RENTON It took just one game -- one series and even one play of the first game, in fact -- for Pete Carroll to U-turn from his summer optimism about his offensive line.
Sunday, the Seahawks’ line didn’t block many Packers. The offense as whole didn’t do much well. And Seattle slogged to its fewest yards in three years and just three field goals in a 17-9 loss at Green Bay.
Monday, Carroll was asked if he was surprised his blockers didn’t continue the progress he thought they’d shown in training camp and the preseason games.
“Yeah. That’s what I am saying. I am disappointed in that,” the Seahawks’ coach said. “I am disappointed we are talking about that today. I thought we were moving in the right direction. I’ve seen us move in the right direction.
“But in this game, we weren’t as sharp.”
Left tackle Rees Odhiambo made his first career start at left tackle, with George Fant out for the year with his knee injury and surgery last month. On Seattle’s first offensive play of the season, Green Bay linebacker Nick Perry zoomed past him on a bee line for quarterback Russell Wilson as if Odhiambo still hasn’t made his first career start at left tackle.
On the second play, a wide-receiver screen for Doug Baldwin, tight end Jimmy Graham didn’t block his man in front of him and Baldwin lost 3 yards.
On the third play, Perry stormed in again on Wilson for a sack and loss of 6.
Three plays. Minus-9 yards.
Late in the first quarter the total yards were Packers 104, Seahawks minus-1.
“Right out of the chutes, we just missed a couple opportunities to do things and made a couple mistakes, really the errors that we had,” Carroll said. “Then also, I give it to (Mike) Daniels, he played a heck of a football game. He gave us some problems and we didn’t deal with him as well as we thought we would.”
Oh, yeah, Daniels. The Packers’ defensive tackle manhandled the Seahawks’ line and changed the game decisively in Green Bay’s favor early in the third quarter.
With Seattle backed up on its own 21 on its first drive after halftime, Daniels stormed through right guard Mark Glowinski for a 10-yard sack of Wilson. After rookie Chris Carson ran for 2 yards, again with no lane in which to run, left guard Luke Joeckel spun around and then reached back in vain as Daniels sprinted in on Wilson again. This time Daniels got a sack and a fumble the Packers recovered at the Seahawks 6. Green Bay scored on the next play to take the lead for good, 7-3.
The Seahawks tried to help their linemen by keeping tight ends Jimmy Graham and Luke Willson into chip block, sometimes on the same play. They did the same with Carson, fullback Tre Madden, even third-down back C.J. Prosise. Graham didn’t get his $40 million contract that’s ending this season by blocking. Prosise was a wide receiver at Notre Dame until two years ago. That’s how needy the Seahawks were for more blocking.
Problem was, when Seattle kept them in to help the linemen it often left four or as few as three eligible receivers running routes down the field. The six or seven Packers defensive backs and linebackers often didn’t have to be much more than serviceable to effectively cover Seahawks receivers seven on three.
When the Seahawks sent more receivers downfield for Wilson to choose and challenge Green Bay’s coverage, the Packers’ defensive front four and a blitzing linebacker regularly won the five-on-five battles with Seattle’s interior linemen.
And so it went.
It felt like Groundhog Day from 2016, only this time the line didn’t get Wilson hurt. Not yet.
Seattle’s 225 yards of offense was its fewest since a 2014 home loss to Dallas. It was the fifth time in their last 16 regular-season games the Seahawks’ defense held a foe to 17 points or fewer -- yet Seattle lost.
“We read something wrong on a protection and we missed a couple little communication things here that made a difference,” Carroll said. “They were kind of magnified at the time. And it’s just stuff that happens and things we have done right and things that we have been good at. We just missed it in the game and we were disappointed on a couple targets and things like that on the offensive side.
“Things that we worked on and all, they just didn’t come out and didn’t hit right at game time.”
Even Justin Britt, the Pro Bowl alternate from last season who’s been the steadiest blocker the last two seasons and just got a $27 million contract extension, fell down at one point unable to stay with the Packers’ pass rush.
“We have a really good line up front. Next week, we’ll come out better,” Britt said Sunday in the Seahawks’ no-panic, business-like locker room at Lambeau Field , already looking ahead to this weekend’s home opener against San Francisco (0-1). “We’ll be more prepared.
“Going forward, I think we’ll show you what we can do. (Green Bay) was not our best.
“It sucks...but we’ll move forward. Long season. A lot more opportunities to go out there.”