I wanted to wait until Monday night to give myself time to collect my thoughts and emotions regarding this team and their performance in prime time on Sunday night. It was an intensely emotional back-and-forth battle that didn't end the way we'd hoped or expected.
Arizona came into our house as the division leader with one of the best records in the NFC. They're a good team that is well-coached. Couple that with the fact that they typically play us tough-- there was no question that we were in for one hell of a fight.
With all due respect to the Cardinals, I still felt like we were the better team. We have the pedigree of back-to-back Super Bowl appearances, we have a remarkably healthy roster considering how far into the season we are, and we have one of the better home-field advantages in sports.
Even 24 hours after the game ended-- I still feel that way.
There was no shortage of problems that were exposed in the spotlight of Football Night in America. Not only with the Seahawks, but the NFL's officiating as well. Collectively, there were 23 penalties called (Arizona 9 for 71 yards, Seattle 14 for 131 yards) along with several moments of confusion that stopped play for an extended amount of time. Last years average amount of penalties per game of 14.41 would've made for a much better prime time presentation.
While some of the penalties called were trivial and unnecessary (against both teams) the Seahawks made more than their share of mental mistakes.
It is unfathomable to me how little discussion is being had about the sheer incompetence of Darrell Bevell. His perplexing play calling constantly sets his players up for failure
There is a wealth of talent on this team and its being poorly utilized. Ten weeks into this season, Seattle has had the lead in every single game-- you can add the Super Bowl if you want to go back
even further. Yet, just before week 11, Seattle finds itself with a 4-5 record and a relatively healthy roster. The offensive play calling could cost this team the playoffs.
Some of you will point to the glaring deficiencies of the offensive line as the root of the Seahawks problem. Obviously, the Seahawks brass thought they had a plan in place for the offensive line this season. They got it wrong. Max Unger's absence has been massively felt. Even James Carpenter is missed. Russell Okung seems to be regressing and the players that were converted from their natural positions just haven't figured it out yet. It's been all too evident that our line just ain't that good.
So ******* what?
Good coaches and good teams overcome their deficiencies. They adapt. They improvise. The Pittsburgh Steelers will be coming in here two weeks from now. They've lost one of the best running backs in the league with Le'Veon Bell out for the rest of the season. Hell, they beat these very same Cardinals, in their house, with their third string quarterback!
Russell Wilson had a rough night. Marshawn Lynch is ailing. We put ourselves behind the 8 ball early and fought an uphill battle the all night. Our defense kept us in the game until the end. Our play calling blew it.
The Seahawks want to be a Power Run offense that relies on it's defense to close out games. Well, you can't. Not this year. Man up and improvise. Don't let stubborn pride cost the fans the opportunity for another exciting postseason simply because you're too proud to admit that your plans aren't working.
Great players like Cliff Avril, Bruce Irvin and Michael Bennett, who had outstanding performances last night, won't be with this team for many more games. Jimmy Graham wasn't paid to come here to block. I'm not even sure that he knows how-- but he can make spectacular plays in the pass game. Unlike his ability to block, there's evidence of his play making ability.
It infuriates me to see Bevell squander this opportunity for us. These players deserve a shot at the post season and so do their loyal fans.
I'm not just ranting without offering a solution. We have the talent and the forgiving portion of our schedule to still make the playoffs, if only as a Wild Card. Seattle must utilize empty backfield formations to spread out their offense. Our receivers aren't the fastest guys in the league as a whole, but they are shifty. Get the ball out of Wilson's hand early. Pick up some quick passes to build confidence and move the chains. Use the short pass game to open up the run. Take shots down field but use high percentage passes to get first downs that will keep your defense rested.
Building confidence and sustaining drives with quick slants and swing passes will keep your defense fresh for those crucial 4th quarter drives to seal games. It might even help you out in the red zone. Go back and watch the past few games-- they've had success running these kinds of plays in these kinds of formations. The problem is, Bevell always tries to revert back to the power run and it has cost us 5 games so far.
We can't afford to have poor game management cost us anymore games this season.