Week 4 was an eventful week for the Seattle Seahawks and the rest of the NFC West. It's time to get you caught up on everything you need to know as the Seahawks gear up for the fifth week of the NFL season.
Seattle managed to pull out an amazing 20-23 comeback win in overtime against the Houston Texans in Week 4. It made for an incredibly entertaining game, but it is hardly a script for consistent success for the Seahawks.
On the other hand, there's always this:
So it is tough to be too critical of anything the Seahawks are doing right now. Here is the weekly recap of all things pertaining to the Seahawks:
The Seahawks maintained their two-game lead in the division with yet another win. The Cardinals and 49ers were able to keep pace with wins of their own. The Rams lost their third straight, and are now three games behind the Seahawks after only four games.
49ers vs. Rams
The 49ers played in a cringe-worthy matchup on Thursday Night Football, that ended in a mistake-ridden 35-11 victory for the 49ers. It is impossible to make any definitive statements about the quality of either team, as there simply wasn't any good football played that night.
This is a game that featured 18 penalties, four turnovers and a Rams team that averaged just 1.4 yards per carry on the ground. Had it not been for San Francisco running back Frank Gore's 154 yards on 20 carries, the game would have been completely unwatchable.
Sadly, this is how many Thursday games are played. Perhaps it is time for the NFL to adjust it's rules to only allow teams to play on Thursday if they are coming out of their bye week.
Arizona vs. Tampa Bay
It was a sloppy game by the Cardinals. The offense was just 1-of-10 on third downs, quarterback Carson Palmer threw three interceptions and running back Rashard Mendenhall added a fumble. The team also committed 10 penalties for 90 yards.
Ultimately though, the Cardinals made the plays when they had to. Palmer threw a fourth-quarter touchdown pass to wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and kicker Jay Feely hit two field goals. The Cardinals erased a 10-point fourth-quarter lead by the Buccaneers with 13 unanswered points in the final period.
The Cardinals play four of their next five, and five of their next seven, at home. Their only road games in that stretch are in San Francisco and Jacksonville. The Cardinals must make up some ground on the Seahawks during this stretch if they are going to compete for a division title this season.
The Seahawks, on the other hand, just played the first game of a stretch that'll see them play four of five on the road. If the Seahawks can manage to maintain their division lead though this stretch, it'll make it extremely difficult for anyone in the division to catch them by the end of the season.
The 49ers host Houston to take on the same team that the Seahawks shocked with a big come-from-behind win last Sunday. It will be interesting to see if there is any residual letdown following Seattle's win, or if Houston can put it behind them and concentrate on the 49ers. Here is a preview of the game:
As he does every week, Pete Carroll addressed the media on Monday. There were two big updates from Carroll on the injury front, as well as a number of minor updates.
Starting right tackle Breno Giacomini had surgery on his knee on Monday, and is expected to miss at least two more weeks. Michael Bowie will continue to play RT while Giacomini is out.
The other major update was that defensive tackle Michael Bennett has a strained muscle in his lower back. Carroll said that Bennett was "getting around fine" after the game on Sunday, but that it is still unclear when we'll see Bennett back on the football field.
Center Max Unger's injured triceps are improving, and he is expected to play this week after missing last Sunday's game against the Texans.
What Needs to Improve
Not only is the play of the Seahawks offensive line not improving, it's actually been getting worse. Quarterback Russell Wilson was sacked five more times on Sunday, bringing the total to 13 in just four games so far this season.
While it's true that the Seahawks had multiple backups in the game, it wasn't the backups that were the biggest problems. It was the three linemen who have played in all four of Seattle's games who struggled the most.
Perhaps it is time for the Seahawks to make some changes.
Look at the performance ratings from Pro Football Focus (subscription required), and you'll see that Paul McQuistan posted a -2.0 rating for the game. It was his fourth straight game in the red, and he currently has a performance rating of -10.5 on the season. McQuistan has started or played significant minutes in every one of Seattle's games this year. The Seahawks need to begin looking at their other options.
The Seahawks have a young rookie tackle in Alvin Bailey who was impressive in training camp and the preseason. Bailey played more preseason snaps than any other player with the Seahawks and finished with positive ratings for both pass protection and run blocking.
Given McQuistan's extremely poor performances, the Seahawks need to consider seeing what Bailey can do.
Similarly, starting guards J.R. Sweezy (-4.7) and James Carpenter (-0.7) also struggled for the Seahawks. Backup guard/center Lemuel Jeanpierre (+2.6) played extremely well on Sunday, and against the same Houston defenders that the guards struggled to block.
If Max Unger is able to return and play in his usual center position this week, the Seahawks have an alternative option at guard in Jeanpierre.
Week 5 Video Preview