That is the question people are wondering after yet, another loss. For the first time in a while, the Seattle Seahawks are two games under.500 after losing (via NFL) to the Carolina Panthers 27-23. What is worse is that the loss came at CenturyLink Field. It is only the third home defeat since Russell Wilson was named the starting quarterback in 2011.
A last-minute drive, capped off by a Greg Olsen touchdown catch from Cam Newton, is what put the Panthers ahead. The game’s conclusion, as Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman stated was caused by some miscommunication (via ESPN), will only create questions – questions which the Seahawks must find answers for quickly.
A quick turnaround for the Seattle Seahawks takes place. They have a game this Thursday against the San Francisco 49ers team whom they are tied with in the standings. First, they must figure out what is going wrong, so they can fix it before squaring off with their division rival.
Nothing against a solid Panthers team, but the Seahawks are supposed to be a dominant team in their home stadium.
The fans at CenturyLink Field is the 12th man. Seahawk fans get behind their team, giving them an advantage not experienced by most teams in sports, period. Add to that, a vaulted Seattle Seahawks defense that is energized by the crowd. Both of those elements were present during the game. With the loss, one cannot help but ask what is wrong with the Seattle Seahawks?
Over the span of four years, the Seahawks would have found a way to pull out a win. An opposing team’s penalty, the defense creating a turnover, a defensive stop is just some of what the Seahawk fans have come to expect from the team. What would follow would be a smart offensive play to win the game. None of those heroics took place against the Panthers, who came into CenturyLink Field unbeaten. They wound up leaving the same way that they came.
The Seahawks’ 2-4 record is head scratching for a team who has appeared in the last two Super Bowls. Everything was breaking the Seattle Seahawks’ way.
Running back Marshawn Lynch returned to the lineup and scored a touchdown. Tight end Jimmy Graham was vintage with eight catches for 141 yards. His game was clearly his best since joining the Seattle Seahawks via trade this offseason. The defense chipped in also, forcing Cam Newton to throw two interceptions. The lead was 23-13 late in the fourth quarter before Carolina stormed back to score two touchdowns in less than four minutes.
Everybody wondered if the Carolina Panthers were a legitimate team. They left CenturyLink Field with the impression that they are for real. Now, doubts about the home team Seattle Seahawks emerge.
Sure, the Seahawks were without linebacker Bobby Wagner. They were also looking at working in both Lynch and Graham into the offense at the same time. The latter is the primary reason why they are only 2-4.
Something that the Seattle Seahawks do not have is offensive chemistry. That starts with the offensive line and continues all the way to Russell Wilson.
The Carolina Panthers sacked Wilson four times. Opposing defenders have gotten to Russell Wilson 26 times in total this season. That is an average of 4.3 sacks a game. Football-Reference had his sack index percentage at 59 percent entering the Panthers game. The NFL average is 100. 59 is at the lowest of any time in his career.
Wilson not having the time to drop back and throw the football hurts the Seahawks. It stalls the offense.
Trying to work Jimmy Graham in the offense is also an issue.
It was reported that Graham was unhappy (via NBC Sports) with his role couple of games into the season. Believing that he was not getting the targets he desired, the All-Pro became vocal about how he is being used by the Seattle Seahawks.
The problem is that he is a tight end by title only. In no way does Jimmy Graham perform all of the tasks that tight ends are asked to do. One of those things is blocking. Graham is not an excellent blocker. He does not pretend to be. What he is, is a receiver in a tight end’s frame. The onus is on the Seahawks to utilize him as a receiver first. Having Marshawn Lynch return muddies things somewhat for Graham and the Seahawks. Lynch is a smashmouth style tailback. Having a tight end who can help create a running lane is huge.
It will take some time for the Seahawks to figure things out on the offensive end.
The problems on defense is a matter of adjusting to the new coordinator on that side of the ball. Defensive coordinator admitted back in May that there some adapting must be done (via Seattle Seahawks team website). He was not kidding.
Blown assignments have cost the Seahawks on more occasions than just the Panthers game. Players being out of position, missing their gaps and zones, while misreading plays have become an uncommon practice for the Seattle Seahawks these days. It is another thing that can be fixed over time.
Up next are the 2-4 San Francisco 49ers. They will have a chance to fix things, but there are only few days to fix what is wrong with the Seattle Seahawks.
[Photo by Otto Gruele Jr/Getty Images Sport]