The Seattle Seahawks have the NFL's best record heading into the league's final week of the season. They have been dominant at times and are the current favorites to win the Super Bowl, but the Seattle offense has been a question mark at times throughout this season. That offense certainly didn't look like it was Super Bowl-caliber in the 17-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 16.
Statistically, it was a brutal game for the entire offense.
The Seahawks finished with just 10 first downs and converted just two out of their 13 attempts on third down. Seattle also finished with only 3.8 yards per play on offense, which is two yards per play below its season average.
The passing stats look even worse. The Seahawks finished with just 89 net passing yards. Quarterback Russell Wilson completed just 11 passes on 27 attempts and finished with just 3.3 net yards per attempt. Wilson was also sacked four times.
Keep in mind that Wilson and the Seahawks came into this game leading the NFL in yards per attempt at 8.8, so clearly this was an awful performance.
The Seahawks weren't much better at running the ball either. The final statistics look decent—20 rushes for 103 yards—but 46 of those yards came on two plays. One of those was a scramble by Wilson and not a designed running play. The rest of the game, the Seahawks averaged merely 3.1 yards per carry.
Put all that together and it becomes virtually impossible to string together enough first downs to score points. The Seahawks were unable to sustain drives and had only two drives all game that were longer than four plays.
Perhaps the best example of Seattle's offensive problems came at the end of the first half. Linebacker Malcolm Smith gift-wrapped a scoring opportunity for the offense by returning an interception to the Arizona 3-yard line.
Somehow, the offense managed not to score any points on the ensuing possession.
The Seahawks believe they are a true Super Bowl contender. Their defense, which leads the NFL in several statistical categories, definitely appears to be championship-caliber. That unit played also well enough in this game to win against the Cardinals, reeling in four interceptions.
If the Seahawks are going to live up to their Super Bowl hype, the offense needs to take a major step forward next week. Failure to do so means they will likely be heading out on the road as a Wild Card team instead of enjoying home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Seattle's offense has serious questions that need to be answered and just one week to try and answer them.