Seahawks-Chiefs: 5 points about the game
12/24/22 Recap and thoughts about Seattle's future: Seaside Joe 1391
The Seattle Seahawks entered their Week 16 contest against the Kansas City Chiefs as heavy underdogs after losing four of five games and knowing that Tyler Lockett could miss the rest of the season after undergoing finger surgery. The Chiefs have been to the AFC Championship game in every year since 2018, are well positioned to get at least that far again, and would be at home with the best quarterback facing the worst defense on Christmas Eve.
So even though nothing about the Seahawks 24-10 loss to the Chiefs on Saturday should come as surprising, Seattle’s worst offensive effort since Week 2’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers has me questioning the direction of the franchise next year barring a significant change in the locker room.
It could come at quarterback. It could come on the coaching staff. It could come in the front office. But after getting a close look at the best franchise in the NFL over the last five seasons in a game that wasn’t even as close as the 14-point difference in the final score would indicate, the 2023 Seahawks should not resemble the 2022 Seahawks.
Instead of stock up and stock down, I’m going to focus on five points I want to make about the Seahawks following their Week 16 loss that has dropped Pete Carroll to 7-8 in his 13th season with the franchise.
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I was right about Geno Smith
I’ve brought this article back several times before, always under different context, but on April 15 of this year I wrote that either Geno Smith or Drew Lock could be top-20 quarterbacks in the NFL. And that was without needing to be very good quarterbacks.
Basically, just list the quarterbacks who don’t impressame much and it’s not so much that Geno or Drew had to be great, they just had to be a little bit below average instead of terrible. I did that with many months to go before the season and only a couple of these names (Tua Tagovailoa, Jalen Hurts) have really elevated themselves into a higher category…and even now, I think many still question how long that will last.
Another aspect to that which I brought up but did not emphasize strongly enough perhaps is that some “good” quarterbacks would be bad this season, which for me meant highlighting Ryan Tannehill and Matt Ryan as players who could be worse than Geno Smith. But now we can add Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Tom Brady, Kyler Murray, Dak Prescott, and Lamar Jackson as quarterbacks with disappointing campaigns.
I bring this back to say that even though Geno Smith is going to the Pro Bowl this year, that says more about the NFC than it does about Seattle’s starting quarterback. I have absolutely no reservations about the Seahawks deciding to go in another direction at quarterback next year, if that’s what they decide to do.
Evaluate the draft options? 100% absolutely. Evaluate the quarterbacks who will be on the trade market? Yes, but don’t overpay like the Denver Broncos did because Seattle doesn’t have a strong enough roster to think that now is the time to push all-in on a veteran QB.
But do not give Geno Smith a multi-year contract.
Smith finished the day 25-of-40 for 215 yards with a touchdown and an interception, but those numbers are significantly boosted by meaningless end-of-game drives with Seattle’s chances of winning all but dead. Was the offensive line dominated by Kansas City’s defensive line? Yes. Were the Seahawks missing Lockett, then Marquise Goodwin, after he left with an injury? Yes. Should Laquon Treadwell be on a 53-man roster anywhere in the league? No.
But Geno Smith doesn’t seem to fully grasp the game management concepts that would make his arm talent and ability to read a defense (what ability he has there) worth it.
For many reasons, Twitter is a garbage pile of 1s and 0s on the internet, but one issue that stands out to me often is how worthless the search function is, as well as the discourse. The website will let you know immediately when Zach Wilson is having a bad game/career, but is anyone actually learning anything about the NFL when there is such a clear bias to ignore or forget and forgive the mistakes and bad play of every quarterback? The search function and trending topics on Twitter are heavily biased. It’s worthless!
“Geno Smith is bad” should be trending or something like that at least but if you want to find legitimate criticisms of him, you have to go to the “Latest” tab instead of the “Top” tab. The “Top” tab is always biased. There’s your Twitter tip of the day.
Compared to “Top” which has to give you information that is days old in order to give the biased response. Try it for yourself and you don’t have to try Geno Smith as a search function, just play around with it! I guarantee you it’s screwed.
I have a lot of examples, but we’ll focus just on the Seahawks today.
When Geno needed to run, he passed. When Geno needed to pass, he took a sack. When Geno needed 10 yards on third or fourth down, he got 7 yards. When there’s seemingly no way that a team would waste a timeout in a given situation, Geno wastes a timeout. He struggles with situational football and the Seahawks have lost five of six games, scoring 16, 34, 27, 24, 13, and 10 in those games for an average of 20.6 per game.
No defense should be expected to help a team go 6-0 when the offense is scoring 20 points per game and that’s even with giving Seattle bonus offense for situations like overtime against the Raiders and during Saturday’s loss with the only touchdown coming after the Chiefs had already won.
Geno Smith is a top-20 quarterback. Geno Smith is not a good quarterback. I have no issue with Seattle moving on this offseason.
Kenneth Walker III’s most complete game as a running back
I’m not sure how Walker only ended up with two targets in the passing game, that would have seemed like a smart option for Shane Waldron and Geno given the deficiencies at wide receiver.
