Seattle Seahawks

Fann Mail: How Ziggy Ansah’s lack of production opened the door for Shaquem Griffin

Fann Mail: How Ziggy Ansah’s lack of production opened the door for Shaquem Griffin

The Seattle Seahawks are 8-2 going into their Week 11 bye and have it all to play for over the final six games of 2019. Monday’s win against the San Francisco 49ers put them in the driver’s seat to win the NFC West. The victory also put a first-round bye and potentially home field advantage well within reach.

In order for that to happen, the defense is going to have to show that Monday’s primetime showing wasn’t an aberration. A few lineup tweaks on that side of the football is the focus of this week’s mailbag. Thanks, as always, to those who asked questions.

I think it’s safe to say that the Seahawks are going to phase out Ziggy Ansah, if not simply remove him from the lineup all together. Pete Carroll said last week that Ansah was 10 pounds away from where he needed to be and that he still hadn’t regained all the strength in his shoulder.

So it wasn’t a huge surprise to see Shaquem Griffin play his first defensive snaps of the season (13 to be exact) because, let’s face it, he truly couldn’t have been worse than Ansah. I’d still temper expectations from what Griffin can do as a pass rusher. He’s vastly undersized at just 227 pounds, but the benefit of Griffin is that you get his motor. His work rate is far superior to Ansah’s, and he's also better in coverage. That counts for something.

Seattle tried to rotate the two on Monday, but Ansah was quickly pulled out of the game after an egregious offsides penalty on San Francisco’s final drive of regulation.

“It’s really clear, more than it has been, that we might be able to build a role that could be a factor,” Carroll said of Griffin on Tuesday. “We have to work at that more so just to use his speed. He’s instinctively a good rusher. He’s just not very big. You have to do special things with him. We’ll put that together and see if we can make that a good complement to what we’re doing.”

Griffin is a smart football player, and it will be interesting to see what he does with the opportunity that appears to be before him.

Pete Carroll called the safety play against the 49ers the best it’s been for Seattle all season. He added that Quandre Diggs provided the “settling presence of a veteran.” I can’t imagine Carroll will tinker with the pairing of Diggs and Bradley McDougald given those comments. And there’s no need to. The Seahawks defense played its best game by far on Monday night. The trust in Diggs enabled Seattle to play more single-high, which is pretty much all it ran when Earl Thomas was patrolling the back end of the secondary.

Blair will only be used in dime situations. So far, the Cleveland game was the only time Seattle utilized dime packages on a consistent basis.

I’m more curious whether or not Ugo Amadi is still getting work at nickel. Jamar Taylor didn’t play well against the 49ers and was given a meager 36.6 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus. There’s room for improvement at nickel, but don’t expect to see Diggs move away from free safety.

This is a great question and one I asked Jadeveon Clowney after Monday’s win. He noted once again that sacks come in bunches and attributed the improvement to the group’s overall energy level. Clowney said they talked all week leading up to the game about maintaining their energy through all four quarters.

I’m a bit skeptical of that rationale because its either a cliché, or it’s an admission that the pass rush hadn’t been playing with such energy in its previous nine games.

My stance is that you had one superstar (Clowney), who was sick of hearing about Nick Bosa all week, and made it a point to dominate. He then went out and feasted on a pair of tackles who were clearly rusty as they made their respective returns from injury.

The more important question is whether or not that type of production is here to stay. I’d like to see it again in Philadelphia before I declare that the Seahawks pass rush is back.

Shaquill Griffin is Seattle’s most improved player and it’s probably not close. His pass breakup deep down the right sideline against Deebo Samuel was one of the biggest plays of the game and arguably his best play of the season. Samuel had a step on Griffin, but the third-year corner was able to make up ground and break up the pass at the last second anyway.

That illustrated a) supreme athleticism in order to play the position at a high level and b) the calmness of a veteran to make the play without panicking and interfering with the receiver.

But while Griffin is trending toward being a No. 1 corner, I don’t anticipate him following a team’s No. 1 receiver. It’s just not how Seattle operates. The Seahawks rarely, if ever, did it with Richard Sherman. I don’t see them changing that tendency for Griffin.

