Seattle Seahawks Offense Must Become More Balanced

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DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 9: Russell Wilson (3) of the Seattle Seahawks throws during the first quarter against the Denver Broncos. The Denver Broncos hosted the Seattle Seahawks at Broncos Stadium at Mile High in Denver, Colorado on Sunday, September 9, 2018. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Week two just concluded, but it appears to be the same old story for the Seattle Seahawks. Quarterback Russell Wilson is great, but he doesn’t have enough help and the Seahawks are asking him to do too much.

This has been a recurring problem in the Pacific northwest. Since running back Marshawn Lynch left, the offense has relied almost solely upon Wilson to move the ball. In the past, the Seahawks managed to survive with that strategy because Wilson is elite, and the defense was the best in the league.

Seattle’s defense is still good, but most of its difference makers are gone. If the Seahawks are going to dig out of their 0-2 hole and return to the playoffs, they must give Wilson more help.

Balance Key For Seattle Seahawks Offense

The Seattle Seahawks Lack Offensive Balance

Coming into the season, the Seahawks sounded determined to get back to running the ball. But saying and doing are two very different things.

The Seahawks handed the ball off to running backs just 14 times in Week one. Rookie Rashaad Penny struggled, gaining just eight yards on seven carries, but Seattle has other capable backs on its roster. Chris Carson rushed for 51 yards on just seven attempts, averaging 7.3 yards per carry, and yet, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer inexplicably still asked Wilson to throw the ball 33 times.

The Seahawks never fell behind by more than one score, and they even led at one point in the fourth quarter. Not having the running game more involved was inexcusable.

The Seattle Seahawks Offensive Struggles on Monday Night Football

The Seahawks offensive performance in Week two can be summarized by one stat. They had 80 yards of offense through the first three quarters, but because of their defense, which was missing three starters and playing on the road, they still only trailed by seven heading into the fourth quarter.

Trailing by just a touchdown in the third quarter, Schottenheimer again got too pass happy. The Seahawks ran just six plays in that quarter, but all of them were passes. On a night where the Chicago Bears pass rush was outstanding and Seattle was still only down one score, it’s hard to understand why Schottenheimer decided to pass so often.

At least in the fourth quarter, Schottenheimer returned to the running game. It proved fruitful, as Penny rushed for ten yards to jump start the Seahawks first touchdown drive.

But it was too little, too late. On the next Seahawks drive, Wilson threw a pick-six, which essentially ended the game.

For Wilson’s sake, though, hopefully his offensive coordinator learned a lesson. As frustrating as it may be, if the Seahawks remain patient with their ground game, they will eventually have a more balanced attack.

Seattle Seahawks Offensive Line Problems

Of course, rushing attempts are only half the battle. The real key to a truly balanced offense is an effective rushing attack.

That ten-yard by Penny was one of just four rushes by the Seahawks this season that have gone for more than four yards on first down. One of those four came on a first-and-25 in Week one.

With so little success moving the ball on first down, Seattle has been behind the chains too often in its first two games this season. The Seahawks are relying upon Wilson to convert in third-and-long situations, and he hasn’t been able to; Seattle owns a 28.0 percent third-down conversion rate in the first two weeks.

When the Seahawks have passed on first down, their quarterback has come under siege. Opponents have sacked Wilson a league-high 12 times in two games. It hasn’t helped in the first two weeks that the Seahawks faced Von Miller and then Khalil Mack, but it won’t get any easier in Week three when they face DeMarcus Lawrence and the Dallas Cowboys, who have registered nine sacks in the first two games.

Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson Doing Too Much

It’s become pretty apparent that Wilson is pressing. He held onto the ball for too long at times Monday night, resulting in hits and sacks, but he has had to hold onto the ball in order to try to make plays. Throwing the ball away to avoid a sack or hit doesn’t really help the Seahawks win.

In two games, Wilson has thrown three interceptions. Even if he doesn’t throw any more picks the next two weeks, he’s on pace to throw 12 interceptions this season. Wilson has never recorded more than 11 interceptions in a year during his career.

He’s also already fumbled four times this season. Wilson is holding onto the ball too long and forcing things into bad coverages. That’s not like him, but he’s doing it because if he doesn’t, the Seahawks have little chance to win.

One thing that could help is the Seattle receivers getting open faster. They have helped little in that regard, and it’s led to some of the sacks. The fact that top wideout Doug Baldwin is sidelined with a Grade 2 MCL tear really hurts.

The Seahawks signed veteran Brandon Marshall for depth. Seattle will need more from him and Tyler Lockett in the future.

If not them, then somebody else on offense will have to step up because the unit can’t be a one-man show. The Seahawks game plan must place more emphasis on the run and put Wilson in a place where he can trust his teammates. Otherwise, they will fall to a likely insurmountable 0-3 and miss the playoffs.

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