Thanks to an elite defense and special teams units, the Seattle Seahawks were able to bounce back from a season-opening defeat to crush the Dallas Cowboys 27-7.
Despite that performance in front of their home crowd, the Seahawks still aren’t moving the ball very well on offense. Through two games, the Seahawks led by Russell Wilson at quarterback are averaging 134 yards passing per game. If it weren’t for a couple nice runs by running back Marshawn Lynch, there’s no telling what would have happened in Sunday’s game.
Lynch’s runs extended drives and allowed offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell to continue to call running plays, keeping the ball out of Wilson’s hands and eating up clock to keep the Cowboys offense off the field.
Due to that philosophy in the second half, Wilson finished 15-for-20 for 151 yards and a touchdown. His highlights include a touchdown pass to a wide open tight end Anthony McCoy, a nice low throw to Sidney Rice over the middle, a couple nice plays with his feet to extend drives and a third down throw to Golden Tate in the redzone that resulted in a first down late in the fourth quarter that eventually led to a Lynch touchdown.
The negatives or low lights were more abundant. In the first half, even with an early 10-0 lead thanks to the special teams and defense, Wilson was extremely shaky.
On his first drive of the day, the Seahawks offense started at the Cowboys’ 27-yard line after recovering a fumble on the opening kickoff. Despite that great field position, the team only got a field goal. In fact, Wilson threw a pass right into the arms of Cowboys linebacker Bruce Carter but was fortunate enough to see it dropped and the field goal to be kicked.
Wilson sailed balls to a wide open Tate down the field, a pass to 6-foot, 6-inch tight end Evan Moore and another to Tate along the sideline that he was able to leap up and grab.
He looked like a rookie quarterback playing his second career game to put it simply. Which of course he was. And while he certainly got into a rhythm in the second half of Sunday’s game thanks to a dominant ground game and playing with the lead, his leadership of the passing offense leads a ton to be desired.
Yet, head coach Pete Carroll through his comments post game and on Monday shows no desire to do so. He seems perfectly content to settle with allowing Wilson to go through the growing pains of being a rookie QB in the NFL while winning football games with a stingy defense, excellent special teams play and a solid ground game.
That’s all well and good. The Seahawks are capable of winning 8, maybe even 9 games that way this season even with their difficult schedule. But this is a team with playoff aspirations and a team capable of winning 10, 11 and even 12 games this season if it gets elite play at the quarterback position.
Next up is a Monday Night Football contest with the Green Bay Packers, a team led by All-Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers and one that finished 15-1 last season with an NFL-leading 35 points per game scored by its offense.
You’re not going to beat the Packers with a ball control offense. Even with a great defense, the Packers move the ball too fast and too efficiently to lose 10-7. It will take 27+ points to beat them and unless you want to count on 10 points a game from the defense and special teams, sooner or later the offense — and passing game in particular — is going to have to step up to churn up yards, first downs and ultimately points.
Currently, a Seahawks offense led by Wilson isn’t able to do that. Put this team behind the eight ball and force Wilson to throw? That’s a scary proposition that coach Carroll doesn’t want to have to think about. But he doesn’t have to be afraid of it. The Seahawks offense is better than anyone thinks right now. It’s not just a ball-control offense with average receivers. It’s capable of throwing the ball all over the yard and running with ferocity like the best offenses in the league.
Why? It has an experienced, smart, efficient quarterback in Matt Flynn sitting on the bench. Where Tarvaris Jackson failed last year and where Wilson is failing right now, Flynn would excel.
He can anticipate his receivers getting open. He can read defenses and understand where his best matchups are. He can “throw receivers open” by going to Sidney Rice’s back shoulder on a 15-yard out route or throw it to the back pilon where he knows only Rice, Braylon Edwards or Tate can go get it. Jackson could never do that and Wilson hasn’t shown the ability nor the confidence to do that yet, either.
With Flynn at the helm, the Seahawks can be effective passing team, one that rolls up far more than the 130 passing yards they are averaging right now. It just takes an experienced quarterback who can make the throws that you are asking him to make. That’s what Flynn can do. He showed it with the Packers all of last season in limited action and he showed it the previous season in a game against the New England Patriots.
If you give Flynn 30-40 throws a game, you’re going to see 250+ yards and an actual 100-yard receiver. Unbelievable right? Suddenly the Seahawks’ receivers — and its offense — won’t be thought of as some below average unit.
Just start Flynn and stop settling for mediocre.