Three immediate impressions from the Seahawks’ 44-34 loss at Buffalo on Sunday, leaving Seattle with a 6-2 record at the season’s midway point:
A dismal defense
What … the … heck … was … that?
Buffalo’s 44 points are the most the Seahawks have allowed in the Pete Carroll era.
Seattle’s defense was hopeless against Josh Allen and the Buffalo offense for most of the game Sunday.
All the encouraging signs from the Seahawks’ victory last week against San Francisco?
All the optimism about the return of Jamal Adams?
All the excitement about the addition of Carlos Dunlap?
None of it really mattered Sunday, especially in the first half. The Seahawks dug too big of a hole and had too little firepower on defense.
Allen came out firing, and why wouldn’t you against a Seattle defense on track to be the worst passing defense in NFL history?
Yes, Russell Wilson’s four turnovers put the Seahawks’ defense in some tough positions. Yes, the Seahawks were without top corner Shaquill Griffin (concussion). Yes, cornerback Quinton Dunbar has been playing through a knee injury.
But these aren’t new issues for the Seattle defense, and for the Seahawks to come out looking as flat and lost as they were early Sunday was puzzling. They were content early on to sit back in a soft zone, trying to keep the ball in front of them while leaving receivers open all over the intermediate level of the field.
That didn’t work, obviously.
So they blitzed Allen. Then blitzed some more. And that just left more receivers open for more big gains.
Sure, the Seahawks got to Allen for seven sacks (after entering the game with just 12 sacks in their first seven games). But that wasn’t enough to mask the larger defensive issues that have plagued Seattle throughout this season.
It’s been said many times in the first half of the season, and it was crystalized Sunday: The Seahawks’ offense is good enough to make a legitimate Super Bowl run. The Seahawks’ defense is bad enough to completely derail that possibility.
The Seahawks need to find answers, and they need to find them soon.
Wilson’s MVP resume takes a hit
Wilson’s threw two interceptions and lost two fumbles, his first four-turnover game since 2016.
The Bills came after Wilson often Sunday. He was knocked down 16 times — 16! — the most by any QB in the NFL this season, according to the FOX broadcast.
Wilson wasn’t sharp Sunday, and you can be sure MVP voters took notice.
He finished 28 of 41 for 390 yards and a QB rating of 94.6.
DK Metcalf did continue his marvelous sophomore season, with seven catches for 108 yards and a late touchdown — his eighth TD of the season. He came in to the weekend tied for the league lead with seven.
Chris Carson, anyone?
Up until now, the Let Russ Cook season has been magical for Wilson and the Seahawks. There’s no denying that. The Seahawks finally let Wilson loose, and the results have been better than anyone could have hoped.
But mark this day — because Sunday will be an inflection point for this team.
That must be true for the defense — we can all agree that something has to change there. Absolutely, it has to.
But it will be interesting to see what Brian Schottenheimer does with the offense going forward, too. Yes, the Seahawks should — and will — continue to put the ball in Wilson’s hands.
But there will be games — like Sunday at Buffalo — where an improved rushing attack would have provided some cushion, some protection, for Wilson’s passing. It’s OK to be balanced, and that might be a necessity in the playoffs.
That’s where Chris Carson comes in. Carson is one of the most underrated running backs in the league, and his absence was felt most Sunday. This felt like the kind of game where the Seahawks could have handed off to him 15 times and Wilson could have checked it down a handful of times. Carson is a security blanket for Wilson, and the Seahawks are at their best when he’s on the field.
Carson, out with a foot injury, could be back for next week’s trip to Los Angeles. The Seahawks host Arizona five days later on Thursday night — and it’s difficult to picture them winning both of those without Carson back on the field.