Seahawks

Overreaction Monday: Russell Wilson is mostly to blame for Seahawks loss to Giants

Seahawks
USATI

Whew boy. After sifting through more than 200 takes, I’ve put together a strong list of responses that offer mostly reasonable talking points following the Seahawks debacle against the Giants in Week 13.

Here are the best hot takes of the week. Thanks, as always, to those who participated.

Overreaction? No.

This has long been my biggest gripe with the Seahawks. From Pete Carroll’s mantra of not being able to win games until the fourth quarter to his stated preference of playing close games, it’s evident that Seattle lacks a killer instinct. It’s why the Seahawks are good enough to beat anyone and flawed enough to lose to the Colt McCoy-led Giants.

Consistently playing with razor thin margins is no way to pursue a Super Bowl. It’s one thing to always give yourself a chance to win, but Seattle’s mindset should be ensuring that the game is wrapped up in their favor well before the final minute of the fourth quarter. Obviously no team is capable of winning blowouts every week. We all know this. But the league’s top clubs should be able to do so on occasion, right? Heck, even the Falcons stomped the Raiders, 43-6, a few weeks back.

Learning how to win games despite not playing your best is a requisite trait to be considered among the league’s best teams. Seattle has that in spades. But what the Seahawks glaringly lack is the ability to overwhelm an opponent.

I always try to preach perspective to Seahawks fans. Even now, Seattle is still 8-4 with a great chance to win the NFC West. But consistently playing down to bad teams is a trend that has grown tiresome for many, and I empathize with fans entirely on that level.

 

Overreaction? No.

The majority of the blame for Sunday’s loss is absolutely on Russell Wilson’s shoulders. This is a player’s league. Beyond that, it’s a quarterback-driven league. Wilson was rightfully lauded for his scorching start to the season in which he carried Seattle’s awful defense. But too often when things go south, the narrative shifts directly to “fire the offensive coordinator.”

Wilson has the keys to the car. Are there checks and balances? Maybe. But this is his offense just as much as it is Schottenheimer’s. Wilson should be equally capable of diagnosing a problem and figuring out a solution on the fly. Every pass play seemed to be the exact same. Long developing routes downfield with either no one getting open or Wilson missing an open man due to the pressure in front of him. That led to check down after check down. There was no adjustment made to compensate for the combination of playing a fourth-string right tackle and the Giants taking away everything deep.

Seattle needs to go back and watch its win against the Cardinals, a game in which the offense was on-time, in a rhythm, schemed guys open in space and largely succeeded due to an intermediate passing game. All of that was invisible on Sunday against the Giants.

Overreaction: No.

It’s pretty wild that we’ve now seen this script play out two consecutive years: An unstoppable start to the season followed by an inexplicable mid- to late-season lull. This stretch is arguably the worst of Wilson’s career. Over his last five games, Wilson has just seven total touchdowns, five interceptions and four lost fumbles.

The fate of Seattle’s season rests with Wilson and the offense getting back on track. Wilson’s track record says he’ll figure it out, but he needs to do so quickly.

Overreaction: Yes.

This is the part where I have to go on the perspective spiel. The answer can’t always be “fire everybody” whenever things are going poorly. That’s how you end up as a franchise that churns through coaches and never finds stability. For all of Pete Carroll’s flaws (and I’ve noted them ad nauseum over the last few years), I believe he’s still a fine head coach. The continuity of having an established front office and coaching staff is part of the reason why the Seahawks have been one of the league’s most successful franchises over the past decade.

Holding people accountable and justifiably demanding better is more than acceptable, especially for a team with championship aspirations. But I can’t get behind the notion of burning it all to the ground and starting over at 8-4.

 

Also, if we are taking sentiment out of it and what we believe “should happen,” it’s worth reiterating that Carroll’s seat isn’t even lukewarm. Jody Allen isn’t going to fire him just months after handing him a five-year extension.

Overreaction? No.

The Seahawks have played one complete football game all year. That was the win over Arizona a few weeks back. I can understand the frustration of fans to see the defense turn the corner only to have the offense immediately falter.

Overreaction? No.

There’s not much to say here, only that nobody would be surprised to see the Seahawks as a one-and-done team this season. Even as the No. 5 seed, that would likely mean playing the Giants on the road in the Wild Card Round.

Overreaction? Yes.

I think the obsession with Damon Harrison from Seahawks fans was a bit odd. Harrison has had a fine career, but he’s a space-eating nose tackle and has never been much of a pass rusher. In four games, Harrison has played between 18-26 snaps in that very role. He hasn’t set the world on fire, but I’m not sure what fans were expecting. His overall Pro Football Focus grade of 54.8 is around the league average.

Overreaction? Yes.

The Seahawks would have to lose each of their next two games before we even entertain this conversation. Even after losing to the Giants, Seattle still has a 97% chance of making the playoffs according to Football Outsiders.

Overreaction? No.

This is an area where it’s fair to critique Schottenheimer. As I noted above, there wasn’t a whole lot of imagination behind Seattle’s game plan against the Giants. The Seahawks had to labor for every single yard without ever putting New York on its heels. Simply “being more creative” is easier said than done, but it’s a valid gripe for what the Seahawks showed on Sunday.