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Seahawks-Panthers: Stock Up, Stock Down
What Seattle learned about themselves in Week 14: Seaside Joe 1378
Before getting into what happened in Sunday’s game between the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers, let me highlight a strange occurance with Seattle’s end-of-season schedule:
Week 13 - The Seahawks face the Rams with John Wolford in only his second start of the season and the third of his career.
Week 14 - The Seahawks face the Panthers with Sam Darnold making his second start of the season.
Week 15 - The Seahawks are scheduled to face the 49ers with rookie Brock Purdy making only his second start of the season.
Week 16 - The Seahawks are on track to face Patrick Mahomes.
Week 17 - The Seahawks are hosting the New York Jets and Mike White could be making his seventh start of the season, but it could be Joe Flacco or Zach Wilson by then.
Week 18 - The Seahawks end their season against the Rams, now with Baker Mayfield as the current starter.
At certain points this season, Wolford, Darnold, Purdy, and White were all third-string quarterbacks, while Mayfield hasn’t even been on the Rams for a full week yet.
The first point I want to make is that even as someone who has said that this game could be at least 50% about the quarterback, I think we tend to overrate the importance of who the quarterback is on most teams at most times. Does anybody care if the 49ers are playing Jimmy Garoppolo or Purdy? That team is not about who’s playing quarterback.
The second point is that you can’t judge Seattle’s strength of schedule by who the quarterback of the opposing team is that week. When teams don’t have to pass the ball efficiently to beat you, then it doesn’t matter if you’re facing Patrick Mahomes or Samtrick Daharnold.
We can talk about the fact that the Seahawks lost to Sam Darnold on Sunday, but Darnold made no difference. Purdy won’t make the difference. White, Flacco, and Wilson combined couldn’t become the difference in Week 17. Carolina’s leading receiver had 31 yards on four catches. It’s not even that Seattle has a good pass defense that is forcing teams to run; the Seahawks have a bad pass defense, but offensive coordinators have little reason to attack it and the Panthers ran the ball 46 times for 223 yards.
We can talk about how Seattle also lost to interim head coach Steve Wilks—who now has more wins in eight games with the Panthers (4) than he had as the Cardinals head coach in 2018—but it wasn’t as though Carolina won because of mystifyingly astute gameplanning. There’s nothing more to see here than one team’s defense couldn’t stop the run, and that same team’s offense had two second half three-and-outs that lasted less than a minute.
I wouldn’t even blame the first half interceptions as much as I point to the same issue that I’ve been repeating since it became apparent that Geno Smith could become the Seahawks starting quarterback: NEGATIVE drives.
These plagued Seattle in two of Geno’s three starts of 2021 and continued during his appearances in the preseason. For the most part, most of us have been able to move on from this issue because his overall performance has been a lot more good than bad, including myself. However, Week 14’s nightmarish showing from the offense (especially when you factor in that the Seahawks only had 17 points at home until a desperation last minute touchdown) should bring back memories of those concerns.
The first drive was one play, interception.
The second drive was five plays, 12 yards, punt.
The fourth drive was three plays, one yard, interception.
The seventh drive was three plays, zero yards, punt.
The eighth drive was eight plays, 33 yards, punt.
The ninth drive was three plays, two yards, punt.
Through the middle of the second half, there was a point when Carolina’s time of possession advantage was approximately 14:00 to 4:45. In the second half. When Seattle’s defense was already tired. The final TOP had the Panthers with a 2:1 advantage.
This is not to be confused with blaming Geno Smith or the offense for the loss. There’s no reason that we only need to point one finger and I’ll repeat the first thing I said: It doesn’t matter if you’re facing Sam Darnold when you can’t even force an offense to use Sam Darnold.
Seattle’s defense needs about eight new starters and, some would say, one new defensive gameplan or defensive coordinator.
But I also expressed in our Seaside Chats open game thread on Sunday that the Seahawks would need 32 points to win. I was wrong, they could have gotten away with 31.
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In today’s NFL, you can’t get away with scoring 17 or 24 points at home and expect to win. The Seahawks are now 2-4 when they fail to score 27.
But in any era of the NFL, you can’t get away with poor tackling and bad run defense. Right now, the Seahawks can’t consistently do either of those things and they don’t have the offensive firepower built to out-run a bad defense.
The rest of Seattle’s schedule should be somewhat inviting, by the standard’s of judging an opponent by their quarterback. Since we can’t do that with the Seahawks, then it’s a question of whether Seattle is capable of convincingly beating any of those teams.
Suddently, the playoffs seem further off than the draft.
Here is the Week 14 stock report for the Seattle Seahawks.
