Through the first five games of the 2021 season, things haven't gone quite as planned for the defending NFC West champion Seahawks, who currently sit in third place in the division with a 2-3 record and will now be forced to play at least three games without quarterback Russell Wilson.
To this point, Seattle hasn't necessarily met lofty expectations on offense, currently ranking 13th in the NFL averaging 24 points per game. The team's biggest issue has been prolonged scoring droughts, as they have scored seven or fewer points in a half in each of their five games so far.
Already a quarter of the way through the season, how has each offensive position group performed for the Seahawks?
Though he currently ranks just sixth in the NFL for passing touchdowns and 24th in passing yardage, Wilson has still been one of the better quarterbacks during the early stages of the season. He's completed 72 percent of his passes, third behind only Dak Prescott and Kyler Murray, while throwing just one interception, averaging a league-leading 9.6 yards per attempts, and posting a league-best 125.3 passer rating. Compared to his scintillating start a year ago, like the rest of Seattle's offense, he has suffered through some rough patches while adjusting to new coordinator Shane Waldron's scheme, which knocks his grade down a peg. On the flip side, Geno Smith's stellar performance in relief of an injured Wilson during a Week 5 loss to the Rams elevates the grade to within striking distance of an A.
Running Back: B-
After re-signing on a new two-year deal in March, Chris Carson has endured an up-and-down fifth season as Seattle's bell cow out of the backfield. He opened with a strong 91-yard performance in a Week 1 win over Indianapolis, rushing for 91 yards and adding 26 yards as a receiver. But the next week, he was held to just 31 total yards. He bounced back with 80 yards on just 12 carries in a Week 3 loss to Minnesota, only to struggle finding running room in Santa Clara the next week. His overall numbers are decent with 232 rushing yards and three touchdowns in four games, but like the rest of the offense, consistency hasn't been there and now he's nursing a concerning neck injury.
With Rashaad Penny chronically on injured reserve at this point, Alex Collins has provided a spark behind Carson, rushing for 124 yards on just 28 carries and adding four receptions for 54 yards in limited playing time. He's been able to produce yardage even when blocking breaks down in front of him, which has been a welcome development over the past few weeks. Behind him, DeeJay Dallas has logged just five carries, but has been a factor in the passing game with two catches for 32 yards, while Travis Homer has six catches for 75 yards as a third down back.
Coming off his first All-Pro season, DK Metcalf got off to a somewhat slow start by his standards, catching 10 passes for 113 yards in Seattle's first two games. But since then, the third-year wideout has rebounded nicely, tallying 15 receptions for 270 yards and four touchdowns in the last three games. Tyler Lockett's season has unfolded in opposite fashion, as he opened with a historic start breaking Steve Largent's franchise record with 278 receiving yards and scored three touchdowns in the first two weeks of the season. But since then, he's been relatively quiet, in part due to a few minor injuries he's played through. Over the past three games, he's caught 13 passes for 112 yards and hasn't found the end zone. Nonetheless, both players rank in the top 15 in yardage and top 20 in touchdowns and remain one of the NFL's premier receiving duos.
Away from their two star receivers, the Seahawks unfortunately haven't had much of a chance to see what rookie Dee Eskridge can do. He's missed the past four games with a concussion and will miss at least two more on injured reserve. In his absence, Freddie Swain has provided a solid complementary weapon for Wilson, catching 10 passes for 134 yards and equaling his rookie year total with two touchdowns already. Nobody else has been able to contribute to this point, with Penny Hart being the only other receiver to record a catch so far this season.
Tight End: D+
With Waldron bringing elements of Sean McVay's offense to the Pacific Northwest, tight ends were expected to become a far more prominent part of the Seahawks passing game. But despite promising returns in the season opener, that hasn't been the case at all. Through five games, Gerald Everett and Will Dissly have combined to make 16 receptions for 187 yards and a touchdown. Everett missed the past two games on the reserve/COVID-19 list, so his numbers could have been better. Still, those two players haven't been featured near as much as anticipated and second-year player Colby Parkinson hasn't made any contributions since returning from a foot injury in Week 4.
For whatever reason, as has been the case for much of his career, Wilson doesn't seem inclined to throw the ball much to his tight ends. Aside from 54 yards by Everett against the Vikings, the Seahawks haven't had a tight end record more than 40 receiving yards in a game this year. While it may not be the fault of the players themselves with other elements preventing them from playing bigger roles, the group has easily been the most disappointing one on Seattle's offense compared to expectations prior to the season.
Offensive Line: C
If there's a group that sums up Seattle's offensive performance through five games most perfectly, it would be an offensive line that has mastered the art of consistently being inconsistent. Normally the beacon of reliability, veteran left tackle Duane Brown hasn't been quite as effective as expected, allowing nine pressures and three sacks on 179 pass protection snaps and uncharacteristically struggling in the run game. Right guard Gabe Jackson turned in two strong outings in wins over Indianapolis and San Francisco, but he allowed eight pressures in Seattle's other three games. Fellow guard Damien Lewis hasn't been the rock in the run game he was as a rookie, though he has done a fantastic job cutting down on penalties that plagued him a year ago.
The good news? The Seahawks weathered the storm for two games without starting right tackle Brandon Shell, with the trio of Jamarco Jones, Jake Curhan, and Cedric Ogbuehi doing solid jobs replacing him. It's evident the team has better depth at the tackle positions than previous seasons. Meanwhile, though he struggled mightily earlier in the season, center Kyle Fuller has gradually made progress in recent weeks. After allowing seven total pressures in Seattle's first three games, he's only yielded three in the past two games and has shown improvements in the run blocking department as well. As long as the group can stay healthy, they should be respectable enough to protect whoever is under center and start opening up run lanes for Carson and his backfield mates.