BY Art Thiel 07:35PM 12/08/2014

Seahawks offense flashed some stuff in Philly

A burst of quality throws amid good pass protection Sunday gave Seahawks coach Pete Carroll a glimpse of what the offense could be like down the stretch.

Doug Baldwin benefited from an improved passing game in the second half Sunday. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest file

As much praise and fear (depending upon your perspective) as is being heaped upon the Seahawks defense for dismantling Chip Kelly’s heralded offense Sunday in Philadelphia, there were moments in the second half for the offense that prompted some small yippees from coach Pete Carroll.

“I thought the second half was a terrific illustration of what we can be like,” he said at his Monday debriefing at Seahawks HQ in Renton. “I think we’re playing better in all areas.”

Since the shocker of the Percy Harvin trade Oct. 17, the Seahawks’ offense has bounced among descriptions such as injured, conservative and tentative, sometimes all at once. Even in the past three games that have relaunched the Seahawks’ swagger, the offense has averaged a modest 20.5 points a game as it stalls out frequently in the red zone.

But the Seahawks’ opening two possessions of the third quarter offered a glimpse of some possibilities, especially for a balky passing game.

The offense received a gift from the defense when LB K.J. Wright stripped Eagles RB LeSean McCoy of the ball, giving the Seahawks a first down at the Philly 19. After a four-yard run by RB Marshawn Lynch, a play-action fake to Lynch drew the defense to him while Wilson rolled right. Panicking at the sight of a free-range Wilson, most defenders flew after him, leaving Lynch alone in the flat. The throwback lob was so easy and open the Philly groans were audible through the TV. Red zone touchdown.

The next possession started with bad field position, at the Seattle 9. After a 12-yard scramble by Wilson netted a first down, he took a shot. WR Doug Baldwin took off on a fly route and Wilson, with good protection, heaved it 44 yards. It was incomplete, but Baldwin slyly slid into the path of CB Bradley Fletcher, drawing a massive pass-interference penalty.

Wilson had two more short completions before Baldwin, spotting a blitz that would leave him in man coverage, ran a seam route. Again with good protection in the pocket, Wilson  dropped a perfect dime on Baldwin entering the end zone.

For the two possessions, that adds up to 4-for-4 passing, one defensive penalty and two TDs. Fairly efficient.

Wilson then completed five of his next seven attempts, missing on only deep shots to Jermaine Kearse and rookie Paul Richardson.

The idea of Wilson getting production from a well-made pocket for mid-to long-range passes would just about complete the transformation that began after the Harvin trade disrupted the playbook.

“We’ve been in transition for a while,” Carroll said. “We had a big change early in the year. Coming out of that, we had to get right again. But I know Russell is feeling great about working with Doug and Jermaine and now he’s working (TE Tony Moeaki) into it.

“Russell is just one guy. He doesn’t do it all; he just does what he’s supposed to do. It’s everybody working together. We saw things we were just trying to clean up, zero in on things we wanted to do with him and with the receivers.”

For most of three years, Wilson’s ability to escape pressure and extend plays is a huge asset. But he will get caught deep occasionally, as well as get clobbered between the tackles. So for a long playoff run, Wilson has to develop a passing threat without Harvin, Golden Tate (lost in free agency) and TE Zach Miller (injured), as well as reliable pass blocker FB Derrick Coleman.

Some of the workaround was visible Sunday.

“The protection worked well with what we were doing route-wise,” Carroll said, “and Russell had a chance to really hold tough in the pocket, see things, and really get a great look at stuff.

“He had to run around a lot early, but we cleaned things up during the course of the game and I thought it was us looking very efficient. Hopefully we can kind of stay with that.”

Coupled with the growth of rookie WRs Richardson and Kevin Norwood, the Seahawks have a shot at a more complete attack.

“Russell’s been singing their praises for a long time,” Carroll said of the rookies. “He’s said, ‘Hey, these are the kind of guys that I get to grow up with.’ It was exciting to see that.”


DE Demarcus Dobbs has a “legit” sprained ankle that will rob the D-line of depth again for Sunday’s home game against the 49ers, Carroll said. The only other injury from Sunday, CB Tharold Simon’s dislocated finger, won’t keep him out . . . TE Cooper Helfet and C Max Unger, both recovering from sprained ankles, will attempt to practice this week, with Helfet closer to getting back . . . Carroll expects that CB Jeremy Lane (glute) will be ready.



  • jafabian

    The box score for Sunday’s game shows why the Seahawks receivers are considered “pedestrian” as Wilson completed a pass to ten different receivers. You’ll never see one have a Steve Largent-type season when they’re getting around 2-3 receptions a game. Baldwin would be an annual 1000 yard per season WR on as a starter if he was in New England. He’s the kind of possession receiver Brady loves. Kearse also would be at least doubling his career best on another team. It’s not a coincidence that the team plays better when Wilson shares the wealth, nor that he’s doing so now after adjusting to the loss of the former cornerstone of the Seahawk offense, Percy Harvin. Harvin, Golden Tate and Sidney Rice are gone from last years WR corps and there’s two rookies on this years group so an adjustment period was to be expected.

    Like last year, this group is discovering what it can do at the right time. I expect the team to pass the Cardinals soon and if they don’t that would mean they open against, to paraphrase Rick Neuheisel, that Atlanta Falcon juggernaut. The only team in the NFC that can claim to be comparable to the Seahawks are the Packers and the Seahawks won against them handily. The teams predicted to be at the top of the NFC this season (Saints, 49ers, Bears, Panthers) are clearly not that. There’s no team in the AFC that concerns me.

    As long as the Seahawks defense keeps giving the offense opportunities to be on the field as much as possible the club will be making plans for Arizona in a couple months.

    • art thiel

      Wilson’s distribution is somewhat forced on him because they aren’t going deep much, mostly due to mediocre pass pro (rookie RT). Lots of shallow stuff to RBs and TEs.

      • jafabian

        It almost seems to me he’s a bit more comfortable with the TE’s up until the last game. Maybe because they’re bigger targets? I don’t know.

    • It seems to me that the distribution is a good thing because it doesn’t let opposing defenses focus on “the one big threat.” It also seems that at least messrs Baldwin and Kearse see the advantage of having the one big stat: W-L, instead of worrying too much over individual stats. Anyway, that’s how it looks from here.

  • ByDiabetes

    this is funny D/M

  • PokeyPuffy

    The o was huge yesterday. Kinda like run support in baseball, allows the d to keep fresh. Very entertaining to watch extended possessions like that, no commercials!

    • art thiel

      Hadn’t thought about the added bonus.

  • Tex

    Does anybody know if Zach Miller is expected to return at all this year? What was his injury anyway?

    • whoKarez

      I think I read somewhere that he is out for the season.

    • art thiel

      Miller went on injured reserve Nov. 12 needing a second surgery on his ankle. Done for the year.

  • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

    That year that Dilfer led the Ravens to a SB win their defense was stifling and Dilfer did alot of TE dump offs and medium stuff to just do enough on offense. Our offense has way more potential than that one so if there’s a will there’s a way…..