BY Steve Rudman 06:30AM 09/20/2016

Seahawks’ offense now needs to flip history

Put out a BOLO on the offense: The Seahawks have scored one touchdown in the first two games. What happens to such teams isn’t pretty.

Tyler Lockett caught a 53-yard pass from Russell Wilson in the fourth quarter Sunday, but the Seahawks failed to score. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

Pete Carroll not only appeared rattled, but close to ashen when queried about his dithering offense Sunday following a 9-3 loss to the L.A Rams. Coming off a one-touchdown effort in a 12-10 win over Miami a week earlier, the Seahawks failed to score a single six-pointer against a Rams team shellacked 28-0 six days prior by the San Francisco 49ers.

“Really disappointed to come down here (Los Angeles) and play in this opportunity to start the season and all, have a chance to get to 2-0,” said Carroll. “To come out and play like that and not give us a real shot to get ahead was tough.”

He added:

“I never could have thought that we would go the first couple weeks and not score but one touchdown. I’m just surprised at that, and we’re better than that, and we’re going to go back to work and zero in. It’s early in the year. We’ve got a lot of stuff that we can get better at and improve, and we’re going to do that.”

The Seahawks have 15 points in two games. Only in 1992 (10 points), 2001 (12) and 1990 (13) did a Seattle team score fewer. But it’s the lack of touchdowns that startle.

In 41 seasons, the Seahawks failed to score a touchdown in the first two weeks of a season only once, in 2001 — a 9-6 win over Browns, a 27-3 loss to Philadelphia. In two other years before Sunday did they tally just once in the first two games (1990, 1992).

The 2016 Seahawks would have matched the 2001 club’s mark of zero had not QB  Russell Wilson beaten the Dolphins with a game-winning TD throw to WR Doug Baldwin with 31 seconds to play

As Carroll intimated, the Seahawks have a lot of stuff to fix.

Won’t say they won’t get it done, but consider: Over the past decade (since the start of 2007), 12 teams have started a season scoring zero or one touchdowns in the first two weeks. We’ll leave this year’s Rams (no TDs so far) and Seahawks (one) out of the discussion and look at what became of the other 10.

Year Team Coach TDs Rec. Final record
2007 Eagles Andy Reid 1 0-2 8-8, last NFC East
2007 Falcons Emmitt Thomas 1 0-2 4-12, 4th NFC South
2007 Chiefs Herm Edwards 1 0-2 4-12, 3rd AFC West
2008 Rams Scott Linehan 1 0-2 2-14, 4th NFC West
2008 Browns Romeo Crennel 1 0-2 4-12, 4th AFC North
2009 Rams S. Spagnuolo 1 0-2 1-15, 4th NFC West
2011 Jaguars Mel Tucker 1 1-1 5-11, 3rd NFC South
2011 Chiefs Romeo Crennel 1 0-2 7-9, 4th AFC West
2013 Jaguars Gus Bradley 1 0-2 4-12, 3rd NFC South
2013 Browns R. Chudzinski 1 0-2 4-12, 4th AFC North

The obvious bad omen: Only one of the 10, Andy Reid’s 2007 Eagles, recovered from a one-touchdown start in the first two games to finish with a .500 record (8-8). The 2009 Rams went 1-15, a game worse than the 2008 Rams (2-14). Five of the 10 went 4-12. Only one team besides the 2007 Eagles, the 2011 Chiefs (7-9), won more than five games. None of the 10 made the playoffs.

Carroll, who needs to flip such dismal history on its head, didn’t blame Wilson, impaired by a high ankle sprain, for the lack of touchdowns, calling his performance (22-for-35, 254 yards) “solid,” especially considering his limitations. Instead, Carroll cited Seattle’s inability to convert on third down (4-for-13) and its 10 penalties for 114 yards as primary issues.

The Seahawks have committed 18 penalties in two games, two shy of the record committed in the first two in 2002. Those infractions have cost Seattle 183 yards. Only the 1997 Seahawks with 190 had more yards stepped off in the first two games.

Carroll also made a point of emphasizing the three pass interference flags against Jermaine Kearse (two) and Tyler Lockett.

“I don’t know how we had all the pass-interference penalties on offense, but we did,” said Carroll, “and they were very disruptive in the game.”

