One can never have it all, especially in the NFL. When you look at the best this league has to offer, the Kansas City Chiefs, you won’t even find the most complete team. It’s a near-impossible feat to have a top passing and rushing offense and an equally formidable defense. Teams can have one of the brightest minds in a head coach and quarterback and still lack in a lot of areas. They can also still win.
There are plenty of bad teams that are lacking across the board, we’re not talking about them. In this week-by-week league, the top teams—those divisional leaders and top seeds (or whatever moniker you want to use)—can see their season come to an abrupt end if they don’t properly address their problem areas. It seems for the NFC West’s newest division leader, the Seattle Seahawks, those problems are familiar ones.
The Seahawks clinched their first division title in three seasons with a 20-9 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. After consecutive years as the NFC West’s runner-up, Seattle returned to prominence thanks to… its defense; it’s championship-caliber defense, dubbed by safety Jamal Adams.
Quarterback Russell Wilson engineered two second-half touchdown drives to bring a sluggish offense to life, but it was the defense that won this game. In fact, it’s the Seahawks’ defense that has been largely responsible for their late-season surge. Seattle has won three consecutive games behind what was the league’s worst defensive unit at one point. Now, with one regular-season game left, this defensive unit has done a complete 180. Meanwhile, the offense has completed its 360 back into its old form, reverting back to its anxiety-inducing late heroics. If the Seahawks want to avoid another early exit in the postseason, they need to pick up the pace.
This particular Week 16 matchup may not be the best example; Seattle faced the top overall defense. Los Angeles has allowed the fewest yards per game (286.5) and the third-fewest points (19.3). Rams quarterback Jared Goff was abysmal with a number of head-scratching plays and questionable decision making littered throughout his performance; he certainly didn’t help Los Angeles’ efforts. But the Seahawks offense was equally concerning in the first half. Before Wilson’s 70-yard touchdown drive that ended with him carrying the rock for a short, four-yard score, Seattle had six points on the board.
It seems nit-picky. A win is a win and the Seahawks have posted 11. But Wilson keeps getting snubbed out of an MVP vote and Seattle faces the same problems season after season after postseason; in the six years since the team’s back-to-back Super Bowl appearances, it hasn’t made it past the divisional round and missed the playoffs altogether in 2017. The Seahawks’ ineffectiveness early wasn’t solely a result of the Rams defense.
Seattle reached an offensive low point in its Week 13 loss to the New York Giants. The inefficacy of this unit was threatening the team’s success, much like the defense did early this season. The Seahawks continue to struggle on third downs and have yet to find the perfect balance on offense. The run game has returned as the team’s focus and Wilson is only cooking when the orders have backed up and there’s a need for quick, efficient production.
This can result in wins against the Rams, the struggling Washington Football Team, and the lowly New York Jets. But come playoffs, a repeat effort against the likes of the Rams, Arizona Cardinals, or even the Chicago Bears—all teams who could end the season in the NFC’s sixth seed—the Seahawks will need to find their perfect equilibrium.
They certainly can’t have it all. It seems like establishing the run of establishing Wilson will be a continuous battle. But if there’s a happy medium, where the offense can get on the board early and carry a more commanding lead into the second half where this team really shines, then the Seahawks could be as successful as they once were.
- Aug 22, 2022
- Aug 22, 2022