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Pete Carroll’s stubborn run-first attitude cost the Seahawks in Week 9

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The Seahawks can’t run the dang ball anymore, but they keep trying anyway.

NFL: Washington Redskins at Seattle Seahawks Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks started off the season 5-2, but it’s not because of their running game. Thanks to a bad offensive line, multiple injuries, and the tired legs of Eddie Lacy, the Seahawks have one of the NFL’s worst ground games this season. It’s a far cry from the glory days of Marshawn Lynch trucking fools. Even Thomas Rawls’ 2015 breakout feels like a distant memory.

Meanwhile, Russell Wilson keeps making lemonade out of lemons, putting in an MVP effort in last week’s thrilling win over the Houston Texans. He threw for 452 yards and four touchdowns, including the game-winner, while carrying the offense on his back. The running game was a total non-factor, with Lacy and Rawls combining for 12 carries and negative 1 yard. That’s not a typo; look it up.

So how do the Seahawks respond to that game? By doubling down on ground-and-pound, apparently:

Yes, Pete Carroll and Darrell Bevell will just keep trying to party like it’s 2013. Granted, the addition of Duane Brown is a huge boost to the line, but going back to the run-first game plan was suspicious, even in a home game against an injury-ravaged Washington team. It turned out to be disastrous in practice.

Pretty much everything went wrong during the Seahawks’ shocking loss to Washington in Week 9. Blair Walsh missed three field goals, the defense dropped two interceptions, and Seattle committed 16 penalties for 138 yards. But one of the biggest issues was the Seahawks’ insistence on establishing the run, even as the offense stagnated throughout the first half.

Lacy just doesn’t have it anymore, showing little burst or power and constantly setting up negative game script. Wilson faced multiple second- or third-and-longs thanks to the failed runs, putting even more pressure on his shoulders. Lacy ended up with six carries for just 20 yards before leaving with a groin injury in the second quarter. Rawls came in and at least showed some juice between the tackles, but the damage had been done. After three quarters, the Seahawks’ only points came on a safety as they trailed, 10-2.

Wilson pulled off some old tricks and gave Seattle the lead with under two minutes left. But the Seahawks left too much time for Kirk Cousins, and the defensive dam broke at the worst time. Washington escaped CenturyLink Field with the 17-14 win, and once again the Seahawks are left with more questions than answers.

This is what a team with an identity crisis looks like. Carroll and Co. won a Super Bowl by beating down opponents with the ground game, so they keep going back to that well even when it’s not working. We all love Beast Mode, but the past is the past. Lynch ain’t walking through that door, and neither is prime Rawls, who hasn’t been the same since breaking his ankle two years ago.

In the long run, the Seahawks will probably be fine. They almost always are, priding themselves on being a second-half team. Wilson is one of the best quarterbacks in football, and he can at least pick up some yards on the ground.

The Legion of Boom is still balling. However, Carroll’s dogmatic reliance on a broken run game led to them dropping a winnable game and falling out of first place in the NFC West. This is not a sustainable game plan, and the sooner they figure it out, the better.

So the Seahawks’ coaching staff had the biggest mistakes of Week 9, but there were plenty others across the NFL, starting with an old friend in this column.

Bill O’Brien misuses the clock again

Tom Savage really stunk up the joint, to the surprise of literally nobody. Yet despite his ineptitude, the Texans were in position to beat the Indianapolis Colts at the end, having the ball at the 7-yard line with 18 seconds left and a 20-14 deficit. This would be the perfect time to use some timeouts and draw up the right play, except O’Brien blew two of those in the third quarter. Savage threw three incomplete passes and got strip-sacked to end the game.

When asked about it, O’Brien said, via the Houston Chronicle: “I don't want to hear any BS about clock management this week.”

Well, if you say so, Bill.

In other news, the Texans dropped to 3-5 and are now two games behind the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars, both 5-3. Good thing they didn’t already blow two games with their brilliant rookie quarterback before he went down with a torn ACL. That would’ve really hurt their playoff chances.

Vance Joseph might’ve already lost his new-coach smell

The Denver Broncos are in a full-blown crisis, losing five of their last six games and playing noted failed state Brock Osweiler at quarterback. You’d think he’s just keeping the seat warm until Paxton Lynch is cleared from a shoulder injury, but the Broncos already confirmed that he will start against the New England Patriots next week. Tom Brady vs. Osweiler on Sunday Night Football: Good seats still available!

Anyway, the Broncos got boatraced by the Philadelphia Eagles in their latest indignity, and there wasn’t much Joseph could do here. But he raised a few eyebrows by calling two timeouts with less than two minutes left, even when the Eagles had the ball and the game was well in hand.

“That was my decision,'' said Joseph, via 9 News. "We’re just finishing playing the game; that’s my personality. I want to see who is going to finish the game tonight.”

Fair enough. But at that point, most people just want the game to be over with. The bigger problem is a busted offense, and it’s looking more and more like the Broncos’ 2018 quarterback isn’t on the 2017 roster.

Jason Garrett, please don’t do this

The Dallas Cowboys ultimately got a comfortable 28-17 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, but y’all know how much I hate coaches punting from enemy territory, so Garrett isn’t off the hook. On the Cowboys’ opening possession, Garrett punted on fourth-and-1 from the Chiefs’ 47-yard line.

When you have Ezekiel Elliott and don’t run him on fourth-and-1, I’m going to side-eye the hell out of you. Good win by Dallas, but still. Side eye.

Ben McAdoo ... (stares into space, contemplates the futility of existence)

If he doesn’t have any words, then neither do I.