Russell Wilson needs to show the run more often, and costly mental mistakes had a major impact in the Seahawks’ loss to the Packers.
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Three observations from the Seahawks’ 27-17 defeat against the Packers on Sunday night:
1. Tight end Jimmy Graham
The Seahawks have to get Graham involved more. He is too unique of a talent, too valuable to the Seahawks offense and too big of a trade commodity to finish with numbers such as these: one catch, 11 yards, two targets.
Those were Graham’s final stats from Sunday night in green bay and he hasn’t had so few catches or yards since his rookie season in 2010.
Seahawk loss by the numbers
2011 The last time the Seahawks had lost by double digits before Sunday, a 23-13 loss to the Cowboys in Week 9. That was a span of 66 games, including the playoffs.
17 Losses by the Seahawks since that game and before tonight, including playoff games.
4.6 The Seahawks’ average margin of defeat, in points, in those 17 losses.
SEAHAWKS AT PACKERS »
“We had a bunch of calls,” coach Pete Carroll said. “The ball just didn’t get there, and we’re going to have to develop our way, because we’d love for him to get the football. We probably called six different things that he could have had the ball in the first half and it just didn’t go there for one reason or the other.
“We get it. We want him to have the football, too. We’re not going to change the game just to give a guy passes. Jimmy knows that. He knows what the calls are and all of that. We have to do a better job.”
The Seahawks traded a first-round draft choice and Pro Bowl center Max Unger to New Orleans for Graham and a fourth-rounder, and he has proved in his career to be one of the NFL’s more dangerous tight ends. He can make catches in traffic, draws defenses and is fast enough to create explosive plays.
These are the things you always hear about Graham, but they are important to re-emphasize because Graham has the potential to be a game-changer. And they are important to re-emphasize after the Seahawks struggled to get Graham the ball in Green Bay.
“Obviously we want to get him the football,” quarterback Russell Wilson said. “We’re looking for him for sure. I think I had one where it was play-action, and I was looking for him downfield. But they covered him, double-teamed him, I think, on that one. But we got a positive run out of it, a positive play.”
Wilson always has said his job is to distribute the ball to the open receiver, including with Graham.
But Graham is a different puzzle piece because he can make catches even when he isn’t open, and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said this week that there are times Wilson needs to give Graham a chance to make a play.
2. Quarterback Russell Wilson
The Seahawks might have to rely on Wilson’s legs more.
That’s what they did in the second half against the Packers, and it produced their most effective drives of the night.
Carroll said Wilson was “encouraged” to run more, and the play calls dictated it in the second half.
Wilson ran the ball only twice in the first half, but ran it eight times for 65 yards in the second half.
Wilson’s legs — either on running plays or rolling outside of the pocket — proved to be the Seahawks’ best weapon. It helped an offensive line that struggled to create space for running back Marshawn Lynch, and Wilson often had huge open spaces when he did keep the ball.
The Seahawks might need to rely on that formula more than they’ve done in the past. The question becomes one of using Wilson’s legs as a weapon without putting him in harm’s way.
“He’s such a gifted athlete when he gets the ball in his hands on the outside,” receiver Doug Baldwin said. “He can do so much for our offense. But he’s our quarterback, so you have to protect him at the same time. It’s a give and take world.”
3. mental mistakes
The Seahawks’ mental mistakes are killing them. Take your pick of costly mistakes, because the Seahawks had plenty to choose from.
• Offensive lineman J.R. Sweezy’s personal foul for unsportsmanlike conduct at the end of a play in the second quarter bumped the Seahawks out of field-goal range.
• Defensive lineman Michael Bennett’s three offsides penalties — that’s five of those penalties in two games for Bennett — led to big plays: a 52-yard pass interference penalty, a 22-yard pass and a 29-yard touchdown pass.
• Linebacker K.J. Wright getting ejected in the fourth quarter, leaving the Seahawks without one of their starting linebackers at the end of the game’s definitive drive.