Someone will have to be cut in order to activate Ed Dickson (unless Luke Willson’s hamstring is bad enough that he gets placed on Injured Reserve). Seattle doesn’t need seven receivers on its roster. Josh Gordon looks to have assumed Jaron Brown’s role as Brown was inactive on Monday night. He’d be the likely odd man out. I don’t see the Seahawks cutting another rookie receiver. They already parted ways with Gary Jennings. I’d be shocked if they let go of John Ursua as well.

I’m a big juicy IPA guy. My favorite IPA, though, is Deschutes chainbreaker White IPA.

Wake-up call: Seahawks turn page from ugly loss, eager to respond vs. Panthers

Wake-up call: Seahawks turn page from ugly loss, eager to respond vs. Panthers

It had been a while since Seahawks players had sat in coach on a flight home to Seattle – not since last year’s playoff loss to the Cowboys, to be exact. They’d been so good at taking advantage of the carrot dangling before them on road trips.

A few years ago, a rule was instituted that allowed players to enjoy the accommodations of first class following road victories. The coaches are relegated to the back of the plane in such instances. That had been the case for Seattle’s first six road games in 2019. That perfect 6-0 is unblemished no more following an ugly, 28-12, loss to the Rams in Week 14.

“That was an old fashioned, you got your butt outplayed,” K.J. Wright said matter-of-factly.

Pete Carroll refuted the notion that his team took the Rams lightly, however, Shaquill Griffin noted that Seattle entered the game on a “high horse.” K.J. Wright agreed that there were some players who assumed Seattle’s five-game winning streak would be never-ending.

“I saw a lot of confidence,” Wright said, pivoting from the word “cockiness” that was used in the question asked to him. “I saw a lot of guys like, ‘We’re about to go 14-2! Let’s do it!’ So I guess you could say that. Sometimes when you’re on a high horse you do need to get knocked down. It was a bad day here on Monday. We hadn’t felt that way in a while. You do everything in your power to not get that feeling again.”

Wright wouldn’t go as far as to say that the Seahawks needed a loss like that to bring them back to earth, but Seattle was in a perfect situation to be humbled. It’s easy to find silver linings in such a loss given that it really didn’t change the Seahawks outlook a whole lot. Seattle was always going to have to beat the 49ers at home in Week 17 in order to win the NFC West. That remains true despite getting spanked by the Rams.

“We got hit in the mouth,” Wright said. “Sometimes when you’re in the boxing match, when you get hit in the mouth, you see how you respond. I believe that this is going to be a time where we can really show how we can respond as a team. That loss wasn’t necessarily a really bad thing.”

“Respond” is Seattle’s word of the week, and there’s plenty to get fixed ahead of Sunday’s matchup against the Panthers. The Seahawks defense allowed 455 total yards of offense and gave up touchdowns on three of the Rams first four possessions. They looked out of sorts for the entire first half, unable to handle the tempo the Rams threw at them. Seattle’s communication was poor, and players were scrambling to get aligned correctly as the ball was being snapped on several occasions.

The Seahawks did make some necessary adjustments at halftime, allowing just seven points over the final two quarters, but the damage was already done. Quandre Diggs had a pair of interceptions, including a 55-yard pick-six, that served as Seattle’s lone highlights of the evening.

It was Diggs’ first loss as a member of the Seahawks. He, too, is eager to see how his team responds.

“I think on Sunday you’ll find out,” Diggs said. “Sunday you’ll see. We can’t let one loss hand us two. We’ve turned the page on the practice week, so let’s see how we perform on Sunday.”

Week 15 is potentially the Seahawks final road trip of 2019, playoffs included. In order for that scenario to remain a possibility, players will have to make sure they’re sitting in first class on their way home from Charlotte.

Trevor Moawad discusses Russell Wilson’s viral, ‘cringeworthy’ mic’d up video

Trevor Moawad discusses Russell Wilson’s viral, ‘cringeworthy’ mic’d up video

There aren’t many people who know Russell Wilson better than Trevor Moawad.

