Smith will need more clutch TD drives for this flawed team

Geno Smith is getting many accolades this week in the wake of his first clutch rally as Seattle’s quarterback, but the Seahawks still have too many problems to be considered much of a playoff threat.

Yes, Smith’s winning drive against the Rams vaulted Seattle back into the playoff picture, but the Hawks struggled against the downtrodden Rams, who were without almost all of their top skill players and started their 12th offensive line combination in 12 games. Even with John Wolford at QB, the Rams nearly pulled the upset because they ran for 171 yards and the Seahawks, without any running backs, were reliant almost entirely on Smith to move them.

Smith has had a standout season, but he had lacked a clutch winning drive until this one – failing in opportunities against Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Las Vegas. He will need more of those if the Hawks are going to make the playoffs.

The defense remains terrible against the run, so every game will be losable. Their last three foes have averaged 205 rushing yards against them. Their linebackers constantly get blocked or run themselves out of position.

Their major problem is their front seven is a mix of two personnel types: The line is set up for a 3-4, but they don’t have 3-4 linebackers. They will need to reconcile this in the offseason – either adding a bunch of 3-4 players or switching back to the 4-3 and adding some defensive ends and another linebacker (they need an inside linebacker either way).

They will need to spend most of their top picks on front-seven players (center is the only pressing offensive need, assuming Smith is back at QB).

On the other side, the running game is nonexistent – and all of the backs are now injured. Smith faces an uphill battle, with teams knowing he has to throw it. The line, which has been bad in run blocking for a month now (87.8 yards per game over the past five), needs to give him time to find DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, Seattle’s superstar receivers who were at their very best vs. the Rams (Lockett 9-128 and a TD, Metcalf 8-127 and the winning TD).

None of the remaining games can be considered gimmes. Carolina likes to pound the ball, which is perfect against Seattle. Kansas City is a Super Bowl contender led by the likely NFL MVP, Patrick Mahomes.

The 49ers lost Jimmy G last weekend and they have the No. 2 defense (by DVOA) in the NFL. The Jets also have a stellar defense (fifth in DVOA) and may have stabilized their QB situation by switching from Zach Wilson to Mike White.

The Rams nearly beat the Hawks despite missing their top players (Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Aaron Donald) and now have Baker Mayfield, who pulled off a stunning comeback win over the Raiders just two days after he arrived.

The good news is that Washington and the Giants have two of the hardest remaining schedules. Those are the two teams jockeying with the Hawks for the final two wild-card spots.

But the Hawks still probably need to win three of their final five to make it. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

3 thoughts on “Smith will need more clutch TD drives for this flawed team”

  1. I’ve been saying for 3 yrs now, that they need to draft a high quality DT to collapse the middle of the pocket and stop the run, and put pressure on the QB. Something the Seahawks have been lacking for several yrs. Maybe this next draft they can focus on that DL need ??

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