The Seahawks suffered a tough loss in Baltimore on Sunday, and now are looking to bounce back quickly when they host the Washington Commanders this weekend. But before we turn our attention to that game, it's time once again to open up the mailbag and answer some questions from you, the fans. As always, thanks to everyone who asked questions this week, and apologies if I wasn't able to get to yours this time around.
If you want to take part in next week's mailbag or any other one in the future, you can submit questions whenever you'd like at Seahawks.com/mailbag.
Robert Stout from Kent asks, "Are the Ravens a significantly better team than the Seahawks?" While @MrEd315 asks if the game was "just one of those clunkers" or a sign of more bad things to come.
A: On Sunday, the Ravens absolutely were significantly better than the Seahawks. Does that mean that, if the two teams meet again this season—something that could only happen in the Super Bowl, by the way, so the Seahawks would be all for finding out—the result would look the same? I doubt it. That isn't a prediction that the Seahawks would or wouldn't win a rematch, but it's worth noting that so many factors can go into the outcome of a football game, and the line between a tight game and a blowout is often closer than you might think.
Seahawks fans also just don't have a lot of experience dealing with blowout losses—and that's a good thing—in recent years. Sunday's loss was tied for the second worst in the 14 years Pete Carroll and John Schneider have been in Seattle, 18 double-digit losses dating back to the middle of the 2011 season when, a year and a half into Carroll and Schneider's tenure, the franchise started to take a turn in the right direction.
That isn't to excuse how the Seahawks played on Sunday, the game showed some serious issues they need to fix, including the way they tackled in the second half, and the way they protected Geno Smith, and the way Smith turned the ball over, and the way… well, you get the point. Only time will tell if that was a clunker of a game or something more significant, but teams can clean up a lot of issues on a week-to-week basis, and there's also the fact that sometimes teams just happen to be a really bad matchup, schematically or from a personnel standpoint, on any particular weekend.
Take, for example, the 2021 Rams who went on to win the Super Bowl. They lost to the 49ers twice that year, including by 21 points, and still beat San Francisco in the playoffs on their way to a title. And the Bengals team the Rams beat in the Super Bowl, they lost to Cleveland by 25 points at home that year, and by double digits to the Chargers, a pair of opponents who failed to make the playoffs. A year earlier, Tampa Bay won the Super Bowl in the same season they lost a home game to the Saints by 35 points.
Does that mean I'm predicting a Super Bowl appearance for Seattle eight games into the season? No, but it is good for your football fan sanity to remember that a couple of bad regular season results don't have to spell doom for a team.
@MikeCFromNJ asks, "The Texans on Sunday used a running back as an emergency kicker, which got me thinking, who is the Seahawks' emergency kicker, and also who is the emergency long snapper?"
A: First off, thanks for highlighting one of the best/random moments of Week 9, a running back not only making a field goal, but doing it in a high leverage situation—a tie game in the fourth quarter.
A few years ago, we saw Michael Dickson practicing kicks at halftime when Sebastian Janikowski was injured during a playoff game in Dallas, so presumably he would still be the emergency kicker, though the problem with that is you then also need an emergency holder since Dickson usually handles those duties. I'm not sure who what would be, though in the past it was Russell Wilson, so my guess is one of the two quarterbacks gets an occasional hold in during practice just to be ready. If there's an emergency plan other than Dickson, I'm not aware of it, though now I'm kind of curious too to find out who the best position-player kicker is on the team.
As for long snapper, again, I'm not sure this is current, but in past years, tight end Will Dissly would occasionally practice long snaps at practice, so he's probably still the guy unless there's someone else who has joined the team in recent years who has some sort of long snapping experience.
Zach Jerchau from Pennsylvania asks, "At what point do we put Drew Lock in at QB?" One of many questions touching on this topic.
A: Geno Smith has been the first person to point the finger at himself after every loss this season, so he definitely knows the recent turnovers are an issue—he has thrown six interceptions in the last four games after just one in the first four, and has lost two fumbles on sacks. But those turnovers aren't happening in a vacuum. There has been a lot of pressure, thanks in part to offensive line injuries leading to a lot of change there—the Seahawks have started seven O-line combinations in eight games—and on at least a couple of the interceptions, there was a clear miscommunication that led to the intended receiver not being where Smith thought he would be.
