The Seattle Seahawks came into the 2021 National Football League campaign like they have every season for the past ten years … thinking a Super Bowl was a real possibility with Russell Wilson leading their offense.
But, this year, Pete Carroll’s squad did not have the look of a playoff team. They won on opening day against a good Colts team in Indianapolis, but then dropped their home opener to the Tennessee Titans and came into last week’s contest against NFC West Division rival San Francisco with only three wins in 11 decisions.
In a game the 49ers were looking to win to stay in the thick of the playoff hunt, the Seahawks upended them for the second time this season, 30-23. The win was the second victory over the 49ers this season for Seattle and they have now beaten San Francisco 17 times in their last 21 meetings. Those results coincide with the arrival of Wilson in Seattle in 2012.
This year, half of the Seahawks wins have been gained against the 49ers.
Problem is, other than their opening victory over Indianapolis and sweep of San Francisco, the only other game Seattle has won this season was a lopsided victory six weeks ago over the Jacksonville Jaguars, 31-7.
There are a number of reasons for Seattle's decline this season. It starts with personnel, where Seattle has just not had prime drafting spots to reload a roster that seven years ago was among the best in football. That can be traced to the brilliance of their quarterback, Wilson, who is good enough to win a game or two, maybe three, in any given season solely on his extraordinary skills.
The reason that is a problem is that adding a win or more each season to a won/loss record that the skill level of the overall team doesn’t warrant based on one person’s play, never allows the team to suffer a losing season and benefit with a good draft spot. It is the same problem that plagued the Miami Dolphins during the Dan Marino era. In his second season, Marino got Miami into the Super Bowl, and his great play always had the Dolphins in the playoffs as the talent around him dripped away like a snowcone in the sun.
The Dolphins never got back to the Super Bowl during the Marino years … or since.
The Seahawks won the Super Bowl in Wilson’s second pro season, and returned to the game only to suffer a heartbreaking loss to the New England Patriots to complete the 2014 season.
Seattle hasn’t been back since.
The importance of Wilson to the success of the Seahawks was evident this year when they lost two of the three games he missed with a finger injury. In his absence, and behind the direction of Geno Smith, the Seahawks went down to the Pittsburgh Steelers and New Orleans Saints, before that lopsided win over Jacksonville.
But this team, even in Wilson’s starts, is only 3-6 this season.
Injuries to key players other than Wilson have also contributed to the Seahawks downfall. This week, that injury list grew with the loss for the rest of the season of Pro Bowl strong safety Jamal Adams, who was injured during their win over the 49ers.
But, perhaps the Seahawks need not worry this week that their roster is depleted and they are suffering through the worst season in Carroll’s years with the team . They are coming off their win over the 49ers and Wilson is behind center and their opponent is the struggling Houston Texans.
When a team as bad as Seattle thinks they have nothing to worry about … they have a lot to worry about.
Qoxhi Picks: Houston Texans (+7½) over the Seattle Seahawks