The Seahawks’ season has come to end, and while it hurts to be one-and-done in the playoffs, good things seem to be in the future for Seattle. The Seahawks seem to have regained the underdog, “us versus the world” mentality that was a hallmark of the Super Bowl teams from the past. Time will tell if this current group has the talent to reach the next level, but, as always, it will be a fun ride.
This past season was both unexpectedly bright and infuriating at the same time. Some games were brilliant, others were dogs. Some players stepped up, while others did little to help the cause. So let’s take a final look back at the season that was:
MOST MEMORABLE GAME
Chiefs at Seahawks, Dec. 23
Any time you outduel the “it” quarterback and the “it” team in the NFL, it’s a win to remember. In the second-to-last game of the regular season, the Seahawks clinched a playoff berth with a 38-31 win over likely league MVP Pat Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. Chris Carson’s bruising 1-yard touchdown run with just over two minutes to play sealed the game for Seattle. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was every bit as good as Mahomes, throwing for 271 yards and three touchdowns. If the Chiefs happen to go on and win the Super Bowl, or even if they don’t, the Seahawks can remember that Sunday night when they went toe-to-toe with the best in the NFL and came out victorious.
LEAST MEMORABLE GAME
Seahawks at Lions, Oct. 28
Sure, it would be easy to pick a Seahawks loss, but at least most of those had a memorable moment or two. This game, played one week after Seattle’s bye, had almost none of that. Wilson threw three touchdown passes in the second quarter as the Seahawks cruised to a relatively quiet 28-14 win over the Lions. Seattle held Detroit to just 34 yards rushing and Wilson had 248 yards passing on just 17 attempts. Yes, Michael Dickson surprised everyone when he ran out his own end zone and gained 9 yards and a first down late in the game, but have we reached a low point where punter carries make a game worth revisiting?
Russell Wilson, quarterback
Who else? Yes, Carson and wide receiver Tyler Lockett both had great seasons, but the Seahawks clearly go as Wilson goes. He’s the straw that stirs the drink, so to say. Despite attempting just 427 passes, fewest in the league among quarterbacks that started all 16 games, Wilson still threw 35 touchdown passes, third-most in the NFL. And while he may not be as swift, or thin, as he was in years past, Wilson averaged 5.6 yards per carry and had 376 yards on the ground. So stop with the “trade Russell Wilson” talk and just accept that one of the top-five quarterbacks in the NFL resides in Seattle.
Jaron Brown, wide receiver
When the Seahawks inked Brown to a two-year, $5.5 million deal in the offseason, he was thought of as a cheap replacement for Paul Richardson, who signed a five-year, $40 million deal with the Redskins. Cheap? Yes. Replacement? Not quite. Brown finished the season with just 14 catches for 166 yards in 16 games. He was easily passed on the depth chart by David Moore and saw his playing time slowly decrease as the season went on. Brown did score five touchdowns, so not all was lost, but overall his season was a huge disappointment. The Seahawks need to add young wide receiver depth in the draft, so Brown’s spot on next year’s roster is tenuous at best.
Bobby Wagner, linebacker
First-team All-Pro. Racked up 138 tackles and missed only one. Top-graded linebacker in the entire NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. Wagner is everything you look for in a stud middle linebacker. Can you imagine the Seahawks’ defense without him? Seattle moved on from veterans Michael Bennett and Richard Sherman before the season, but don’t expect the same tactic with Wagner, who has one year left on his current deal. He is the heart and soul of the defense.
Dion Jordan, defensive end
After flashing toward the end of the 2017 season with four sacks in five games, the Seahawks re-signed Jordan to 1-year, $1.9 million deal in the hopes that the former first-round pick would continue to bolster their pass rush. Instead, Jordan played in just 12 games and had just 1.5 sacks. Even worse, he was a dreaded healthy scratch for a few games, meaning the team thought they had better options at the positions. With pass-rushers at a premium in the NFL, Jordan may be back next season, but Seattle will assuredly look to upgrade in the draft and free agency.
Duane Brown, left tackle
Considering the Seahawks have used the likes of Rees Odhiambo, Luke Joeckel and Bradley Sowell at left tackle over the years, Brown was an absolute rock this season. Much of the talk about Seattle’s improved offensive line centered around guards J.R. Sweezy and D.J. Fluker, but Brown’s ability to solidify his spot was really the difference. Brown rarely had, or needed, help from tight ends and running backs, allowing the Seahawks to focus on helping right tackle Germain Ifedi, resulting in Ifedi’s least-annoying season of his Seahawks tenure. Pro Football Focus rated Brown the sixth-best tackle in the NFL, a ranking that seems low considering Brown was a second-team All-Pro. Brown’s three-year, $36.5 million extension in the offseason looks like a steal in hindsight.
248 — The number of runs on first-and-10 for the Seahawks this season, most in the NFL. Seattle coaches, and specifically offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, came under fire after the playoff loss to Dallas for being too run-heavy on offense when it clearly was not working all that well. Folks, you better get used to it because nothing is changing. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll wants to run the ball, control the clock, take shots in the passing game and play stout defense. Why would that philosophy suddenly change in the playoffs? Carroll points to the fact that Seattle had a second-half lead in the game as to a reason why it didn’t abandon the run. Perhaps the bigger problem for Seattle is predictability. Constant runs on first down can force a quarterback to have to convert third downs at a high rate. Wilson’s 113.7 rating on third downs this season was great, but is it sustainable? Who knows. But don’t expect Seattle to become a “passing team” anytime soon.
DID YOU KNOW?
With a loss in the wild-card round and after strength of schedule is factored in, the Seahawks will pick 21st overall in the 2019 NFL draft. Well, let’s be honest, they will almost certainly trade back, because that’s what general manager John Schneider does. But, should they stay and select at 21, here’s a few of the more notable 21st picks in NFL history: John Alt (1984), Jerry Gray (1985), Robert Smith (1993), Rashaan Salaam (1995), Randy Moss (1998), Vince Wilfork (2004), Alex Mack (2009) and Chandler Jones (2012). The Seahawks have taken one player with the 21st-overall pick — guard Pete Kendall out of Boston College in 1996. Kendall played five seasons with the Seahawks, starting 75 games, before finishing his career with the Cardinals, Jets and Redskins.
It’s sad to have another season go by and the Seahawks not in a run to the Super Bowl. What better way to lift the spirits than a few months of comfort food? Whether it’s fried chicken, spaghetti or ice cream, everybody defines comfort food a little different. So just do what feels right. And drinks? Put away the Bud Light and explore the wonderful world of craft beers. And when the time comes to get back in game mode, pick up “The Tailgate Cookbook” by Beth Peterson and shock your friends with some of the tasty treats inside.
We’ve touched on some books that will make you smarter when it comes to the X’s and O’s of football, but with a long offseason ahead, here’s a few other suggestions to help you get by:
— “Gridiron Genius” by Michael Lombardi. A great look into what makes an organization championship-caliber from a former NFL general manager.
— “The Art of Smart Football” by Chris B. Brown. Examines innovative strategies and ideas in the NFL, including a chapter on Pete Carroll’s defense.
— “Win Forever” by Pete Carroll. A behind-the-scenes look inside the mind of the coach and an absolute must-read for Seahawks fans.
— “Swing Your Sword” by Mike Leach. A fascinating, and often funny, look inside the life and football philosophies of the Washington State head coach.