Moawad has been Wilson’s mental conditioning coach for the last six years, but the two have developed a friendship that supersedes their professional endeavors. On the latest Talkin’ Seahawks Podcast, Moawad discusses the history of their relationship, their start-up “Limitless Minds” and what sets Wilson apart from other athletes he’s worked with.

During the conversation, I asked Moawad for his thoughts on the tweet that went viral a few weeks back. The post featured a clip of Wilson’s mic’d up against the Vikings on Monday Night Football and referred to it as “cringeworthy.”

“One play at a time. Locked in. Let’s go do this thing together,” were some of the quotes from Wilson in the video.

I asked why Wilson’s approach is so hard for many to relate to, which is why some choose to view it as cringeworthy. Moawad referenced human nature.

“The hard-wiring that we went through physiologically 10,000 years ago never changed. We were wired for fight or flight: to assume negative so we don’t get eaten by a dinosaur,” Moawad said. “Our culture is wired 40 to 70 times more negatively than positively.”

Moawad was keen to note that Wilson is being far more neutral than positive in the video. “Neutral thinking” is one of the foundations of Limitless Minds. It’s the idea that the past isn’t predictive. When bad things happen, it’s real, but it’s not an indication of what’s to come in the future. What happens going forward is based on behaviors and actions over feelings.

Wilson has mastered the practical approach of understanding what it takes to get where he wants to go.

“Consider the alternative,” Moawad said. “What do you want a quarterback to be saying? What do you want your leader to be saying? I think what he’s saying is neutral. ‘Hey stay the course.’ He’s talking about things to do, not outcomes. If you watch Tom Brady mic’d up, he’d have a little bit of a different edge, but he’s equally neutral.

“Russell is an easy target in some senses, but this is who he is. I’ve never judged it because this is who I’ve seen (since I’ve known him). Go back and watch him mic’d up, go back and watch an interview when he was 17 years old talking about the state championship in Virginia. This is who he is.”

What’s most impressive about Wilson, Moawad says, is his ability to not be bothered by the perceptions of others. From fans, to media, to former teammates – Wilson doesn’t concern himself with his detractors.

“The great thing is that Russell has this gene that allows him not to judge the way other people look at him,” Moawad said. “He doesn’t worry about – even all those years with the Legion of Boom and whatever the noise was, he never talked to me about that one time, and we talk every day. I never heard him talk about Richard Sherman, ever, not once.

“What you hear is who he is, and what you see is what he’s willed himself into being. This is the way he chooses to live, and if you’re going to judge him for it and say it’s cringeworthy, that’s OK. But if you look at the outcomes, the outcomes say that through eight years, he’s won the most games that anybody’s ever won through eight years.”

The results are indeed hard to argue with as Wilson recently became the first quarterback in NFL history to lead his team to a winning record in each of his first eight seasons.

Click here or Listen to the full podcast with Trevor Moawad below:

Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner among nominees for Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award

Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner among nominees for Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award

He’s an eight-year NFL veteran, Super Bowl champion, five-time Pro Bowler and four-time NFL First-Team All-Pro.

And now, Bobby Wagner is being recognized for his excellence off-the-field as the Seattle Seahawks nominee for the prestigious Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award.

The award recognizes NFL players across the country who strive to make their communities better and continue to raise the bar on community engagement. Wagner checks both boxes.

The Seahawks linebacker has given back to the Seattle community in a number of ways. He’s partnered with the Low Income Housing Institute’s “tiny house” project to help provide homes for those in need. He’s hosted the “Walk with Wagner” events at the VMAC, in honor of Stroke Awareness month. 

Recently, while packing Thanksgiving meals for Seattle’s tiny home community, he treated Safeway customers to a surprise shopping spree.

“When I do it, it’s genuine,” Wagner said of his gesture. “It’s from the heart. I don’t really care if people see that I do it or notice that I do it or even recognize that it’s me doing it. I just do it because I feel like there’s a lot of people out there that need a hand, and I try to lend a hand.”

