The Seattle Seahawks beat the Atlanta Falcons 26-24 yesterday…and they were darn lucky to walk away with that win.
Tried as they did to give it away, it was the will of Richard Sherman who appeared very angry at one point in the second half. And there was good reason for him to be so ticked off after the Legion of Boom allowed Julio Jones to break free for a 36-yard touchdown.
It was a lack of communication. Those happen a lot in the NFL and in this case, safety Kelcie McCray, subbing for injured Kam Chancellor, blew the assignment and allowed Jones to break free for the score.
This proves how much of a leader that Richard Sherman is. He expects a lot of himself and expects a lot of his teammates. I don’t blame him one bit for getting as upset as he did. The Legion of Boom is way better than they played yesterday.
But not all of the fault can be placed on the defense. The offense has issues they need to correct.
First and foremost, Russell Wilson needs to go back to doing what he does best…when the situation calls for it. I agree, from a health standpoint, that being more of a pocket-passer will mitigate injury issues. But there were at least five instances where his running abilities would have put pressure on the Atlanta defense to stop him.
One instance that stands out was in the 4th quarter. Seahawks were on the Atlanta 10 yard line with a 3rd and goal. Wilson stepped up in the pocket when he felt pressure behind him no one was in front of him. He had a clear path to the end zone. Instead, a stopped and attempted a pass to Jerome Kearse that was incomplete.
To put more salt on the wound, the normally reliable Steven Hauschka missed a 29 -yard field goal that went left.
I get the fact they want to protect Wilson but he is a weapon that needs to be utilized.
Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell needs to start becoming more imaginative with his play calling. He doesn’t have the luxury of calling Marshawn Lynch plays anymore and needs to trust Wilson and the Seahawk receiving corps and take more shots downfield. The 15-20 yard throws work when you have Beast Mode but he’s gone now. And Christine Michael, while doing an admirable job, is no Marshawn Lynch.
Defenses have figured out Bevell’s offense and see that Wilson is reluctant to run. So they stack the box because they have no fear of Wilson going deep and they throw more bodies at the running game.
The use of Jimmy Graham is ludicrous. Yes, he had six catches for 89 yards. But during crunch time, they went away from Graham. For crying out loud, the man is 6-7, has an 82″ wingspan and can run the 40 yard dash in 4.5 seconds.
The Seahawks need to look at all the tape when Graham was with the New Orleans Saints and see how Drew Brees used Graham…up high, triple-covered and as an outside receiver. C’mon man, line up a 6-7, 265 lbs. receiver against a 5-11, 193 lbs. cornerback (the average height and weight of an NFL cornerback.) I’ll take that match-up all day!
Am I being too critical? Darn right I am. The Seahawks had no business winning this game. And the last pass attempt by Matt Ryan, the officials gave the game to the Seahawks because that was pass interference. I’ve seen a lot less contact and the flag was thrown.
The next three games are going to be critical for the Hawks. The travel to Arizona to play the Cardinals. Carson Palmer has been cleared to play and will tune-up against the New York Jets tonight. Cardinals with Palmer have played the Seahawks very tough.
Next-up is the resurgent New Orleans Saints. Drew Brees lit up the Carolina Panthers for 465 yards and 4 touchdowns and built a 31-17 lead in the third quarter. They won the game 41-38 despite allowing the Panthers to score 21 points in the 4th quarter.
After that comes the surprising Buffalo Bills. This isn’t going to be the team the Seahawks played in 2012 when they lit them up in Buffalo for 50 points. This version of the Bills have a very strong running game with LeSean McCoy who lit up the San Francisco 49rs with 140 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns. This team also shut out the New England Patriots. Yes, I know, they didn’t have Tom Brady but the Pats are still a formidable team without him and weren’t able to score against the Bills defense.
Speaking of New England, that is the Seahawks opponent after the Bills. And they have Brady back who in the last two games has thrown for 782 yards with six touchdowns and zero interceptions.
So the road back to the Super Bowl is going to be a tough one. And if they played like they did against the Atlanta Falcons, they aren’t going to make it.
Teams will score. It’s what the NFL wants to keep fans interested. But the Seahawks need to become more imaginative on offense and corral the other teams big-name players and limit the amount of scoring.
Let’s hope the Falcon game serves as a wake-up call and gets these Hawks back on the right track.