These Hawks can’t afford Wilson’s turnovers

The Seahawks are making Russell Wilson do too much cooking, and it is starting to burn them.

We know the defense is in shambles, which is why this team is not a Super Bowl contender at this point. And that’s also why it is imperative for the quarterback not to turn the ball over. When he does it three times, like he did at Arizona, or four times, like he did in Buffalo, these Hawks have almost no chance.

The Buffalo debacle was a combination of a bad game plan by Brian Schottenheimer and poor play by Wilson and the rest of the offense (some poor blocking, receivers not getting open, etc.).

The turnovers, though, were mostly on Wilson. They cost the Hawks 20 points in a game they lost by 10. No matter how you do your math these days, that’s more than the difference in the game.

Yeah, the defense sucked again. Don’t let the seven sacks fool you. Josh Allen threw for 282 yards in the first half, hitting 24 of 28 passes, and finished with 415 yards, three TD passes and a rushing TD as the Bills became the fifth team to go over 400 yards against Seattle, which remains on pace to shatter NFL records for defensive futility.

The 44 points were the most ever against Pete Carroll’s Seattle defenses – a helluva way for him to ring in his new five-year contract. But Wilson can take the blame for 13 of those points.

You could tell Wilson felt pressured to make things happen. Wilson played with too much uncertainty and not nearly enough anticipation – thus the two interceptions and two fumbles and a number of off-target incompletions among his 41 throws.

The last time he had turned the ball over that many times was in a 38-10 loss to Green Bay in 2016, when he threw five interceptions. He last lost two fumbles in a 2015 win over Detroit (the Kam Chancellor goal-line punch-out).

Wilson admitted he was forcing the ball on his two interceptions in Buffalo, especially the one in the fourth quarter on third-and-25: “We needed a play; that’s just the reality of it. Sometimes you’ve just got to go for it.’’

Wilson was in that position because Schottenheimer did not call a balanced game with good enough play mix.

The key for Seattle was to use sustained drives to limit Allen’s chances to score. Schottenheimer did not call nearly enough runs, though – just 15 (not counting two scrambles by Wilson) against a Buffalo defense that had been giving up 5.3 yards per rush (432 yards) over the past three games. Why was running not a bigger part of Seattle’s plan?

The Seahawks came out throwing and went three-and-out. On the second drive, they came out running: DeeJay Dallas gained 17 yards on two carries to get it going. They drove all the way to the Buffalo 5, where Wilson threw a fourth-down pick in the end zone after Travis Homer had been stuffed on third-and-1 (they oddly ran against 10 men in the box).

Seattle’s first TD drive had a good mix — five pass plays and three runs, including Wilson’s QB sneak. DK Metcalf helped them gain 66 of the 85 yards by drawing pass interference and then catching a 41-yard pass.

But Seattle ran just one time on the next drive, which started with a sack of Wilson and inexplicably ended with two incompletions to rookie Freddie Swain – leading to a 45-yard field goal by Jason Myers.

To start the third quarter, trailing 24-10, Seattle ran three straight pass plays and Wilson fumbled when sacked by Jerry Hughes. That set up a quick field goal by the Bills, who were up 27-10 at that point.

The next possession was the best of the game as the Hawks drove for a touchdown to cut the deficit to 27-17. It started with a 4-yard run by Homer and finished with a 4-yard TD run by Dallas. A couple other runs didn’t go anywhere, but Wilson used his tight ends well on that drive as Schotty mixed the play calls. That was the kind of offense they needed to run all day, but they didn’t do nearly enough of that.

On the next possession, Wilson hit Will Dissly for 26 yards to get it going – another strong tight end play. The Hawks got into field-goal range on a tacky roughing call against Hughes, and Homer ran for five yards before getting stuffed on second down. Wilson then missed Tyler Lockett on a third-down blitz throw to the end zone, leaving Seattle with a 44-yard field goal that cut the score to 27-20.

Seattle didn’t get any closer because Buffalo drove for a 34-20 lead and then Wilson turned the ball over twice more, giving Buffalo 10 easy points and a 44-27 lead that was the end with four minutes left.  

Just like the Arizona loss, when Wilson turned the ball over three times, this one was largely on him as well. He simply cannot turn it over like that with this defense, and Schottenheimer needs to start taking the pressure off him with better play mix or #LetRussCook is going to burn the Hawks some more.

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