The saying is as old as the game of football itself: Defense wins championships. However, there’s something to be said about having some playmakers on the other side of the ball as well.
Through three games, the Seahawks (2-1, first in NFC West) haven’t shown consistently that they have what it takes offensively to be more than a lower-tier team this season.
It all starts at the quarterback position. Not only is it Matt Hasselbeck’s job to get his team down the field and to put points on the scoreboard, he’s also in charge of helping set up his team’s running game. Thus far he hasn’t done any of the above. His quarterback rating of 75.4 is his third worst in his career and, behind his 199.3 yards per game, Seattle ranks 21st in the National Football League in aerial yardage.
Maybe it’s not all Hasselbeck’s fault. It’s true that the team lacks a proven number one wide receiver despite having a stable of young guns that have shown flashes of brilliance.
Mike Williams wowed the coaching staff during the preseason, so much so that he helped force T. J. Houshmandzadeh out the door just a year into a lengthy contract; however, injuries have tempered his fresh start in the league.
The youngest two receivers, Deon Butler and Golden Tate have also garnered praise, but, like Williams, much of what’s been associated with them thus far remains talk instead of production.
Tate’s learning curve has left the rookie out of Notre Dame trying to stay afloat in a sea of playbook terminology. His four targets and receptions Sunday against San Diego have been the most his quarterback has looked to him all season.
Butler sits fourth in targets (11) on the team and is third among wide receivers. Last Wednesday, head coach Pete Carroll waxed poetic about Butler’s growth over the past few months, citing his speed and route running. Carroll went on to say that the 5-foot-10, 182-pound second-year receiver was a playmaker and that the team would have to get him the ball.
So much for that.
Days after his coach glowed about him, Butler was a nonfactor in his team’s 27-20 victory over the Chargers. He was targeted just twice and failed to haul in either pass attempt.
Without much going for the team’s aerial attack, the ground game hasn’t had much to work with. Justin Forsett and company average a collective 84.7 yards per game this season, good for 24th in the league.
Forsett’s emerged as the team’s flag bearer at the position, but has had just one game of double-digit carries and, in that game, he had his worst yards per carry total of the season. In fact, his yards per carry has dwindled each of the three games this season (6.1, 5.5 and 3.7, respectively).
Seattle can’t rely solely on its defense throughout the season. While it’s a competitive unit, the defense has shown to be of the bend-but-don’t-break variety. In order for that type of unit to have success it needs help. If points become scarce, those bend-but-don’t-break moments will slowly add up and instead of having a point differential of a few points here and there, Seattle will see itself on the losing end of box scores by 12, 17 or even more.
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