Orleans. Two opportunities to make a statement but also two very challenging contests.

Beating Cincinnati by a solitary point was so incredibly vital with these two games next on the schedule.

For now I want to focus on the game this weekend against the Steelers. It’d be very easy to look at their 33-3 defeat in New England and think they’ve regressed. Admittedly they’ve lost Antonio Brown this year (they didn’t technically have Le’Veon Bell in 2018). Overall, though, they remain a strong and competitive opponent on paper.

The Steelers are 8-2 in home openers over the last 10 years. They’ve also shown a knack for bouncing back after difficult road starts.

For example — they were heavily beaten (35-7) at AFC North rivals Baltimore in 2011. They responded by trouncing the Seahawks 24-0 in their home opener the following week. In 2012 they lost 31-19 to Peyton Manning and the Broncos. They then handsomely defeated the New York Jets 27-19 in week two.

Last time they started a season with a defeat in New England (2015) they hammered the 49ers 43-18 the following week at home.

Their only two losses in home openers over the last decade were against Tennessee in 2013 (they started the season 0-4 before recovering to 8-8) and last year against the Chiefs (where Patrick Mahomes announced his arrival leading Kansas City to a 42-37 shoot-out win).

Steelers home openers over the last 10 years

2009 — Tennessee (W 13-10 OT)
2010 — Atlanta (W 15-9 OT)
2011 — Seattle (W 24-0) (Lost opening game 35-7 @ Baltimore)
2012 — NY Jets (W 27-10) (Lost opening game 31-19 @ Denver)
2013 — Tennessee (L 16-9) (Started 0-4 before finishing 8-8)
2014 — Cleveland (W 30-27)
2015 — San Francisco (W 43-18) (Lost opening game 28-21 @ NE)
2016 — Cincinnati (W 24-16)
2017 — Minnesota (W 26-9)
2018 — Kansas City (L 42-37)

You can learn a lot from team trends. A slow start for the Seahawks isn’t unusual. Sunday’s ‘tighter than expected’ win against the Bengals is par for the course. Mike at Beast Pode wrote an excellent piece discussing why the game was close and it’s well worth checking out.

For the Steelers it isn’t unusual for them to lose on the road to start a season and then rebound the following week.

The Seahawks were also shredded by Ben Roethlisberger the last time the teams met in 2015. It’s hard to believe that game was four years ago. Roethlisberger threw for 456 yards against a secondary that included Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. The Steelers should’ve won the game and didn’t due to highly avoidable errors (a bizarre Big Ben interception, a poorly executed fake field goal, going for a field goal late in the game).

Seattle took away Pittsburgh’s running game (DeAngelo Williams had only eight carries for 29 yards) and were still carved up (much like they were at times last week).

There is one big difference between the 2015 Steelers and the 2019 version though. Speed. Markus Wheaton gashed the secondary for 201 yards on nine catches. Martavis Bryant added 69 yards and Sherman did an excellent job restricting Antonio Brown to 51 yards. Pittsburgh doesn’t have that kind of speed at receiver any more. JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington are both 4.54 runner’s. They’re also both adept at making big plays downfield and competing — so this will still be a real challenge for Seattle’s secondary.

The concern has to be that even if Pittsburgh aren’t able to run the ball, they’ll still be able to exploit Seattle’s structured defense. They might do a more effective job than the Bengals of finishing and they’re at home — not on the road. Pressuring Roethlisberger will be vital on top of avoiding some of the mistakes we saw in the secondary against Cincinnati. This will be a big game for the cornerback’s and safety’s — the pass rush has to be consistent too. Roethlisberger can be provoked to make mistakes. He’s also approaching his 38th birthday in March and isn’t quite as nimble as he used to be. He’s still elusive — but they’ve got to make life difficult for him or he’ll likely repeat Dalton’s production from week one.

The Seahawks are going to have to score points and stay out of their own way. If they can’t run the ball — and Pittsburgh will likely dedicate resources to stopping the run — they’ll need to find other ways to put points on the board. Seattle’s ability to execute their offensive plan and dictate the tone of the game will be especially important this week. If it ends up being a shoot-out like 2015, they’ll need answers and a Plan B.

This is a very difficult second game for Seattle. Winning in Pittsburgh is tough. If they pull it off to go 2-0 — the contest against New Orleans will feel a little bit like week two in 2013. It’ll be an opportunity to flex to the rest of the NFC and make a statement.

They’ll need to play a lot better than they did against the Bengals to achieve that though on both sides of the ball.

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  1. Robeetle12

    I was hoping for a rundown on Pittsburgh since I don’t know much about them, so thanks for that.

    Kinda mysterious that T.Thompson is showing up on the Hawks injury report today. Looks like they will be making a switch there, and quite frankly it’s needed. Also Collier seems like he’s going to get some playing time this week and hopefully Ansah. They could definitely use both of them.

    The o-line graded out 31 out of 32 teams from the game Sunday only beating the Dolphins who earlier traded their left tackle. They can only get better (hopefully).

  2. Murphy

    My wife and I will be at this game (and the game in Cleveland) and could not be more excited. It will undoubtedly be a tough match up but I’m confident that as usual Pete Carrol led teams will continue to approve as the season goes on. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that LJ is healthy enough to play. I’d love to see his first game in person.

    Lastly, thank you Rob for this blog. The quality is excellent, balanced, and consistent. More importantly, my dad thinks I’m the worlds foremost expert on all things Seahawks, when the reality is I just repeat your latest post over the phone to him.

