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Seahawks-Rams takeaways: 3 points about the game
Plus what happened in Packers-Lions and the playoff picture? Seaside Joe 1406
The Seattle Seahawks have consistently struggled against Sean McVay’s Los Angeles Rams and it has never mattered who the quarterback has been on the other side. The Seahawks have lost to the Rams with Nick Foles, with Case Keenum (twice in a row), with Jared Goff, with Sam Bradford, and even with Austin Davis.
Compared to some of those quarterbacks, Baker Mayfield might as well be Aaron Rodgers.
For most of the game on Sunday, it sure felt like the Seahawks were as hopeless as it could be against Rodgers in his prime. In overtime, Baker finally turned into Rodgers when he’s in a slump and Seattle kept their playoff hopes alive with a 19-16 win over the Rams.
Next, the Seahawks would need the Lions to make Aaron Rodgers look like Baker Mayfield…and that’s exactly what they did, beating Green Bay 20-16 and intercepting Rogers late in the fourth quarter to seal an upset that I didn’t feel was all that “upsetting”. There was a lot of complaining about the schedule and while I do not intend to monday-morning-quarterback the result, I didn’t understand why more people couldn’t see that the Lions might play more relaxed if Seattle knocked them out of the playoffs.
As I write this, Jamaal Williams is in tears during the post-game interview as he talks about playing for his late great grandfather. “Stop playing with us! Don’t let these tears fool you, it’s ALL DOG around this mug!” said Williams.
Most football players don’t need greater motivation than football.
The Seahawks face the 49ers 1:30 PM PST on Saturday. They’ll be plenty motivated.
Here are three points about the game against the Rams. Note that Seaside Joe has no advertisements, which I think is a very important aspect of the newsletter and you won’t find that from your other favorite football websites. Being ad-free is important, help support independent journalism by subscribing for only $5 with 40+ articles every month.
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The good: Ken Walker carries the load
I’m going to have to say some stuff in the newsletter tonight that won’t necessarily vibe with the very good feeling of making the playoffs—and I do hope that you feel good! That’s why we root for sides in sports, right? I can’t stand the take that “Oh Seattle could make the playoffs, but I just want the highest draft picks possible.”
Is that how you would want players on the Seahawks to feel? That they’d like to lose games? Of course not. But I will have to be realistic about Seattle’s season—which by their record and postseason appearance is a rousing success, even though it was clear in the second half of the year that the Seahawks have many adjustments to make in the offseason.
Thanks to players like Ken Walker III, the offseason isn’t here yet.
Walker finishes his rookie season with 1,050 yards on 228 carries for an average of 4.6 yards per carry and nine touchdowns. He had 78 carries for 354 yards in the last three games. He had six games this season with at least 20 carries, which doesn’t seem like a lot but does harken back to a time in which running backs could carry a load like that; Chris Carson had eight such games in 2019, but he was the first with more than five since Marshawn Lynch in 2014.
Now consider that Walker is a rookie, he missed time early in the season, he was a backup to Rashaad Penny until Week 6, and he missed Week 14. Walker had 205 carries in his last 11 games. It’s great experience for him leading into the future and the Seahawks can think about giving him a full load in 2023.
There were some issues with blocking for Walker and working on that part of his game will continue to be important as it pertains to if he’s a three-down back, but Seattle have gotten excellent second round value from K9.
The bad: The offense generally continues to stink
Geno Smith has 13 turnovers in his last 11 starts, and he’s been sacked 32 times in that span of time. I haven’t counted his dropped interceptions over the course of the season, but surely I’m not alone in saying that the two or three times he “got away with one” on Sunday against the Rams was not the first time he could have had more picks than the number he finished with.
Completion percentage doesn’t mean much of anything to me. Setting franchise records for passing yards and completions doesn’t mean much to me either. There were times in my writing career when I highlighted statistics like this for Russell Wilson and went “Wow, this is so special” but surely if you’ve been tracking stats long enough, you also know that maybe it’s the stats we should be questioning.
Now let’s say that we wanted to excuse Geno Smith or run back another season with Geno Smith. Sure, let’s talk about that. If you want to focus on the offensive line needing to be better, I agree. If you want to focus on the playcalling to be better, I might agree with that too. If you want to focus on getting more weapons around Geno and DK Metcalf being better for how much he’s being paid, I agree with that too.
