Here are five thoughts on the Seahawks after having reviewed Monday night's game against the Lions and looked at the numbers, which are courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information.
1. Through four weeks, QB Russell Wilson has been sacked on 11 percent of his dropbacks. That's the worst percentage in the NFL. He was taken down six times against Detroit, but not all of the sacks were on the offensive line. Other players and scheme need to be addressed also. Four of the six sacks came on slow-developing play-fakes where Wilson had to initially turn his back to the line of scrimmage. On the first sack, fullback Derrick Coleman was asked to come across the formation and block the linebacker, but couldn't get there in time. Russell Okung was beaten also. On the second sack, the entire line was run-blocking and Lions DE Ezekiel Ansah was left unblocked on purpose. The design of the play just didn't work. Wilson tried to scramble, but Ansah brought him down.
The third sack was a bad situation more than anything. It was third-and-goal from the 23. The protection was fine, but Wilson had nowhere to go with the ball. He could have thrown it away. On the fourth sack, it was another slow-developing, play-action call where Wilson had nowhere to go with the ball and tried to scramble. The fifth sack was actually a run play. Wilson kept the ball on a zone-read and had it stripped. He said afterward that he should have handed it off. And finally, the Lions brought a blitz on the sixth sack, rushing a defensive back off the edge and dropping a lineman. Right tackle Garry Gilliam didn't pick him up, and right guard J.R. Sweezy was beaten by another blitzer. Wilson broke one tackle but then took a sack.
Bottom line: The offensive line is not playing well, but there are some other factors at work, too.
2. Run blocking falls almost entirely on the offensive line. Thomas Rawls averaged just 1.0 yards before contact. That was 40th out of 45 players in Week 4. Left guard Justin Britt probably had the most issues. Okung did not play well, and to his credit admitted as much after the game. Football Outsiders has the Seahawks as the 10th-most efficient rushing offense. That's in large part because of Wilson. Aside from the Bears game, the running backs haven't had much room. It will be interesting to see how much Marshawn Lynch can make up for when he returns.
3. Two defensive players really stood out: middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and strong safety Kam Chancellor. Wagner had a team-high eight tackles. Against the run, he shot a gap early for a tackle for loss and later stuffed a third-and-1 attempt. Against the pass he flew to the ball, consistently limiting yards after the catch. Chancellor looked like he needed just one game to knock off the rust. What stood out about the forced fumble was just how far he had to go to make the play. Chancellor was covering the flat before making his way to Johnson and saving the game. This is clearly a different defense with him in the mix. The Seahawks have not allowed a touchdown the past two games, with a big test coming up against the Bengals.
4. Wilson had the two fumbles but overall is playing at a high level, especially given the circumstances. He's one of five quarterbacks (minimum 100 attempts) who's completed more than 70 percent of his passes and averaged 7.7 yards per attempt through the first four weeks. Is he responsible for some of the sacks? Sure. But he makes enough plays (see the 34-yard completion to Jermaine Kearse) where you live with those. The sack number could have easily been 10 or 12 Monday night without Wilson's elusiveness. He was brilliant outside the pocket, and when he gets time, he's been very accurate. Wilson has completed 76.3 percent of his passes when he stays in the pocket. I think we're seeing him grow as a passer, but the results are a bit all over the place because of the struggles up front.
5. Some leftovers... Defensive coordinator Kris Richard has been doing a nice job with his blitz calls. Matthew Stafford was 4-for-10 for 36 yards against five or more rushers. ...The Seahawks used a new-school triple option in the third. Wilson could have handed it off, kept it and run or kept it and thrown it. He held the ball and had a receiver streaking down the sideline wide open, but he couldn't get the pass off and was tackled after a 3-yard gain. Something to keep an eye on in future weeks, though.