Since began tracking infractions in 2009, Sunday marked the first time that Seattle drew three offensive pass interference (OPI) calls in one game. The Seahawks had a pair twice: Dec. 9, 2012 vs. Arizona (WR Golden Tate, TE Evan Moore) and Dec. 13, 2015 vs. Baltimore (WR Tyler Lockett, TE Cooper Helfet).

According to the site, Seattle is one of four teams since 2009 to receive three OPIs in the same game:

Year Date Team Opp. No. Penalized
2010 Jan. 23 Chiefs Broncos 3 C. Chambers 2, B. Wade 1
2012 Oct. 28 Titans Colts 3 K. Britt 2, K. Wright 1
2012 Dec. 16 Bears Packers 3 Alshon Jeffrey 3
2016 Sept. 18 Seahawks Rams 3 J. Kearse 2, T. Lockett 1

The OPI on Lockett erased a 40-yard gain in the second quarter. The second one on Kearse negated a 13-yard advance in the fourth.

Carroll seemed as irate as he’s ever been following the second OPI against Kearse. Asked about it afterward, Carroll stopped short of saying it was a bad call, but clearly believed it was.

“I just thought the official was in a difficult position to call what he called,” he said. “I didn’t think it was – but I’m going to gripe about calls all the time. That was one of them.”

Said Kearse, a very good receiver but not quite a history major: “I don’t think we’ve had OPI one time since I’ve been in this league.”

But — its total jives with official NFL game books — lists 12 OPIs against the Seahawks since Kearse entered the league, including three on Golden Tate, two on Lockett prior to Sunday, and even a pair on Kearse prior to Sunday: Sept. 29, 2013 vs. Houston (fourth quarter) and Jan. 19, 2014 vs. San Francisco (also fourth quarter).

Maybe a selective memory is a good thing.


  • Matt712

    There are three basic ingredients in penalty calls that must be present to really bother me, make me feel cheated, or otherwise suspect about the officiating:
    1.) It is a ‘judgement’ call – not reviewable;
    2.) The subjectivity of the infractions themselves – meaning, how clear or flagrant were the fouls?
    And 3.) the particular significance of the play in question – how explosive was it and at what point in the game was it flagged?

    Unfortunately, at least two of the calls (the 40 yard Lockett reception, and the Marsh face mask penalty) on Sunday’s game had all three ingredients with game-changing implications and highly debatable evidence to support the infractions, and they were of course not reviewable.

    I’m not saying the Seahawks would’ve won without those calls. They lost the game at the line of scrimmage and field position, and pretty much deserved the result. But I just hate to see the outcome of any game affected so much by questionable calls and/or officiating in general. It made the game even more frustrating.

    More on point to Steve’s piece, two things:

    1. I don’t think history can apply to Rams vs Seahawks games. They’re just too weird. Their match-ups continue to buck statistical trends.

    2. Russ’ injury may be getting all the press, but it’s Germain Ifedi’s injury that has really hobbled the team out of the gate.

    • art thiel

      If the review discovers a pattern, it’s worthy. Even if the pattern is weirdness.

      Pete made the case for Ifedi loudly Monday.

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  • coug73

    I think Michael’s fumble on the last Hawk drive ended the magic/ferry dust game finish.

    • art thiel

      Let me know where you see this “ferry” dust. All I ever see is water behind the boats.

      • coug73

        Fairy dust, though I did witness a burial (ashes) at sea from a WSF.

  • wabubba67

    It’s pretty simple: The greatest strength that the Dolphins/Rams have (DL) pairs well with the Seahawks greatest weakness (OL)… especially early in the season and missing your #1 draft choice at RG. Makes for two close, exceptionally tough, football games. We lost one them. Seahawks will be fine.

    • art thiel

      True enough. But will they be fine by Sunday?

      • wabubba67

        I think so. The 49ers in Seattle with their DL (and maybe Ifedi back in the OL) equals a blowout.

        We’ve had several big plays called back due to suspect penalties (3 OPIs??) and some well earned penalties. The offense is simply not goid enough right now to overcome any of those lapses, but it is good enough to stay on schedule without them. I love Michael in the running game.

        • John M

          Lapses? For sure the last OPI on Kearse was ridiculous and it came on a critical play . . .

      • John M

        I’m sure the 49’ers are looking at film and licking their chops. Their front 7 ain’t bad either . . .

  • Quezebo Jones

    I think the Hawks are in serous trouble because a lack of TALENT in the offensive cannot be fixed no matter what they try.