Entering their Week Two visit to Pittsburgh as two-touchdown underdogs, it hardly came as a surprise that the Seahawks lost to the Steelers Sunday. But few close observers expected such complete domination on both sides of the ball by the Steelers in their 24-0 shutout victory.
Punting on eight of their 10 possessions, Seattle managed a mere 164 yards of total offense, including only 31 on the ground, and crossed midfield only twice. It was the first shutout suffered by Seattle since 1962, and the first time in Pete Carroll's 15-year career as a head coach that his troops were unable to manage a single point.
Scoreless in all but two quarters so far this season, the offense might not find the situation getting better any time soon after the team confirmed a report from Fox Sports' Jay Glazer that expensive free-agent addition Sidney Rice has a torn labrum and is doing his best to postpone surgery. In addition, Carroll revealed in his Monday-afternoon press conference that fellow free-agent addition Robert Gallery, the ex-Raider who was being counted on to provide badly needed experience at left guard for an offensive line that is starting rookies James Carpenter and John Moffitt on the right side, is out 4-6 weeks with a groin injury suffered against the Steelers.
The defense, meanwhile, continues to have its share of problems. After allowing only 1-of-12 third-down conversions in the Week One loss to the Niners, the "D" allowed Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger to convert 8-of-15 third downs, complete 73 percent of his passes and throw for 298 yards Sunday. Through two games, the defense has yet to force a single turnover.
The PFW Spin
For Pete's sake!
The Seahawks have never made the playoffs after starting the season 0-2, and early indications are that the 2011 season will not be an exception. Yes, the Seahawks play in the notoriously weak NFC West, a division they managed to win last year despite a sub-.500 record. Yes, the Seahawks appeared similarly subpar a year ago at this time after an ugly 31-14 Week Two loss to Denver before rebounding with a Week Three upset victory over a well-regarded Chargers team, its penchant for starting slowly notwithstanding. And yes, this Sunday in their home opener the Seahawks will be entertaining a Cardinals team that they handled rather convincingly in two victories last year.
But with what appear to be significant shortcomings, especially on offense with a very tentative Tarvaris Jackson under center (at least for now), the Seahawks look more like a top candidate to draft Stanford's Andrew Luck next April than a playoff contender.
The Rice revelation makes a bad situation seem even gloomier, considering the five-year, $41 million contract the ex-Vikings receiver had signed, including $18.5 million guaranteed. The plan for now apparently is for Rice to play through the injury and postpone surgery, with Carroll indicating Rice's torn labrum is nowhere near as severe as the one that resulted in TE John Carlson being placed on injured reserve. But that plan could be akin to playing with fire, considering Rice's recent injury history.
And then there's Gallery, who tried to come back after missing Week One with a knee injury, only to go down again for an extended period with a different battered body part. Gallery's projected replacement, seventh-year journeyman Paul McQuistan, should be considered a substantial downgrade.
Downers, it appear, could be par for the course for the Seahawks in what is already shaping up as a potentially disastrous 2011 campaign.