Keep in mind Russell Wilson’s MVP-worthy first half of the 2020 NFL season? It is likely to be a distant reminiscence after the Seahawks’ star quarterback and the remainder of their offense struggled in Saturday’s 2021 NFL playoff-opening flop towards the Rams.
Apart from one huge play and one largely meaningless late drive, Seattle failed to maneuver the ball effectively sufficient towards Los Angeles, shedding 30-20 as a wild-card host. The Rams’ daunting protection was a major issue, however the Seahawks additionally did little to assist themselves or Wilson.
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Due to Wilson, the Seahawks have had a excessive flooring, posting a successful file with him in each season and lacking the playoffs solely as soon as. However after falling effectively wanting attending to the Tremendous Bowl once more, it is clear it is time for extra change, for the sake of not persevering with to waste a chief Wilson when it counts most.
Coach Pete Carroll wasn’t afraid to maneuver on from Darrell Bevell as offensive coordinator three years in the past, after six years of working with Wilson. Now he wants to understand that Bevell’s alternative, Brian Schottenheimer, is not the best man to push them towards the ceiling.
Though it is in Carroll’s defensive-minded nature to desire successful battles of attrition towards harder opponents — thus the Seahawks’ propensity to play numerous shut video games — he cannot ignore the rut the offense fell into towards the Rams, when Schottenheimer received totally outcoached by defensive coordinator Brandon Staley.
Schottenheimer and Staley have each been talked about as candidates for the league’s present head-coaching openings. For any hiring workforce watching the sport, it’d suppose twice about attaching Schottenheimer to a prime QB.
Schottenheimer likes to predicate his offense on energy working to arrange deep passing for Wilson. Sadly, the third matchup of the season with the Rams did not name for that to have a lot success. The Rams had a giant benefit within the defensive line-vs.-offensive line matchup. With Jalen Ramsey and remainder of their defensive backs, little is offered downfield.
Wilson, due to his scorching begin, threw for a career-high 40 TDs passes in 2020. However he did not have a single 300-yard recreation within the second half of the season and on Saturday was held to under 200 yards passing for the third time in 4 video games.
Wilson (11-of-27 passing, 174 yards, two TDs, one INT, 5.four yards per try, 87.6 passer score) did not carry out effectively sufficient to win the sport. When the end result was nonetheless doubt within the first half, he was lucky to throw a fantastic off-script 51-yard TD move to broad receiver D.Okay. Metcalf. Earlier than that, he was pick-sixed by cornerback Darious Williams — on, of all performs, an tried broad receiver display.
The Rams scheme effectively with Staley and their expertise, however in addition they had been helped by the Seahawks’ predictability. Williams jumped that route prefer it had jumped out to him on movie. The Seahawks continued to pressure establishing the run on first down, though it led to near-certain whiffs on third down (2 of 14). Once they received into some manageable passing third downs, they typically referred to as for Wilson to take low-percentage photographs. Once they weren’t throwing effectively past the sticks, they had been calling passes wanting them.
The Seahawks did not have a intermediate recreation plan working in any respect. When it wasn’t a Chris Carson run or a move try to Metcalf, there wasn’t a lot there. The Rams’ weakest defensive degree is linebacker, however there was no consideration to utilizing tight ends or backs higher within the passing recreation. With Metcalf, save for one play, and slot ace Tyler Lockett bottled up in protection, the Seahawks did not attempt to design a lot for a 3rd broad receiver till rookie Freddie Swain made a giant catch throughout their last-gasp TD drive.
When wanting again at Wilson’s scorching first half, he was unimaginable, as he typically is, together with his downfield accuracy. However even for nice quarterbacks, executing at a excessive degree with a excessive diploma of problem is not sustainable, particularly with none changes or creativity to beat defenses figuring out what to anticipate from them.
The Seahawks’ offensive line battled numerous accidents throughout the season. Left deal with Duane Brown stays a rock, however apart from at proper guard with Damien Lewis, they received shakier elsewhere up entrance. Brown is 37 going into the ultimate yr of his contract. The Seahawks want to really put money into move safety for Wilson. Additionally they want to search out extra dynamic solutions for the ability positions past Carson, Metcalf and Lockett.
Wilson is 32 and has loads of elite-level passing (and working) years forward of him. Slightly after Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers received their first Tremendous Bowl wins, their groups had been working to refit their offenses with tweaked schemes and upgraded personnel to maintain them on observe for true championship competition.
The Seahawks have achieved a few of that for Wilson by buying and selling for Brown, discovering Carson to be their new energy lead and drafting Metcalf to enrich Lockett. That has been begin, and there was a little bit of a spike from Wilson. The following degree is bettering the play-calling and personnel to raise Wilson, reasonably than placing stress on him to raise them by way of the hardest matchups.
It is easy to get complacent, figuring out Wilson will nonetheless save the day extra occasions than not. But when the Seahawks wish to save their finest photographs for the NFC playoffs, then they can not do it with Schottenheimer.