By Cedric Williams
After winning four of their first five games this season, the Seattle Seahawks have found themselves in a bit of a winless slump these last two weeks.
Last week, Seattle played one of the most dreadful games in team history in a 6-6 tie against the Arizona Cardinals. And this week, the Seahawks played better — much better compared to last week. But, it still wasn’t enough, as the Seahawks ran out of time and big plays, in a 25-20 road loss to the New Orleans Saints.
It was a shaky performance to say the least for the Seahawks, which is why we found our grading scale landing all over the place in our assessment of Seattle’s day in New Orleans.
If we were grading on a scale, the Seahawks might get an ‘A’ compared to last week’s game in Arizona. Seattle passed the ball better and ran the ball better, too. But the Seahawks also struggled to find the end zone, scoring only one touchdown on nine offensive possessions.
Seattle did actually keep stride with New Orleans’ high-powered offense in terms of total yards — 375 for New Orleans to 359 for Seattle — but the Saints gained their yards on 72 offensive plays, while the Seahawks only managed to run 54 plays.
That led to a 36:12 to 23:48 time of possession advantage for the Saints, which really mattered late in the game, as Seattle found itself with just not enough time to complete a comeback.
Quarterback Russell Wilson did pass for 253 yards, and led the Seahawks to the Saints’ 10-yard line for the final play of the game. But, knowing the clock was running out and having to rush his throw a bit, Wilson led receiver Jermaine Kearse just a bit too far on a fade route in the back corner of the end zone. Kearse caught the ball, but wasn’t able to get both his feet down inbounds.
It was close, but not quite good enough. That’s pretty much what the entire day proved to be for the Seahawks.
The Legion of Boom was pretty close to fantastic once again for the Seahawks. They held the league’s No.2-ranked defense to nearly 100 yards below its season average, while also holding the NFL’s leading passer and future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Drew Brees to below 300 yards and just one touchdown pass on the day.
Just for good measure and knowing its offense was struggling, the Seattle “D” actually put up the first score of the game, when it turned a New Orleans fumble into a 34-yard touchdown return courtesy of safety Earl Thomas.
Linebacker Bobby Engram and safety Kelcie McCray also had big days for the Seahawks, with Engram registering a game-high 15 tackles (11 solo) and McCray following right behind with 10 tackles of his own.
Special Teams: B-
The Seahawks were also pretty strong in the kicking game on Sunday. Return man Tyler Lockett was his usual electric self, especially on kickoffs, where he averaged 28.8 yards on four returns, which included an exciting 37-yarder that looked like it might be the start of something good for Seattle, but was quickly nullified by an interception that led to New Orleans’ second touchdown of the day.
Kicker Steven Hauschka seemed to regain his form after a couple of tough misses last week. On Sunday, while kicking in the Mercedez Benz Superdome, Hauschka was two-for-two on PATs and two-for-two on field goals, including a 44-yarder, which put Seattle up 17-13 midway through the third quarter.
As mentioned earlier, the Seahawks were better than last week — much better than last week — but still not good enough to win against a New Orleans team that even with Sunday’s victory still finds itself with a losing record in the suddenly sub-par NFC South.
The key to getting back on the winning track for the Seahawks seems to be in finding a way to get more consistent production out of the offense. On Sunday, Seattle was a bit more efficient and even reached into its bag of trick plays to find a nifty double-pass from the quarterback Wilson to wideout Tanner McEvoy, who threw back across the field for a 43-yard gain to running back C.J. Prosise, to set up the Seahawks’ lone offensive touchdown by Christine Michael.
But beyond that, the Seahawks continued to be a bit boring and predictable on offense. Which is fine when you’re winning, but doesn’t seem to go over very well when you’re not. And Seattle has not won for two weeks in a row now.
That’s probably not reason to panic, especially since the Seahawks still have a firm hold on first place in the NFC West. But not playing well at any time is always reason to be concerned. So the Seahawks coaching staff will need to go back to drawing board to hopefully figure out what’s been going wrong for a team many thought would be making another run at the Super Bowl this season.
Next Up: The Seahawks will be back at home next week, hosting the Week 9 Monday Night Football affair against the Buffalo Bills.