Here are three post-game thoughts on Seattle’s 30-24 win over the Raiders today from beat writers Jayson Jenks and Bob Condotta.
First, from Jenks:
1, Don’t downplay the ripple effects of Seattle’s injury situation. I know that’s not a revelatory statement, but it’s also worth remembering when trying to put an ugly win against Oakland into perspective. The Seahawks were without 11 key contributors – linebackers Malcolm Smith and Bobby Wagner, safeties Kam Chancellor and Jeron Johnson, offensive linemen Max Unger and Russell Okung, tight end Zach Miller, cornerbacks Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane, defensive lineman Jordan Hill and fullback Derrick Coleman – not to mention the two offensive lineman, James Carpenter and Stephen Schilling, who were limited to part-time duty against the Raiders. That puts an incredible burden on Seattle’s depth, and it is especially taxing for a team that lost so much of that experienced depth in the offseason. As linebacker Mike Morgan said, “It’s a depth issue everywhere. We’re hurting right now. We’ve got a lot of guys banged up, but that’s not an excuse.”
2, Russell Wilson needs to play better. Wilson in his first four games: 70 percent completion percentage, eight touchdowns, one interception. Wilson in his last four games: 56 percent completion percentage, three touchdowns, one interceptions. Other than the second half of the Rams game, when the offense really clicked, Wilson just hasn’t looked like himself. He’s missed passes that he normally makes, and he was lucky against Oakland to avoid getting picked off twice, both in Seattle territory, one of which would have been a pick six. Wilson needs to find the rhythm that he gets in when he’s at his best. He hasn’t found it in recent games.
3, Cornerback Tharold Simon has more than held up. Louis Riddick, the former NFL scout and current ESPN analyst, said a couple weeks ago that he had heard from people who thought Simon was a better player than former Seahawk corner Brandon Browner. In three games this season, which are also the only three games he’s played in his career, Simon has held up opposite Richard Sherman, particularly in the last two. He nearly picked off Oakland quarterback Derek Carr on a jump ball down the sideline, but his most significant contribution has been that teams haven’t been able to pick him apart without going after Sherman. That will bode well for the Seahawks when corners Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane return. The Seahawks’ depth at corner could soon start to resemble the deep group from a year ago.
And from Condotta:
1. I found it interesting afterward that coach Pete Carroll pointed out afterward that Seattle “had eight gams last year that could have gone either way. We could have been 8-8 just like that last year.” He is right as Seattle won five games that essentially went down to the last series, two in overtime. But Seattle also won eight blowouts, which is really what distinguishes a good team. Seattle really has won just two blowouts this season, and at this point it’s hard to see more than another one or two unless the team gets really healthy in a hurry. Carroll said he brought it up as a reminder to his team of how tough it can be to have success in the NFL. But I also wonder if he wasn’t sending a little message to the public that it’s time to stop comparing this team to that one and to simply consider any win a good win at this point. “I know you’d all like it easier an smoother and cleaner and all that, but it’s battle,” Carroll said. Sounds like he’s thinking it will be for each of the next eight games of the season, as well.
2. Seattle’s return situations may be sorted out. Paul Richardson looks like a keeper as a kickoff returner, averaging 32 yards on two attempts. It’s not something he had a lot of experience with, so it was easy to wonder how comfortable he would look doing it. But he’s looked the part since his first return at Carolina and for now there seems no reason to change. Doug Baldwin, meanwhile, might be a fit as the punt returner. We know he has good hands. And after what he admitted was a return or two spent trying to get the feel for the position, he had a nice 38-yarder, the longest this year for Seattle. After today, two jobs that have been a jumble for much of the season, seem set.
3. Seattle at least is finding out a lot about a lot of young players. The ultimate goal here, of course, is to win this season. But football teams also always have to be thinking two, three years down the road and condor salary cap decisions that might be to come. And the Seahawks have gathered a lot of info about a lot of young players the last few weeks, info that could come into play as Seattle makes decisions after this season on what to do with free agents such as Maxwell, K.J. Wright, Smith and Carpenter.