Each Man of the Year nominee receives a donation up to $50,000 to spend on their charity of choice. Wagner has selected the HBCU Foundation, a foundation that provides scholarships to students attending historically black college and universities.

The 2019 Walter Payton Man of the Year will be announced on Feb. 1 during a two-hour primetime awards special airing the night before the Super Bowl.

Pete Carroll offers comprehensive injury report as Seahawks prepare for Panthers

Pete Carroll offers comprehensive injury report as Seahawks prepare for Panthers

The Seattle Seahawks are dealing with several notable injuries coming off of their loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 14. Here’s a full roundup of what Seattle is dealing with on the injury front.

RB Rashaad Penny (knee)    

Let’s start with the biggest injury suffered in Los Angeles. Penny is out for the season with an ACL tear, but it sounds like there may be additional damage.

“There’s some other stuff that they’ll look at when they get in there,” Pete Carroll told reporters on Wednesday. “They are going to do surgery. He will have surgery. He’s not going in immediately. They’re going to let it quiet down before they do that. It’s a long haul before we get him back. We’re going to take all the right precautions to make sure we start the process at the right time. They got to get in there and find out what’s going on, but it’s an ACL damage mainly that they’re concerned with.”

DL Ziggy Ansah (neck)

Ansah didn’t play against the Rams after suffering a shoulder stinger in Week 13 vs. Minnesota. It sounds like he’s on the mend and could play against the Panthers on Sunday.

“Ziggy’s practicing today,” Carroll said. “He’s got a chance, a real good chance to be okay, but he has to still prove it. It’s a strength issue right now.”

He did indeed practice in a limited capacity.

DL Jadeveon Clowney (core/flu)

Clowney continues to battle through a painful core muscle injury. He hasn’t missed any time yet, but it’s uncertain whether or not the injury is worsening. Clowney didn’t practice on Wednesday for another reason, though, as he caught the flu bug that’s been going around the locker room the last few weeks.

“He’s sick today,” Carroll said. “He got to flu thing, it finally hit him.”

LB Mychal Kendricks (hamstring)

Kendricks missed the Rams game. He will likely be a game-time decision against the Panthers.

“He ran yesterday, and I think he’s going again today," Carroll said. "He won’t practice today. We have to wait and see all the way until the end of the week if he can make it back.”

The good news is that Kendricks did end up practicing limited on Wednesday.

LB Cody Barton (knee/ankle)

The rookie linebacker left Sunday’s game briefly but returned shortly thereafter. He made his first-career start in place of Kendricks. Barton practiced in full on Wednesday.

“He got a little banged up in the game, but he came back and he got back in. He is kind of like denying being hurt. It’s not there. We’ll see how he does during the week.”

TE Luke Willson (hamstring)

Willson has missed three-straight games with a hamstring injury he suffered in Week 10 against the 49ers. He practiced on a limited basis on Wednesday.

“He’s chomping at the bit to play this week,” Carroll said. “He’s politicking. Like those guys in Washington D.C., he’s working it. Give him credit, he wants to play in the worst way. He ran well today. He was really pumped up about it. He told me at least four times how well he looked in his workouts. He’s working at it.”

FB Nick Bellore (quad)

Bellore also practiced limitedly on Wednesday. He’s missed the team’s last two games.

“Nick’s got a chance to come back,” Carroll said. “He’s going to practice today. We’re thinking that Nick, if he makes it through the week, we’ll wait to determine that, but he should be able to play for us. That’s a big plus for us coming back. He’s been a real factor in teams. A real good factor for us. We’re looking forward to him coming back.”


Here’s Seattle’s official injury report beyond the players Carroll mentioned:

Josh Gordon is happy in Seattle & hopes to stay with Seahawks beyond 2019

Josh Gordon is happy in Seattle & hopes to stay with Seahawks beyond 2019

Josh Gordon sounds like a man who is at peace with where his life and career have taken him.

