For 2nd straight season, Seahawks offense struggling to fly
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Paul Richardson, left, is greeted by teammates Tyler Lockett, center, and Rees Odhiambo, right, after Richardson caught a pass for a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
By Tim Booth, Associated Press
RENTON, Wash. (AP) — If the script written by the Seattle Seahawks sounds familiar, that's because it's the same one from a year ago.
Two weeks. One touchdown. Plenty of handwringing in the Pacific Northwest about what's wrong with the Seahawks offense even as they sit at 1-1.
No, this isn't a flashback to 2016, when the exact scenario played out. It's where the Seahawks stand currently after Sunday's lackluster 12-9 win over San Francisco and heading into a Week 3 road trip to Tennessee. They are sputtering on offense, failing to convert on their limited red-zone opportunities and providing more work than they want for punter Jon Ryan.
If not for Russell Wilson escaping a potential third-down sack and Paul Richardson playing through a dislocated finger to connect on a fourth quarter TD pass, the Seahawks may still be searching for their first touchdown.
"It was ugly, but that's football," Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin said. "When you grind it out like that, there's something special to that. It's not pretty, we had a lot of mistakes, but for us to come out of there with a victory and to grind it out like we did, it's the beautiful part of the game."
What was beautiful to Baldwin appeared to be an unsightly slog to others. In a way, the victory over the 49ers only raised concerns rather than soothing any worries. It was one thing to struggle on the road against Green Bay in the season opener and lose to a team considered one of the favorites in the NFC. It's another to see some of the same problems emerge against rebuilding San Francisco.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll remained optimistic Monday that there was improvement from Week 1 to Week 2.
"I thought we did some things better than we did the week before. But we still didn't score enough points like we like to," Carroll said. "But we're working at it. Glad to get a win at home, would have liked it to have been a little bit different."
Still, finding the end zone just once is a concern with obvious similarities to a year ago.
Last season, Seattle had one touchdown in 22 drives over the course of two games. This season, Seattle has one touchdown in 22 drives over the course of two games.
Last season, the Seahawks were dealing with changes in the offensive line that had problems adequately protecting Wilson and struggled to get the run game established. This year? The same thing, although Seattle has seen glimpses of promise from rookie running back Chris Carson through two games. Carson had 93 yards rushing on 20 carries against the 49ers, and Seattle was able to run the final 4:47 off the clock thanks to five carries by Carson and three times taking a knee.
"I think we can have very high expectations for Chris's play. He's shown us," Carroll said. "Now that we've looked at him all through camp and all of that and nothing has changed, his style, approach, toughness, all of that has been very, very consistent. I think he can continue to go."
Wilson continued to be pressured more than Seattle would like, getting hit 10 times and being sacked on three occasions. Carroll hinted there could be potential changes on the offensive line this week.
"The competition is on. ... We're looking to make sure we keep it at the right edge to get better. We've got to keep improving," Carroll said.
NOTES: Carroll said TE Jimmy Graham injured his ankle and not his knee in Sunday's game. Carroll said after the win that Graham had injured his knee, but corrected that it was his ankle and said it limited Graham during the game. He said it was too soon to know Graham's status for the week. ... Richardson's finger was sore on Monday, Carroll said, but he believed the wide receiver would be ready by the end of the week. Richardson dislocated his right ring finger in the first half Sunday and returned.