The Seahawks return home in Week 3 to host the Atlanta Falcons, with both teams looking to recover after losses in Week 2. For the Seahawks to improve on last week’s performance, they know they will need to get their attack back on track, while cleaning up some mistakes in defense.
“Man, this is an important week for us,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “We didn’t do what we wanted to do last week, so all stages have been called, and everyone has to contribute. We need to put together a good match here. We’ve worked really hard in that direction trying to get ready to play smart and play right and not give a bunch of things away – penalties and the ball and all that kind of thing. So I’m looking for us to bounce back and put that thing back on and start rolling. “
With that idea in mind, here are five things to watch when the Seahawks host the Falcons at Lumen Field on Sunday:
1. GNU Smith was historically accurate, so now he and his scrolling game could be more explosive?
Going back to last season’s win over the Jaguars, Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith completed 80 percent or more of his passing attempts in three consecutive games, making him the only player in league history to achieve such a statistical feat.
However, for six of the eight quarters the Seahawks have played this season, that high completion rate didn’t translate into points, as offense produced 17 points in the first half of the first-week win over Detroit, and none in the six quarters that followed.
One of the ways the Seahawks hope to keep attacking is to get more of what has so far been a quiet running game, but another factor that, as Carroll outlined this week, might call on Smith and the passing game to do a bit more. More, not necessarily in terms of pass size, but in pushing the ball down the field. That’s not to say the Seahawks would suddenly revamp their entire offensive, but instead, as Carroll noted, Smith played well enough in matches and practice to earn the full confidence of his coaching staff to the extent that Carroll doesn’t. You don’t want to fall back in terms of the type of passes the team throws to attack the opponent’s defences.
“My trust in him just grew,” Carroll said. “He’s had a great week again. He’s just in his game. Nothing will change drastically, but he’s just proven that he’s ready. Pre-season and off-season preparation and that’s all put in place now. He’s really ready to go, so whenever the opportunity arises, we’ll count He has to do things. There is no hesitation.”
For this unique line of 80 percent completion rates, Smith cares less about that particular number, but rather about doing what it takes to keep the crime going.
“The goal is always to be efficient,” Smith said. “I don’t play around with that (percentage completion) a lot, I think it’s just situational. Obviously, I want to complete 100 percent of the passes I throw, I’ll try to complete them all. The main thing, again, is to stick to the schedule as a violation and put us in place. It happens, however, that I don’t really care. We just want to win.”
2. Will the defense continue to shine in the red?
The Seattle defense has some issues that need to be cleaned up (see the item below this item), but one of the reasons the Seahawks won in the first week and still had a chance to come back in the second half of last week was to play the defense in the red zone.
In the first week, the Broncos scored no touchdowns on four trips to the red zone, and came out completely empty on two of those trips, turning the ball at the goal line. Last week, the 49 players were 2-v5 in the red, and settled for three short field shooting attempts, one of which was blocked and returned to touchdown.
Ideally, the Seahawks would clean up some of their issues and keep opponents out of the red zone more often to move forward, but the defense at least knows that, no matter what happens, they can stand strong when an opponent knocks on the end zone door. “It’s the mindset to bend but don’t break,” Josh Jones said. “(Linebacker coach John Glenn) says it all the time and that’s kind of the theme in the defense room, ‘Just give us a piece of turf, and we’ll defend it.’ It’s the time for the players to stoop. They get down there, but the goal, obviously, is not to Letting them in and not letting them score. Then, if we could put them in a field goal, that would be great, but if we could get the ball out of the way, that would be great. You obviously saw that we did it a few times in the first week.”