RENTON, Wash. – In the process of winning the job during the preseason, one thing that stood out about Seattle rookie quarterback Russell Wilson was his dynamic ability to throw the ball downfield.
Through two weeks of the regular season, that aspect of his game has been missing.
The Seahawks head into Monday night’s game at home against Green Bay with the fewest yards passing of any team in the NFL. While much of that has been by design with the Seahawks trying to avoid putting too much pressure on their rookie QB, the lack of yards is causing some to question whether the Seahawks pass offense can wake up enough to throw its way to victory if needed.
It’s a small sample size thus far. But the Seahawks understand that averaging 136 yards per game through the air – last in the league by nearly 40 yards – won’t cut it as the season progresses.
“I think it’s not going to be an option. We’re going to have to because people are going to start stacking the box and preventing our run game and just trying to scheme against Marshawn (Lynch),” Seattle receiver Doug Baldwin said. “Obviously, we have to evolve into a better, more efficient passing game. The past two games we’ve been able to control the ground game so it hasn’t been as difficult.”
One area where Wilson shined during the preseason was throwing downfield. In each of his first three preseason starts, Wilson topped 120 yards passing and averaged nearly 9 yards per attempt. But that was the preseason where defenses weren’t game-planning against Wilson and, conversely, he didn’t have Lynch to rely on to carry some of the offensive load.
Lynch enters this week as the leading rusher in the NFC with 207 yards through two games. He ran for 122 yards last week against Dallas, part of the 182 yards rushing by the team.
“We have one of the best running backs in the game, too, though so we got to do what’s best for our football team, and we have a great defense. So I’m not worried about that,” Wilson said. “I think that we can throw it around any time, any place. It’s just one of those things where you have to do what’s effective at the time.”
Seattle certainly isn’t letting Wilson cut loose passes downfield. Of his 54 pass attempts through the first two weeks, 39 have been inside of 10 yards or behind the line of scrimmage. Wilson has only attempted six passes of more than 20 yards and has yet to complete a pass beyond 27 yards.
For now, Seattle is fine with what Wilson is providing. Last week against Dallas, he needed to throw just eight times in the second half because Lynch was finding so much success on the ground. That will probably be Seattle’s plan again this week against a Packers run defense that’s giving up 140 yards rushing per game.
“He’s just growing a little bit and he’s doing fine, he is really on it,” coach Pete Carroll said.