Only a few short weeks ago, Brian Schottenheimer's name was being tossed around as a potential head coaching candidate. But things change fast in the NFL and in a surprising move, the Seahawks and the offensive coordinator are officially parting ways.
Announcing the decision on their official team Twitter account, the Seahawks cited "philosophical differences" as the reason for the split, while the team called Schottenheimer a "fantastic person and coach."
During the first half of the season, led by 28 touchdown passes from quarterback Russell Wilson, Seattle ranked among the NFL's best offenses and averaged north of 34 points per game. The team eclipsed 30 points in seven of its first eight games while racing out to a 6-2 record to sit atop the NFC West, setting the stage to eventually set a new franchise record for points in a season.
But starting with a 44-34 Week 10 loss to the Bills in Buffalo, Wilson and the Seahawks' offense regressed substantially over the final two months. Though they won six out of their last eight to capture a division title, they scored 20 or fewer points four times and saw their scoring average plunge to 22.6 points per game.
At the center of those issues, opponents started playing more two-deep safety looks to help take away Seattle's vertical passing game. Unable to find DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett downfield, Wilson's performance flat-lined and explosive plays dried up, as he threw just 12 touchdowns in the final eight games and compared to the first half, his passer rating sunk nearly 30 points and his yards per attempt dipped more than two yards.
These problems carried over into the postseason, as Wilson completed only 40.7 percent of his 27 pass attempts and threw a costly pick-six in a 30-20 Wild Card loss to the Rams last weekend. While under constant duress and taking five sacks in the game, he posted a 17.6 QBR, the lowest he's produced in 16 playoff games and one of the five lowest for any game in his entire nine-year career.
While Schottenheimer's offense broke numerous individual and team records during his three seasons in Seattle, coach Pete Carroll made it clear in his season-ending press conference on Monday he wasn't happy with the lack of offensive adjustments made in recent months. He wants to see the team "run the football more effectively" and find better balance to counter how teams schematically defend them, particularly when it comes to the two-deep looks that caused issues throughout the second half.
Only two days after the Seahawks early playoff exit, Carroll refused to delve into the future of his coordinators when asked whether they would return in 2021. Now, after failing to find a middle ground philosophically in an end-of-season meeting, the team will have to find a replacement for Schottenheimer who can get Wilson back on track and also aligns with how Carroll wants the offense to operate.