Week 7 takeaways: Seahawks have a pass rush issue

St. Louis Rams quarterback Austin Davis, left, scrambles away from Seattle Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith. L.G. Patterson/AP

Why is Ryan Fitzpatrick still a starting quarterback in the NFL? That’s all that came to mind while the Houston Texas were imploding during Monday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It’s hardly fair to blame the bearded quarterback for many of Houston’s mistakes in Pittsburgh, but it’s fair to wonder how much better off the Texans would be if they had a more serviceable starter at the most important position in sports. Or if they drafted Blake Bortles.

The problem with Houston’s logic: Fitzpatrick hasn’t been great in the placeholder role. He makes too many ill-advised mistakes and they come at inopportune times. Fitzpatrick has thrown two picks and taken three sacks in the final two minutes of first and second halves of game. His interception to Brett Keisel was the defining play of Monday’s loss.

The Texans obviously realize he isn’t the future, but they do not have a better solution on their roster. It’s a tough thing for the Texans fans to swallow.

Seahawks missing a pass rush: It would be easy to blame Seattle’s recent defensive struggles on injuries. They are missing three of their top four cornerbacks, strong safety Kam Chancellor is banged up, and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is out with a toe injury, but their issues run deeper. Simply put: they aren’t generating any pressure from their defensive line. They didn’t register a sack in last week’s surprising loss to the St. Louis Rams and have only recorded six in seven games this season. This has led to a decline in turnovers, which was a fundamental part of their success last year. A drop-off was expected with Seattle losing Red Bryant, Clinton McDonald, and Chris Clemons in free agency, but it wasn’t expected to be this drastic.

Colts more than just Luck: Andrew Luck carried the Indianapolis Colts over the last two seasons. He masked the deficiencies of a below average roster, but that’s not the case in 2014. Against Cincinnati, it was the defence that overshadowed Luck’s offence. Indianapolis sacked Andy Dalton three times, while holding the Bengals to only 135 yards of total offence. The Bengals ran just eight plays in Colts territory. It has been a stunning turnaround for a defence that lost their best player, Robert Mathis.

Ryan Tannehill coming around: A few weeks ago, there was a belief in some league circles that the Miami Dolphins were considering a change at quarterback. It’s a good thing Miami stood pat because Ryan Tannehill has taken huge strides since that point. Over the last three weeks, Tannehill’s 71.4 completion percentage has been the best in the NFL. He’s averaged two touchdown passes per game while his yards per pass have steadily increased. He’s going through his progressions and seeing the field at a much quicker rate. The Dolphins are finally seeing signs of a franchise quarterback.

Golden Tate has been the best free-agent pickup: Those who followed the Seahawks closely last season knew the value of Golden Tate. His numbers didn’t generate much attention because of Seattle’s run-based scheme but the Notre Dame product had one of the league’s best catch rates and was a dynamic player after the catch. Since joining the Detroit Lions, Tate has proved to be a home run, which isn’t all that common for free-agent receivers. What’s been most impressive about Tate has been his production since Calvin Johnson has gone out with an injury. Tate has exceeded the 100-yard mark in three of his last four games and has added two touchdowns. After the Percy Harvin fallout, the Seahawks sure wish they held onto him.

Kirk Cousins comes crashing back to earth: Remember when the narrative was that Kirk Cousins was a better fit at quarterback for the Washington Redskins than Robert Griffin III? So much for that. Cousins’s play has been so lousy that he has been replaced by Colt McCoy on the depth chart. Yes, the same Colt McCoy who couldn’t cut it in Cleveland. Cousins’s recent demise is further proof that some tend to overreact to small sample sizes rather than using logic. Cousins has proved to the NFL that he’s no more than a stopgap or, more likely, a solid backup. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s time we all acknowledge it.

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