Frustration Growing After Seahawks Stumble on Defense
RENTON, Wash. (AP) — It’s early but there is some clear frustration starting to show with the Seattle Seahawks.
It's evident from the head coach. It's obvious from some veteran players. And none of it has to do with what most outsiders expected to be Seattle’s biggest weakness entering the season — the quarterback.
“I just know that we are at a crossroads right now. We need to get it together, that’s the biggest thing,” veteran Seattle defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson said. “Everybody needs to be accountable and go through the film and fix it. I think that’s the biggest thing, being disciplined, do your job, and trust your brothers. You have to trust that your brother is going to do their job.
"Again, we have a lot of football left, so we have to get it together.”
The frustration was elevated after Sunday’s 27-23 loss to Atlanta that saw the Seahawks waste a performance from quarterback Geno Smith that should be good enough to win most weeks.
Smith threw for 325 yards and two touchdowns. Considering how the Seahawks want to play, that should be more than enough in most weeks.
But it wasn’t enough against the Falcons because Seattle is having continued issues defensively. Against the Falcons, it was Seattle's inability to stop the run as Atlanta rushed for 179 yards a week after San Francisco ran for 189. While some of the struggles can be attributed to scheme changes and new personnel, giving up 4.9 yards per rush is infuriating and unacceptable for coach Pete Carroll.
“We have to play with each other and play relative to each other better than we are,” Carroll said. “And that’s getting off the blocks at the right time, and fitting at the right time and not giving them any added space that that gives those runners a chance to get rolling.”
The performances Seattle is getting from Smith, especially against the Falcons, are likely beyond what was expected before the season began.
Smith is completing 77% of his passes and Sunday was the first time he was below 80%. The Seahawks were more aggressive pushing the ball downfield against the Falcons and found success. He’s distributing his passes across the board, whether it’s running backs, tight ends or wide receivers. Ten Seahawks caught a pass against the Falcons.
Quarterback is not the issue for Seattle right now.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
If there is a criticism of Smith and offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, it’s Seattle’s inability to score in the second half. The Seahawks have three second-half points in three games. That’s not going to lead to many victories. The Seahawks are the only team in the league that has played three games and not scored a touchdown in the second half.
Carroll said the plan was to get his trio of tight ends more involved and the Seahawks succeeded. Will Dissly, Noah Fant and Colby Parkinson combined for nine receptions for 105 yards, including Dissly's 18-yard TD in the first half. Not only was the trio strong in the passing game, but Seattle had some of its best success running the ball against the Falcons with multiple tight ends on the field. It should be a look the Seahawks use more moving forward.
“We have a really good group and those guys are going to continue to be involved,” Smith said. “I think they help our offense not only stay balanced, but also be dynamic.”
Left guard Damien Lewis had a forgettable fourth quarter. He was called for holding early in the fourth on a run play after Seattle had reached midfield. The penalty left Seattle in a first-and-20 situation and the Seahawks were forced to punt.
The more damaging penalty came on Seattle’s final drive. Rashaad Penny took a pass 14 yards to Atlanta's 10 with 2:05 remaining. But Lewis was flagged for holding in the open field. Ad after a sack, Smith threw an interception on fourth-and-18.
Backup running back Travis Homer left Sunday’s loss with a rib cartilage injury suffered on a 7-yard run in the first quarter. Carroll said Homer was “really sore” on Monday. .... Perhaps the bigger question for Seattle was the decision to have cornerbacks Artie Burns and Sidney Jones inactive despite neither having an injury designation. Carroll said Jones is still in the competition at cornerback and being inactive was more due to special teams needs. Seattle wanted to give Burns one more week after being out due to a groin injury.
325 — That was Smith’s passing yardage, the third-highest total of his career. He threw for 358 yards in 2014 against Miami and 331 a season earlier against Buffalo, both while with the Jets.
Seattle begins a two-game road trip next Sunday at Detroit. It’s the start of a brutal stretch during which the Seahawks have just two games at home between now and Nov. 28.