Just like the blowout loss against the Giants, that was about what we expected.
The Seahawks’ horrible pass defense couldn’t slow down Drew Brees and the potent Saints offense, and the Seahawks once again showed just how far they are from becoming a contender as the Saints won 34-19.
In addition, several more injuries reinforced our previously expressed opinion that the NFL is crazy to be pushing an 18-game schedule, and offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates made a bad personnel decision as Marshawn Lynch has made a month’s worth of mistakes.
The 'Hawks had given up huge passing days to almost every quarterback they had faced, so it was predictable that they would be picked apart by a guy who is one of the top four passers in the league.
Brees threw for 382 yards and four touchdowns, becoming the eighth quarterback in 11 games to eclipse 285 passing yards against Seattle and the sixth to throw at least two TD passes.
Protected by his stout line, Brees was not sacked, and the Saints converted 11 of 15 third downs. Even when the Hawks did hit him, they got penalized for it—specifically the questionable roughing call against Raheem Brock at the end of the first half that kept the Saints’ drive alive and enabled them to score two plays later to go up 27-13.
It was just more of what we’ve seen all year as the 'Hawks have neither the right players nor the right scheme to stop opposing quarterbacks.
On top of that, they have had trouble against the run in recent weeks because of injuries to defensive tackles Brandon Mebane, Colin Cole and Red Bryant. Mebane is back, but the 'Hawks are not stout enough with Junior Siavii and Kentwan Balmer. Chris Ivory ran for 99 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.
The Seahawks’ defensive issues were compounded by the loss of cornerback Marcus Trufant with an apparent concussion.
They also lost wide receiver Mike Williams in the second half for the second time in three games, as he left with a foot injury.
Injuries in the NFL reportedly are at an all-time high, and the Seahawks are as banged up as just about anybody. Commissioner Roger Goodell and the owners are nuts to think an 18-game schedule will improve the quality of the NFL.
On the bright side, Williams had another good game. Before leaving, he caught six passes for 109 yards from Matt Hasselbeck, who completed 32 of 44 passes for 366 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions—with a broken left wrist. It was his most passing yards in a game since he threw for 414 against Dallas in that crazy 43-39 Monday night loss in 2004. Hasselbeck seems to have found his comfort zone in the offense.
If only Lynch could find his. The 'Hawks gained just 58 rushing yards on 17 attempts. Lynch led the way with 36 yards on seven runs, but he fumbled twice and also dropped two passes.
Bates made a very bad coaching error by leaving Lynch in the lineup in the third quarter, when the 'Hawks started to throw the ball more.
After Lynch had dropped two passes and fumbled, he returned for a drive that started on Seattle’s 5-yard line. Hasselbeck threw four passes to him on the drive; he caught them all, but fumbled on the last one at the New Orleans 46. That was the dagger that killed the Hawks’ chances of coming back, as the Saints scored to make it 34-16.
Leon Washington replaced Lynch after that, but it was too late. Justin Forsett should have been playing well before it came to that; he is simply the better back in pass-heavy situations.
Lynch came to Seattle with a reputation as “The Beast,” a tough all-around back who would add a physical punch to Seattle’s running attack. The attitude is there, but not the production.
He was supposedly faster than Forsett and just as capable of catching the ball, but he has proven to be neither. Forsett is much more explosive, quick and elusive—and easily has better hands. Entering this game, Lynch was averaging 2.7 yards per carry, Forsett 4.7.
Basically, Lynch’s bark has been worse than his bite.
Some of that can be laid on the offensive line’s woes, but Lynch played a horrible game in New Orleans.
Speaking of the line, it was nice to have Russell Okung back. But the left tackle was definitely rusty. And left guard Chester Pitts had a rough game, with penalties for holding and a false start.
With any luck, those two will stay healthy and the Hawks can develop some kind of chemistry up front for the final six games.
Other than Hasselbeck’s play, the biggest bright spot in the day was the fact that every other team in the NFC Worst lost. Even at 5-5, the Seahawks still lead the way.
Four of the final six games are at home, and the 'Hawks have a legitimate chance to finish 9-7 and win the division (heck, 8-8 would probably do it).