Continuing past trends at Lambeau Field, Russell Wilson's return from injury hasn't sparked the Seahawks on offense as hoped in the first half of Sunday's matchup with the Packers and entered halftime trailing 3-0.
Wilson completed six out of 13 passes for 66 yards in the first two quarters, struggling to get the ball to his top playmakers as DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett combined for two receptions for eight yards. Defensively, Seattle benefited from a missed field goal by Mason Crosby and stopped Green Bay both times it made the red zone.
Here are three quick halftime observations from Titletown:
1. Wilson has looked rusty, but poor pass protection hasn’t helped him establish a rhythm.
Playing his first snaps since Week 5, Wilson averaged only five yards per attempt in the first half, with 28 of his 66 passing yards coming on a completion to tight end Will Dissly on a crossing route in the second quarter. After a month layoff, his pocket awareness hasn’t been great and he was indecisive on a few plays that led to quarterback hits, including a second quarter drive-killing third down sack by Rashan Gary that pushed the Seahawks out of field goal range. But in the quarterback’s defense, he hasn’t had much to work with from a protection standpoint with the entire front line getting worked by the Packers front four. On numerous occasions, Wilson was under immediate duress and forced to vacate the pocket, particularly from interior pressure. Though Green Bay only had three hits on him in the first half, that number doesn’t accurately reflect the constant pressure he’s been exposed to and Seattle must make adjustments to give him more time to operate.
2. Coming off a bye, the same problems continue to trip up Seattle offensively.
Earlier this week, offensive coordinator Shane Waldron emphasized converting on third down, eliminating negative plays, specifically in the run game, and more consistency in pass protection as areas the Seahawks needed to improve upon in the second half. But through two quarters on Sunday, these issues all reared their ugly heads as main culprits for a scoreless first half. Even with Wilson returning, they didn’t convert their first third down opportunity until after the two minute warning and finished 1-5 in the half. As for the run game, Alex Collins actually found some room to work with in limited opportunities, rushing five times for 23 yards and nearly averaging five yards per carry. But negative plays still were a huge problem, including a busted flea flicker attempt that Wilson completed to Dissly for a six-yard loss to stifle another promising drive in the first quarter. Add in the sacks and Seattle found itself behind the sticks far too often to be successful sustaining and finishing possessions, allowing Green Bay to have the ball nearly 11 minutes more.
3. A resurgent defense has turned in a winning effort without receiving any support.
The Seahawks weren’t perfect on defense in the first half, but they were close. The Packers found success running screens to backs and receivers and Aaron Rodgers hit on a 34-yard strike to star receiver Davante Adams to set up their lone field goal. Take away those plays, however, and Seattle did exactly what it needed to do defensively. Coverage in the secondary has been solid throughout the game, with Ryan Neal, D.J. Reed, and Tre Brown all recording pass breakups. Brown’s was especially impressive, as he smacked 6-foot-5 receiver Allen Lazard on a fourth down pass late in the half to force an incompletion and turnover on downs. The pass rush hasn’t been outstanding by any means, but Rasheem Green found his way to Rodgers for a sack and the team has gotten just enough pressure to keep Rodgers on edge. They’ll have to keep finding ways to get to him to have any chance at winning in the second half, but if the Seahawks pull it off, they can thank the defense for keeping them in the game.