Gordon’s NFL journey began with a turbulent five years with the Cleveland Browns before spending just over a season with the New England Patriots. He then landed in Seattle on Nov. 1 after the Seahawks claimed him off waivers.

He explained that he didn’t come to Seattle with any expectations, and so he’s been willing to accept whatever role is given to him. But the veteran wideout made it clear that he’s become fond of his new home.

Oh yeah, absolutely. Seattle is amazing. Football aside, I’d definitely love to live in a place like this. -- Gordon

The Seahawks have proven to be a good fit from a football standpoint as well.

“I think I’m just fortunate in general to have landed in a place like this with a coach like this. It’s real family-like. It’s real close, real tight-knit – a real lively, energetic group,” said Gordon, who added that a few teammates were kind enough to invite him over for Thanksgiving dinner. “And competitive more than anything. They love the game of football. You can see it. It’s a great feeling to come back to football and enjoy what you do.”

Gordon, still only 28, is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent following the season. Despite being in the Emerald City for just over a month, he made it clear he could see a future for himself with the Seahawks.

“That’s my hope,” Gordon said. “Thinking optimistically, I think that’s every player’s goal: to try and find a place you can call home. In all aspects I think that’s a bonus.”

His numbers have been humble in four games with the Seahawks – just six receptions on 10 targets for 81 yards – but his catches have come in big moments. Five of Gordon’s six grabs have moved the chains. His role had been stagnant through his first three games, playing 27 snaps (37%) against the 49ers in Week 10, 20 snaps (33%) against the Eagles in Week 12 and 27 snaps (36%) against the Vikings in Week 13.

That changed in Week 14 when Gordon’s playing time jumped to 37 snaps (55%) against the Rams. He caught 2-of-5 targets for 34 yards in Seattle’s primetime loss to Los Angeles. According to head coach Pete Carroll, Gordon was open deep on a few occasions but the ball didn’t get to him because of “other issues.”

Josh has had huge games in the past, he just hasn’t got the ball enough yet to show that for us. But he’s done really well. Josh has been a really good guy around here, practicing and working hard and studying. -- Pete Carroll

It sounds like Gordon will be further integrated into Seattle’s offensive game plan in the weeks to come.

“We’re counting on him to be – he could have a big game at any time,” Carroll said.

Gordon reiterated that he doesn’t have any goals for how many snaps or targets he’ll see moving forward. First and foremost, he seems to be having fun playing football again, and he said the Seahawks have “perfected” that part of the game.

“Anywhere I can be of use to the team, to the offense, to try and get us a catch, move the chains, five yards, it doesn’t matter,” Gordon said. “Any way to try and make a positive influence on the game plan, I’m there for it.”

When asked about the knee and ankle injuries that landed him on IR with the Patriots, Gordon hinted that he’s still playing through some pain. Clearly it’s not enough to keep him off the field. He hasn’t been on Seattle’s injury report in weeks.

“I feel pretty good,” Gordon said. “I’m definitely lucky and blessed that it wasn’t a more serious injury.”

It just kind of feels like Gordon is going to come up big for Seattle before season’s end. That’s not very scientific, but given what Carroll said about Gordon being open deep against the Rams, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him catch a long touchdown at some point in the near future.

Should Gordon have a signature play or two, especially in the playoffs, the veteran may get his wish and remain in Seattle beyond this season.

"Hopefully we continue to keep involving him more and more in the offense and keep getting him the ball," said receivers coach Nate Carroll, who also acknowledged that he'd like to see Gordon stick around past this season. "It would be great to have a chance to get him back in the future."

Contrary to popular belief, Joe Fann is not Stephen A. Smith

Contrary to popular belief, Joe Fann is not Stephen A. Smith

What do Randall from Recess, a Seattle Seahawks employee, Stephen A. Smith and a grocery store all have in common? Twitter thinks they’re NBC Sports Northwest’s Seahawks Insider Joe Fann. 

Let’s recap Fann’s eventful week of social media. 