    Go Hawks!!!!

    • Kenny Sloth

      Love hearing “Sea-Hawks” chants at away games. 💚💙

    • CHawk Talker Eric

      Enjoy! I hope you have much reason to celebrate boisterously!

    • Stevo

      Enjoy! I lived in Pittsburgh last season (back in my beloved NW now). Pittsburgh fans are for real. They love their team and they really know their team. Their stadium experience is as good as it is in Seattle.

      Those stats above — of how often the Steelers rise up to win their home opener — are compelling. And, seems to me that Carroll’s Seahawks almost always blow one or two on the road early in the season. I’m nervous now.

  3. Sea Mode

    Man, I don’t know… The idea in the Tasteful Profanity article sounds good at first, but the more I think about it, the less I am convinced. I’d like thoughts from you all on it. I kind of have two main angles on it right now.

    1. I mean, I know film study and game planning are obviously a HUGE part, arguably the most important, of the NFL game. But it’s one thing not to put your trick plays or particularly innovative plays on display when not truly necessary, and it’s another thing entirely to handcuff yourself so much that you end up losing (or almost losing) to inferior opponents.

    The only way I see this actually working consistently is if you are absolutely kicking their butts in the run game. In that case, go ahead and keep running it down their throats until they finally stack the box with 9 guys or whatever. But we got them to stack the box last Sun. and didn’t take advantage of it anyways. So what is the actual plan then?

    2. I think it can actually be a better strategy to put more on film rather than less. First of all, because you actually get to use a diverse playbook against the current opponent, enabling you to exploit whatever weakness you can identify instead of just running (lit. and fig.) into their team strengths. But secondly, because the more you put on tape, the more the opposing defense has to account for.

    An analogy might be digital security. I read somewhere that GoT was worried about the final episodes of one of their seasons leaking early and spoiling the hype, so instead of just trying to lock down and protect that one file, they made a ton of copies of fake files on their server with different endings to keep any potential hackers guessing.

    The more diversity you put on film, the more layers you can add to it down the line to keep opponents second guessing their film study. I understand we used to do this a lot, at least under Bevell: run several different plays out of the same personnel alignments.

    Maybe this is easier said than done. Maybe it’s too hard to do when your philosophy is to play young guys right away, so you might need to keep the playbook less complex.

    I don’t know about you, but I think I would rather walk into PIT with a few more plays on tape than count on a lucky missed FG to avoid a loss against a team we should have handily beaten (and gained confidence from beating). A win is a win, right? They all count the same on your record. Shouldn’t our regular season goal be to win enough for home field advantage in the playoffs, and not to supposedly be setting up for some hypothetical playoff game that we never made it to anyway because we didn’t open up the playbook enough against our current opponent?

    Or maybe I am over-simplifying, but how about a little more innovation in the first half of games, then we can close up the playbook and just run it to protect the lead in the second half? Or is this something that innately goes against PC’s philosophy of “games are won in the 4th quarter”? That’s great to rally for a comeback, but I guess I would like to be able to say more often: “games are iced in the 4th quarter”.

    Anyway, sorry for the long post. But I’ve really come to question this approach as of late, and reading it proposed as an actual Seahawks’ strategy with tape evidence to back it up just makes me want to address my doubts even more.

    (P.S. and we can continue with part 2 of this topic later: game planning/play calling vs. execution.)

    • Gohawks5151

      I think it comes down to confidence/arrogance like Pete talked about on the radio this week. They want the run to be their identity. To do so you have got to have that “ram it down their throat” type mentality throughout. From RB to OL to OC to HC. In that mind set you really don’t care about what the defense does to counter or how many formations you are running out of. Its football bravado at its finest. I can’t say that i agree with all of that (in another time i was an offensive lineman, so you know i love the run) but i understand the mind set you have to be committed to, to succeed in this scheme.

      That being said there are things that the Seahawks should be doing/showing on film that an opponent should be forced to spend practice time on. You are right about Bevell being good at this. Throwing a diamond formation out once a game will force a team to spend some time talking about it in practice. Seattle has many pieces that should make a defense work harder in the film room. A moblie QB, a slot guy who can run the fly sweep, a sneaky block and release TE, and a RB that can be split out and be a good matchup (Procise). They can do better for sure.

      In my opinion this was a bit of gamesmanship by Pete. The Bengals were bad last year. I think they wanted to be vanilla on Offense and Defense going into a tough road game this week. Cincy gave them all they could handle but they won. Now i don’t think Seattle will come out in a bunch of new formations but i bet they will show more than they did last week (screen?). They element of the unknown is a good equalizer as we found out from Cincy.

      • Simo

        You may be right about Pete’s desire to keep the offensive game plan very basic last week, like many of us he thought the team could manhandle the Bengals and show very little to the Steelers in the process. Unfortunately, the over confidence and very conservative play calling almost cost them the game. Also, give tons of credit to Cincy’s staff, they had their team well prepared and very amped up!

        However, I don’t think anyone (players, coaches, fans) will be over confident heading into Pittsburgh on Sunday. If we win, we’ll have to earn it. Let’s hope last week served as a big wake up call to the entire team, and that each unit/player comes out eager to shine and improve.

      • BradHawk

        Bengals have a great DL that we thought we could push around because they could not stop the run last year. Pete admitted our offensive strategy was wrong! Though we gave up huge yards (Dalton deserves credit) we maintained the lead most of the game. If the Seahawks had played from behind most of the game then I would be concerned but that didn’t happen!

