There’s still a lot of analysis going on about what went wrong with Seattle’s offense, which bottomed out against the Rams’ stellar defense in the playoffs.
The bottom line is Russell Wilson’s effectiveness faded in the second half of the season, and Brian Schottenheimer was not creative enough as they faced a number of good defenses. Some don’t think Schotty should have been fired, but he could not right the ship in the second half and his unit ended up costing Seattle a playoff win in the first round for the second time in three years.
One of the big keys to an OC is feeling his QB’s performance and adjusting to help him when things are off kilter. Schotty was not very good at making adjustments during games, had too many predictable play-calling patterns (e.g., running on every second-and-10) and simply did not use his personnel to best effect. So, yeah, Pete Carroll was justified in firing him.
Russell Wilson did not agree with Pete Carroll’s decision to fire Brian Schottenheimer and he wants input into the hiring of the next offensive coordinator because “it’s imperative to my career.”
In his season wrap from Mexico, Wilson told reporters, “Going into the 10th year in my career, it’s a critical time. The next 10 years are super critical for everybody involved, the whole organization, including myself as a player and the legacy that I want to leave. It’s vital, it’s critical, it’s super significant that I’m a part of that process. Coach and I have definitely been talking about it.”
It was not a huge surprise that Pete Carroll fired Brian Schottenheimer on Tuesday. If you had parsed the coach’s words Monday, you heard him say he was going to meet with Schotty and evaluate what went wrong with Seattle’s dead-on-playoff-arrival offense. It sure sounded like there was a chance Carroll might decide to make a switch.
The Seahawks cited “philosophical differences,” which basically means Carroll didn’t think Schotty could fix an offense that melted down the stretch and hit its nadir with a pathetic effort in the 30-20 playoff loss to the beat-up Rams.
This was the best move for Carroll after Schotty helped cost the team two quick playoff outs in three years and the offense deteriorated in 2020 like it did in 2017, when Carroll fired Darrell Bevell and Tom Cable after missing the playoffs.
It came earlier than expected, thanks to an inexcusably bad offense, but the Seahawks’ offseason is here. And it could – perhaps should – be a transformative one, with significant change at the top possibly trumping any personnel moves they make.
The frustration we’ve had with the Seahawks the past couple of years has been over John Schneider’s inability to solve defensive personnel issues (mainly pass rush, which he finally fixed with the trades for Jamal Adams and Carlos Dunlap). As they enter this offseason earlier than expected, the concern has switched to Pete Carroll’s side after coaching cost them yet another playoff game.
The Seahawks have all the talent they need on offense, which is why it is so confounding that they went into the tank for the final two months of the season and then put down one of their worst playoff performances in the Pete Carroll era, in a dismal 30-20 loss to the Rams.
It was the nadir of an inexplicable nine-game skid by Brian Schottenheimer, Russell Wilson and company. And the question Carroll absolutely has to ask is whether Schottenheimer deserves another chance or whether Carroll needs to move on to the third OC of Wilson’s career.
The Seahawks have not reached the NFC title game since 2014, when the Legion of Boom was in its prime and Pete Carroll’s team seem poised to create the NFL’s first dynasty since the 2000s Patriots.
After Carroll’s coaching gaffe gave the Patriots the win in Super Bowl XLIX and set New England off on another dynastic run, the Hawks slid back to the playoff pack. They lost in the divisional round the next two years, missed the playoffs in 2017, lost in the wild-card round in 2018 and again were dismissed in the divisional playoffs last season. That’s a 3-4 record in the playoffs since the XLIX loss.
As the Hawks prepare to host the Rams on Saturday, the big question: Are they any better than they have been the past five years? Can they finally get back to the NFC title game, at least?
The Seahawks passed the Washington test – and surprisingly passed the Rams in the NFC West in the process.
The 20-15 win over Washington was one of the Seahawks’ best wins of the season – right up there with the win over Arizona. With the Rams stunningly becoming the Jets’ first victim of the season, it put the Hawks on top in the NFC West. A win at home vs. L.A. this week would clinch the division for the Hawks.
“Next week will be another championship game for us,’’ Pete Carroll said. “Just what we’ve been preparing for.’’
The Seahawks’ game in Washington on Sunday will be a great test of whether Brian Schottenheimer and Russell Wilson have gotten over their collective midseason slump and are ready to beat the Rams in Week 16.
Washington has one of the NFL’s best defenses – fourth in yards, sixth in scoring, fourth in DVOA. It all starts with their stellar defensive line, made up of a bunch of first-round picks: Chase Young (2020), Montez Sweat (2019), Da’Ron Payne (2018), Jonathan Allen (2017) and Ryan Kerrigan (2011). Add Tim Settle’s 5.5 sacks from inside, and that sextet has combined for 27.5 sacks (Seattle’s top six D-linemen have just 18.5).
If the Seahawks don’t fix their offense this week, they are in deep trouble the rest of the way. As in, they could go 1-4 in December and January, finish 9-7 and miss the playoffs.
Washington’s upset win over erstwhile undefeated Pittsburgh on Monday showed the team formerly known as Redskins will be maybe the toughest of the NFC Least clubs the Hawks face. WFT has perhaps the best defensive line in the league, and comeback QB Alex Smith has gone 3-1 as the starter.
The Hawks will go to DC after hosting the winless Jets this week. Then come the tough division games against the Rams in Seattle and the 49ers in a place to be determined (the 49ers are playing this month in Arizona). Those last three games will be challenges for a Seattle team that has been struggling on defense all season and has lost its offensive power over the past month.
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.