Smith will need more clutch TD drives for this flawed team

Geno Smith is getting many accolades this week in the wake of his first clutch rally as Seattle’s quarterback, but the Seahawks still have too many problems to be considered much of a playoff threat.

Yes, Smith’s winning drive against the Rams vaulted Seattle back into the playoff picture, but the Hawks struggled against the downtrodden Rams, who were without almost all of their top skill players and started their 12th offensive line combination in 12 games. Even with John Wolford at QB, the Rams nearly pulled the upset because they ran for 171 yards and the Seahawks, without any running backs, were reliant almost entirely on Smith to move them.

Smith has had a standout season, but he had lacked a clutch winning drive until this one – failing in opportunities against Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Las Vegas. He will need more of those if the Hawks are going to make the playoffs.

Continue reading Smith will need more clutch TD drives for this flawed team

Dominated up front again, Hawks keep regressing

A bunch of things – almost none of them good — happened in the Seahawks’ embarrassing 40-34 loss to the Raiders.

Seattle fell out of a playoff spot and showed it really is just an average team that will have to scramble to remain in the playoff hunt. The defense got blown up by Josh Jacobs (303 total yards, an opponent-record 229 rushing yards and the winning 86-yard run in overtime) – the second straight game the defense has been dominated in the run game as it focused instead on the passing attack.

Seattle’s running game was dismal again and now has just 104 yards in the past two games – losses to Tampa and Vegas.

Geno Smith also failed in two late tries to win in the clutch – extending doubts about whether he really should be extended.

Continue reading Dominated up front again, Hawks keep regressing

Post-bye review of the roster

As the Seahawks get ready to play their final seven games, they are in a position few (if any) could have imagined – tied for first place in the NFC West at 6-4 and facing a coming three-game stretch that could see them hit nine wins before mid-December.

Geno Smith has been hands-down the most surprising player on the team – stunning everyone by leading the NFL in completion percentage (72.8) in a season that looks very likely to end in an unexpected Pro Bowl.

While Smith has yet to prove he can rally his team in the clutch – he failed in Munich against Tampa Bay – he has been a steady hand for most of the season.

Continue reading Post-bye review of the roster

Was Munich just a bad trip or a bigger sign?

The Seahawks are 6-4 and in front of the rest of the NFC West as they hit their bye, but – in the wake of a poor performance in Munich — the question remains: Can they sustain it?

The Hawks have outperformed expectations so far – they are two games better than we projected (we had them 4-6 on the way to 8-9) – thanks to Geno Smith and a surprising offense that ranked fourth in scoring through nine weeks.

A win in Munich would have solidified the Seahawks as contenders (especially considering the extreme travel involved), but their disappointing performance in a 21-16 loss to Tampa Bay left questions. Was it just a bad European vacation, with poor prep? Or was it a sign that the Hawks have peaked and cannot really hang with playoff contenders?

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Lots of credit to go around so far, including Waldron

The Seahawks had a heck of an October, going 4-1 to leap into first place in the NFC West, and credit has deservedly been shared by many players – Geno Smith, Kenneth Walker III and Tariq Woolen pulled a trifecta of monthly NFC awards.

Clint Hurtt also has gotten a lot of credit for flipping the defense – since Week 6, the Hawks have cut points allowed in half (30.8 to 15), rushing yards almost in half (170 to 92) and passing yards by a quarter (260 to 198) while tripling their sack total (six to 19).

But another guy who should get some credit is Shane Waldron. The second-year OC took some heat early in the season for getting too cute – the worst example coming when he trotted out four RBs against the 49ers and DeeJay Dallas threw an INT at the goal line.

But Waldron has presented a variety of formations and some great concepts that have helped Smith and the offense succeed beyond anyone’s preseason projections. They are the No. 4 scoring offense in the league, at 26.3 ppg – behind only AFC powerhouses Kansas City (31.9) and Buffalo (29) and undefeated Philly (28.1). The Hawks are the No. 7 unit by DVOA.

Continue reading Lots of credit to go around so far, including Waldron

Carroll loves first place, but ‘the best is yet to come’

The Seahawks have surprised everyone, leading the NFC West at Week 7 with a 4-3 record built on two straight good-looking wins.

Now everyone wants to take a pause to congratulate Pete Carroll and John Schneider. There are still 10 games left, but no one predicted the Hawks would be leading the division at this point (the closest we came was a 3-4 projection) with a quarterback who is playing better than the erstwhile star he replaced and a young defense that has seemed to find its way after a rough start.

Carroll is enjoying this rebirth, both of his roster and himself and Schneider, who could be seen in the SoFi Stadium suites Sunday excitedly watching his new young team beat the Chargers 37-23.

Continue reading Carroll loves first place, but ‘the best is yet to come’

If defense flipped a permanent switch, Hawks are a playoff contender

Don’t look now, but the Seahawks might be turning into a playoff contender before our very eyes.

After a 19-9 win over Arizona, they are again tied atop the so far middling NFC West — and they suddenly might have figured out how to play defense.

The West has no standout team. With San Francisco and Los Angeles also 3-3, the division is up for grabs. So, if the Hawks have indeed discovered the secret sauce on defense, it could be a fun, competitive ride from here on out.

Continue reading If defense flipped a permanent switch, Hawks are a playoff contender

Trends — good and bad — continue in mistake-filled loss to Saints

Three trends continued in New Orleans – one really pleasant one and two supremely disappointing ones.

Geno Smith once again played very well, continuing to prove wrong all of us who thought he could not be an NFL starter. Far from being the weak link on this team, he has been a steady, competent leader and one of the top passers in the NFL in 2022.

But the dysfunctional defense continues to make it hard for Smith to win games. With even an average unit, the Hawks could be 4-1 and leading the division. Smith has played that well — the top-rated QB in the league. But the defense has been that bad — on pace yet again to be the worst in franchise history.

Continue reading Trends — good and bad — continue in mistake-filled loss to Saints

Hawks won’t always face defenses that bad, so theirs needs to improve

The Seahawks are in the thick of the division race – for now. But an average offense and horrible defense can’t keep them there.

Yeah, yeah, the offense put up 41 points Sunday in Detroit — against the NFL’s worst defense. That followed 23 against the league’s No. 25 scoring defense, Atlanta. But the Hawks were shut out by the NFL’s top scoring defense, the 49ers, after scoring just 17 (all in the first half) against Denver, which is a top-five defense.

So far, the Hawks have struggled vs. good defenses and scored well against bad ones. In other words, Geno Smith and Co. look like an average group that needs some help from the defense.

Continue reading Hawks won’t always face defenses that bad, so theirs needs to improve

Until Hawks figure out how to run 3-4, losses will keep coming

The Seahawks are losing games the way they would like to win them: On the ground. Until they get that figured out, they will keep losing – because Geno Smith and the offense are not a come-from-behind bunch.

The Hawks are 1-2 – with an emotionally charged prime-time win over Russell Wilson’s Broncos followed up by a self-inflicted blowout loss to the 49ers and a defense-driven home defeat to the Falcons.

The Hawks are headed to Detroit to face a high-scoring Lions team (32 ppg) that lost a shootout to the undefeated Eagles in Week 1 and had the Vikings on the ropes until late in the game last week.

The Hawks are still trying to find their way on defense, which bodes poorly for this week, obviously.

Continue reading Until Hawks figure out how to run 3-4, losses will keep coming