If you’re a fan of the horror genre, here’s something that’ll scare you: Close your eyes, and imagine the Seattle Seahawks without Russell Wilson.
The Seahawks looked terrible on Monday night. They had 80 yards after three quarters. Wilson looked like he was mostly playing with a skeleton crew you see in the fourth preseason game. Then Wilson himself made the back-breaking mistake, a pick-six with 6:37 to Prince Amukamara. The Bears won 24-17, recovering an onside kick in the final seconds to clinch it. The game never really seemed that close.
Seattle’s terrible offseason went under the radar for many people. All of the focus in that category was on Jon Gruden and his oddball moves with the Oakland Raiders. The talent drain in Seattle was even worse, on the whole, than it was in Oakland.
It’s only two games into the season, and Seattle has played both of its games on the road, but it looked Monday night like the Seahawks’ days as an NFL power might be done.
Seahawks lost a ton of talent over the offseason
Seattle tried to reinvent itself on the fly, and many decisions didn’t make sense. They traded Michael Bennett for practically nothing and cut Richard Sherman. They refused to pay safety Earl Thomas, their best player other than Wilson. Thomas finally reported before Week 1 after a holdout but isn’t happy. Jimmy Graham was allowed to leave in free agency. They reached to draft running back Rashaad Penny in the first round, despite many other needs, and then promised a run-heavy offense despite having one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks.
All of the strange moves were on display Monday night. The Seahawks’ line, which got no impact help in the draft, couldn’t protect Wilson. With Doug Baldwin out with an injury, the Seahawks have very few receiving weapons who can get open for Wilson. The Seahawks force-fed Penny, and he was unimpressive. Penny had 30 yards on 10 carries.
Injuries played a factor on Monday night. The Seahawks are beat up. They were missing Baldwin and linebacker Bobby Wagner, two impact players, among others. They were so desperate they signed linebacker Mychal Kendricks, even though he pleaded guilty to insider trading earlier this month.
Even with the injuries accounted for, it was an ugly performance. It’s hard to see it getting much better for Seattle, unless Wilson absolutely carries the team to respectability. Wilson is capable of that; he’s one of the NFL’s best players. But he’ll need some help.
Bears completely outplayed the Seahawks
The Bears couldn’t even blow it. They tried. Chicago outplayed the Seahawks all night, but somehow were up only 17-10 midway through the fourth quarter. The pick by Amukamara ended any realistic chance Seattle had at a comeback.
Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky played OK, but he missed on way too many throws. The Bears defense was really good, led by Khalil Mack’s dominance, but Chicago couldn’t put the game away until late. It felt like they might let Wilson beat them, much like they let Aaron Rodgers come back and beat them in Week 1.
But the Seahawks couldn’t take advantage of the Bears’ sluggish play. They’re just not that team anymore. They have lost too many great players, many of whom were dumped this past offseason. The Seahawks have been the best non-Patriots team in the NFL this decade, but stretches of dominance don’t last long in the NFL.
On Monday night, it barely looked like the Seahawks we have come to know in the Wilson-Pete Carroll era. Wilson will always give Seattle a chance in any game, but he’s going to have to do most of the work himself.
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