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Seahawks' stone age offense looks to rebound against winless Falcons

The team's 27-7 loss to its division rival San Francisco 49ers highlighted how far away Seattle is from most of the NFL.

SEATTLE — The goodwill gained from the Seahawks' stunning upset win over Russell Wilson's Denver Broncos is waning – if it hasn't already completely gone. 

The team's 27-7 loss to its division rival San Francisco 49ers last week highlighted how far away Seattle is from most of the NFL. (And it highlights how Denver Broncos rookie head coach Nathaniel Hackett botched a winnable game in Week 1.)

The Seahawks Week 1 win was undeniably important to the fans and the franchise, but the team can't coast the entire season riding one big victory. 

Beating the winless Atlanta Falcons at home Sunday afternoon would help stir some optimism again.

Game info 

  • Matchup: Seahawks (1-1) vs. Falcons (0-2)
  • Time: Sunday, 1:25 p.m. 
  • Location: Lumen Field, Seattle, Washington
  • Key Seahawks: Geno Smith (QB), DK Metcalf (WR), Tyler Lockett (WR) 
  • Key Falcons: Marcus Mariota (QB), Drake London (WR), Kyle Pitts (TE)

Seattle's stone age offense

Credit: AP Photo/Stephen Brashear
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith passes during warmups before an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Monday, Sept. 12, 2022, in Seattle.

Through two games the Seahawks' offense has been very, very bad. Which we mostly expected with quarterback Geno Smith leading the offense. 

But the extent to which the Seahawks are running an offense befitting the stone age is remarkable. For one, they are scoring just 12 points per game, the 30th fewest in the National Football League (NFL). 

Seattle is running just 48 plays per game, easily the lowest mark in the league. The Seahawks were also last in plays per game at 56 in 2021. Their pace of play is the 28th slowest, according to Football Outsiders. 

And here's the pièce de résistance: Smith's average throw is traveling just 5.2 yards, as the veteran seems unwilling to stretch the field. (Or, maybe, head coach Pete Carroll isn't scheming receivers open for him to capitalize. We'll see).

Unless something dramatic changes, these offensive tweaks dramatically hurt the ceilings for wide receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, who have combined for 206 yards in two games this season. Metcalf's average target depth was 13.4 with Wilson in 2021; that mark has plummeted to 7.8 this year. 

There really is little else going on in the pass-catching ranks, because the two top wideouts have dominated 48% of the Seahawks' targets. 

Tight end Noah Fant, a possible breakout candidate before the season, has run a route on just 54% of Smith's dropbacks and is averaging a meager 13.5 receiving yards per game. 

Can Smith unlock more parts of the offense or is this unit destined to play like it's 1945?

What is going on in the Seahawks backfield?

Credit: Jimmy Bernhard, KING 5
Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny (20) and Travis Homer (30) prepare for training camp on July 27, 2022.

This isn't much better. Rookie running back Kenneth Walker III made his debut in Week 2 and entered a three-man committee that totaled 34 yards on 12 carries. 

Travis Homer led all Seahawks running backs with a 45% snap share and ran the most routes of the trio, according to Pro Football Focus. He recorded 42 yards on six touches.

Running back Rashaad Penny, last week's leader in snaps, was on the field for 41% of snaps and was inefficient on the ground (15 yards). 

Walker III was on the field for just 12 snaps, but he dominated touches in limited time with six opportunities.

In the second half, Carroll made the stunning decision to play four running backs at the same time....only to have running back DeeJay Dallas throw a pass attempt that was intercepted in the red zone. This questionable play call squandered a rare chance for the Seahawks' punchless offense. 

Bottom line: None of the running backs played well or separated themselves from their peers, so this could be another unproductive mess Sunday afternoon. 

Fantasy football tip

Uh, don't really start anyone on the Seahawks' offense. Metcalf, Penny and Lockett are possible FLEX options, but nothing more. We're still a few weeks away from Walker III possibly claiming the lion's share of running back touches. 

Injury report 

Seahawks: Safety Quandre Diggs and linebacker Cody Barton were limited in practice Thursday after missing Wednesday entirely. Guards Gabe Jackson and Damien Lewis were upgraded to full participants on Thursday.

Center Austin Blythe's status is uncertain, however. He was limited on Wednesday and did not practice on Thursday. 

Falcons: Atlanta had a clean injury report on Thursday, with only one player missing practice but that was due to a personal matter and not injury. 

Game prediction

Falcons 27, Seahawks 17. 

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