It started when Fann got called “Traitor Joe” as a play on words from the popular grocery store, Trader Joe’s. However, he did not know the difference between “trader” and “traitor”.

Joe Fann has taken the nickname and made it his own hashtag.

One fan decided to forgo the “TraderJoe” nickname and instead called him “Joe Fannboy."

At least Fann sees the humor in the hate.

Another time, Fann reported on what some of the Seahawks players were teasing each other about.

Seahawks tight end Luke Wilson then took the opportunity to roast Fann by comparing him to Randall from the 90s show Recess that aired on ABC. 

To round out an “exhausting” week of Twitter, one fan mistook Fann for....Stephen A. Smith?

The list continues to grow.

Fann Mail: Gut feeling on the Seahawks playoff seed with three games to play


Fann Mail: Gut feeling on the Seahawks playoff seed with three games to play

The Seattle Seahawks were taken down a peg in Week 14 after getting blasted by the Rams, 28-12, on “Sunday Night Football.”

The loss alone doesn’t change much as the Seahawks still control their own destiny in the NFC West and have an outside shot at the No. 1 seed in the NFC. However, the defeat was eye-opening in that Seattle was thoroughly spanked, which is something that rarely happens to title contenders this late in the season.

This week’s mailbag focuses on how things project the rest of the way for the Seahawks and what needs to improve if Seattle expects to make a run in January. Thanks, as always, to those who asked questions.

It’s hard to watch the 49ers-Saints game and the Seahawks-Rams game and think that Seattle is the best team in the NFC West. At the same time, you have to know not to overreact to the Seahawks loss because this team has proven its mental toughness over and over again. There’s no reason why they can’t respond against the reeling Panthers Week 15, smoke the Cardinals at home in Week 16 and then beat San Francisco at home to close the season and claim the NFC West crown as well as a first-round bye.

But here’s my hesitation. You can appreciate Seattle’s impressive road win against San Francisco while also acknowledging the fact that the 49ers were without George Kittle (who I believe is the best tight end in the NFL) and Emmanuel Sanders (who has become a go-to guy for Jimmy Garoppolo). The Seahawks have shown that they can play great offense and great defense, but they’re yet to put it all together in one game. The 49ers have been doing so all season, which is why they have a point differential of +168 compared to the Seahawks +20.

The kicker is that Jadeveon Clowney, who absolutely dominated the 49ers in the first matchup, is really laboring through a core muscle injury. My guess is that the Seahawks will be a wildcard team and going on the road to play the Eagles or Cowboys in the opening round of the NFL playoffs. I still stand by my claim that it feels like the 49ers and Seahawks will play three times this season.

The struggles of the Seahawks passing game have coincided with Tyler Lockett’s downturn. Bad luck has played a part in Lockett’s struggles over the last month as he suffered a nasty leg contusion and then caught an aggressive flu bug. But it was odd to see Lockett as such a non-factor against the Rams on Sunday given that Seattle was trailing by three scores for most of it and desperately needed big plays in the passing game.

“We haven’t been running plays to be explosive,” was how Lockett explained the struggles of the passing game following the loss. “We’ve been running plays to run the ball and control the clock. We haven’t really been trying to go over the top like we normally have because teams have been game-planning it.”

I understand that the Seahawks are and always will be a run-first team, but Seattle needs to regain its mojo in the passing game, which means Tyler Lockett has to get going again.

As for Amadi, I’m not quite sure what to tell you. Seattle clearly has preferred Akeem King in the three games since cutting Jamar Taylor. Pete Carroll explained back in late November that the team had the utmost confidence in Amadi and that the rookie was ready for the opportunity to play nickel. Those comments obviously haven’t manifested into a single defensive snap for the fourth-round pick.

This remains baffling to me. A fifth-round pick in for a standout free safety who has arguably been Seattle’s best defensive player over the last four games? That’s robbery. Quandre Diggs’ brother, Quentin Jammer, told the Seattle Times that the safety’s “blunt” personality wore Lions head coach Matt Patricia thin. Beyond that, who knows what Detroit was thinking. It’s hard to imagine the Lions couldn’t have fetched more for a player who was a defensive captain in Detroit with an affordable contract.

