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.

The switch to a 3-4 has been rougher than anticipated. The linebackers, especially Darrell Taylor, have played very poorly against the run – the Niners and Falcons combined for 368 yards the past two games.  

Pete Carroll said they are figuring out their best rotations, but it seems quite clear that Taylor should be designated to pass rush only. Boye Mafe might be better as the starter.

“He did do well against the run game; he played the edge really well yesterday,” Carroll said of Mafe, who had two good stops against the Falcons. “We are looking to continue to add for him. He’s looked like he has played strong, he’s been active, and he’s made a few plays in every game he’s been in. We need to keep going with him and keep the rotation going. I don’t think that we’ve found the exact rotation for us yet, but we are working on it.”

Seattle’s young secondary is taking its lumps, too. Marcus Mariota hit seven passes of at least 19 yards and an average over 11 yards per attempt.

This all follows a familiar pattern. The defense has been horrible early in the season pretty much in every year since the Legion of Boom faded out in 2017.

This is a young defense, though, and it should improve as the season progresses and the coaches figure out who should be playing where.  

In the meantime, too much pressure has been placed on Smith and the offense.

Smith leads the NFL at 77.5% completions and has played mostly mistake-free football. But he and the offense have not put together a complete game (37 points in the first half, just three in the second), and Smith proved yet again vs. Atlanta that he is not a comeback QB.

Before the season, we said the key to winning games would be the defense getting takeaways that help set up double-digit leads so the Hawks can run the ball. So far, that formula has not worked.

We’ll see whether they can start to put it together as they play tough games at Detroit and New Orleans the next two weeks.

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