The St. Louis Rams pummeled Russell Wilson and the Seahawks last season, so you would have thought Seattle coaches would realize their patchwork offensive line could not handle Robert Quinn, Chris Long and company on Monday night.
You would have thought they would have come up with a plan that was more creative than “Let Wilson get pummeled in the pocket all night.”
You would have thought they would have moved Wilson around, helped their bad tackles against Quinn and Long, thrown quick passes, run misdirection — something.
Instead, they did what they have done for over a month now: Stuck their heads in the sand and hoped Wilson would dig them out at the end and that the win would wash away all of the bruises they let their quarterback absorb.
The offensive performance Monday was embarrassingly inept: 135 yards, seven sacks allowed, just 2 of 11 third-down conversions. And you can blame the coaches for it.
It is well past time for Pete Carroll, Darrell Bevell and company to get a clue and start helping Wilson.
Despite their ongoing protection problems, the Seahawks continue to have Wilson sit back in a nonexistent pocket, getting pounded like a piñata. He has been sacked 27 times — third most in the league.
The coaches merely have been fortunate that Wilson has made some special plays in many of their games.
On Monday, he made one big play — an 80-yard touchdown pass to Golden Taunt — but otherwise was completely stymied by Quinn, Long and the Rams.
The Seattle coaches, who were soundly outplanned by Jeff Fisher and his staff in St. Louis last season, did little to help Wilson on Monday.
Carroll said the Hawks “did a ton of stuff to try and offset” the Rams’ pass rush “but nothing really helped us.”
That’s because they ignored Football 101:
1) Move the QB away from pressure.
They should have rolled out Wilson to his right or left.
Tackles Paul McQuistan and Michael Bowie were as overmatched as they have been in any game since taking over for injured starters Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini, and the coaches offered little help to the beleaguered linemen.
They needed to move Wilson out of the pocket on nearly every play, to keep the pass rush off balance. But they did not, and Wilson was a sitting duck all game, getting sacked seven times and hit 10 (plus twice on runs).
The one time they rolled him out on a designed play, he hit Zach Miller for a short gain. They needed to do much, much more of that.
2) Run Marshawn Lynch.
He carried just eight times for 23 yards. What happened to the smashmouth Seahawks? Beast Mode?
The Hawks have let injuries rob them of their offensive identity. Maybe the coaches need to eat some Skittles.
3) Use misdirection.
The best way to slow down a defense is to confuse it. The Hawks did not run any misdirection plays: bootlegs, reverses, backside screens, option passes, etc.
They ran the read option a few times, but outside one good gain by Wilson in the first half they were not successful.
They have to start using misdirection to trick defenses and give Wilson time to find some receivers.
4) Design quick passes.
The Hawks did not seem to have hot reads on any of the Rams’ blitzes. If they did, Wilson was not using them. Any free defender meant a sack or otherwise busted play for the Hawks.
They also should have used their tight ends more on quick-hit passes. The few times they did, it worked (although a penalty killed one such gain). Wilson’s first TD pass to the Golden Child was a quick-hitter, too.
Over the past month, Wilson seems to have plateaued behind Seattle’s shabby line. He does not function quickly enough. His reads have to be faster, he has to recognize blitzes better and he has to get rid of the ball more quickly.
But the coaches have to help him much more than they have. You would have thought they would have figured that out by now.