DK Metcalf has had a really nice rookie season with 50 receptions for 783 yards and five touchdowns. His yardage and reception totals lead all rookie wideouts. His five scores are one shy of Terry McLaurin. What’s most impressive to me is that Metcalf’s efficiency has drastically improved over the course of the season. He’s caught 12-of-13 targets over his last two games, including hauling in all six of his targets against the Rams with Jalen Ramsey shadowing him all game long.

Metcalf’s role and production on a 10-3 Seahawks team is worthy of consideration for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. But for me, he comes in second place to Raiders running back Josh Jacobs, who has racked up 1,061 yards and seven touchdowns in just 12 games. Jacobs has five 100-yard performances this season.

But – yes there’s a but – Jacobs is currently dealing with a shoulder injury that cause him to miss Week 14. Should he miss more time, Metcalf could have a chance to steal the award with a few big performances down the stretch.

Yes, yes you can lose a game in the first half. The Seahawks proved that on Sunday against the Rams. I’d also argue that you can win a game in the first half, as Seattle did in Atlanta in Week 8.

1. I go back and watch every game to see what I may have missed the first time around. I’m not an X’s and O’s expert so I try to read and have conversations with others as much as possible in order to always be learning.

2. I definitely keep tabs on the entire league, but specifically teams in the NFC.

3. I’ve gotten used to not having a rooting interest in the NFL so it’s not weird to me anymore. I still have the Washington Huskies to pull for. What’s harder is not having an NBA team in Seattle. That means my stress level watching Mariners baseball is at an all-time high!

Seahawks lose Rashaad Penny for season with ACL injury

Seahawks lose Rashaad Penny for season with ACL injury

The Seattle Seahawks offense has been dealt another tough blow.

According to Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, rookie running back Rashaad Penny will miss the remainder of the season with an ACL injury. 

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported the former first-round pick suffered a torn ACL in Seattle’s 28-12 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, an MRI confirmed Monday. 

Penny is coming off a two-game stretch of 129 and 74 yards against the Eagles and Vikings. He also scored a combined three touchdowns in those two games, giving Seattle the 1-2 punch at running back they hoped to achieve. 

"Well obviously it's disappointing losing Penny," Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said after Sunday’s loss. "He's such a great competitor. He's been tremendous the past several weeks, so that's just unfortunate. It's part of the game unfortunately. I got to talk to him afterward and he had his head up, he's looking forward to where he's going next and just fighting through the rehab of it all and we'll be right there with him, but yeah, it was tough when you lose one of your key players -- a guy that you love to play with like Penny. He's been playing good football, too, for us, but Chris did well tonight. He made some key runs. Made some nice plays, some nice catches and stuff like that, so I thought Chris played well."

Running back Chris Carson also took to Twitter to send Penny well-wishes.

The Seahawks will now turn to C.J. Prosise and Travis Homer. Prosise has rushed just 15 times for 72 yards in 2019, while Homer has yet to have a single carry. 

Analysis: Russell Wilson, Tyler Lockett offer peculiar explanation for Seahawks offensive woes vs. Rams

Analysis: Russell Wilson, Tyler Lockett offer peculiar explanation for Seahawks offensive woes vs. Rams

Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett both have a unique way of reacting to a loss. They won’t harp on any one thing in particular, and then they’ll offer the typical “we didn’t execute well enough” clichés before turning the page as quickly as possible.

Let me make this clear, there’s nothing wrong with that at face value. Wilson and Lockett are team leaders tasked with keeping the ship moving forward, especially in adverse times like the Seahawks 28-12 loss to the Rams on Sunday night.

“I think that we didn’t match the execution (of the Rams) more than anything else,” Wilson said. “When it comes down to playing a great football team, us being a great football team, we’ve got to execute when it matters and some of those plays we didn’t.”

