The Seahawks could easily be 1-1, even 2-0, if Russell Wilson had played the way he is capable of — and if Brian Schottenheimer had called better games and if Pete Carroll had kept his stupid offensive opinions to himself.
But the Hawks are 0-2 because Wilson followed up a poor first game with an even worse second effort, Schottenheimer still didn’t help him enough and Carroll admittedly messed up the OC’s playcalling by telling him to call deep passes in the third quarter of the 24-17 loss in Chicago.
Even before Wilson threw a pick-six and then fumbled it away in consecutive fourth-quarter series, costing Seattle any chance to come back, the seventh-year franchise QB had made too many errors. He was sacked six times again, and at least four of them were on him for holding the ball too long — again. His height is clearly an issue in some of these as well — he can’t see his outlet targets well enough to trust throws to them.
It’s really to the point that — if he continues to struggle like this — it might be worth sitting him for a game to watch Brett Hundley and gain a better perspective. Some people, like our co-author Paul Moyer, think that is “crazy talk,” but they don’t have to worry because Pete Carroll is not going to sit Wilson anyway.
Wilson led the Hawks to just 80 yards and three points through three quarters. His poor play killed the first three drives as he took two sacks and missed seeing an open receiver on third down.
Poor play calling by Schottenheimer and Carroll — along with some more bad decisions and throws by Wilson — ruined four of the next five possessions. The only successful drive in the first eight was a 37-yarder that set up a 56-yard field goal that Sebastian Janikowski surprisingly hit.
The third quarter was a total loss: two three-and-outs and a net of one yard.
“I got (Schottenheimer) to take a couple of shots and look at a couple of things and it got him out of rhythm a little bit,” Carroll said. “My fault. I got him trying a little bit too hard to take a couple of shots and see if we could bounce something back and get back into the game quickly, and I shouldn’t have done that.”
After Chicago took a 17-3 lead early in the fourth, Carroll got out of the way, and Wilson and Schottenheimer finally put together a TD drive. Wilson hit 4 of 4 passes, including a 19-yard TD to Tyler Lockett, and Schottenheimer called six runs. A nice, balanced, four-minute, 75-yard scoring drive that put them right back in the game — until Wilson ruined it on the next two drives.
The pick-six could have been avoided if Wilson and Schottenheimer had noticed that Prince Amukamara had been jumping routes all game. He pounced on a pass to Rashaad Penny and took it 49 yards for the clinching score.
Wilson drove the Hawks 99 yards to a meaningless final TD, which is probably why he said after the game: “We’re right there. We believe that. And we’re going to find our way.”
History says teams that start 0-2 have about an 11 percent chance of making the playoffs. The 2015 Hawks did it, although they had to go on the road and were basically blown out by Carolina in the divisional playoffs.
Not many expected the Seahawks to win either of these first two road games (we had them splitting), and they certainly have time to straighten it out. But they have to run off a few wins in a row now, starting next week in the home opener vs. Dallas, if they are going to follow that 2015 team to the postseason.
“We are still a work in progress,” Carroll said. “You can see how hard our guys play, how they fought throughout all the way to the last seconds on the clock. That is going to help us win games. And we need to get going. We need to get our wins going.”
How badly has the Seattle offense started in recent years? Wilson and company have not scored on their first drive in 31 games now. The average team has scored on its first drive in about seven of those 31 games.
Shaquill Griffin picked off two passes, the second straight game the Hawks have picked off at least two (Bradley McDougald had two and Earl Thomas one in Denver). This is the sixth time in franchise history the defense has picked off at least two passes in Weeks 1 and 2, and it’s the first time the Hawks have gone 0-2 in those games. The 1983, 1986, 1988 and 1994 squads all went 2-0 and the 1991 team was 1-1.
Mychal Kendricks had a pretty good debut. He missed a tackle and a possible pick early but rallied to finish with three tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss, a QB hit and a pass defensed. Now we’ll see whether he gets to play with Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright, both expected to return next week. Kendricks is appealing a league suspension.
Rather than play Shaquem Griffin on passing downs, the Hawks went to a three-safety look with Tedric Thompson.
Just as the Hawks’ offensive line might get back D.J. Fluker, it might lose Justin Britt, who was injured on Wilson’s fumble in the fourth quarter. Joey Hunt is the No. 2 center.
There are plenty of questions about why Rashaad Penny took over the lead role from Chris Carson when Carson was running hard and well. Carson gained 24 yards on six runs and Penny 30 yards on 10. Carroll said Carson was “gassed” in the warm Chicago night playing both special teams and offense. But some think there is more to it than that.
For as much heat as the line has taken for its pass blocking, the run blocking has to be the bigger concern. They ran for 74 yards on 22 attempts in Chicago and now rank 29th in the league in rushing (69 yards a game). “We are capable of a lot more,” Duane Brown said. “We just have to play with more confidence and more attitude.”