Seattle is 2-2 for the fourth time since 2012.
The Seahawks are the picture of an average football team at the end of the first quarter of the season, sitting at 2-2 in the standings and having given up almost as many points (81) as they’ve scored (85).
It’s not a horrible place to be. Football Outsiders gives the Seahawks a 30-percent chance to make the playoffs, ninth among the 16 NFC teams.
And it’s a place Seattle has been before. This is the fourth time since 2012 the Seahawks have started 2-2 (the others are 2012, 2015 and 2017) and only once in the Pete Carroll era have the Seahawks won their first four games (2013).
But with so many unknown parts, it’s harder to tell how this particular group of Seahawks will overcome a middling start — especially with a game on tap against the high-flying Rams on Sunday to begin the second quarter of the season.
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But before moving on, some grades and quick thoughts on the first quarter.
The Seahawks have indeed begun to establish the run, which was considered job one entering the season by Carroll, if not necessarily by the legion of fans who debate the value of that strategy daily on social media and elsewhere.
Seattle is up to an average of 105.5 yards per game, 17th in the NFL, after the 171-yard outburst last week at Arizona. It was evidence of not only an offensive line that seems to be improved from last season but also some good running from the backs.
But the passing offense has suffered. Seattle ranks 29th at 196.5 per game and the yards per attempt of 7.34 is not much better than the 7.17 of last season, which was the low of the Russell Wilson era.
The Seahawks have sorely missed a healthy Doug Baldwin, a key reason Seattle has also hit on just 14 of 51 third-down attempts, 27.5 percent, far off the 37.3 of last season.
For all the talk concerning the makeover of the defense, many of Seattle’s numbers are better than last season. The Seahawks are allowing 20.3 points per game, similar to the 20.75 of a year ago, 4.9 yards per play (same as a year ago) and 302 yards per game (323.2 a year ago).
Seattle has faced two of the worst offensive teams in the NFL in Arizona (32) and Dallas (27), as well as a Chicago team that ranks 22nd, and none that ranks higher than 13th.
That changes with Sunday’s game against the No. 1 offense in the NFL and a Oakland team that is No. 2 in yards gained per game the following week.
Now, the Seahawks have to take them on without Earl Thomas.
The back end has been a pleasant surprise, especially the play of rookie corner Tre Flowers with safety Bradley McDougald also having been a standout, as has second-year corner Shaquill Griffin. And Bobby Wagner has been steady in the middle, and defensive tackle Jarran Reed has taken a step up in his third season.
But the Seahawks need more pass rush from the interior as well as more consistency from the ends.
A mixed bag here. Punter Michael Dickson has mostly been everything the team hoped for other than an inconsistent game against Dallas. Seattle’s net punting of 44.8 is six yards better than a year ago.
Sebastian Janikowski at least made the one that mattered last week. But his body of work hasn’t eased the anxiety about the kicking spot, and the Seahawks are in the middle of all the return and coverage stats.