Seattle Seahawks Halftime Edition: Overreaction...True or False?
How can it be halftime when the Seattle Seahawks have already played nine games this season?
As follow-up to my Q1 Overreaction post a few weeks ago, I intended to piece together a few thoughts after the Lions game last week; however, the 'Hawks loss in Detroit was so bizarre I wasn't quite sure what to think.
With the offense firing on all cylinders, and the defense faltering at the end, it went against just about everything the 'Hawks had been doing all season up to that point.
Rather than really overreact, I wanted to give the 'Hawks another week to see how they would respond against the Vikings at home. Fortunately, the 'Hawks rebounded and got the win to improve their record to 5-4, but certain trends are starting to take shape.
Some for the better—others, perhaps not so much.
Once again, I might have missed something, so if you have any extra overreactions, feel free to contribute anything I may have left out...
Russell Wilson Is the Starter for the Rest of the Season
I figured since it's Election Day, why not start out with the most polarizing topic for Seahawks fans.
Week after week, especially after a 'Hawks loss, a small legion of fans plead their case for Matt Flynn.
While I appreciate where they are coming from, can we all just reach a healthy understanding that Russell Wilson is the starter this season and should continue to play the rest of the way?
Like it or not, he's fought hard each and every week, while managing to win against a tough schedule and working with a shaky offensive line and weak receiving corp.
Nothing short of the 'Hawks winning the Super Bowl this season will silence the critics who believe that Flynn could jump in and "save" the season, but it's telling when even veteran scribes like the Seattle Times' Steve Kelley come clean on the situation:
I thought Matt Flynn was the right choice to quarterback the Seahawks at the beginning of the season. I didn't understand the rush to go to Wilson. I still think Flynn is a quality quarterback and the Seahawks still would be at least 5-4 if he had been the starter.
But the growth potential for Wilson is enormous. He has an amazingly strong, accurate arm. And he has that "It factor" that general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll saw in him last January.
In his last four games, Wilson has thrown for eight touchdowns and has two interceptions. He still is only two games removed from a clunker in San Francisco, but there is no denying Wilson's rate of maturity.
I'll confess that I too thought Wilson was the wrong choice initially, but soon came to the same realization as Kelley.
Wilson does have that "It factor" and it's slowly but surely getting stronger each week.
The question is whether the supporting cast can help him improve...
Receivers Are Still a Problem
If anything could derail Russell Wilson this season, it's this crew.
I know I keep picking on them, but I also get the feeling now this isn't something that is going to change much over the remainder the season.
Between the dropped passes and injuries, it's hard to get too excited about this group. Yet, rather than complain about it, perhaps we should be thankful that Sidney Rice has remained healthy/productive, Zach Miller has shown signs of life at tight end, and Golden Tate is making the most of his opportunity to start.
That's not much to cling to at this point, but it's all we've got.
Doug Baldwin and Braylon Edwards have both been disappointing thus far and still don't look quite right in my opinion. At some point, if they can contribute it could make a big difference, but until then we need to hope that Sidney Rice stays healthy, and Russell Wilson makes the current crop of pass catchers do whatever it takes to move the chains.
The Defense Is Still Elite
There was a time not too long ago when this group looked like they could become one of the league's top units.
Yet, in each game over the past four weeks something new has popped up to cast a fair amount of doubt upon the once-vaunted 'Hawks defense. Frank Gore and Adrian Peterson torched them for well over 100+ yards on the ground, while Tom Brady and Matthew Stafford each threw for more than 350+ yards in their respective games.
In fairness, these are some of the league's best offensive talents, and the 'Hawks could have won each game, but they just as easily could have lost each as well.
In some ways the situation surrounding the defense reminds me of how we expect perfection each time Felix Hernandez steps on the mound for the Mariners, regardless of who he is facing, while knowing the offense remains a big question mark.
Truth is, it's not always easy to deliver each and every time out, even when the offense spots you a lead like the case in Detroit.
Can this group rebound?
Having the New York Jets in town this Sunday could be the perfect tonic for this unit to regain it's swagger.
Right now, this group looks a bit lost, as evidenced by Earl Thomas' response to stopping Adrian Peterson following another big gain this past Sunday. Peterson is quoted as saying,
I was surprised. I got up, and he was celebrating like he had just won the lottery for something. I was shocked. I was just looking at him like, what are you celebrating for? Maybe because you made the tackle and got me down? That was funny. But he’s a good guy, though.
Trash-talking and celebrating is all in good fun, but there comes a time when you need to act like you've been there before and let your plays do the talking.
In short, the Seahawks' collective bite needs to improve, otherwise its bark will be the subject of ridicule from their opponents.
This Team Can't Win on the Road
But wait, all of the 'Hawks losses on the road have been close, hard-fought games, and a good number of them they could have won.
Emphasis on "could have"...
Opening game jitters in Arizona, goofy play-calling in St. Louis, a case of the dropsies in San Francisco, I can try to understand, but what happened in Detroit?
The bend-but-don't-break defense, well, broke after the offense gave them a late lead to protect.
Right now, the 'Hawks can only afford to lose maybe one of those three games, which doesn't bode well given two of the opponents are potential playoff teams.
However, it didn't have to be this way...
The Detroit Loss Will Haunt Us
If the Seahawks had managed to hold on and win in Detroit, you could argue that the team still had a reasonable shot at the division title in addition to a fairly secure shot at a wildcard berth.
Instead, the loss threw just about everything we thought we knew about the 'Hawks out the window.
Yes, they managed to rebound against the Vikings this past weekend and should take care of business this weekend against the Jets, but it's the Lions game that lingers for me as the loss that could either mean the Seahawks will lose out on a wildcard spot or miss the playoffs entirely.
Perhaps it's a bit overly dramatic, especially at the halfway point, but it's hard to shake the notion that the 'Hawks lost a fair amount of control when it came to their own destiny that day.
On the flipside, if the 'Hawks run the table, the Detroit game will probably be seen as the turning point in which the team hit bottom only to turn it around and dominate the rest of the way.
Otherwise, it could be seen as the one that got away.
Time will tell, but until the 'Hawks play the Dolphins and Bears, it will be hard to gauge whether this group still has what it takes to make the playoffs.