        • Hawkdawg

          Interestingly, in his post-game comments on Sunday, and again on Monday, Pete insisted that the Hawks had played “from behind for most of the game….”

          • BradHawk

            It definitely looked that way probably had scripted plays in the 2nd quarter. But the whole 4th quarter I wasn’t worried at all had they taken the lead we have so many big plays in the playbook. When I watched the Saints & Texans go back & forth with big plays I said to myself after each big play we can do that too. Not many teams have the weapons & the QB to do it consistently. Dalton got lucky on his big pass plays & he took what our zone D gave him that’s how you beat us if you can stop the run but Bengals did not stop the run when it really mattered. That’s the deceiving stat in run stats it’s not always about yards.

    • MyChestIsBeastmode

      Seahawks employ GoT strategy for 2019 season? After watching the final GoT season, I’m a hard pass on that one.

      (A bit tongue-in-cheek and cherry picking of your post)

      I do miss the days of Holmgren when our first 15 scripted offensive plays were usually on point (no pun intended) regularly leading to TDs and FG on our opening drive.

      • CHawk Talker Eric

        Holmgren’s Seahawks were well suited personnel-wise to scripted drives. Hasselbeck, Alexander, Jones, Hutch, Engram, Stevens, Strong — all good to great position players. I mean, just the duo of Jones and Hutch meant they owned the left side. None were great improvisers like Wilson or Lockett (previously ADB until this season) or Carson. Nothing against the current roster, but other than Wilson (whose game has been largely based on improvisation) they aren’t able to execute their assignments (both individually and as a unit) consistently well enough to make 15-play opening scripts practical. Especially when the current team’s first 3 plays typically result in a punt.

        That was another thing Holmgren’s Hawks did well: they scored on more of their opening drives. Wish I could find stats to see how much more.

    • cha

      “But we got them to stack the box last Sun. and didn’t take advantage of it anyways. So what is the actual plan then?”

      They did take advantage. See the Metcalf and Lockett deep catches, the Lockett drop that should have been a catch, etc. I would say the question isn’t so much of the plan as can they consistently execute and make good in-game adjustments. I liked what I saw in those areas, but I think more is needed. It will come with more familiarity with Metcalf, Brown, Dissly integrating more and the reliance on Baldwin fading.

      “Or maybe I am over-simplifying, but how about a little more innovation in the first half of games, then we can close up the playbook and just run it to protect the lead in the second half?”

      I agree. I think this has always been a fan point of concern during the PC tenure. I’ve often wondered if they could just open the game with a quick-tempo, throw downfield, RW scrambles for 4-7 yards the second he feels pressure kind of offense. Just for one series. Forget the slow developing passes, forget establishing the run (have Carson in the flat for dump offs), just go right at them and get the D on their heels and send the DC scrambling. Get a TD or a FG and then settle into your ground & pound. It gets RW’s blood pumping a bit and his instincts taking over, instead of waiting for the Hawks to be behind with 1:47 to play to engineer a really amazing drive.

      Easy to say though, hard to do. I think vs Cincy they threw more on first down more than they have in the past and the pass pro was a problem, so they faced 2nd and long and 3rd and long which pushed them behind the sticks, and it was hard to establish any rhythm.

      • CHawk Talker Eric

        Their last drive of the game vs CIN, nursing a 1 point lead, needing only to manage the clock and extend the drive long enough to run it out, they started with a pass. Yes, it was a catch Lockett should have caught. And if he had, it probably would’ve been enough to seal the win. But like that final play in SB49, why risk it? Your offensive identity is run it down their throats. Even if it went for no gain at least the clock is running.

  4. Sea Mode

    PC Week 2 Wednesday Press Conference notes

    On PIT:
    – First big trip for a lot of our guys.
    – PIT is just a classic, tough team. Dangerous.
    – What makes coaches (like Tomlin and PC) good for the long haul in a league with so much coaching turnover? Finding consistency where people around you can count on you. To do that, you have to find your philosophy and your principles. If you flip-flop around, you will stumble.
    – How to prepare for Big Ben? Unique, resourceful, competitive. We know what we’re up against. Remarkable at getting out of trouble and finding a WR.
    – NE just played great last week all-around. Whoever they played was going to have problems. Tomlin will have his team firing back this week.

    On the CIN game:
    – Britt played through some soreness. A little hobbled up now. Should play.
    – Pass pro wasn’t as clean as we anticipated.
    – CJ was less involved in the plan last week. Wanted to get him in Q4, but it didn’t work out and our other guys weren’t over-worked.
    – Jefferson took a huge step forward and was so close to even bigger numbers. Just want to keep him playing like he practices, no different or higher expectations.
    – Clint Hurtt did a great job rotating. Clowney said he had never been rotated and felt as fresh as that throughout a game.
    – Clowney has brought a great attitude off the field as well. Has been humble and fun to be around, done extra work in the meeting rooms, etc.
    – We brought in Al Woods thinking he would play. Great effort as a big man chasing down the ball and made some huge stops. Couldn’t ask for anything more.
    – Green can play outside or inside.

    On Injuries:
    – Amadi took a big shot. Is trying to practice today, but we’ll have to see what happens. Shoulder. Jamar Taylor will compete at nickel like before.
    – Dissly is ok.
    – Poona has a calf strain. Wanted to practice today, but they held him out.
    – Thorpe has a hammy. Hard to play with that at his position.
    – Ziggy is one day at a time.
    – LG is still Mike Iupati’s job when he gets back.
    – Hunt ran today, ahead of schedule.
    – LJ will practice in full this week. Before he was hurt it was noticeable in how much better shape he arrived compared to when he visited during draft process.

