By Jason Puckett
Said it from day one that I would do back flips if the Seattle Seahawks were 4-4 after 8 games. Now, has a bit of the enthusiasm been lost when I execute that flip,there is no doubt about it.
This team should be 5-3, and watching yesterday's there is no question this team should have that mark after eight games.
Before you drive off the cliff, keep in mind the remaining schedule for the Seahawks. They have five of their remaining eight games at home. Their away games include: Miami, Chicago and Buffalo. The Bears game would be the one where you would say would be the most difficult to win. But, this team has enough talent to win at Miami and at Buffalo.
Your home games include: Minnesota, the Jets, Arizona, San Francisco and St. Louis.
In the ultimate best case scenario for me I could envision the Seahawks going 11-5. Running the table at home and winning at Miami and Buffalo and falling to Chicago. The more realistic finish would be 10-6 with either two losses on the road or dropping one game at home against, let's say, San Francisco.
If this team finished 10-6 it should be good enough to get them into the playoffs, 9-7, may not cut this year.
However, there is no way this team finishes 10-6 or better if their defense continues to struggle on third and long and with underneath short passes.
Third and long has been an issue all season long for this defense. They do an unbelievable job of putting the opposition in those spots, but when they have third and long they become too passive.
The Seahawks currently ranked dead last in the NFL on third down plays that cover six or more yards. Right now, opponents are converting 39 percent of those plays - that is unacceptable for any defense in this league. The league average is 26.1.
But, the more disturbing stat on the Seahawks is what teams do when it's third and 10 or more. The Seahawks defense has faced that situation 37 times this year and opponents have converted 16 for a 43 percent clip. Those numbers will prevent you from playing in the playoffs and they most certainly will prevent you from dreaming of the Super Bowl.
Maybe it was just me but the Seahawks seemed hesitant and passive on defense and perhaps the tone was set early. We all remember the comments from Jim Harbaugh about the physical nature of the Seahawks DB's. Brandon Browner was called for illegal use of hands on the third play of the game, did that change how Seattle played? It certainly shouldn't have, but that secondary was not physical on Sunday and there was way too much zone defense rather than man to man. Not sure why that defense was used so much against Detroit. I especially didn't understand why man coverage was played on the goal line at the end of the game. The quarterback will have a second or two to make a decision, why play zone in that situation? Why don't you have Browner play physical and in the face of Titus Young on that final play?
Were their any positives from the game? Well, I guess the one positive would be the continued progression of the offense and Russell Wilson. In three of the last four weeks (not including the 49ers game) Wilson is completing 68 percent of his throws for an average of 250 yards a game with 6 TD's and 3 INT. Now, I acknowledge that not including the San Francisco game is a little unfair, but the Niners possess the best defense in the league, plus it was on the road and you don't know how the game would have gone if it weren't for the drops.
But, one thing that you can say with certainty is that Wilson and the offense are getting better and if they continue to open up the playbook for Wilson than this team will reach their goals.
When it's all said and done, the Seahawks are 4-4 and play 5 of their next 8 at home - that should be good enough to get you into the playoffs.