Walker had 26 carries for 107 yards and that comes with his offensive line constantly giving him no room to run. The negative runs were hardly his fault. The positive runs were mostly thanks to his unique skills. And in a no-win situation against the Chiefs without any weapons on offense besides DK Metcalf, Walker met the challenge and reached over the bar to have a really solid effort for his rookie campaign.
My short list of players who should DEFINITELY be back
The list of Seahawks who I need to see on the Seahawks in 2023 is coming into focus…and losing names quickly.
We don’t want to become negative-negative-negative on this blog/newsletter/website, especially since this season is not all that surprising given the circumstances. Let’s start with positive shout outs, but excluding special teams:
I’m excited to see year two for Charles Cross, Kenneth Walker III, Abe Lucas, and Tariq Woolen. We know that DK Metcalf will be back and that Tyler Lockett is all but assured to return. Seattle’s tight ends trio will give the Seahawks no less than depth at the position next year. Uchenna Nwosu is etched in for a role on the edge in 2023.
That’s it. I’m done.
Before comments regarding “How dare you ignore Coby Bryant or leave off Shelby Harris!” or something in that ballpark, let me make sure I’m being absolutely clear in the point being made: OTHER SEAHAWKS WILL ALSO RETURN AND THAT’S OKAY BY ME TOO.
But if the Seahawks cut Harris to save $9 million, I’m not going to write a newsletter condemning the team for unparalleled stupidity. If the Seahawks draft a cornerback in the first round because they just desperately want another starter opposite of Woolen, that’s fine. If the Seahawks decide to move on from Quandre Diggs and to let Cody Barton leave in free agency and trade Jordyn Brooks for a draft pick, I’m not going to be confused.
All I really wanted out of the 2022 season was a few new blue chip prospects to hang our hat on for 2023 because it’s having an elite core of players that helps teams get to the Super Bowl. Seattle got some of that out of the 2022 draft class and a good signing in free agency.
If they don’t mess up all their draft capital in 2023, I’m happy with the direction of the team. But there aren’t very many players on defense who I need to see back again next season.
The defense was better today
Kansas City ran the ball 22 times for 77 yards and backup Jerick McKinnon was even held to seven yards on five carries. Nobody other than Travis Kelce torched the Seahawks (113 yards) and he’s being talked about as the best tight end in NFL history.
It did sort of feel like the Chiefs were lacking a sense of urgency that didn’t click on until the five-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter to finally put the game out of reach. But let’s give Seattle the benefit of the doubt and say that all things considered, on the road against a quarterback who is now 12-3 this season (and 62-16 all-time), with a roster that I don’t care to see brought back next year, the Seahawks gave Geno Smith and the offense a chance to keep the score close.
In fact, Seattle’s defense has given up 9, 23, 13, 21, 21, 40, 23, 30, 21, and 24 in their last 10 games. It’s the year 2022 in the NFL. If a team isn’t at least 7-3 in a string of games like that, then the offense is disappointing.
Because it’s the NFL in 2022. You need to bring enough fire power to score 24 points every week. The Texans and Broncos both played better against the Chiefs in the previous two weeks.
Game Ball to Jason Myers, Michael Dickson, Godwin Igwebuike
They’re all we had!
Because I NEVER expected a win in KC, I am at peace with Kenneth Walker's 100+ yards and holding the Chiefs to 24 points. Really, the Most important take away for this whole season remains how it leads to our off-season moves and next year's strategy. One observation from this game that gives me hope for the future...Just a few snaps, but it happened and it looked Very promising involving Dereke Young...
The 49ers have a perennial All-Pro FB Kyle Juszczyk who gives them fluidity in their heavy running/pass-heavy personnel packages. He gives them excellent blocking from the backfield or as an H-back plus excellent receiving from any position (even split out wide) and remains a match-up challenge.
The Seahawks have a Big bodied receiver from this last draft who lined up in the backfield in college and and has proclaimed how much he Loves to block. Young only had a small sample in this last game what I have been hoping for - since Long before we drafted him, but it looked good.
Going back to the Raiders 3-time Pro-Bowl FB Marcel Reese who himself was a big bodied receiver (for the UW) that was transitioned Very effectively. I have been rooting for us to go the route of a fantastic blocking AND fantastic receiving FB. The Seahawks #83 sure looked the part and now that they finally put him in at FB, wow!
On one play, lining up in the I-formation he was the lead back for K-9 to go up the middle. Dereke made it though before the hole closed - BTW, did you know that our LG Gabe Jackson sucks? - he sliced through and smeared his target but the Chiefs #95 blew up our soon-to-be-unemployed #66's blocking attempt so fast that our #9 was stopped for a no-gain.
Had our slow-footed LG held his block on Chris Jones for a fraction of a second longer, Young's second level pancake block would have sprung our ridiculously fast RB (4.38) RB for significant yardage.
We finally have a rather fleet FB (runs in the 4.4's) who can come in on heavy personnel with all our 3 Tight End's, thus causing the defense to counter with their heavy sub package - then poof - all our guys split out into a pass formation, thus giving us some crazy match-ups against the opponent's bigger slower run stoppers...NICE!
We were also missing our #1 receiver. Big fall off in talent after the #2. And then a starting lineman got hurt.