Pete Carroll picked his words wisely following the Seahawks 17-12 loss to the Giants in Week 13. He cautiously avoided any explanation that would directly blame anyone or anything for Sunday’s dud.
But one thing was evident: Carroll seemed mystified as to how the league’s top-scoring offense could have played so poorly.
“It’s an uncharacteristic type of feeling when we’re not putting points up on the board,” Carroll said. “We had trouble all day long. Give them credit. They’ve been playing really good ball. I need to look at the film to see why it was like that so much.”
It was comprehensively terrible for Russell Wilson and company. Seattle only mustered three points on offense in the first half and didn’t reach the end zone until midway through the fourth quarter. Each of the Seahawk's 327 yards of total offense was earned laboriously.
Wilson pointed to poor play in situational football. Seattle was just 4-13 on third down and went 0-2 on fourth down. Carroll pointed to the five sacks that doomed the Seahawks. Leonard Williams dominated the game with 2.5 sacks and five quarterback hits all by himself. The five sacks combined for a loss of 47 yards, and that doesn’t even count an intentional grounding penalty that cost Seattle another 11 yards.
“We didn’t move the ball. We weren’t making plays to change the field position. We didn’t chunk them at all,” Carroll said. “Throwing the ball was a struggle. We took some monster losses on the sacks. The whole drive is totally a challenge from then on.
“Those situations kept us from getting any momentum at all. We couldn’t get moving. None of us have seen us play like that, so it was difficult.”
Carroll mostly sidestepped a question about how much Wilson was to blame for the loss that dropped Seattle to 8-4.
“He’s in the middle of it all,” Carroll said. “I need to look at the protection and see how long we were hanging onto the ball. It felt like he was taking a good look down the field like we weren’t immediately rushed. We’ll see.”
Wilson isn’t solely to blame. DK Metcalf dropped a pass. Chris Carson dropped two, one of which resulted in an interception. Seattle ended the game with their fourth-string right tackle. Brian Schottenheimer presumably could have done more to get his offense clicking with a few easy completions.
But Seattle’s franchise quarterback obviously wasn’t himself on Sunday. And what’s alarming is that this isn’t the first time we’ve had this conversation this year. Carroll previously said Wilson was on an “out-of-character run” from Weeks 7-10 when his turnover numbers spiked. On Sunday he took bad sacks, struggled to see the field, and evidently didn’t trust the protection in front of him given his eagerness to escape the pocket.
“I’m going to look at this game and break it down and figure it out; talk to Russ, talk to Schotty, and get to the essence of it,” Carroll said. “I’m not going to just throw out some thought right now, randomly. I’m really surprised that this is how we looked against this game plan that they had. I thought we could do a lot of stuff that just didn’t happen for us. I need to see why, and really break it down. I can’t tell you right now.”
The Seahawks had a long stretch at the beginning of the season where Wilson and the offense had to carry an underperforming defense. It became a script that the team and its fans alike could count on. But Wilson’s struggles, especially to the degree of Sunday’s loss, are always perplexing.
So while it was the defense that held an accountability meeting a few weeks back, it’s time for the offense to do some soul-searching as well. Because the Seahawks need answers on that side of the football. Fast.