On Monday Night Football, the Seattle Seahawks played arguably one of their worst games in the Pete Carroll era.  The offense was anemic, special teams was dicey and there were some incredibly questionable coaching decisions.  Despite it all, the Seahawks somehow kept it close, until their chances at a comeback ending with a failed onside drop-kick with seconds left to go. In the end, Chicago got the 24-17 victory.

We break down what went right, what went wrong and what was just plain disastrous for the Seahawks.

The Right:

Frank Clark:

Clark showed up big on the night for the Seahawks’ defense.  Able to consistently make plays in the backfield, Clark finished the night with three tackles, one sack and a tackle for loss on Bears’ running back Jordon Howard.

Will Dissly:

Down by 14 and badly needing a score, Russell Wilson found “Uncle Will” from two yards out on a quick hitch in the endzone.  After totaling only three career receiving touchdowns in college, Dissly now has two scores in just two NFL games.  Will finished the night against Chicago with three receptions for 42 yards.

Shaquill Griffin:

Griffin is looking like a star-in-the making after intercepting Bears’ QB Mitch Trubisky twice.  The first came on an underthrown deep ball where Griffin made a leaping grab to undercut Allen Robinson for the pick.  Shaquill’s second interception came when he made a diving attempt on a Trubisky pass that had been batted down at the line, just barely cradling his hands under the ball as he hit the turf.  Griffin’s play was instrumental in forcing Trubisky to avoid the boundary and throw short underneath as he completed 25 of 34 throws for just 200 yards.

The Wrong:

Russell Wilson:

Typically,  Russell Wilson’s quarterback play has been defined by solid decision-making and an ability to limit takeaways.  Against the Bears, a lack of both led to an anemic offense and doomed Seattle’s chances at a win.  Under constant pressure, Russell looked extremely uncomfortable in the pocket, at times showing a complete lack of awareness of his surroundings and shuffling right into the rush for a sack.  When he did have time, he struggled to find the open receiver. He completed 22 of 36 passes for 226 yards.

With Chicago leading 17-10 and eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Wilson hesitated a heartbeat before throwing to Rashaad Penny split out to his left. The delay allowed Prince Amukamara to break on the ball and pick it off, running 49 yards into the endzone to put the Bears up by 14. On the ensuing Seahawks’ possession, Russell attempted to step up and scramble from the pocket, only to be strip-sacked by Danny Trevathan, resulting in Wilson’s second turnover of the game.

On a night where Seattle’s defense surprisingly held up strong, it was Russell’s lack of ball security that would doom the Seahawks’ shot at a win.

Special-teams:

Though Seattle’s special-teams unit was by no means to blame for the loss, they were uncharacteristically sloppy on the night.  We found out Michael Dickson isn’t super-human after all when he flubbed a punt for 10 yards in the second quarter. The punt coverage team struggled as well, allowing Tarik Cohen to average 14.5 yards per return, with a long of 32.

Backup linebackers:

Playing without veterans Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright predictably left a noticeable void in Seattle’s defense.  Rookie Austin Calitro struggled to track down Chicago’s ball-carriers and missed several tackles.  It was also a mixed-bag for Mychal Kendricks’ Seahawks debut.  He picked up a sack of Mitch Trubisky on a blitz, but had a pass go right through his hands along with a couple of early missed tackles.

The Disastrous:

The offensive line:

For the second straight week, Wilson was sacked six times in a game.  Some of those are on the QB for holding on to the ball too long, but the line undoubtedly struggled in protection.  There was consistent pressure on Wilson throughout the game and his lack of confidence in the line resulted in skittish play.  The more concerning issue for the group however is the inability to open lanes in the run game.  There were few holes for Seattle’s backs to run through and the unit could muster just three yards per carry on 19 attempts.

The coaching:

Just days after Seahawks’ Head Coach Pete Carroll said Chris Carson had separated himself from rookie Rashaad Penny and earned lead back duties, Carson head-scathingly logged just six carries. In his post-game interview Carroll said Carson was “gassed” after picking up more special teams snaps due to injuries at other positions, so they went with the fresher back in Penny. Yet again Chris looked to be the better back, but just like in Denver last week, Rashaad picked up the lion’s share of looks, out-touching Carson 10-6.

It wasn’t just the running back splits where Seattle’s coaches looked lost, the overall play-calling was atrocious as well. From eight minutes remaining in the second quarter to fourteen left in the fourth, the Seahawks failed to call a single run play. For this too, Carroll took the blame. He said he wanted offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to try some deep passes, and it “threw the play caller off rhythm.” When Schott finally got his play-calling on track in the fourth, the Seahawks went back to the run and looked better than they had all night.

In a game where the offense allowed six sacks, totaled 80 yards through three quarters and went 5 of 13 on third downs, hopefully they will look to their fourth quarter and build on that momentum going into next week’s game against Dallas.

 

 

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