It was the defensive player who captured the voters’ attention this week.
With the NFL regular season coming to an end, this week’s Seattle Sidelines poll asked readers to weigh in on the Seattle Seahawks. Specifically, who was the team’s most valuable player this season. Was it quarterback Russell Wilson? Running back Chris Carson? Linebacker Bobby Wagner? Someone else?
Here’s what you had to say:
POLL: Who was the Seahawks’ MVP this season? Full context, including a detailed look at the leading candidates, here: https://t.co/aYns1XIfIc
— Nick Patterson (@NickHPatterson) December 31, 2018
Add it all up and Wagner was deemed Seattle’s MVP with 40 percent of the vote. Wilson was a close second at 35 percent. Carson finished third with 21 percent, and just 4 percent selected the “other” option.
This is an interesting result. In football there’s so much focus on the quarterback that it seems the vast majority of credit or blame falls on the quarterback’s shoulders, and as a result the quarterback tends to be the choice in these types of polls.
Then you add on that by most measures, the Seahawks were a better offensive team than defensive team this season. Seattle ranked sixth in the league in points scored, but 11th in points allowed. In Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric the Seahawks had the ninth-best offensive efficiency in the NFL, but the 14th best defensive efficiency. Those numbers suggest Seattle won games more by scoring points than preventing them.
Yet the voters went for the defensive player.
But numbers can only tell so much of the story, and in this case I agree with the voters. This offseason was an incredibly traumatic one for Seattle’s defense. The Seahawks had the league’s dominating defense from 2012-16, but in the offseason there was a mass exodus of players from that defense — Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril. Then once the season began Earl Thomas was lost for the season to injury and K.J. Wright missed most of the season because of injury.
Wagner was the last man standing from the glory days, and therefore the Seahawks needed him to be like the Dutch kid who stuck his finger in the dike to prevent the town from flooding, except the hole was a foot wide. Somehow Wagner did that, preventing the deluge by carrying Seattle’s defense early in the season while the younger defensive players got up to speed. He had a Defensive Player of the Year-caliber season.
It’s also telling how few votes the “other” option received. There are other defensive players whose numbers warrant attention — Frank Clark’s 14 sacks, Jarran Reed’s 10.5 sacks from the defensive tackle position. But just about all the voters deferred to Wagner. That’s how good a season he had.
Wilson, who had a highly-efficient campaign and set a franchise record for passing touchdowns in a season, finished comfortably ahead of Carson among the offensive candidates. Wilson didn’t have the overall volume of stats as he’s had in recent years, in large part because of Carson helping the Seahawks finish with the best rushing offense in the NFL. But the voters still seem to believe it’s Wilson who makes Seattle’s offense go.