Reflections at 2-2

Louis Bacigalupi posts comments on the site as LouieLouie.  He’s an accountant by trade and worked in a USFL front office.  He can be reached by email at Louie@fiercelyI.com.

First of all, Seahawks fans need to stop hyperventilating.  Just relax, try taking a few slow, deep breaths, meditate (chant “ohm!”), envision yourself walking on a tropical beach at sunset, think about Angelina Jolie — whatever it takes.  The Seahawks are 2-2. They have beaten two very good teams at home, Dallas and Green Bay, and have lost two close games on the road.  This team is not even close to falling into the rapture, so please stop and calm down.

I would like to reflect on a couple of issues that were major factors in Sunday’s loss to the Rams.

Coaching:Carroll and co. were outcoached by Fisher and co. in that game, most obviously during the two trick kicking plays.  First, the Rams caught the entire Seahawks team picking their noses with the fake field goal that turned into a touchdown.  Later, when the Seahawks tried an onside kick, they didn’t fool anyone.  Let’s not forget how big those 4 points were in the game.  All things being equal, the Hawks would have been trying to kick a tying field goal at the end of the game instead of needing to score a touchdown.

Also, the Rams’ pass rushing schemes kept guys stunting toward the middle to put guys in Wilson’s face and consistently block his view of the field.  The Hawks were never able to adjust.

Third Down: The Rams were better on both sides of the ball on third down, especially when the Rams offense faced third and long.  The advantage may have simply been at quarterback because Sam Bradford put the ball right on the money several times in those situations.  A couple of times his receivers were open, but other times the reception was hotly contested by the defense, but in both cases he often had plenty of time to throw.

Penalties: Penalties took the Hawks out of the game.  There was no excuse for a couple of unnecessary roughness calls against Seattle which wound up ending drives by forcing them to play in first or second and fifteen.  That is the disadvantage of having a young team, and those penalties are correctable.

Pass Protection: The Seahawk o-line played at a high level in the run game, and both Lynch and Turbin had huge holes to run through all game long.  However, pass protection was not so good.  The o-line still has plenty of work ahead of them before they give Russell Wilson the kind of pass protection he needs to be an effective quarterback.  Rams defenders were all over him throughout the game, and that was also the case in Arizona.

Russell Wilson: The Rams’ d-line made size matter for Wilson.  They brought pressure up the middle with their big guys and got in his face all day long.  As mentioned above, that was primarily an issue with pass protection and the coaching staff being unable to make adjustments to deal with what the Rams and Cardinals were able to do.

Wilson also had three interceptions in the game, but only one was really his fault.  On the interception to McCoy, who can account for a tight end falling down in his route as the pass is thrown?  The intercepted throw to Baldwin was not a perfect throw, so it was parlty Wilson’s fault, but Baldwin was the one who let it bounce out of his hands and into the loving arms of a Rams defender.  The third interception, which occurred when Wilson was hit while throwing the ball, was all Wilson’s fault, but those interceptions happen to every quarterback in the league.

At this time, Sam Bradford is the best quarterback in the NFC West.  Russell Wilson is a rookie quarterback with only four starts under his belt.  If Pete Carroll believes Wilson is the Seahawks’ quarterback of the future, then he simply needs to keep playing.  Wilson’s playing time early in the season will be a necessary investment that will pay off, hopefully, later in the season.  We only need to look at Christian Ponder to see a great example of this.

I happen to agree with Warren Moon that there will come a time when Carroll will need to take the shackles off of Wilson and allow him to play his game.  He played his game in Kansas City during the preseason, and that was when he won the starting job.  The shackles went on in the last preseason game against the Raiders, and there they remain.

Even after all of those issues the Seahawks had against the Rams, it was still a closely contested game.  The winning margin for the Rams were field goals of 58 and 60 yards.  How often is that going to happen?  Against Arizona, the Hawks had a first and goal opportunity to score the winning touchdown, but were unable to close the deal.  In the near future, I think the Seahawks will win those games.

So Seattle fans, stop hyperventilating.  Just relax, try taking a few slow, deep breaths . . .

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