One-dimensional Seahawks' offense struggles
Seattle — which rushed 12 times for 20 yards — misses injured WR Williams
Already trailing by a touchdown, the Seahawks elected to go for it, but rather than simply try to pound it up the middle for the first down, they called a fade down the sideline to rookie receiver Golden Tate.
The pass fell incomplete, and for the rest of the half the offense went dormant as Chiefs began to pull away for what would eventually turn into a 42-24 victory.
That play, though only one of many that didn't go the Seahawks' way, told the tale of Sunday's game for the offense for two reasons. For one, it showed just how little faith the Seahawks have in their run game, which ranked 30th in the NFL coming into the game. And secondly, it was a play that would have almost certainly gone to Mike Williams had he not been inactive with a foot injury.
And with no Williams and no run game, the Seahawk had almost no offense until the game was out of reach. Seattle managed just 71 yards and three first downs in the first half, and after opening the second half with a touchdown, the Seahawks punted on back to back possessions when they had a chance to take the lead, then fumbled two plays after the Chiefs extended their lead.
“It was not good, it was not good enough,” quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said of the offense. “We didn't really accomplish any of the goals that we set out to do before the game. ... For the most part we were very disappointed.”
Hasselbeck, along with Williams, was the biggest reason that the Seahawks put up their biggest two yardage totals of the season in their previous two games. Against the Cardinals Hasselbeck threw for 333 yards, then passed for 366 in New Orleans — and didn't throw an interception in either game.
That production masked what has been a problem for almost all of this season: the lack of a consistent run game. On Sunday Seattle rushed 12 times for 20 yards, numbers that reflect not just the run-game struggles, but also how little faith the coaching staff has in the offense's ability to run the ball.
“We want to be a balanced offense, but we're not there,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “We're not able to do that yet. ... That's what we'll always be working toward, but we have to try to win the games right now and do what we can with what we have.”
Translation: We'd like to be able to run the ball, but we're not going to bang our head against a wall for three hours for balance sake.
The hope was that a trade for Marshawn Lynch would spark the run game, and for a couple of games it appeared the move would pay off, but seven games into his tenure in Seattle, Lynch has just 273 yards, an number that is more an indictment of the offensive line than his efforts. The Chiefs, meanwhile, who boast the league's No. 1 rushing attack, had 270 yards on Sunday.
“Running the ball is super important,” Hasselbeck said. “It's incredibly important. Even in the last two weeks, we've had some yards throwing the ball, but if we are going to accomplish our goals late in the year, we have to run the ball.”
And if the Seahawks are going to be one dimensional, it would at least have been a big help to have their top receiver on the field. Williams, who suffered a foot injury in last week's game after catching six passes for 109 yards, missed the entire week of practice, but did work out before the game with trainers to see if he might be able to play. Hasselbeck admitted to getting his hopes up a bit that Williams, who has 654 receiving yards this season, would be able to play. Instead he ended up throwing fade passes to Tate and tight end Cameron Morrah.
“That was big,” Hasselbeck said of Williams' absence. “That was really big. ... Who we are offensively has a lot to do with the kind of player that he is on that weakside wide receiver position. He's a big, strong, physical guy.”
The day wasn't entirely without a bright side for the offense, however. Receiver Ben Obomanu, who made his first career start two weeks ago in Arizona, had the best game of his five-year career, catching five passes for 159 yards. Obomanu had a 52-yarder to set up Seattle's second-quarter touchdown, then hauled in an 87-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Obomanu now leads the team with four touchdowns, is second to Williams, with 390 receiving yards, and has 306 receiving yards and two touchdowns since moving into the starting lineup.
“He's been consistent and we've given him opportunities and he's taken advantage of them, so we're giving him more” Hasselbeck said. “That first catch that he had on the deep ball to start the second half, he caught it, and we said you know what; let's get a new formation, let's run that exact same route on the other side, and he caught it for a touch. It really is true, if you step up and make plays, they're going to find ways to give you more opportunities to make some more.”
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at heraldnet.com/seahawksblog
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