RENTON -- The 2021 season for the Seattle Seahawks has fallen way short of expectations.
While the defense of the Seahawks has its shortcomings, there is no doubt that the reason the team has secured its first losing season in a decade is due to the ineptness of its offensive unit.
In the traditional statistics, the Seahawks rank 30th in total offense and 24th in points per game. They are worst in the league in time of possession, averaging just 25:02 a game. That is nearly two full minutes behind the next worst team in the Jacksonville Jaguars at 26:52 a game. They are worst in the league in offensive plays run a game at just 55.2 per game, which is worst in the league by four plays a game.
The fewest plays ever run by the Seahawks in a 16-game season is 924 plays by the 1991 team. Through 14 games, the Seahawks have run just 773 offensive plays. That would put them on pace to run just 883 plays this year if the season was 16 games. Even with the additional 17th game, the Seahawks are only on pace to run 939 offensive plays, which would be the fourth-worst season in franchise history for a 16-game campaign despite playing an extra game.
The Seahawks also rank 30th in the league in third down conversion rate at just 34 percent per game. Only the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions -- coincidentally Seattle's next two opponents -- rank worse in the category.
All these numbers speak to the inability of the team's offense to maintain possession, convert on third down, and put points on the board.
Head coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday that it has been frustrating that they haven't been able to get the offense on track.
"Yeah, it has been frustrating because we feel like we have parts that can get this done, but the consistency just hasn't been there. There's been a real common theme and that's been that third down stuff that's been a factor," Carroll said.
It's been that much more frustrating because the defense is doing its part. Despite playing 35 minutes a game, the Seahawks rank fourth in the league in points allowed. While they do give up yards to their opponents -- ranking 31st in the league at 390.4 yards per game -- they find ways to limit the points scored by their opponents.
"Wwhat's happened on defense is we're keeping the scores in control here," Carroll said. "We're doing a really nice job in that regard and I would like to take advantage of that and these wins by holding these games right in the area where we're 13 points or something like that, 15-16 points. We're capable of doing that for a whole game. There's not very many teams that are doing better scoring-wise than we are [defensively] but because we've been on the field a lot on both sides, you know, contribute to that, defense and offense. It hasn't balanced out like our winning formula has over time."
Bottom line is the defense is doing more than enough to give the Seahawks a chance to win the game. And the offense is not doing its part. So why is that the case with players such as Russell Wilson, DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett?
"It really feels like it's execution and that's troubling because we work really hard at that stuff and it's really important to us," Carroll said. "We continue to take care of the ball, you know, those kinds of things that give you a chance to be really good. We're one of the tops in the NFL about not giving the ball u; and that's a huge factor for us in winning and it hasn't come through for us like we want. And we need to get the ball more on the other side. There's a lot of stuff but it has been frustrating. Heck yeah. And so we go back to work and see if we can clear it up a little bit and do a little bit better next time we go out."
Wilson is having the worst season of his career. He missed three games due to an injured finger that required surgery in October and struggled to regain anything close to his regular form until weeks after returning to the lineup. However, the finger injury isn't the only reason Wilson has struggled this year. He's completing just 46.1 percent of his passes on third down, which is second-worst in the league among quarterbacks with at least 20 attempts in such situations. Only Taysom Hill of the New Orleans Saints has been worse.
Wilson also has been unable to connect with Metcalf in the passing game nearly as frequently as you'd expect from a receiver of Metcalf's ability.
"They're trying their ass off to play right," Carroll said postgame on Tuesday of the lack of connection between Wilson and Metcalf. "They're working on their stuff, their routes, their concepts. The calls are there. We're trying to get the ball... you've just got to throw it and catch it we've got to make the plays and they've got to get the job done. We've got to throw it better and we've got to make sure that we make our plays."
The end result is a lost season that had so much promise coming off a 28-16 opening victory over the Indianapolis Colts in September that had the new offense under Shane Waldron looking intriguing. It's gone in the tank since then and the Seahawks have been unable to find a way to fix it all season long.
-- Safety Quandre Diggs and linebacker Bobby Wagner were selected to the Pro Bowl on Wednesday. It's the second-straight year Diggs has been selected to the squad while Wagner has made the Pro Bowl in eight straight seasons.
Left tackle Duane Brown, quarterback Russell Wilson, punter Michael Dickson and special teamer Nick Bellore are alternates.
-- Linebacker Jon Rhattigan has an ACL injury, though Carroll said Wednesday they were still uncertain of its severity.
-- Tight end Will Dissly was placed on the COVID-19 list after testing positive. Carroll said that Dissly had a stuffy nose but otherwise was doing fine. Additionally, running back Alex Collins was activated from the list.
Carroll reiterated his message from Tuesday night that most of the players and staff that have tested positive in the last week have been asymptomatic or have experienced very minor symptoms.
In addition to Dissly, the other players currently on the list include: receiver Tyler Lockett, cornerback D.J. Reed, right tackle Brandon Shell, defensive end Kerry Hyder Jr., defensive tackle Bryan Mone and running back Travis Homer. Practice squad players center Pier-Olivier Lestage, tight end Ryan Izzo and cornerback Mike Jackson are also on the list.
Photo Credit: SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 05: Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates a touchdown throw with head coach Pete Carroll during the third quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Lumen Field on December 05, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)