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?

The Hawks are still in position to win the wide-open NFC West and have a 77% chance of making the playoffs, per FiveThirtyEight. Ahead of this week, they were considered the league’s No. 5 team, by Football Outsiders’ DVOA.

So, will this loss be just an international hiccup? Will they return from their Week 11 bye looking like the same squad that had won four straight before the long trip to Germany?

After the bye, the Hawks face the struggling Raiders, the suddenly bad Rams (in LA) and the poor Panthers. Those teams are a combined 8-20; if the Hawks return to the standard they set during their four-game streak, they could run it up to 9-4 during that stretch. That would all but cement them as a playoff team.

Then come good tests against the 49ers and Chiefs that will tell definitively whether the Hawks are capable of being competitive in the playoffs.

Bad day in Munich

In the loss in Germany, the Hawks looked a lot like their early-season selves. They allowed the NFL’s worst rushing team (60.7 yards per game) to go for 164 yards (not counting QB kneel-downs), and Tom Brady picked apart their zone defense on third downs – Tampa went 10 of 15.

The Seahawks have given up more than 150 rushing yards in all four losses, and they clearly made a mistake underestimating the Bucs (deactivating Bryan Mone did not help). Rachaad White went over 100 yards and salted the game away after Seattle had cut the deficit to five.

“I was really disappointed,” Pete Carroll said. “They have not been running the ball very consistently; so, coming into the game, we were hoping we could just keep it under wraps and be able to deploy for the throwing game. They did better than we thought they would. They finished running the ball in the fourth quarter, which kills me. That last drive, to not get the ball back and get our chance again, that’s just not the way we expect to play or the way we ever want to put it out there. So that’s unfortunate.”

Seattle’s offense did not help. It had 57 yards in the first half, the fewest by Seattle since 2017, and finished 1 for 9 on third downs while running for just 39 yards (Kenneth Walker III had 17 on 10 attempts).

Smith and company, who had surprised everyone as the No. 4 scoring team in the league and No. 3 in first-half scoring (14.8), have gotten off to terrible starts the past three games. They have averaged under seven first-half points vs. the Giants, Cardinals and Bucs, looking more like the ineffective unit we expected to see this season. That is something they need to fix if they are going to start another winning streak.

Other notes & observations

Tariq Woolen got his fifth interception when the Bucs tried a trick pass from Leonard Fournette to Brady. He tied Michael Boulware (2004) and Earl Thomas (2010) for Seattle’s rookie record. Woolen is the third player since 2010 with five or more picks in his first 10 NFL games, according to ESPN Stats & Info. Casey Hayward was the third guy. 

Brady was three passes away from setting the NFL record for throws without a pick (he was at 399) when Cody Barton made his first career interception. A nice birthday present as Barton turned 26 on Sunday.

The Seahawks’ pass rush had been surging during the four-game winning streak. But it did not touch Brady: no sacks and no hits. He was pressured on a mere six plays, according to TruMediaSports. This after a week in which the Hawks sacked Kyler Murray five times and came in ranked fourth in the NFL with 27 sacks. Brady is rarely sacked, having been taken down just 14 times in the first nine weeks. Not getting to him while also not stopping the Bucs’ running game doomed Seattle.

The Seahawks reportedly do indeed want to extend Smith after the season. Many have clamored for it to be done during the season. We previously explained why that was premature and very unlikely. Asked about a new deal Sunday, Carroll said, “We’re not there to talk about that yet. We’re in the middle of the season. … But there’s a conversation that’s coming.”

2 thoughts on “Was Munich just a bad trip or a bigger sign?”

  1. as they said at Woodstock, it was just a bad trip….

    I remember going to Paris, which had a 6 hour time difference for me and the jet lag was pretty bad. Could not function or think properly for days.
    Pretty sure that was a big factor. And the team is up the upswing, but still has a ways to go before they are a true contender.

    and no Seahawks fan should complain about 6-4 after we traded away our 32nd ranked back up franchise QB in the off season

    my only complaint is that instead of having a stress free season & looking forward to a top 5 draft pick, I now get nervous watching games. But, I do think Russ can come through and deliver that top 5 pick for us….

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s