    • MyChestIsBeastmode

      To add one more interesting tidbit frm PC on Clowney: He said Clowney is noticeably happy in his demeanor with his new team and situation.

      I can’t help but feel this may grow into a great relationship with one of the greatest D-linemen of our time. A long season ahead, but I hope this plays out well and Clowney is offered and agrees to a long-term contract with the Hawks. Phew, he is a one man wrecking ball out there. Those swim moves are insane, moving 3-5 yards laterally in a split-second. I guarantee Jefferson doesn’t have that kind of game without Clowney causing so much havoc all across the trenches. If/when Ansah and LJ come back healthy (and Poona… AND Reed) we may be in for one hell of a show!

      • DC

        Hoping for a healthy, long-term Clown-Hawk marriage also. From the small sample size of game 1, I’m a believer.

        • Robeetle12

          Is it a coincidence that IT part 2 started the same week we got Clowney?

  5. WALL UP

    Agreed, the next two are pivotal for the season. If they steal the Pit game, watch out! The N.O. game will be like playing with house money.

    If Ansah, Clowney, Collier & gang, and perhaps Poona(“who wants to go”) are able to get Ben off the spot and sack em early and often. Then there just may be a chance. The 1st quarter will be the key.

    • Rob Staton

      I wouldn’t agree that the first quarter is key. There’s still four quarters to react to anything that happens early. Football is often a game of adjustments. The key for Seattle is improvement in vital areas and being able to avoid getting in their own way.

      • Robeetle12

        After watching a Pete Carroll offense for a decade the only thing I can say is when they start strong they usually end up losing the game. Let them be who they are and roll with what we get.

  6. Uncle Bob

    History repeats………………and a PC led Seahawk team usually doesn’t do well in the first two games of the season. For whatever reason(s) a fan wants to embrace the outcome is reasonably easy to predict. In part it’s the reality that in this cap driven era that there are a lot of new team mates who need to learn to function together, which takes time. Then there’s Pete’s underlying philosophy of limiting risk, I.E. playing not to lose. Once the team is well tuned that philosophy can work reasonably well, especially with higher talent players, but with a team still in the “figuring out” phase, not so much. The likely shake up in the secondary this week will prolong the sorting/familiarization. The remake of the receiving corps, and cautious injury returns of the O line impede the offense. Those may be necessary, but unsettling as well. And against an historically proud team who was highly embarrassed last week, and now in their home opener, it’s a very dangerous scenario for the Hawks.

    Except for the secondary the Seahawk defense should be respectable. Tomlin is sorting his receiving corps too, and they lost an outstanding O line coach. Too much dependence on the high quality linebackers last week cost the Hawks as the Bengals exploited it well. Will they make the same mistake this week, either because they feel they have to or because they fear they don’t have a better option? We’ll see. The O line got whipped badly by a more decent than acknowledged defensive front, and the Steelers won’t be any easier. I grimace when the Hawks fail to exploit a fierce rush with some quick short passes. They flashed a little of that in preseason, but rarely do it in the real games. We’ve got a guy who is very well suited for those kinds of plays. (I can’t believe I’m going to say this) Prosise, if he’s not suffering from a hang nail, could be a tool to slow a rush that is set to just T off on every snap. I’m not too hopeful on that based on past performance though. I wish I didn’t expect that sacks will be too numerous again as last season.

    I want to see these Seahawks put up a respectable contest………….I just don’t expect it this early in a season.

  7. EranUngar

    This game a huge for PIT after the hard lose at NE. (70% of teams that start 0-2 do not make the playoffs)

    They will come hungry physical and motivated and will be a very hard to stop. There are parts of the Seahawks team that will come just as motivated to improve on their performance last Sunday (OL, Seconday, running game, Lockett).

    Losing at PIT is not the end of the world but winning there against an 0-1 team in their home opener is a statement.

    “The Seahawks were also shredded by Ben Roethlisberger the last time the teams met in 2015”, “Roethlisberger threw for 456 yards…” and LOST that game. Last week Dalton “shredded” the Seahawks for over 400 yards and LOST the game.

    In fact, 6 QBs posted over 400 yards against the Seahawks during the PC era. They have only one thing in common – They LOST those games. The Seahawks are 6-0 when opposing QBs pass for over 400 yards….

    I’d rather not see Big Ben pass for more than 400 yards but football games are won and lost on key situational plays (red zone, 3rd downs, turnovers etc.) and yards are just a stat.

    • Rob Staton

      And how many times have QB’s thrown for 350-400 yards and beaten the Seahawks?

      It’s a quirky stat and quite weird but let’s be right here, the Seahawks were very lucky to win some of those games and others were massive blowouts and an opponent just needing to throw (eg Niners at home 2018). Any time you’re being shredded for massive yardage it’s not a positive.

      • king.

        Thank you.

    • Doug

      Right on, Eran! I get that the Steelers will come out breathing fire after getting spanked by NE last week. But our DL will be improved from week 1 with an additional week of practice together (Clowney) plus the additions to the rotation (Ansah, Collier). I also expect to see a better result from the secondary as a whole–fewer errors in coverage. The OL can’t play worse than they did vs Cincy, and part of that was due to play selection (Carroll: we were a bit arrogant there”).

