Russell Wilson said he was “almost hoping” Peyton Manning would rally the Denver Broncos to tie the game Sunday. That way Wilson could get the ball again.
It’s hard to blame Wilson for wanting another chance after the way the second half went. As bad as the defensive meltdown was on Denver’s final possession, the Seattle offense really carried more responsibility for letting a two-touchdown lead slip away.
And that really was just part of a trend over the first three games in which the offense has gone from scoring machine in the first half to almost pointless in the second.
The Hawks have scored on 9 of 15 first-half possessions, but they are just 5 for 15 in the second half (not counting the overtime touchdown against Denver).
Wilson — the league’s highest-rated passer through three games — has been lights out in the first half against Green Bay, San Diego and Denver. He has completed 80.6 percent of his passes, averaging 10.5 yards per attempt, with four touchdown passes (all in the second quarter) and no interceptions. That all adds up to a 147.6 passer rating (158.3 is perfect).
But in the second half, he has completed just 60 percent at 5.27 per attempt, with two TD passes and one interception.
It’s not like he is being pressured more in the second half; he has been sacked five times in the first half, just once in the second.
It seemingly has been a combination of poor run blocking, drive-killing penalties and perhaps mixing in too many players on offense — e.g., Wilson couldn’t connect with Bryan Walters on two third-down plays in the second half vs. Denver.
Marshawn Lynch has run for 119 yards on 22 carries (5.4 average) in the first half, but he has been stymied in the second half, with 86 yards on 27 rushes (3.2 average).
These aren’t great defenses the Hawks have faced so far, but they have managed to put the clamps on Darrell Bevell’s offense in the second half.
The Hawks have punted on their first possession after halftime in each game.
The Hawks put up four plays of more than 20 yards in the first half vs. Green Bay, but the Packers shut them down in the third quarter.
The Hawks hardly had the ball in San Diego, but they did not do enough with their second-half chances. After scoring on three of five first-half drives, they managed just one touchdown in four possessions in the second half — and couldn’t mount a game-winning drive in the final three minutes.
They gained 168 yards on 18 plays in the first half but just 120 yards on 22 plays in the final two quarters. Lynch carried the ball just six times in the entire game.
“We don’t plan on having 40 plays in the offense,” Bevell said after that loss. “(Lynch) would have got a lot more carries had we had a lot more plays. But it was just the way the game played out. It was a crazy game.
“We still could have done better and converted a couple more third downs and that would have given us a few more plays. … But we need to get the ball more. … It just was a weird game for us offensively.”
The Hawks had plenty of opportunities against Denver. In the first half, they took advantage, scoring 17 points on six possessions. But in the second half, the Seahawks got one field goal on seven drives — and those three points came courtesy of Kam Chancellor’s 52-yard interception return.
Lynch ran for 46 yards on 12 carries in the first half but was shut down in the second — just 23 yards on 11 carries before overtime.
Wilson was great in the first half, completing 11 of 13 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns. But the Hawks gained just 98 yards in the third and fourth quarters, punting three times, missing a field goal, getting caught for a safety and throwing an interception.
The Broncos got back in the game thanks to a three-series stretch in which Steven Hauschka missed a 46-yard field-goal attempt, the Broncos tackled Lynch in the end zone and Wilson threw into triple coverage. That was a 12-point swing that set up the Broncos’ last-gasp drive to tie it.
“We had some troubles,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We couldn’t get out from under our own goal line there. … We just got in our own way there, for whatever reason.”
On the safety series, the Hawks started at their 8-yard line. Lynch was stopped for no gain on first down. Then DeMarcus Ware sacked Wilson back to the 1, bringing up third-and-17. After left tackle Russell Okung was called for a false start, Denver defenders T.J. Ward and Chris Harris penetrated into the end zone to take down Lynch.
Thanks to Jon Ryan’s spectacular 79-yard free kick, the Broncos weren’t able to get past midfield. But then Wilson threw the interception from his 14, and the Broncos cut Seattle’s lead to 17-12 five plays later.
“It was an unfortunate set of circumstances that they took advantage of and did a good job to keep us down there,” Carroll said. “We threw the interception down there and gave them the ball down there on the 19-yard line. (Wilson) tried to jam one in there, which he rarely does, and it backfired on us.
“The field went in their favor because of our mistakes,” he said. “We got off base a little bit and out of whack.”
That pretty much explains the Seahawks’ offense in the second half of every game so far — something for them to work on during the bye week so their offense isn’t so pointless after the break.