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KR Godwin Igwebuike
I remember Lions coaches speaking highly of Igwebuike on Hard Knocks this year and he said before the season that he believed he’d get a shot somewhere. He’s not here to run the football, but Igwebuike has given coaches good reason to have him return kicks for the rest of the season. And it may be a surefire way for him to stay on the roster through 2023.
WR Marquise Goodwin
So, a Goodwin and a Godwin in a badloss? Good God.
Who cares if the production is coming from Dee Eskridge or Goodwin? It could only be one of them this season, probably, and Goodwin has taken the reins as Seattle’s number three option. He finished with five catches for 95 yards and a touchdown and Goodwin has 19 catches for 298 yards in his last six games, four touchdowns. That’s on only 23 targets.
I’d be curious to see Goodwin in the 2023 combine drills. I bet he would post a top-five 40-yard dash. So should it matter that he’s 32 instead of 25?
OLB Darrell Taylor
He’s probably still not having the all-around performance that we had been hoping for in the offseason, but as far as bright spots during a dark day, Taylor stood out. He had his second sack in as many games, and his fourth over the last six games that he’s played in. Taylor will probably be back next season, because what other choices do the Seahawks have?
LB Cody Barton
If for no other reason than “Screw it, let’s just give one to Cody Barton before his Seahawks career is over.”
Barton finished with 15 tackles, which now brings him up to 105 on the season. Yes, Cody Barton has 105 tackles in 13 games. When I was a kid, I thought all you had to do to be a successful NFL player was to make 100 tackles! In Barton’s case, I bet that a team will give him a surprisingly flush free agent contract in 2023, give him the chance to start, and then we’ll find out if he’s part of the problem or part of the solution.
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DC Clint Hurtt/Pete Carroll
I don’t want to make this all about coaching because that’s unfair. I think the Seahawks defense is definitely worse than the personnel would have you to believe … but not much worse.
If you believe that Bruce Irvin, Ryan Neal, Bryan Mone, L.J. Collier, Myles Adams, Darrell Taylor, Coby Bryant, Mike Jackson, etc. should make up a defense ranked in the top-20 of the NFL, we have different takes on the expected value of coaching. And I’m being generous with some names I didn’t list.
Is Quandre Diggs good? Is Cody Barton good? Is Jordyn Brooks that good? Should Uchenna Nwosu be any defense’s number one pass rushing threat?
I’m pushing all my chips in on Tariq Woolen AND THAT’S IT.
Seattle’s defensive atrocities are to be mostly blamed on draft classes that yielded no results. As I wrote in the summer at one point, the Seahawks no longer have any defensive players on their roster who they drafted prior to 2019: Collier and Barton in 2019, Brooks, Taylor and Alton Robinson (IR) in 2020, Tre Brown in 2021.
Does that make being the worst run defense in the league acceptable? Not for Pete Carroll, not for Clint Hurtt, not for anybody. But the Seahawks need to come back with a new identity in 2023, whether that’s game plan, coaching, or players. Probably players though.
QB Geno Smith
As I said earlier, I wasn’t bothered by the interceptions. In fact, Geno Smith’s interceptions total could have easily already been 12 or 13 going into the week, instead of six. It’s acceptable because he also makes the big time throws.
But we’ve seen Seattle’s offense shrink down to the size of a sesame seed at times this year and last year, especially when they can’t run the football.
Against the 49ers, Rashaad Penny and Walker had 10 carries for 25 yards; against the Bucs, Walker had 10 for 17; against the Raiders, Walker had 14 for 26; against the Panthers, Homer had nine for 26.
0-4 in those games and the Seahawks were lucky to get 34 points and 24 points against the Raiders and Panthers.
I have not closed the book on drafting a quarterback. This is not to blame Geno, it is only out of respect for the game’s all-time great quarterbacks, and Seattle’s offense is not consistently potent enough; 24 points should be below a good team’s expectations and the Seahawks really only had 17 points. At home. Against a team that scored 30 with Sam Darnold.
RB Travis Homer
Not a first or second down back, it turns out. Homer finished with nine carries for 26 yards. Would Kenneth Walker III have made a difference on Sunday? I can’t say, but yes, 100%, I can say that actually, I’m in charge around here and this is a Kenneth Walker III household.
S Quandre Diggs
I was browsing my articles from early in the year and came across something I had forgotten: I was adamently against re-signing Quandre Diggs. It was nothing against Diggs, but the timing made no sense to me. Bad teams shouldn’t enter long-term agreements with players over 30. Ultimately, I predicted that the Seahawks would re-sign Diggs to a three-year deal anyway, which they did, and I came to terms with it, if not being fully supportive.
The Seahawks can’t cut Jamal Adams to save any money next season. They could save $10 million against the cap by releasing Diggs.
It’s not so much that I think Seattle should release Diggs for a bad season. It’s more than Seattle needs to re-allocate money away from the safety position and back into more valuable positions. Like running backs.
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