Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 11/3/14
Grades Are In The Seattle Seahawks went 2-2 during the first quarter of the season.  As I expected, they split the games in the second quarter of the season as well. After the first half of the season, the 4-4 Seahawks are tied for 7th place in the NFC and are 3rd place in the NFC West. Here is how they got there: At Carolina Seattle won 16-12 Despite having seven penalties and three turnovers, the Seahawks pulled off their first win on the road of the 2012 season. The defense dominated the air as well as the ground.  Carolina was only able to manage 190 yards of total offense.  The only touchdown the Panthers scored was an interception off a Russell Wilson poorly thrown ball. Canada Day Seattle played an impressive game against the New England Patriots in the second quarter of the season. Photo Credit: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images Seattle beat the Patriots 24-23, at CenturyLink Field. Russell Wilson had the best game of his young career at home versus one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the NFL.  It couldn’t have come at a better time, because Marshawn Lynch had his least productive game since last October. Jon Ryan became the first punter to average 60 yards per punt, with a minimum of 4 attempts, since 1946.  Jon, a native to Canada, picked the perfect day to accomplish the feat. Defensively, the Seahawks did what they needed to do to win.  Bobby Wagner had the best game of his career and both Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman intercepted Tom Brady passes.  Of course, they came after Earl had already dropped two interceptions earlier in the game. The game will most notably be remembered for the photo that Richard Sherman tweeted after the game.  In case you didn’t see it, the photo was of him and Tom Brady, after the game, with the caption “U Mad Bro?”. Richard took the photo down after persuasion from Seahawks media relations. At San Francisco Seattle lost 6-13. Easily the most frustrating game of the season for me thus far. It was the worst game, statistically, in Wilson’s NFL career, but it wasn’t his fault.  He threw a lot of good passes that receivers simply dropped.  Had the Seahawks receivers been able to catch the ball, they would have won an important divisional road game and would currently be first place in the NFC West. At Detroit Seattle lost 24-28. It was the Seahawks best offensive performance on the road this season, however, it was wasted because the defense never showed up. A couple Seahawks players set personal bests: Marshawn Lynch had a 77-yard touchdown, the longest of his career. Golden Tate had 7 receptions for the first time in his career. Unfortunately, Ben Obomanu broke his wrist during the game and was placed on injured reserve Tuesday, ending his season.  I would not be surprised if it ends his career in Seattle. Russell Wilson has improved in the second quarter of the season. Photo Credit: Seahawks.com Offense – D+ In the second quarter preview piece, I stated that Wilson needed to show signs of improvement if he was going to continue as the starting quarterback for the rest of the season. Improvement achieved. Wilson’s first 4 games: 60/100, 60%, 594-yards, 4 touchdowns and 4 interceptions with a 80.1 quarterback rating. Wilson’s second 4 games: 69/110, 62.7%, 872-yards, 6 touchdowns and 4 interceptions with a 87.9% quarterback rating. The offensive line has also been pass protecting better, giving up an average of a half-sack less per game.  That doesn’t sound like much, but over the course of a season that would save eight sacks and a ton of yardage. Unfortunately they have dropped off a bit in the running game.  During the second quarter of the season the Seahawks are averaging nearly 38 less yards per game on the ground. Overall the Seahawks offense is averaging 43 more yards per game then they were in the first four games.  However, they are still averaging only 17.5 points per game. At the end of the day offense needs to score points, so for that reason I kept the grade the same as the first quarter. Defense – B During the first quarter of the season, I was concerned about the amount of pressure the Seahawks were able to get on the quarterback away from CenturyLink Field.  Overall, I wanted to see the Seahawks average about 2.5 sacks per game during the second quarter.  They fell a little short of that, 2.25 sacks per game, but their pass rush really improved away from home. 1st 4 games: 2 home games, 9 sacks, 4.5 sacks per game.  2 away games, 3 sacks, 1.5 sack per game. 2nd 4 games: 1 home game, 1 sack. 3 aways games, 8 sacks, 2.7 sacks per game. The defense has dropped slightly in every category over the last four games.  The most concerning of which, they have actually gotten 2% worse on third downs.  Only the Titans and Bills are worse, defensively, on third downs than the Seahawks were during the last four games.  The other thing that concerns me is that the weakness has been exposed.  If the Seahawks can’t figure out how to defend the inside passing game underneath, it is going to be a long season. The Seahawks defense also gave up 4.5 more points per game during the second four-game stretch. Special Teams – B The special teams unit, especially in the punting game, really struggled in San Francisco.  A lot of that had to do with the fact that gunner Byron Maxwell missed the game with a hamstring injury.  The team’s other gunner, Ben Obomanu, has now been lost for the season.  It looks like Jeremy Lane may be able to ease the pain a bit after making an outstanding catch to down a punt at the Lions 4-yard line last week. Pete Carroll and the Seahawks coaching staff has earned a C at this point in the season. Photo Credit: Yahoo! Sports During the last four games, they have been better than average, but not outstanding.  They have still been helping the Seahawks win the field positions battle, but unfortunately, the defense hasn’t been able to take advantage. The special teams are also not making as many impact plays to earn them a higher grade. Coaching – C It is really difficulty to objectively grade a coaching staff that has dropped two winnable games in a row.  Not that I am saying that it is all the coaching staff’s fault, but they are partially to blame. It has been really frustrating to watch the defense get torched in the passing game, especially short to mid-range passes over the middle, for the last three games.  The defensive coaching staff needs to figure out a way to defend the middle of the field. Offensively I have seen a lot of growth in the team.  Russell Wilson has grown an incredible amount during the first half of the season.  He’s a hard worker, which has a lot to do with the growth, but I also have to hand it to position coach Carl Smith. Darrell Bevell has opened up the playbook, and Wilson has responded.  The last two games the offense has put the team in position to win, but the defense couldn’t get it done. Player Awards Offensive Top Performer:  Marshawn Lynch Defensive Top Performer:  Earl Thomas Special Teams Top Performer:  Jon Ryan Most Improved:  Russell Wilson Underachiever:  Paul McQuistan Top Coaching Performance:  Quarterback Coach Carl Smith MVP:  Marshawn Lynch CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE SEAHAWKS BLOG PAGE IN OUR CLUBHOUSE SECTION AT NWSB!
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