We may safely presume this is still the “rainfall” portion of the Seattle Seahawks’ season, with the harvest time still to be determined.
I’m stealing a metaphor from quarterback Russell Wilson there. He recently co-opted an agrarian allegory to describe the potential late-season benefits of early dark days.
Without the rainfall, there can be no harvest, he said.
Except sometimes around the Northwest, the rain seems like it will never go away.
Never miss a local story.
So, we hit November and it’s still hard to pin down the identity and potential of the 2016 Seattle Seahawks. Perhaps timely to note that this was the wettest dang October in Seattle history, too.
Back in August, I was among many who saw the Seahawks going 13-3 and powering to the Super Bowl.
Now? Wouldn’t bet on it.
But I wouldn’t bet much against it, either.
They’re 4-2-1 and if they can get to five wins at the midpoint with a win at home over Buffalo next Monday night, that will match the halfway win total of the 2014 season, when they advanced to the Super Bowl for the second straight year.
So, the history of second-half surges is good for the Seahawks.
But this has been a curious couple months, and it’s fair to wonder if they’ll be able to mount the characteristic rally.
The offense has scored one or fewer offensive touchdowns in four of the seven games. They had a loss and a tie against division rivals in which they failed to score a touchdown.
You know what you get when you rank 23rd in total offense, 28th in rush yardage per game and 29th in scoring?
Rain. Lots of metaphorical rain.
And when your defense ranks third in yards and second in points, well, there’s your harvest.
The most obvious shortcoming offensively is the output of the injury-limited Wilson. First it was an ankle, then a knee and then a strained pectoral muscle.
While we’re at it, let’s just say that this is an obvious case of reaping what you sow. The Seahawks have gone cheap on their offensive line, and some of the physical beating Wilson has taken is because of spotty play up front.
It was a worry at the start of the season and remains so. But I wouldn’t say this group is worse now than at this point last season, and some changes and refocusing allowed the offense to become one of the hottest in the NFL in the second half.
So, let’s say there’s a chance of reduced precipitation on that front.
Through the first seven games last season, Wilson had rushed for 271 yards, about 27 percent of the Hawks’ total. This year, he has 44 rushing yards, or about 7 percent.
Indications coming out of Sunday’s loss to the Saints were that Wilson should be as healthy as he’s been since his Week 1 injury when they meet the Bills. A fleet and nimble Wilson cures so many offensive issues on his own.
Back in August, we all awaited the return to full health of running back Thomas Rawls, who led the NFL in average yards per rush last season as a rookie before requiring ankle surgery.
But further injuries leave him still at least a week away from a return, with only 25 rushing yards on the stats sheet at this point.
Christine Michael has rushed for 4.2 yards per carry in his place, a pretty good effort. But Rawls was at 5.6 last season. A full-go Rawls should make a significant difference.
Tight end Jimmy Graham has bounced back from his knee surgery for very productive receiving numbers, particularly the four weeks before the Saints game. He had a modest three catches on Sunday.
And despite his history as a scoring threat, he has just one TD catch this season, which seems to point to a lot more production ready to be tapped into if they can find the way.
The defense is hard to critique, except for a couple breakdowns. Still, key strong safety Kam Chancellor has now missed six of his last 10 regular-season games with injuries.
And defensive line ace Michael Bennett now faces knee surgery that will cost him at least another couple weeks.
Bennett will soon turn 31. Chancellor is only 28 but taken and delivered a lot of contact. The health of such defensive cornerstones can’t be ignored when looking ahead this season and beyond.
The Seahawks have been inconsistent and unpredictable this season, which isn’t unusual.
But this is usually about the time they get the issues sorted out.