After a loss at home last Sunday, the case can be made that Seattle could be 0-3 just as easily as they could be 2-1. With unconvincing wins over the 0-3 Cincinnati Bengals and the 0-3 Pittsburgh Steelers (who are facing each other this Monday night in a nationally broadcast punishment for football fans), the Seahawks have not done much to prove they belong in the discussion of NFC contenders. Despite facing a Saints team rolling out a backup QB who had not started a meaningful game since January of 2015, they were outperformed from the opening whistle and went into the fourth quarter facing a 27-7 deficit, ultimately losing 33-27. Russell Wilson cannot be blamed for this one, as he again threw the team on his back en route to 457 combined yards and four touchdowns without turning the ball over for the third straight game. Chris Carson struggled for the second straight week, rushing for just 53 yards, was not involved in the passing game after the opening drive, and lost a fumble for the third straight game.
Seattle had possession first, moving from their own 25 to their own 30 in five plays with two penalties, and then punted the ball. Saints receiver/returner Deonte Harris ran the punt to the Seattle endzone, producing the game’s first score, and it was all downhill from there. The Seahawks allowed Saints QB Teddy Bridgewater to complete more than 70% of his passes with two touchdowns and no turnovers, and gave up more than 150 combined rushing and receiving yards to Saints RB Alvin Kamara as well as two touchdowns. Seattle nearly doubled the Saints’ yardage total but struggled to produce points until the game was nearly out of reach.
If this was their “prove it” game heading into the meat of their schedule, the only thing they have established so far is that they are not ready for the spotlight. Prior to a week five Thursday Night showdown with the LA Rams, they get a much needed “get right” game this week, as they face the winless Arizona Cardinals in the comfy confines of State Farm Stadium.
If not for an 18-point, 4th-quarter comeback to force overtime in week one that ended in a tie, the Cardinals could also be 0-3. So far they are 0-2-1 this season, and have not won a game at home since October 28th of 2018, and have not won a game at all since December 2nd of 2018. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury and QB Kyler Murray have not exactly blown away their critics with play calling or on-field performance after some preseason comments may have led the public to believe they would unveil something spectacular. While there is plenty of time left for a drastic turnaround, so far the Cardinals’ new offense is not exceeding anyone’s expectations.
Through the first three starts of his career, #1 overall pick Kyler Murray has attempted 137 passes (most in the NFL) and accounted for 830 yards (11th) and four touchdowns (T-7) with three interceptions (T-20) in a pass-heavy offense. For comparison, Seattle QB Russell Wilson has attempted 105 passes (12th) for 901 yards (8th) with seven touchdowns (T-3) and no interceptions (T-1) while operating a run-heavy scheme.
It’s way too early to give Murray a grade at all, but with a limited supporting cast around him and inconsistent production when he actually has time to throw, the initial returns are not strong. While you may be quick to point to Murray’s shaky offensive line and lack of a true running game, Seattle supporters can point to Wilson suffering from the same issues but finding ways to produce points and wins regardless.
Seattle’s offense is capable of putting up points, as they scored at least three touchdowns in all three games this year, but they have struggled to stop their opponents, giving up at least 20 points in all three games and their margin of victory in their two wins is just 1.5 points. While they are 11th in yards allowed, they are 25th in points allowed, illustrating a defense that struggles to keep opponents out of the endzone when they get close even if they do a good job of consistently forcing punts. Facing a struggling team could be the tune up they need before they face the undefeated Rams, who are expected to be 4-0 after they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week who just a week ago lost to the New York Giants.
While Seattle appears to be the clear favorite in this game given Arizona’s limited playmakers and losing streak, the Cardinals are averaging 21 points a game versus Seattle’s average of 25 so this game might end up being just as close as the four-point spread Vegas has on it. Arizona is 30th in yards allowed and 29th in points allowed so Seattle should have no problem scoring their average or better, but given Seattle’s inconsistent running game and defense Arizona could stay competitive in the game longer than some might think.
As long as Seattle gets a win, how they do so and how long the game stays competitive doesn’t really matter. But a quick and decisive win to open their divisional play before a short week and a showdown with the Rams would be the right way to go.
Tune in to FOX this Sunday at 1:05pm to catch the game and see if Seattle can move to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in their division.