Instread of arguing about which excuse for it is better (see above: Geno doesn’t make excuses and I love that about him) let’s instead accept reality: The offense stinks.
The Seahawks had three points against the Bucs midway through the fourth quarter.
The Seahawks had 17 points against the Panthers prior to a last second touchdown that was meaningless.
The Seahawks had six points against the 49ers when there was four minutes left.
The Seahawks had three points against the Chiefs when there was three minutes left.
The Seahawks only managed two field goals against the Jets after taking a 17-3 lead at the very beginning of the second quarter.
And on Sunday, the Seahawks struggled their way to 19 points—with overtime—against a Rams defense that is bad, battered, and had nothing to gain.
In six of their last eight games, to say the least, the Seahawks didn’t bring an offense to the contest that I would want to place my bets on if they run this roster back for 2023. They can’t just run this roster back for 2023. And I would love it if every Seahawks fan joined me in ACCEPTING the fact that Seattle’s offense is not worth watching, not worth defending, and especially not worth repeating.
Why be so “mean”? I say this a lot, but I’m never mean, never negative, and never biased. My only goal is landing on reality and the reality is that once again most of the playoff field is made up of teams that passed the ball better than the other teams. Which the Seahawks did do at times and that’s one of the reasons that Seattle is 9-8.
But posting a winning record or reaching the playoffs is one only goal. The next goal for the Seahawks has to be to win the Super Bowl and I’m not seeing that happen until they pass better, block better, execute in the red zone at a higher rate, and able to pour on the scoring like the top five or six offenses in the NFL.
With their first draft pick—fifth overall—the Seahawks have an opportunity to draft a quarterback who might become as good as Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen. Or the next Baker Mayfield.
Whether Seattle should do that or not is a debate we’ll be having for months. I’ve just accepted the fact that the Seahawks can’t look at their final stats and believe it’s okay to try it again next season with the same offensive pieces and gameplan.
Seahawks defense got a quarterback reprieve in second half
We talked about the play of Seattle’s quarterback, conversely let’s be realistic about the slate of quarterbacks that the Seahawks defense has faced during their “rebound” lately beginning in Week 6: Kyler Murray (W), Justin Herbert (W), Daniel Jones (W), Murray (W), Tom Brady in Germany (L), Derek Carr (L), John Wolford (W), Brock Purdy (L), Patrick Mahomes (L), Mike White (W), Baker Mayfield (W)
Other than Herbert and Mahomes, are any of those quarterbacks guaranteed to be starters 12 months from now?
Financially speaking, Murray probably will be. Brady might not retire.
I have no problem saying that the Seahawks can only worry about beating the teams and the quarterbacks on their schedule. What I do want to push back on again is the ultimate goal of winning the Super Bowl. Can Seattle’s defense keep them in the game against the top offenses? Can the Seahawks offense play a shoot out against a high-scoring team in the playoffs?
Seattle’s first matchup is against Brock Purdy again and the Seahawks got off to a good start against the 49ers in their most recent matchup:
Apart from the 86-yard touchdown drive in the first quarter, ending on a 28-yard touchdown to George Kittle, the Seahawks held the 49ers to 23 yards or less on five of their six drives in the first half. Unfortunately, one of those drives was a six-yard touchdown following a brutal Travis Homer fumble.
Otherwise, the Seahawks may have definitely been able to keep Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers to under 20 points in Week 15. If the Seahawks can hold the 49ers to 20 points on Saturday, I believe that Seattle can muster a close contest even though they only scored a total of 20 points against San Francisco in both games.
Then what happens?
Admittedly, the NFC has such a weak playoff field this year—Eagles, 49ers, Vikings, Bucs, Cowboys, and Giants apart from Seattle—that it might only take a couple upsets before this is anyone’s game. It also tells me that if an NFC team lands the next Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, or Joe Burrow in the draft that they will have a dynasty.
That quarterback doesn’t necessarily need to be drafted in the top-10.
Now it’s onto the playoffs and I’m excited to see Pete Carroll excited about getting the Seahawks into the postseason. Again. Go Hawks, Let’s Ride.