      I expect a very tough, competitve match on Sunday, and ST may be the difference. In that case, the Seahawks will have an edge.

    • Gohawks5151

      I haven’t seen the snap counts or anything but you would like to think being in more nickel will at least dampen some of the pass numbers down. PIT likes to run i understand but even without Kendricks our defensive front is solid assuming Poonas replacement is at least OK. I’d like to see our corners run a little bit more man/bump this game with less of a burner threat at receiver. What’s the point of drafting all these long armed, strong dudes if they don’t get to lay hands on a WR?

      • EranUngar

        I agree that nickel may dampen the quick short passing game. However, what happened against CIN actually vindicated the base defense. They were vulnerable when having to cover the whole field against 11 sets and had to play a lot of zone and keep gains to a minimum but one CIN made it inside our 30 and the field became short, they were stopped. % trips into our 30 and not a single TD to show for it.

        Their 2 TDs were a great trick play and a stupid double mistake both from near midfield.

        • EranUngar

          Sorry, poor typing, 5 trips into our 30 and NO TDs.

  8. Nick

    I really appreciate the overview. For me, this week I’m most interested in seeing the following:

    -If Seattle can lead at half-time on the road. We always seem to be playing from behind and that really hurts our commitment to the run game in the 2nd half.

    -If Seattle stays with playing three LBs for around 70% of snaps. James Washington, JJS, and Montcrief are a good WR corps, but are they good enough for PC to take out Kendricks and throw in Taylor/Amadi?

    -Can Metcalf continue to thrive while Lockett gets double-teamed again (most likely)?

    -Can this secondary force a turnover?! Would love to see TT have a huge game in this regards. He’s due and it’s needed.

    -Will they roll out CJ Prosise? You know Schotty has had like two years for designing plays for this guy…

    -Does the O-line rebound against a stout PIT d-line? I’m particularly looking for a better game from Britt.

    What are other people looking forward to learning?

    • icb12

      I’m looking forward to learning whether or not the Seahawks can score a point in Pittsburgh.

      Last 2 times they have gone into pittsburgh they’ve been outscored 45-0.

    • Awsi Dooger

      Hard to believe Seattle would stick with 3 linebackers so frequently against Pittsburgh. The Steelers are abusing the empty set far beyond any team in the league. Last season they ran 99 plays in empty, which was 31.9% of the league total.

      I know that because I always save the annual league-strategy link from Football Outsiders. Here is the 2018 breakdown of offensive choices throughout the league:

      Atop the defensive breakdown, they ask an interesting question: Should the term “Front Seven” be replaced by “Front Six?”

      As detailed, by NFL current norm and ongoing trend, the answer is Yes.

      In looking at the 2018 defensive breakdown, Seattle still runs base about 1/3 of the time. That is among the highest percentages in the league (5th). Interesting that New England, Detroit (Patricia) and Baltimore all have a similar defensive blueprint, and it is different than the application of any other team. All 3 of those teams run base only 12-16% of the time and nickel as predominant at 54-58%, and dime at 26-33%. The glaring variance is that Belichick prefers dime in greater percentage than the other two. He is the 33% white Detroit and Baltimore are each 26%. New England has the lowest slice among the 3 teams in base and nickel, to allow for the uptick in dime.

      The Seahawks last season were 34% base, 49% nickel and 14% in dime. The dime (6 defensive backs) category is where variance is greatest. In 2018 it ranged all the way from 0% (Carolina, Miami) all the way to 64% (Chargers). Once that team acquired Derwin James they quickly realized he could be fill almost any role, hence the abuse of dime. I’m becoming increasingly sick that my team the Dolphins drafted Minkah Fitzpatrick instead of James, who was just sitting there and obviously a far superior physical specimen to Minkah. Once the Dolphins shake out of this tank mode they need a handful of special guys already there.

    • Hawktalker#1

      Good post
      Couple of things
      One, per PC, Lockett was actually double teamed a lot less than we think. CIN had coverages that just made it hard on him.
      Two, TT is not going to start this week. Hard to say exactly who the starter will be.

      I’d also like to see us do a better job with our adjustments. My understanding is that CIN was using a specific (unique) type of Tampa two that we had not seen much of. I get that, but as often as they used it in the game, let’s make some adjustments to it so their coverage isn’t locking up our best receiver all the time.

      Even though we might have been using a bend but don’t break philosophy, our zone secondary coverage was shredded pretty badly. Not only does that give up a bunch of yards that we don’t want to, it also gives the other team a lot of momentum we don’t want them to have either. Let’s not let them have any rhythm if we can help it.

      Also, did anyone else pick up on Pete’s press conference that he was a little irritated that Ziggy likely wasn’t going to play? Seems like he was saying he thought he was ready but not sure Ziggy wanted to. Seemed like that choice was on Ziggy and not on the coaching staff. I got the feeling that Ziggy is not 100% all in.

  9. ZB

    I think most people overlook the fact that Steelers don’t have the incredible RB or WR anymore. Our backfield may have problems with fast and quick receivers but I’m not seeing it with the Steelers this year. Also their new starting RB is not LB even if he pretty good.

    Along with Ansah and Collier added to the rotation I believe this game will be a sneaky good one.

  10. Isaac

    It’s tough to say we are going to learn that much from these next two games. For the last few years the hawks have transformed themselves after the 3rd or 4th game. So what we see early could be totally different than what we see by week 5. I remember analysts calling Seattle the worst team in football after the first two games last year. So I personally will sit back and wait for the transformation we see so often.

