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Seahawks fan honesty quiz: Did Seattle have a good offense last season?
Comparing Geno Smith and the passing attack from the first half to the second: Seaside Joe 1589
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith could be one of the top-five deep ball passers in the NFL and if you think he’s simply the best—that’s okay—but there’s no reason to feel offended by “only” being in the top-five. A year ago, most Seahawks fans didn’t even expect him to start or expected him to have a short run as Seattle’s starter, holding the job down until the 2023 draft.
The 2022 season, free agency, and the draft has come and gone and Geno Smith remains the starting quarterback of the Seahawks.
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That could be a good thing. He’s certainly got an amazing opportunity to shine as the centerpiece of an offense that features Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and those are only the top three receivers. Seattle has invested at tight end, offensive tackle, running back, and most recently the interior of the offensive line with additions such as Evan Brown, so the potential is there for the Seahawks offense to be great much sooner than we could have imagined after the team traded Russell Wilson.
However, if we’re being completely honest with ourselves, the Seahawks had many of these pieces in place in the second half of the 2022 campaign and for the eighth in year in a row, fluttered when the games mattered the most in November, December, and January, failing to get as far as the NFC Championship game once again.
I feel like accountability is as valuable as any quality a person can have, so passing the “Seahawks fan honesty quiz” would be good as a fan. It’s imperative if you’re actually involved with building the Seattle Seahawks. This is the first question I could think of to add and it is a big one…
Did the Seahawks have a “good” offense last season?
Answer: Not in the second half
Blame Geno Smith, blame Shane Waldron, blame the offensive line, blame random chance, or just credit opposing defenses if you want to, it doesn’t matter for the purposes of answering the question: The Seahawks had a BAD offense in the second half of the year, so they could not have had a “good” offense for the 2022 season.
By final tally, Seattle ranked ninth in points scored, 10th in points per drive, 13th in yards, fourth in passing touchdowns, seventh in yards per carry, and 10th in net yards per pass attempt. But there was a significant shift after Game 9’s 31-21 win over the Arizona Cardinals, starting with the Seahawks ugly loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Munich.
From G1-G9, the Seahawks scored 241 points, the fourth-most in the NFL, averaging 26.77 points per game.
From G10-G17, the Seahawks scored 166 points, with ranked 17th in the NFL, averaging 20.75 points per game.
To frame it another way, Seattle’s 166 points in the final eight games was only seven points more than the L.A. Rams (in which they mostly started Baker Mayfield, their fourth option of the season, and without Cooper Kupp), only nine points more than the Indianapolis Colts, and only 10 points more than Russell Wilson’s Denver Broncos.
The Seahawks scored 110 more points than the Broncos over the first nine games, but only 10 more points than Denver in the final eight.
Not only that, but 34 of Seattle’s points in the second half came in a 40-34 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders in overtime. It also took overtime to defeat the Rams 19-16 in the season finale. And I really want to hammer home that final game against Los Angeles: The Seahawks had basically every player on offense who they wanted at the start of the year with the exception of maybe Rashaad Penny—Geno, Walker, Lockett, DK, Cross, Lucas, the tight ends—going against a Rams defense that didn’t have Aaron Donald or anything to play for and the game was in Seattle.
I get that playing division opponents is often more difficult and that Sean McVay is a smart coach. But the question in the quiz isn’t, “Do the Seahawks have good excuses?” It’s, “Did the Seahawks have a good offense?”
There have to be levels when we’re talking about relativity. The Chiefs have a good offense. The Eagles have a good offense. The Bengals have a good offense. Yes, the Lions, who the Seahawks defeated 48-45, had a better and more consistent offense. Even the Raiders, Giants, Patriots, Jaguars, and Browns had more games in 2022 in which they scored at least 20 points than the Seattle Seahawks did.
It’s plenty fair to say that when adding up point totals, we must also account for defense and special teams, but I think we can agree that those aren’t the units that need to take accountability for Seattle’s second half scoring woes.
The Geno Smith sub-segment of chaos
Geno Smith trying to get through the second half of the season:
When I started this article, I thought I was going to write about how people could tend to forget or overlook how ineffective Geno Smith was in the second half of the season. But the more I watch QB breakdowns on YouTube, the more I accept just how insanely difficult it is to play quarterback in the NFL. That one player has to rely on so many other people in order to raise and lower the bar of difficulty—offensive line play, receivers and tight ends, coaching and play call/design, rushing offense, quality of defenses faced—that I’m more willing than ever to give Geno the benefit of the doubt for the second half of the season.
But have no doubt: The Seahawks passing offense didn’t benefit enough after the Cardinals game midpoint.
From G1-G9, the Seahawks passing offense ranked: First in completion percentage (72.9%), second in passer rating (105.4), sixth in Adjusted NY/A (6.91), and Geno threw four interceptions through nine games.
From G10-G17, the Seahawks passing offense ranked: 10th in completion percentage (66.4%), 11th in passer rating (94.7), and 15th in ANY/A (6.52), and Geno threw seven interceptions in the last seven games.
I would also be fine with chalking up the difference in interceptions to simply having good luck in the first half of the year and bad luck in the second half of the year. That’s okay.
Instead, what I would be most concerned about is that the Seattle Seahawks were a good offense against bad teams and a bad offense against good teams and that is essentially Pete Carroll’s biggest issue over the past eight seasons that he has yet to overcome: The Seahawks can get to the playoffs, but they can’t do anything once they get there.
That’s like saving up enough money to buy a Ferrari, buying a Ferrari, and then forgetting to learn how to drive.
That brings me to two other potential Seahawks fan honesty quiz questions:
Have the Seahawks been competitive against the San Francisco 49ers?
Have the Seahawks been good enough in the playoffs since 2015?
The short answer to both: No
I’m going to wrap up this Saturday Seaside Joe now and perhaps we’ll come back to these questions with a deeper dive in the future, but to explain my point…
Since losing the Super Bowl to the Patriots, the Seahawks playoff experiences have been:
2015 - W Wild Card vs Vikings (10-9), L Division vs Panthers (31-24)
2016 - W Wild Card vs Lions (26-6), L Division vs Falcons (36-20)
2017 - Miss Playoffs
2018 - L Wild Card vs Cowboys (24-22)
2019 - W Wild Card vs Eagles (17-9), L Division vs Packers (28-23)
2020 - L Wild Card vs Rams (30-20)
2021 - Miss Playoffs
2022 - L Wild Card vs 49ers (41-23)
As Seaside Joe readers, I’m sure you’re all able to fill in the context of those wins and losses on your own. Including shanked field goals, extreme weather, and facing backup quarterbacks.
As to the 49ers, I don’t know if San Francisco might fall backwards this season. Kyle Shanahan has a tendency to go in the wrong direction sometimes and after an ugly playoff loss (Eagles 31, 49ers 7) and a lack of certainty at quarterback, who knows what will happen. But if the Seahawks can be better than the 49ers then they have very good odds of being the best team in the NFC West.
That wasn’t the case last year and it didn’t matter if the 49ers were starting Brock Purdy or Jimmy Garoppolo. (We didn’t see enough of Trey Lance to know the answer to that question.) I know Pete was optimistic about the fact that Seattle held a 17-16 halftime lead in the playoffs, but what does he always say about “how you finish”? San Francisco scored 25 unanswered points in the second half.
So if we’re being honest…then the Seahawks have to do better against the 49ers this season and what’s wrong with admitting that? It’s the truth.
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Seattle will get those tests well after we have a feeling for the state of the league, with the Seahawks and 49ers facing off in two of three weeks: Thanksgiving on November 23rd and then Seattle goes on the road to face San Francisco on December 10th.
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