The Elephant in the Locker Room: Just How Offensive is the Seahawk Offense?

be-back-smAfter two Super Bowl appearances in a row, everyone’s paying attention… yet even with all the scrutiny, it seems that there’s always some key issue that’s getting glossed over. It’s the elephant in the locker room, if you will, and gosh darn if I’ll let that ride. Join us on Saturday mornings for a little closer look at our NFC West Champions.

By Greg Wright

Once again the Seattle offense has failed to impress in the early going. Is this any surprise?

Before Marshawn Lynch arrived on the scene, not much exciting ever took place under Pete Carroll. Even after Lynch got here, not much exciting happened until the original Beast Quake in postseason play.

During Lynch’s first full season with the Hawks, there were flashes of interesting things, but Tarvaris Jackson could rarely rally the offense in the second half of games, particularly the 4th quarter, to pull out wins. In 2011, that offense finished the season 28th in overall yardage, averaging just over 300 per game.

Russell Wilson’s first season started slowly, too, even though the Wilson-led version of the O finished 17th in total offense at an average of 350 yards in 2012. After four games, they were averaging just 280 yards of total offense per game.

2013, the Super Bowl season, began a good bit better: the offense averaged 350 yards after four games… though the average was bloated by a 45-17 trouncing of the hapless Jaguars at the Clink which featured a flashy 470 yards of offense. The Hawks finished the regular season ranked 18th in total offense averaging 340, so the output actually declined as the season progressed.

By Keith Allison (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Percy Harvin heads downfield against Washington in 2014. Photo By Keith Allison (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

In 2014, the average after four weeks was a gaudy 370 yards… but remember how awful the offense actually looked getting those yards? Remember the painful loss at home against the Cowboys in week five, with Harvin refusing to play in the 4th quarter? Remember Harvin getting traded the next week? Even after all that pain, do you recall that the offense finished the season ranked 9th in total offense last year, averaging 375 yards?

This year, after three games, the offense is averaging 346 yards per game, in the middle of the pack at 18th. It’s far from time to panic. With the least experienced line they’ve had under Pete Carroll, with Lynch easing into the season, and with the offense not quite sure of its footing yet in the Jimmy Graham era, it’s still on a pace similar to its Super Bowl season.

Face it: the Hawk identity is defense, not offense–and a great measure of the team’s offensive output depends on the defense doing its job. If the D can’t get the opposing offense off the field, our own offense has fewer opportunities. So far this year, the D is ranked 3rd overall, yielding just 286 per game… but that’s after averaging over 350 over the first two games! And still the offense has played well enough to give the team the lead in the 4th quarter of every game so far… leads the D has lost twice.

If there’s been an unexpected weakness so far this year, it’s not been the offense. It’s been the D.

Yard Markers

  • Yes, Richard Sherman’s fake-out punt return was fun to watch… but it still irks me that they had to learn that play the hard way from St. Louis, having lost a close game there less than a year ago because of it.
  • Michael Bennett apparently learned something for at least one week. No costly pre-snap penalties against the Bears. How long will he keep it up? Honestly, as ticked off as folks have gotten in recent years about Okung, Giacomini, et al, I really can’t believe more fans aren’t fed up with Bennett.
  • In case you hadn’t heard, rookie return specialist Tyler Lockett won the NFC Special Teams Player of the Month award. Oh, yeah.
  • A lot of folks are downplaying Thomas Rawls’ 100-yard rushing performance last week against the Bears because the Bears are so awful. Let’s not forget how many running backs have done so much worse against similar defenses in the NFL. At one point Rawls was averaging better than 8 yards per carry behind a weak offensive line. I think Rawls has got the right stuff. You just watch.
  • It’s a good thing Graham redeemed himself with his pass-catching skills last week. He completely whiffed on a couple key blocks, and looked truly awful doing it. He is still far from looking like a complete tight end in this offense. I look forward to having Willson back on the field this week.

Back to the prognostication for this year. Here we go with Week 4.

The Hawk offense is, of course, not yet in post-season form (whatever that might really mean). Thankfully, Detroit’s D has struggled to find an identity post-Suh. It’s really down to a match of the Lions’ strength (passing offense) versus Seattle’s strength (secondary). It is Monday night at the Clink. If past history holds, the Hawks will have the edge in a close contest, 20 to 17, that won’t have been as close as the final score will indicate.

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