The Seattle Seahawks were always set for a tough test in the NFL’s opening weekend as they travelled to face the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, but the manner of the defeat has raised serious questions about Pete Carroll’s side.
Russell Wilson struggled to get the attack going throughout the match, finishing with just 156 passing yards and no touchdown’s, whilst a fumble on the six-yard line led directly to a touchdown from Ty Montgomery- setting up the Packers for a 17-9 victory.
Wilson, now in his fifth season in the NFL with the Seahawks, cannot shoulder too much of the blame for the defeat though as, rather predictably, the finger will be pointed at an offensive-line that failed to protect him; with the Packers finishing with three sacks and seven quarter-back hits.
28-year-old Wilson is one of the best in the NFL when given a pocket to work with, which allows him to assess the ideal pass or elect to use his mobility and run for yards on his own, but the failure to create that for the 2012 third-round pick last night led to a game to forget for the offensive members of the Seahawks’ side.
With the lack of protection affecting the Seahawks’ passing game, the team needed the runners to step-up and they failed to do so. Wilson himself led the running yards for Carroll’s side against the Packers, with 40 yards from two scrambles, and the Seahawks had just 56 yards from 15 carries – including a screen pass to Doug Baldwin that led to a loss of three.
Both these problems were evident last season, in a campaign that was marred by injury troubles to many of their key players, but whilst the defence has got stronger in the off-season with the addition of Sheldon Richardson, the Seahawks will still struggle to stand as genuine Super Bowl contenders with their current offensive performances.
Defensively as well, there were still problems. Whilst there will be some complaints due to some bizarre calls on the field, including a push in the back that stripped Nazair Jones of a pick-6 and an ejection of Jeremy Lane for a phantom punch, but the fact of the matter is the Seahawks defence often cross the line.
— Cameron Grant (@coolcam101) September 10, 2017
Pete Carroll is known for wanting aggressive players in his defence, for obvious reasons, but they also need to be controlled and cut out the silly penalties that consistently get handed to the Seahawks. A stand-out moment came in the third-quarter, when the Packers led 7-6, as Terence Garvin failed to leave the field in time and saw the Seahawks handed a penalty as a result. From that, Aaron Rodgers threw a 32-yard touchdown to Jordy Nelson – effectively putting the game to bed.
Even the questionable decisions that went against Seahawks can be attributed to poor control from the team though, as Cliff Avril didn’t need to make a block in the pack in the play that saw the pick-6 chalked off and Lane should have kept his head in the incident that saw him ejected, regardless or not of whether he actually threw a punch.
Remarkably, the Seahawks have 1050 yards last season through penalties and gave 50 up yesterday. That needs to be improved in the campaign ahead, especially if those penalties lead to touchdowns like they did yesterday against the Packers.
Pete Carroll’s side will need a response this weekend in their rival clash with the San Francisco 49ers as starting a season 0-2 for the second time in three years will certainly not be something that the NFC West side will want to be labelled with.