The Seattle Seahawks’ season ended with a thud on Sunday as their comeback fell five points short and they lost their divisional playoff game to the Green Bay Packers, 28-23.
The script for the game and for Hawks fans was all too familiar: an excruciatingly slow start, a big halftime deficit and a furious comeback.
Only this time, there were no last-minute heroics to save the day. Just dropped passes, fatal miscues and head-scratching officiating.
The wound is still fresh on this season, so this discussion might be a little premature. But let’s not dwell on the past – let’s look forward.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll says he is excited for the future of this team and feels like they are just getting started.
“I think this is the start of this team,” said Carroll. “I think this is, it feels like 2012 all over again.”
Sounds more like ‘Rosy’ Pete trying to put a spin on a disappointing game and a lousy end to a roller-coaster season that kinda felt like déjà vu all over again because of:
1. A crappy offensive line. Year after year the offensive line is a talking point. They just can’t seem to make the right call on draft picks, and they’re always one injury away from disaster. Depth? What’s that?
2. No pass rush. See above. When your number one draft pick (see L.J. Collier) is AGAIN inactive for a do-or-die game, something is wrong. Why can’t the front office get it right on defensive linemen? Baffling. As good as General Manager John Schneider and Carroll have been in turning no-name, late draft picks into starters, they can’t find top-of-the-draft talent that pans out.
Meanwhile, league rival San Francisco 49ers hit on every one of their picks. Three out of their last four first-round picks were defensive linemen and they all started this weekend. Their defense is terrifying and will be for a while. Yes, I get that they had a couple of down seasons and drafting near the top helps. But come on, the Hawks must do better.
3. Suspect defensive backs. This season really made you miss the Legion of Boom. Hawks fans realize now just how good Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman and company were. We were extremely lucky. The players Seattle rolled out on this Sunday would barely make the roster on any other team. Tre Flowers nickname is ‘Toast.’ All season and especially in the playoffs against quality opponents, he was overmatched, outclassed and out of position. Ugh.
So how bright is the future for the Seahawks?
It all starts with Russell Wilson. Had it not been for the other-worldly season Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson had, Wilson very well could have been the league MVP. He literally carried this team all season and Sunday was a prime example.
Hindered by conservative play calling, he was handcuffed with third and long in the first half and could not get much going offensively. How many times are they going to run up the middle for no gain? Anyone can see the offensive line was not creating any holes for Marshawn Lynch to run through. Why waste a down and become even more predictable? So many questions.
But Wilson is in his prime and, barring injury, the quarterback position is in good hands. Two great receivers in Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf give Wilson great targets, but a third (and fourth option) need to be found moving forward. Josh Gordon (suspended) looked like a great compliment, and he would have been a great asset in the playoff but unfortunately succumb once again to his personal demons.
But priority one in the draft and free agency, in my opinion, needs to be stud offensive linemen that can come in and make an impact. Unfortunately, most of the league feels the same way and finding those guys will be difficult if not impossible. Look for the Hawks to overpay for a mediocre lineman because that is all that is out there.
Another question mark is at running back. We know Chris Carson can be the featured back and get the necessary yards. But a fractured hip sidelined him at the end of the season and that injury looks scary.
Throw on top of that his backup, Rashaad Penny, tore up his knee and no one comes back quickly from something like that. So, it will be interesting how the Seahawks address that position in the offseason. Will Lynch come back once again?
As stated above, the team’s defense needs work. All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner can only do so much. Once again, he led the league in tackles which kept the team in a lot of games. But the defensive line and his linebacker partners have to improve.
Rookie linebacker Cody Barton showed flashes of brilliance filling in for injured Mychal Kendricks. Once Barton adds a few more pounds and a little more experience, I think he could be a good one. KJ Wright looked like he lost a step this season but he is under contract for next season so he will be back.
Cornerback Shaquill Griffin and safety Quandre Diggs are two great pieces in the backfield but priority number two must be to find them some help.
The defensive line also has some nice pieces, but they just couldn’t seem to put it all together this season. Injuries and inconsistent play were their downfall. Jadeveon Clowney was a revelation but played most of the season with a core injury that will require offseason surgery. He would be great to have back healthy, but he is a free agent and will be looking for big bucks. If the Hawks can somehow figure out how to bring him back, that would solve a lot of problems.
If you look at the Seahawks’ record alone (12-6), including a playoff victory, the season was a success. You must also factor in a league-high games lost to injury. But it just seems like it could have been better. A play here or there on Sunday especially, and this team could very well still be playing.
But that is how NFL football goes. The best team doesn’t always prevail.
The offseason brings forth a ton of questions for the Seahawks. How Pete Carroll and company handle them will tell fans just how bright the future really is.