What was once a heavy concern has become a complete embarrassment.
What was once a problem is now a full-blown disaster.
Struggling to get stops all season, the Seahawks just allowed the most points in a game since Pete Carroll took over as head coach 10 years ago.
It’s official: Seattle’s “D” is now an F.
Sunday was supposed to be the day the Seahawks were gonna earn back some respect on defense. They came into the game on pace to give up the most yards in NFL history but were returning All-Pro safety Jamal Adams and debuting Pro Bowl defensive end Carlos Dunlap.
Nobody was expecting a 180-degree flip, but maybe at least 60 or 70 degrees. Instead, the Bills beat them 44-34 while amassing 420 yards and committing no turnovers.
“I don’t recognize that game. We haven’t seen us look like that. It’s a game that I don’t have any place in my brain for it,” said Carroll, whose team dropped to 6-2 on the season. “They (the Bills) made it look easy.”
Seattle was basically a blade of grass to Buffalo’s lawnmower. Three plays into the game, the Bills (7-2) scored a touchdown off a 25-yard pass from Josh Allen to Isaiah McKenzie, commencing an afternoon of terror for the hapless Hawks.
Buffalo followed with a 10-play, 72-yard drive to go up 14-0. It was up 24-10 at halftime, by which Allen had already tallied 282 yards and three touchdowns on 24-of-28 passing.
The Bills decided there was really no reason to run. At one point, 31 of their 35 plays were throws. Seattle’s back end wasn’t so much a secondary as it was a charity. It just gave and gave and gave.
The most vulnerable Seahawk was cornerback Quinton Dunbar, who was playing on a sore knee. Starting in place of the injured Shaquill Griffin, Dunbar was torched repeatedly in one-on-one coverage before eventually being pulled out.
But there was no way to put that 44-point field day on one player. This was a team-wide atrocity.
“We just gotta be overall better,” said Adams, who had missed the previous four games due to a groin injury. “We had a lot of mistakes, and came out flat. … We started off slow, and obviously you can’t do that against good teams.”
One rose in Sunday’s field of weeds was the Seahawks pass rush. Seattle had just 12 sacks going into the game but got seven against the Bills. Jarran Reed had 2½, Adams had 1½, while K.J. Wright, Bobby Wagner and Dunlap each had one. But that pond of pressure paled in comparison to Seattle’s ocean of mistakes.
With the Bills up 27-20 early in the fourth quarter, Seahawks safety Ryan Neal sacked Allen on third down at Seattle’s 39, only to have it negated by Adams’ illegal contact penalty. Three plays later, on third-and-16 from Seattle’s 35, Allen threw a screen pass to John Brown, who took it to the 2 and set up a Bills touchdown.
Carroll called a blitz on that play, which the Bills picked up easily. Sunday’s humiliation wasn’t just on the Seahawks players, it was on everyone on the field.
Some might point to Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson’s four turnovers (two interceptions, two fumbles) as a key reason for Sunday’s defeat, but that isn’t the case. The Seahawks, who came into the contest scoring a league-best 34.3 points per game, still hung 34 on the scoreboard.
The defensive deficiencies that have plagued Seattle all year damned them in Orchard Park, New York, as Allen finished with 415 yards on 31-of-38 passing. And this tale of a nonexistent “D” is beginning to look like a never-ending story.
Every week, Carroll exudes confidence that the defense is going to improve. And every week, he finds himself answering the same questions about its shortcomings. Nevertheless, the optimism showed up again Sunday.
What gives you hope on that side of the ball?
“All kinds of things give me hope,” he said. “What gives me hope is that we’re going to get better, and we’re gonna do better. There’s a lot of guys who played together for the first time.”
Given the nature of most of their games this season, the Seahawks should be content with their 6-2 record. But given their defensive struggles, they should be nervous about what’s ahead.
The “D” was once this organization’s greatest source of pride. It is quickly becoming a source of shame.