    • Simo

      Completely agree Isaac! I’m hopeful that trend continues, as most teams would be thankful to show significant and steady improvement as the season moves along.

      At the same time, these sluggish early season games still frustrate. It almost lends credibility to the notion of getting starters significantly more time in the preseason. If the risk of injury wasn’t so high that is.

  11. Bigten

    Lockett on the injury report with a back injury.

    • DC

      Ursua time. Make em look good for picking you Johnny boy! And make sure you make it difficult to pull you when Lockett comes back. Da Kine rookie show coming your way brah.

  12. Adog

    deception darkens the day. children halt their play. fake is a face that smiles a frown. compete in game… win and ride a wheel… lose and linger be last to light. tricks and treats… ticks on teats… deception wins the day.

    • Rob Staton

      And the carpet sprawled down the carrot bridge to rest pleasantly on the moon sledge.

      • afog

        i guess i could have simply said that i believe this game will hinge on trick plays… classic hawks and steelers…

      • Sea Mode

        😂 👏👏👏

  13. BradHawk

    Seahawks are the better team! We will crush Pitt if our CB’s play well. Good luck stopping Metcalf, Lockett, Carson, & Prosise. We will attack WR’s & LB’s and Big Ben will sacked again & again the only way they can beat us is controlling the clock & running the ball down our throats

  14. BradHawk

    Has anyone considered the possibility that the Bengals are a better team than the Steelers?

    • Doug

      Stranger things have happened. You don’t expect a team with a new coaching staff to show much improvement the first year with largely the same team. But the losses the Steelers have suffered in personnel are significant. We have talked about how losing ADB for the Seahawks–AB for the Steelers was a bigger weapon than ADB, proportionally. By the end of the year though would it really be that crazy to see the Steelers looking up from the bottom of the AFC North? Cleveland has talent if they can ever get it together, the Ravens are the class of the division it would appear, and maybe Cincy is actually good.

      • BradHawk

        Dunlap most under rated DE in the league & young Baylor DT finally producing with one of the best DT’s in the league. They looked like monsters to me for 3 quarters

    • Simo

      I’m not willing to go that far yet! Yes, the Steelers lost some very talented players, but by most accounts they still have a more talented roster, top to bottom, than the Bengals.

      That doesn’t mean Cincy has no talented players, they clearly do. I just wouldn’t just to this conclusion after a single game! Time will tell how these two teams compare, let’s wait until they play each other to decide who is better.

    • Hawktalker#1

      LOL no.

  15. neil

    We know that Roethlisberger has spoken in the last year or so about retiring. Could just be his heart just isn’t in it anymore. Couple of sports writers commented he looked some what disinterested at times. Hiss qbr for the game was 66. Who knows how much of his ineffectiveness was due to the Patriots defensive scheme or his mind set. Maybe their is hope for the Hawks this week if they can keep him under constant pressure and frustrate him.

  16. DC

    I saw ‘Awsi Dooger’ had a post in the ‘What’s being said?’ zone but it’s nowhere to be found in the responses section and the hyperlink didn’t link.

    Where’d you go AD?

    • Sea Mode

      Comment must have been awaiting approval because it had more than one link in it. It is there now above.

  17. Paul Cook

    Nice write up for the game.

    Here’s my two cents, or keys to the game…

    1) Get off to a good start.

    The Hawks would be well served by coming out with some urgency to move the ball down field, move the chains, score early. I don’t want to see a lackluster offense in the first half. Get on top of them. Keep the crowd out of the game.

    2) Pressure Roethlisberger relentlessly.

    Big Ben is getting older, creakier, and less mobile. Plain for my eyes to see. If there’s a game to use various blitz schemes, this is it. We should play as if we have nothing to lose and everything to gain in this game. We can’t give Ben time to pick apart our secondary.

    3) Win the turnover game.

    Goes without saying for a PC team.

    This would be a HUGE win for us. And like Rob said, it would set up the next game against the Saints at home as a marque early season game in the NFC.

  18. JimQ

    In support of RB-Rashaad Penny, he hasn’t had more than 12 carries as a Seahawk, when given those
    12 carries, he delivered a 100+ yard rushing game. Most games he is given only 4-7 carries. He’s a player hat just needs playing time to show what he is capable of accomplishing. Even the great Beastmode needed lots of carries to put up his numbers and he seemed to get better as he wore the defenders down. IMO: PC is trying to get Penny to improve his weakest aspect (up the middle) to make him into a more complete RB that can take over from Carson eventually. Ideally, Penny needs 2/3 outside & 1/3 inside runs & Carson 1/3 outside and 2/3 inside runs to keep defenses guessing.

    RE: Marshawn Lynch, many, in fact most, Seahawk fans have an unrelenting belief that he was the best Seahawk RB of all time and perhaps rightly so, however many also chose to only remember the great plays from Lynch and tend to overlook his first year in Seattle. This isn’t any disrespect for Marshawn Lynch, however, listed below is Beastmode’s first season as a Seahawk. Many may have forgotten how much Lynch struggled in his 1-st season. Stats show some element of improvement as the season wore on & also a factor was Lynch’s nagging injuries that were obviously effecting him when he only got a few carries in games. Also of note, Lynch initially had difficulty accepting the logic of hit the hole/seam fast, w/o hesitation and go downhill, he figured that out later in the season.

