'No More Talking': Bobby Wagner Agitated by Seahawks' Lingering Defensive Woes
In what has become a weekly occurrence, the Seahawks once again struggled defensively in a 37-34 loss to the Cardinals on Sunday night, surrendering 37 points and over 500 yards of total offense.
Continuing to break the wrong kinds of records, Seattle has now surrendered more total yards (2,875) through the first six games than any team in NFL history. They also own the distinction for most passing yards given up in the first six games, having allowed opponents to throw for 2,212 yards, or nearly 370 yards per game.
While the greatness of Russell Wilson propelled the Seahawks to a 5-0 start, with the star quarterback throwing three interceptions, the ineptitude of the team's defense finally was exposed in Glendale. They couldn't make tackles in space, they couldn't generate any pressure or hits on Kyler Murray, and there were several busted coverages that led to big plays. They also allowed three drive-extending first downs via penalty.
“It obviously wasn’t good enough,” coach Pete Carroll told reporters following the game. “We gave up 37 points.”
On two different occasions in the second half, Seattle held 10-point leads, only for the defense to allow Arizona to quickly cut into the deficit.
Up 27-17 early in the third quarter, a questionable 15-yard penalty on Wagner for hitting a defenseless receiver on third down gave the Cardinals a fresh set of downs. Moments later, Murray dove into the end zone for a five-yard touchdown to trim the lead to three points.
Then after Wilson found Tyler Lockett for their third touchdown connection to extend the advantage back to 10 points midway through the fourth quarter, the Seahawks continued to hurt themselves with self-inflicted wounds. Attempting to leap over one of Arizona's linemen during a field goal attempt, Benson Mayowa was busted for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, again extending the drive for Murray to eventually connect with Christian Kirk for an eight-yard touchdown.
After Seattle couldn't ice out the rest of the clock on its ensuing possession, Murray rapidly guided Arizona down the field and Zane Gonzalez connected on a field goal to send the game to overtime.
Despite having plenty of talent at all three levels of the defense, All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner has grown fed up with the poor performance.
“We’re nowhere near where we want to be,” Wagner remarked. “We have to play better. We have to execute the plays better, be more consistent. We have to find a way to get off the field. We can’t put the offense in the situation that we put them in. We can’t make the penalties that we had to extend drives.”
Help should be coming in the near future in the form of safety Jamal Adams, who has missed the past three games with a groin injury. Defensive end Rasheem Green could come off injured reserve this week as well. But even with those two key players returning, they may just be band aids for a defense that hasn't been able to stop anyone thus far.
Nonetheless, Wagner remains confident the Seahawks can still right the ship. But actions speak far louder than words and until the group actually decides they want to play at a high level, things aren't going to get much better.
“There are 10 games left," Wagner said. "We have a lot of talent in the locker room. We have a lot of guys coming back. We have the ability to improve, we’ve just got to make our minds up. That’s it. No more talking. No more saying what we’re going to do. We’ve got to go show it. At this point I don’t have no words for you. It’s either we do it, or we don’t.”
With challenging games coming up against the 49ers, Bills, and Rams in coming weeks, Wagner and the Seahawks better adopt a new mindset and figure things out on defense quickly. With few reasons to optimism to this point, if they can't make significant strides, this critical upcoming stretch has the potential to derail their NFC West title hopes.