By John Boyle
By a lot of measures, the Seahawks have struggled offensively this season. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the red zone, where the Seahawks are scoring touchdowns at a rate that is the worst in the NFL.
Largely because of their defense and special teams play, the Seahawks have still managed a 3-2 record despite their inability to turn good field position into touchdowns, but the offense also knows things have to get better in that area for Seattle to succeed this season.
“It’s huge,” said quarterback Russell Wilson. “That’s the biggest part of the game, obviously. You have to be great on third down and you have to be great in the red zone.”
What should be somewhat encouraging for Seattle is that, after struggling on third down in St. Louis and making that an emphasis last week, the Seahawks did improve drastically, converting on 7 of 14 third downs after going just 2 for 9 a week earlier. So the hope is that if in one week they can turn that problem area around, the Seahawks can make similar strides this week in their red zone offense.
“Last week, our big emphasis was third down,” said offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. “We completed 50 percent in that game. That doesn’t mean it’s fixed. We’ve still got to continue working on it. Now it’s finishing in the red zone. We’re doing a pretty decent job of moving the ball down the field and getting to red zone but now we’re not finishing those with touchdowns and we’ve got to do that at a better rate.”
When the Seahawks have driven deep into opponent’s territory, Wilson has been trying to find the balance between making plays and not making costly mistakes. As the old saying goes, the field shrinks in the red zone, and that makes passing windows even smaller.
“Obviously you want to score seven points every time, but at the same time, field goals are good situations too. You have to take the points when you have them.”
In time, the Seahawks hope more of those field goals will become touchdowns, preferably starting this week when touchdowns will probably be necessary against a high-powered New England offense.
“The biggest thing, when we’re down there it comes down to one-on-one matchups in tight windows, and you just have to let the ball fly and guys have to make plays on the ball,” said tight end Zach Miller. “That will happen more as we play together and develop that relationship and that trust in the red zone.”