    —Lynch’s game log for his fist 12 games as a “3+ year veteran from Buffalo” RB for the Seahawks
    10/17/2010 vs: Chicago & had 17 carries for 44-yds, 2.59-YPC, 1-TD,, Longest run 12-yds
    10/24/2010 vs: Arizona & had 24 carries for 89-yds, 3.71-YPC, 0-TD’s, Longest run 39-yds
    10/31/2010 vs: Oakland & had 9 carries for 7-yds, .078-YPC, 0-TD’s, Longest run 7-yds.
    11/07/2010 vs: NY Giants & had 11 carries for 48-yds, 4.36-YPC, 0-TD’s, Longest run 26-yds.
    11/14/2010 vs: Arizona & had 13 carries for 29-yds, 2.23-YPC, 1-TD, Longest run 13-yds.
    11/21/2010 vs: New Orleans & had 7 carries for 36-yds, 5.14-YPC, Longest run 17-yds.
    11/28/2010 vs: Kansas City & had 7 carries for 20-yds, 2.86-YPC, Longest run 6-yds.
    12/05/2010 vs: Carolina & had 21 carries for 83-yds, 3.95-YPC, 3-TD’s, Longest run 22-yds.
    12/12/2010 vs: San Francisco & had 10 carries for 29-yds, 2.90-YPC, Longest run 9-yds.
    12/19/2010 vs: Atlanta & had 12 carries for 60-yds, 5.0-YPC, 1-TD, Longest run 14-yds.
    12/26/2010 vs: Tampa Bay & had 14 carries for 53-yds, 3.79-YPC, Longest run 29-yds.
    01/02/2011 vs: Saint Louis & had 20 carries for 75-yds, 3.75-YPC, Longest run 24-yds.
    01/08/2010 vs: New Orleans & had 19 carries for 131 yds, 6.89-YPC, 1-TD, Longest run 67-yds
    01/16/2010 vs: Chicago & had 4 carries for 2-yds, 0.50-YPC, Longest run 4-yds.

    Lynch’s 1-st. season as a Seahawk: (many of his runs were in the -2 to +2 range)
    12-games, 165/573/3.47-YPC/6-TD’s/47.8-YPG/Longest run 67-yds
    Lynch went on from there to have 3 consecutive 1000+yd rushing seasons before he declined.

    1 additional thought….. I’ve seen some people crying for Procise to start at RB2 over Penny, I have to wonder how many times it would take for Procise to run up the middle before breaking something.
    So, you say, Procise is a “get him in space” guy, guess what, Penny is too, so play calling = the problem, players are not being used properly (yet) to play to their strengths, hopefully, that changes as the season progresses.

    • Hawktalker#1

      How about we just block for Penny when he’s playing? To be honest, he get some of the worst blocking I have ever seen when he’s trying to run the ball.

      Also, they need to try to get him the ball in space more than is needed with Carson. But when they do that, they still need to block for him and they haven’t always done that. It’s a shame to see him get the ball in the flat and our O line just lets people through to tackle him for a loss.

  19. Paul Cook

    The one thing I will say about Procise is that his ability to change directions on a dime and accelerate is top tier. There were two runs of his during the pre-season that WOWED me in this way, where I thought to myself “this is the most pure talented back on the team.” True, he’s too often been injured, and true, he’s not the down hill runner that Carson is. But shifty and quick in space he is. I want to see more of him.

    • astro.domine

      Absolutely. And I’m sure the coaches know that too. I’m pretty confident he’ll get some snaps in Pittsburgh to try and catch them off guard- we’ll need it.

      • Sea Mode

        I wanna see a wheel route where he can burn a LB.

        Pass pro just has to hold up long enough for him to run it…

        • Hawktalker#1

          That is a great idea. They might not fear penny, but we should make them fear CJ.

  20. DC

    Any fans of the big Vandy TE Jared Pinkney here?

    Looks pretty solid all around.

  21. RWIII

    Rob: Excellent. Also I love the article written by Mike at Beast Pode. Totally awesome.

    To me Poona Ford is key. If Poona Ford cannot play it is going to be very difficult to stop the run. According to Brock Huard, Bryan Mone is just another guy. Last year with Poona Ford the Seahawks pretty stuffed the run. Without Poona Ford all bets are off trying to stop the run.

    • Pickering

      Hopefully Al Woods steps up.

    • Sea Mode

      Well, Poona missed most of the 2nd half and we looked just fine vs. the few runs they still tried.

      Better with him, sure. Helpless without him, nah.

  22. RWIII

    Just curious. Did Earl Mitchell sign with anyone? I just check the Seahawks dept chart. At the defensive tackle position. The Hawks have Poona Ford, Bryan Mone, AL Woods and Quinton Jefferson. I wonder what would happen if Ford does not play?

  23. mishima

    Can we just call Prosise, ‘NoC?’

    • Edgar

      Yes please!

  24. cha

    CableThanos back

    • Sea Mode

      That Chris Carson Mario Kart slide had me rolling at the end…! 👌🤣😂🤣

  25. charlietheunicorn

    From the get-go, this is a game I thought was an obvious “L” this season.

    Both teams didn’t play their best, but one at least looked like it cared.
    I’m more optimistic due to the possible availability of more pass rushing (DE) personnel on the DL for increased depth. Another week of Clowney playing and practicing with the team should also increased his effectiveness / impact upon the opposing offense.

    The only thing that gives me pause is Seattle being very dogged about playing a 4-3, instead of going to a big nickle or dime (and throw in dollar) packages when they have a chance on some obvious longer (7+ yard) downs.

