Just when you didn’t think it could get any worse, the Seahawks offered up one of the worst offensive performances in team history and lost starting linebacker Lofa Tatupu for the season in an embarrassing 27-3 loss to Arizona.
Tatupu tore a chest muscle late in the first half and will join third-string left tackle Brandon Frye on injured reserve this week. The Seahawks also lost Patrick Kerney to an aggravated groin injury and Kelly Jennings with injuries to his hip and ribs.
The Tatupu loss is big, and the status of Kerney and Jennings will be revealed this week; but with a bye coming up, the Hawks have a chance to get a bunch of players back: tackle Sean Locklear (high ankle), guard Rob Sims (ankle), linebacker Leroy Hill (groin), cornerback Marcus Trufant (back), and maybe left tackle Walter Jones (knee).
They could really use Jones, Locklear and Sims, because their line played like the second-team unit it is, complete with a fourth-string tackle.
Kyle Williams—starting for Frye, who had started three games for Locklear, who had started two games for Jones—had a tough game. Just like the rest of the offense. He was part of two sacks surrendered and also had a false start.
The Cardinals often bracketed him with a man inside and outside to see how he would react, and the inexperience of Williams and Steve Vallos—making his first start at left guard—killed Seattle.
The entire offense was held to 128 yards, although a third of that came on a 42-yard fake-punt pass from Jon Ryan to John Carlson.
Going against the defense that was ranked No. 1 in the NFL against the run, the Hawks rushed for a franchise-low 14 yards and averaged just 1.3 per carry. They were 0-for-11 on third downs and had a franchise-low seven first downs. They also gave up five sacks, with Matt Hasselbeck being hit nine times.
A good part of the blame has to be put on offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, who failed to come up with a scheme—either before the game or at halftime—that would protect Hasselbeck and enable the team to move the ball.
For one, the Hawks ran the ball just 11 times, tied for third fewest in team history. And they ran it between the tackles just once all game. They needed to try to force the ball inside to take pressure off the line in pass blocking. Instead, the Cardinals gave Hasselbeck less and less time to throw as they hit him more and more.
Knapp also should have designed some rollouts for Hasselbeck to buy time to find his receivers. Instead, the quarterback was rushed so much that he completed only 10 of 29 passes for 112 yards, with one interception and a putrid passer rating of 32.5.
All in all, it was a horrible offensive performance in a game the Seahawks needed to win to rally back to .500.
Now they’re 2-4, with losses to both San Francisco (3-2) and Arizona (3-2). And even the ever-positive coach Jim Mora recognizes the hole they’re in, telling reporters the goal now is not the playoffs but simply “getting better and more consistent as a football team.”
The only way that will happen is if Locklear, Sims, Hill, and Trufant return after the bye.