After a lethargic performance in a 30-17 road loss to the Vikings on Sunday, the Seahawks’ defense came under relentless fire and rightly so. They went north for 400 total yards and 30 points for a second straight week, allowing the opposition to erase a double-digit lead and ultimately clinch the comeback victory.
But as has been the case throughout the 2021 season so far, the Seattle defense hasn’t been the only culprit for spitting out big advances in consecutive weeks. Somewhat ironically, Russell Wilson and the offense took their 2020 performance and translated it into individual games in the first three weeks, going red in the first half only to hit a brick wall after mid-point. -time.
Starting with the more traditional stats, the Seahawks lead the entire NFL averaging 20.7 points per game over the first two quarters of action. But after returning to the field after the 15-minute break, Wilson and the offense were shockingly incompetent, averaging 4.3 points per game, the league’s worst in the third and fourth quarters. It’s hardly better than a field goal per game.
What caused this austere contract from one half to the other? Digging deeper into the numbers and movie of the game, a number of factors – some entirely beyond the offense’s control – caused the extensive post-halftime droughts.
First, let’s start by finding out why the Seahawks dominated the first two quarters. In all the change from previous seasons of his career, Wilson came out of the gates firing missiles and playing at an MVP level, completing 35 of 45 passes for 575 yards and five touchdowns. With a ridiculous 155.8 passer rating, he’s averaging 12.8 yards per attempt.
Wrapping up assists from Wilson, Tyler Lockett produced 228 of his 309 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns in the first half of games. While DK Metcalf was a bit better after halftime than his extended counterpart, he also has more yards (120) in the first two quarters and had a big first half in Minnesota with five receptions for 88 yards. and a touchdown.
Away from Wilson and his talented receiving body, running back Chris Carson was also effective on the pitch in the first half of games. Rushing 27 times in six quarterbacks, he amassed 155 yards averaging 5.7 yards per carry and scoring three touchdowns. In addition, he caught two passes for 21 yards.
Looking at the offense as a whole, with the line holding tight protecting Wilson and opening up racing lanes for Carson and Alex Collins, the Seahawks were extremely difficult to slow down in the first 30 minutes of play. dangerous in the second quarter, where 48.9% of their games resulted in first downs or touchdowns and 10 of their 47 games were of the explosive variety, meaning they had seven assists over 16 yards and three points. over 12 meters.
Unfortunately, Seattle didn’t even manage to replicate their first-half success after half-time. While Wilson and Company’s performance in the second quarter earned an Oscar, the third quarter deserves nothing but a Razzie.
Held scoreless in the three third quarters, according to Pro Football Reference, the Seahawks have played a total of 30 games and just four of those games (23.3%) resulted in first tries. Wilson’s yards per attempt plunge to 5.3, he’s taken three sacks on just 17 setbacks, and they’ve run 13 times for just 42 yards and an average of 3.2 yards per carry. They were also unable to generate explosives in the third quarter, failing to produce a pass of 16 or more yards or a run of 12 or more yards.
Such offensive ineptitude can only be defined as … crass.
Although Wilson threw two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, Seattle didn’t fare much better in the last period or in overtime either. Taking a 68-yard touchdown pass to Freddie Swain that occurred solely due to sloppy cover by the Titans in Week 2, Wilson was respectable with 17 goals on 26 assists.
But Wilson averaged just 6.8 yards per attempt on those passes and led just one more goal in nine possessions. Seven of those possessions resulted in a punt, a turnaround on the downs or the end of a half and took less than 2:10 on the clock.
Understandably, those numbers for Wilson and the rest of Seattle’s offense need to be taken with caution due to the defense’s inability to leave the field. Tennessee held the ball for almost 20 minutes in the second half of Week 2 and last weekend Minnesota chewed up nearly 23 minutes of possession on three field goalie baskets.
With Wilson, Lockett, Metcalf and the rest of the offense staring helplessly on the sidelines, they were unable to keep pace due to long gaps between possessions. Faced with a 10-point deficit that looked like a 30-point deficit on Sunday, the pressure to score fast and keep up with the pace kept them from being able to lead the game and allowed the Vikings to pass rushers sticking their ears against an incompetent. offensive line.
Unsurprisingly, a sack from Everson Griffen pushed Seattle back to a 3rd and 19th position in his first and third quarter possession, and a play later, Michael Dickson was about to quickly send him back on offense. unstoppable Minnesota to let them consume another big chunk of the clock against a tiring defense and unofficially freezes the game.
“We have to stay on the pitch, you know, and when it doesn’t mix and the defenses give up on the first downs and the attack hasn’t converted them, it’s just out of balance,” the coach said. Pete Carroll after Sunday’s game. “What’s changed? They haven’t done anything different and we haven’t done anything different. Shoot, I was excited about – I think we scored four times in a row or something. thing like that. We were really on the right track as we should be. Just missed our chances, and then all of a sudden the game slips away. “
En route to a tough Week 4 game in San Francisco, Seattle proved they have the offensive talent to score points on the cluster board and coordinator Shane Waldron has crafted quality game plans every week. But the team’s arsenal was largely under control in the second half.
To reverse course, the Seahawks must first and foremost figure out how to move the chains, especially in third position. They currently rank 26th in the NFL converting just 38% of third-down opportunities and it can be argued that if they could have endured one or two more second-half practices with another or two first downs. conversion, they could have won at least one of the last two games, if not both. The possession time conundrum doesn’t just fall on the defense in this case.
Second, the offensive line needs to play better and Wilson needs to do a better job offloading football quickly. It’s evident from watching the movie again that the quarterback was put under more stress after half-time, including under pressure 10 times during the second half at Minnesota, but there were still times when he was partially responsible for this pressure missing from the receivers during the checks. .
Finally, while not popular with all 12s, Waldron can’t forget the ground game like he did against Tennessee in Week 2. As Seattle’s last two opponents have shown. , leading football can be a team’s best friend when he held a lead and yet he’s called just two scoring games in the last three possessions of the fourth quarter. Those practices didn’t even last a combined four minutes of playing time, which gave the Titans time to make a comeback.
Of course, more support from a slandered defense would also do wonders. Just having the ball more often would give Wilson and his comrades extra shots to shake things up, which is always a win for the offense. But no matter what the defense does, they need to step up their games from an efficiency standpoint in the second half of games or with a tough schedule looming, things could quickly escalate.