    So I guess this game is more 50/50 right now, than it was coming into the season when the schedule came out. Pittsburg is going to be a great challenge, if they squeak out a win… watch-out NFL.

  26. charlietheunicorn

    Carolina Panthers look like they might need a fork in them….. horrible game at home.

    • McZ

      But I thought Cam is a scoring machine!?

      We look at the future of all QBs drafted after Russ… 1-3 good seasons, even MVP, but then they are done. Giving Goff, Mahomes or Prescott 30m a year over a long period is just unbelievably stupid.

      RW is the last real franchise QB.

      • CHawk Talker Eric

        I’m not saying Cam Newton is the reason CAR aren’t a SB caliber team. But I am saying they won’t ever be one with him as their QB.

      • Hawktalker#1

        I wouldn’t be too quick to dog Mahomes or DAK. They are playing at a high-level and are definitely franchise quarterbacks. Also, locking them in now rather than paying them even more later is a good idea rather than a bad one

  27. Denver Hawker

    Minkah Fitzpatrick on the trading block for the Dolphins fire sale. Said to be asking for a 1st. I think he’d be a nice slot corner in the hawks system. Wouldn’t feel bad about giving a 2nd.

    • SoCal12

      If we swap a first for him I’d want him as a center field Free Safety to really complete our team.

      • Hawktalker#1

        Did you read any of his comments about playing in Miami? Playing safety is exactly what he does not want to do. He just wants to be a nickel corner. He has excelled in that role, even though Miami refuses to play him there as consistently as they should.

        • Hawktalker#1

          Meant slot not nickel.

    • Sea Mode

      Hmmm… interesting. Not sure how well he’s played as a pro. Maybe Awsi can give us some insight.

      Not the greatest film session or anything, but he did play more snaps in the slot than at safety last season.

      If they do like him, having that extra R2 pick could be very useful…

    • CHawk Talker Eric

      He’s not even the starting FS for the Dolphins.

      I dunno man. I think he has potential, but I wouldn’t spend more than a R2, which not coincidentally is what SEA spent in this year’s draft for Marquis Blair, a prospect of similar athleticism.

      I think I’d prefer to keep the pick and see what we got in Blair. It’s not like Fitzpatrick has lit it up in the pros.

      • Sea Mode

        I think, as Denver Hawker suggested, we would only be looking at him as a potential fit for Slot CB.

        In that case, we would probably have to compare him to Amadi if scouting against our own roster.

        • CHawk Talker Eric

          I see what you’re saying. How’s he at nickel? I mean, regardless of position, has he asserted himself as a pro yet, especially for a second year former R1 prospect? And do we want to give up a R2 pick for a guy who’s going to compete with Amadi cost only a R4 pick and who seems to be a quality prospect in his own right?

          But beyond that, I wasn’t just talking about scouting against a guy already on the roster. Rather, I meant who might SEA be able to draft in 2020 with the R2 pick that they’d send to MIA for Fitzpatrick (assuming that’s the price)?

          I’m not saying I’ll be upset if they do. Just that I don’t see the convergence of value, need and cost.

          • Sea Mode


            I’m not sure how he’s been at nickel, and that’s the biggest question. PFF likes him at nickel, at least according to the above video. Am hoping that our resident Dolphins insider Awsi Dooger can help enlighten us. Might be hard to project from Miami’s system to ours, but we liked a lot of his game coming out of Alabama last year.

            But IF they like his play, I would say for a late R2 pick he definitely meets cost and value. To get a R1 talent with 3yrs still left on his rookie deal (+1 option) could be exactly what we need at this point. And if he develops like Coleman we likely get a comp pick down the line too.

            1: I kind of doubt Miami gives him up for a late R2 pick.
            2: Is he that much of an upgrade over Amadi/Nickerson at this point? IDK.

      • McZ

        Bad franchises are not realizing a rookies potential. So, the jury’s out. But you’re right, R2, better R3. His rating ks just too darn bad.

  28. CHawk Talker Eric

    WR prospect poll. Considering them only as prospects coming out of Bama, which equation do you agree with most?

    1. Jerry Jeudy = Amari Cooper

    2. Jerry Jeudy > Amari Cooper

    3. Jerry Jeudy < Amari Cooper

    • Hawktalker#1

      Jeudy Jeudy Jeudy. Couldn’t resist. Regardless, Jeudy < Cooper

  29. CaptainJack

    What do you think about trading for Minkah?

    • Rob Staton

      Just posted a new article on the subject.

  30. RWIII

    I would be curious to know what Rob thinks about trading for Fitzpatrick. Don’t know to much about Fitzpatrick. But I am willing to bet that there will be plenty of suitors for the services of Fitzpatrick.

    • Rob Staton

      Just posted a new article on the subject.

  31. WALL UP

    A 2nd Rd pick may be a bit much for a big nickle, slot DB/S. He doesn’t have the length to play on the edge in Pete’s scheme. Would what they have in Ugo, King and Taylor be more than adequately cover what Fitzpatrick has to offer? Probably so.

    • WALL UP

      A 5th Rd pick is a different story.

  32. GoHawksDani

    Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins 3rd round for a 1st and 4th/5th?
    It would mean the Hawks traded this year:
    Up in the 3rd round and got Clowney and Fitzpartick for a 1st and 4th/5th round and Mingo+Martin

    • Hawktalker#1

      Not for 1 million. Never giving up at first as part of a trade like this.

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