So much for the easy run against the NFC Least.
The Seahawks’ offense continued its horrific slump and Seattle suffered its worst home upset since 2017 and probably lost any shot at the No. 1 seed, as the Giants managed to squeak out a 17-12 win.
The Seahawks’ offensive funk has now stretched over a month as they have put up terrible games against L.A., Philly and now New York. After averaging 34 points in the first eight games, they have scored a mere 19.8 over the past four games, going 2-2 during that stretch.
After a 5-0 start that featured premature MVP talk about Russell Wilson, the Hawks have now gone 3-4. With the Saints moving to 10-2, the Hawks are two games behind in the chase for the NFC bye. It does not seem likely. The Rams (8-4) also beat Arizona to take the NFC West lead back.
If the playoffs started this week, the Seahawks would be playing the Giants again, in New York.
The last time the Hawks choked at home against an inferior foe like this was 2017, when a decimated, big-underdog Washington team won 17-14.
As we said last week, the offense has to get it together and end this funk. (You can read that post to see what they can do to end it.)
Spanning the second half in Philly and the first three quarters of this game, the Seahawks went a season-worst five quarters without a TD until Chris Carson caught a 28-yard TD pass with about six minutes left against the Giants. The defense got the ball back with time to rally from a 17-12 deficit, but Wilson was sacked on third down and his Hail Mary on fourth-and-forever fell incomplete. It was an apropos and expected finish on a day when the Giants had the Hawks covered and Brian Schottenheimer and Wilson did not do anything about it.
Schottenheimer once again called a bad game. He did not call enough runs. Carson ran just 13 times, even though he averaged five yards a carry. Wilson dropped back 50 times (he scrambled on seven of them).
“They gave us a hard time all day long,” Pete Carroll said. “It’s just an uncharacteristic type of feeling when we’re not putting points on the board. … Throwing the ball was a struggle.”
Wilson was sacked five times – most of them because he held the ball looking for receivers. Wilson did not see the field well all game. A notable sack came on a play when Wilson had plenty of time to scan the field and failed to see Freddie Swain wide open behind the defense on the right side.
Wilson admitted the plan, as it often is for the Hawks, was to attack deep — and Seattle clearly did not adjust to the Giants taking that away.
“I think (the Giants) did a really good job of doing some stuff with their coverage … just trying to keep everything in front,” Wilson said. “We weren’t able to capitalize on opportunities. We didn’t have those plays, unfortunately, today.”
Wilson also was not very accurate, even on some passes he completed. He hit 27 of 43 passes for 263 yards, the TD to Carson and an interception that was Carson’s fault.
The 62.8 completion percentage was Wilson’s third-worst of the season – behind the 59.5 in a loss to the Rams and 62.5 in a win over Minnesota. The 77.9 rating was second-worst behind a 57.0 against the Rams. So put this in Wilson’s bottom two this year.
The Hawks continued to stink on third down. They were the seventh-worst team in the NFL coming in, at 39.5 percent, and they went 4 of 13 against the Giants.
It didn’t help that the Hawks were down to their fourth-string right tackle, but Schottenheimer and Wilson have got to get their act together. They don’t need to find exactly the fire they had in the red-hot 5-0 start, but they need to do better than 20 points per game.
The defense started fine, shutting out Colt McCoy & Co. in the first half. But the Hawks got run over in the second half . The Giants scored on back-to-back series. Wayne Gallman’s 60-yard run set up the first, with Quandre Diggs and Bobby Wagner both taking bad angles to the runner. Alfred Morris finished it off with 17 yards on two runs and the score.
Gallman and Morris did it again on the next drive, with Gallman running for 39 yards on three carries and Morris scoring on a 6-yard pass. That put the Giants up 14-5 in a game that reminded many of a 14-5 loss in Tampa Bay in 2016.
Gallman finished with 135 yards on 16 carries and the Giants ran for 190, the second-most allowed by Seattle this season.
“I was really surprised we weren’t able to slow them down in the third quarter running the football,” Carroll said. “That was the difference in the ballgame.
“They just wanted to see if they could run it, and it worked out for them. They kind of gained control of the game by doing that.”
The Hawks still have two more seemingly winnable games, against the Jets and Washington, before finishing with tough games against the Rams and 49ers. If the Hawks don’t fix the offense, they will struggle to beat the East Coast teams, let alone their division foes.
As Jacob Hollister told Q13: “We’re used to starting really fast and that hasn’t happened the last couple weeks. We look forward to next week and getting going.”