Wilson wasn’t wrong. Seattle was outgained by Los Angeles 455-308, had 10 fewer first downs and converted just 5-of-14 third downs while the Rams went 7-of-13. Wilson and Co. were kept out of the end zone and the quarterback's streak of 16-straight games with at least one passing touchdown came to an end.

While he and Lockett will never be as candid as Shaquill Griffin was following the ugly defeat on primetime, there were still a few troublesome quotes from those two.

In their respective evaluations of what went wrong, both Wilson and Lockett pointed to a lack of opportunities early in the game. After an opening drive field goal, Seattle went seven-straight drives without points. The Rams went on a 21-0 run during that span.

“It felt like we didn’t have the ball really until the fourth quarter,” Wilson said. “And then we started throwing and making some plays and doing the things we wanted to do.”

That’s not true, though, as Seattle had more time of possession in the first half, 15:17-14:43. Lockett was under the same impression as Wilson – that there was a lack of opportunities.

“They executed their offensive game plan really well,” he said. “They were holding the ball a lot, and we weren’t really having a lot of possessions to be able to do what we wanted to do. They were controlling the game, and it took us out of our element. We had to hurry up and try to rush the game plan more to try to get the ball going, to try to get the touchdown going so we could get back in the game.”

The Rams did execute really well out of the gate, scoring touchdowns on three of their first four possessions. But Seattle’s offense – its passing game in particular – has enough firepower to be able to respond. It’s why the Seahawks were able to keep pace and ultimately beat the Rams in a 30-29 shootout in Week 5. It’s why Seattle was able to erase a 20-6 deficit and top the Browns in Week 6. I could go on.

Seattle’s 7-2 start was due primarily to Wilson’s MVP-level first half of the season and his uncanny chemistry with Lockett. It’s no coincidence that their lack of production together is why the Seahawks passing attack has sputtered of late.

Lockett dealt with a leg contusion and the flu in Weeks 10, 12 and 13, but what was the issue against the Rams? How was Los Angeles able to keep Wilson to 245 yards and no touchdowns and Lockett to just four receptions for 43 yards?

“I just think that we’ve been running the ball more,” Lockett said. “We haven’t been focused much on trying to air-raid the ball like we kind of did earlier on. I think a lot of teams are trying to force us to run the ball instead of trying to force the throw all the time. We’ve been taking what teams give us to run the ball early on.”

That, right there, is alarming. Championship caliber teams should be able to dictate the tempo beyond just taking what a defense gives them, especially when trailing 21-3 in a pivotal primetime matchup. Seattle had every chance to get back into the contest. The defense cleaned things up at halftime, only giving up seven points over the final two quarters, and even scored a touchdown on Quandre Diggs’ pick-six.

But the Seahawks passing game remained anemic from start to finish. It was a low point amid a four-game stretch in which Wilson hasn’t topped 245 yards. And this quote from Lockett may be the most concerning of all.

“We haven’t been running plays to be explosive,” Lockett said. “We’ve been running plays to run the ball and control the clock. We haven’t really been trying to go over the top like we normally have because teams have been game-planning it.”

That strategy works in games like Seattle’s wins against Philadelphia and Minnesota where the Seahawks defense was stout, and the running game was churning out yards with ease. But when Plan A has to go out the window, as it did in Los Angeles, you have to have a counter punch. The Seahawks simply didn’t have one against the Rams.

Perspective is still important as long as Seattle can figure things out in the days leading up to its Week 15 road game against the Panthers. The reality is that the Seahawks, now 10-3, are still in a great spot to win the NFC West if they take care of their own business. That’s what Wilson and Lockett chose to focus on following Sunday’s eye-opening loss.

“Just let it go,” Lockett said of how he plans to handle the defeat. “We’ve still got three more games. We’re in a great position. On to Carolina. Just keep on playing, learn from it and just move on. It’s nothing to just sit and nod your head and get mad about.”

I’d agree. Sunday’s loss wasn’t one to lose sleep about. But squandering an opportunity to win the NFC West and ending up with the No. 5 seed in the postseason would be regretful, which is why the Seahawks need a sense of urgency it clearly lacked against the Rams.