What do Seattle need to change for Washington Game?
It’s not that long ago that the Seattle Seahawks were the most feared team in the NFL. At the height of the Legion of Boom fame, between 2012 and 2015, they led the league in scoring defense, and reached two Super Bowl finals, winning in 2013 and coming close in 2014.
However, the Seahawks have been in a steady decline since the mid-2010s, and although they have continued to make the postseason most years, they don’t get further than the divisional playoffs.
Sports fans checking out the NFL betting markets on bookmakers.com in the summer these days rarely see the Seahawks rated among the favorites for the Super Bowl. Over a relatively short space of time, Seattle has declined from a potential dynasty to a contender to an outside shot.
The reasons for this fall from grace have been well rehearsed. Wear and tear played its part, but internal divisions have proved increasingly toxic to a team that had risen on the strength of a fierce collective spirit.
Quarterback Russell Wilson’s rise from promising youngster to elite-level player also proved to be a problem, both financially and in terms of team balance. Attempts have been made to restructure the team around Wilson and the Legion of Boom has long since been dismantled, but these attempts have not halted the decline.
Right now, after 10 games of the season, the Seahawks have reached a low ebb, even by their recent standards. They have a dreadful 3-7 record and are at the bottom of the NFC West Division that they had once dominated. Admittedly, that Division has become one of the most competitive in the NFL over recent seasons, but there is no disguising the Seahawks’ decline.
They still have seven games to go. Mathematically, they can still finish with a winning record and can still make the playoffs, but there are currently ten teams ahead of them in the race for the Wild Card places and their schedule makes for tough reading.
Three of their remaining games come against divisional rivals, and all three are on the road. The other four games against the Lions, Bears, Texans and Washington, are all against teams with a similar or worse record. In theory, they are winnable.
But can Seattle rouse themselves? The playoffs look unlikely, but a strong second half to the season could give them something to work with next year.
A win against Washington in Week 12 is a must, both to keep their season at least theoretically alive and, more importantly, to give them a boost of confidence.
On paper, Washington is beatable. They have a 4-6 record and have for several seasons been regarded as a punching bag for the rest of the league. Going into their bye week, however, they were 2-5. Since then, they’ve come out swinging, sensationally beating the Buccaneers and following that up with a win over the Panthers. They show all the signs of an improving team and cannot be taken lightly.
If they are going to beat Washington and get their season back on track, the recovery has to start with Wilson. Since returning from an injury, he has not looked to be the same dominant offensive force that Seahawks fans have been used to cheering, and that has to change. With their backs to the wall, Seattle needs their leader to step up and get that offense ticking over.
They also need to tighten up on defense. Right now, Seattle isgiving up over 400 yards a game, making them the second worst defense in the league. For a franchise that was so recently known as one of the greatest defensive teams of all time, that is a humiliating stat.
The fact is that Seattle does not have a lot of depth or talent in defense, Jamal Adams aside. That isn’t going to change in the short term, but even a slight improvement will help. Washington poses a threat, particularly in their rushing game, so the Seahawks need to shut that down from the beginning.
Offensively, Seattle needs to focus on the passing game. Washington ranks sixth in the league for defending the rush, but 28th against the pass. Their weakness in the secondary is an obvious route to success for Wilson and his receivers, if they can get on the same wavelength.
Above all, they need to rediscover the fierce fighting spirit that characterized the franchise just a few years ago. In their current situation, it doesn’t matter how they win, they just need to win. That means scrapping for every ball, fighting to the last second on every play and never giving an inch on defense. Seattle fans will expect nothing less from them against Washington and through the rest of the season.
Longer term, the issues are more deep-rooted. This current Seahawks setup is based around a desire to win in the short term. Since that project has failed, head coach Peter Carroll and general manager John Schneider need to re-evaluate or face the fact that it is time for fresh thinking.
There are good players on the roster. Wilson remains an elite-level quarterback and among those players contracted beyond 2022, there is lots of potential. Cornerback Tre Brown, tight end Colby Parkinson, running back Deejay Dallas, defensive ends Alton Robinson and Darrell Taylor and offensive tackles Stone Forsyth and Jake Curhan all have significant contributions to make.