Again, Smith can be better and needs to be for the Seahawks to reach their goals, but I don't think, and much more importantly, Pete Carroll doesn't think either, that a change at quarterback is the solution.
"I don't think this is about Geno at all," Carroll said after the game. "I think this is about our football team not answering the bell here. We couldn't get it done."
@_MaxCollins asks, "Has the run been established?" and @CrzyPanda_ish asks, "Why have they reduced Kenneth Walker's usage so much?"
A: The Seahawks were trying to run the ball against the Ravens early in the game, with Kenneth Walker III carrying on Seattle's first offensive play, and on four plays on the first two possessions. The third possession then featured two runs from Zach Charbonnet, but the problem was that the Ravens were just doing a darn good job stopping the run. And once teams get into second-and-long and third-and-medium or long, the run game tends to disappear.
Also, with the Seahawks converting only 1 of 12 third downs, the offense was on the field for a total of 47 plays, so it's hard to get the running game going, even more so when trailing by double digits.
"We wanted to," Carroll said of the running game. "You guys know this line of thinking. If you don't convert, you don't get the chances, and you're off the field. No matter how much you want to do something, it doesn't matter when you have to sit down. You can't call your plays sitting on the bench. We have to get off some winning third-down plays. We've got to do better than that. They were great at it today on their side. We weren't."
And while Walker hasn't been getting a ton of touches the past couple of games, he does still have 126 carries for 532 yards and six touchdowns through eight games, putting him on pace for more than 250 carries and over 1,000 yards, which are darn good numbers especially if the Seahawks continue to get Charbonnet involved. The running game hasn't been involved as much as Carroll would like to see the past couple of weeks, but they won't give up on it, they just need to keep the offense on the field longer to fully use all elements of their offense.
@CelestialMosh asks, "How did Leonard Williams fare in his first game as a Seahawk?"
A: Williams played 54 percent of Seattle's defensive snaps in his Seahawks debut, and statistically at least, it was a quiet day, with the big defensive end recording a pair of tackles and no other stats. It was, however, his first game after just a few days of practice, and with time the Seahawks will be able to do more to create opportunities for him to make plays. Plus, the nature of interior line play is that even in a good performance, a player's impact might not always show up on the stat sheet.
Carroll, meanwhile, said it was a solid start to Williams' Seahawks career.
"He played good solid technique the whole day," Carroll said. "Played the line of scrimmage really well, got in the backfield a couple of times. He did a nice job."
Les from Maple Ridge, B.C. says, "I have been a season ticket holder since 1976 and never have my hopes for the team have never been so low."
A: First off, I don't see a question here. Then again, I did welcome people who just wanted to vent in this week's mailbag, so welcome, Les, let it all out.
And look, I get being frustrated after one of the most lopsided losses of the Carroll/Schneider era, but if your hopes have really never been so low, may I respectfully ask if you just missed an entire decade or two since becoming a fan in 1976? Only a week ago, the Seahawks were alone in first place in the NFC West, and they're still tied for that spot with the 49ers despite a tough loss. They still are in a great position to reach the postseason for the 11th time in 14 seasons under Carroll and Schneider.
Prior to Paul Allen buying the team in 1997 and subsequently hiring Mike Holmgren in 1999, the Seahawks reached the postseason four times in 23 seasons from 1976 to 1998, and they had a winning record only eight times in that stretch. And, oh by the way, the previous owner tried to relocate the team to Anaheim. And let's not forget the 1994 season when the Seahawks had to start the year playing home games at Husky Stadium because ceiling tiles fell from the Kingdome roof that summer.
Again, I understand being frustrated by Sunday's loss, but let's have a little perspective before we start declaring this season a disaster after a 5-3 start in which, by the way, a ton of young players are making big contributions, a good sign for the present and the future.
Go behind the scenes with team photographer Rod Mar as he shares moments from the Seahawks' Week 9 matchup versus the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Eye on the Hawks is presented by Western Washington Toyota Dealers.