Before the 2019 season, I predicted that the Seattle Seahawks would return to the playoffs. Looking at the schedule, I saw the potential for about eleven wins, if things landed right, and a chance to go further in the playoffs than they did in 2018. Well, this isn’t the ending that we all wanted as Twelves, but it really did play out the way it felt it would (at least the way I felt it would).
Seattle limped into Green Bay without two starters on their offensive line, their top three running backs, their starting tight end, their number three receiver, a starting linebacker, and a couple key defensive linemen. Simply put, they were an undermanned team playing on the road against a more rested and healthier team. Yet, it’s impressive that they rallied being down 21-3 in the first half to make it a 28-23 finish.With Russell Wilson as their quarterback, you also knew that they would do this. This has been what they do all season long.
I know the impulse to blame coaches and players during a tough loss, I will share some thoughts on that, but I would much rather recognize the impressive fight Seattle showed in an incredibly tough place to win on the road, especially in January during the playoffs. With five minutes left to go in the game, the 2019 Seattle Seahawks made a stadium full of Packer fans clench their seats. This was not the embarrassing loss that the number one seeded Raven team in the AFC was dealt the day before. Nah, this was a loss I could much more easily take as a fan, and like most of Seattle’s games this year, this one came down to the wire, and I am proud of them for that. They put it all out there on the field in this one.
Let’s break it down.
Russell Wilson was nearly the hero of the game. Under constant duress in the first half, he found his rhythm in the second half both as a runner and a passer. Considering the duress he was under and the lack of a run game that the offense was able to establish with their backs, he might have played his best game of the year getting this team to rally. This was a performance that was deserving of a victory, but alas, he fell short.
Tyler Lockett had a huge game catching the ball, and DK Metcalf and Jacob Hollister also made their share of plays.
Rookie running back Travis Homer had a terrific side line catch and run on an improvised play with Russell Wilson. I’m excited about his potential as a third down back next year.
Marshawn Lynch scored twice on inspired rushing plays near the goal line. I hope this wasn’t the last game we see of Marshawn in a Seattle uniform.
Safety Bradley McDougald had a sensational game against the run and pass, and was an inspired leader on the defense.
Jadeveon Clowney was a game wrecker at times against the run and pass, getting tackle for losses, presssures, and a sack.
Shaquem Griffin got a key third down sack against Aaron Rodgers that gave Seattle a chance to win it in the end.
On a general note, there was great fight with this team, especially defensively. They were determined to not make it easy on the Packers, and while they gave up big plays, they also hit and tackled hard as the game wore on. They didn’t wilt, and the Green Bay players will be feeling it heading into their match against the 49ers.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time ripping on this team. They were undermanned on both sides of the ball heading into this match. They needed to play a perfect game against Aaron Rodgers and a rested Packer team, and they struggled often at times.
There were multiple passes dropped that needed to be caught to extend drives. There were coverages that needed to be tighter. There were pressures that needed to happen faster. There were tackles that needed to be made. There was also a number of really young players on the field that were thrust into challenging situations. It’s tough to win against the Packers in Green Bay when things like this happen.
I also think that there were times that the players weren’t put in great positions to do what they do best, and that falls into the hands of the coaches. Why was Jadeveon Clowney playing pass coverage when he got that weird face mask call instead of rushing the pass when he is clearly the team’s best pass rusher? Why was KJ Wright hugging the A Gap of the offensive line on third and long only to drop into coverage, instead of being off ball on third down ready of Jimmy Graham’s crossing pattern? Why was Ugo Amadi on Devante Adams on third and long instead of Shaquill Griffin? Why was Russell Wilson taking deep shots so early against this defense before they even established the run to make play action more effective? I wasn’t super thrilled about seeing any of these things, honestly, but I’m not a coach, and they know significantly more about football that I do.
I hate blaming a loss on the officials. It’s just such a loser thing to do. However, allow me to list the things that appeared at least slightly questionable in all things officiating.
On the very first play of the game, Poona Ford was blatantly held in front of Aaron Rodgers for all to see, and there was no call. WTF?
Aaron Jones appeared potentially short on the one yard line as it was called a touchdown, but it was ruled there wasn’t enough to overturn.
Kevin King hit Tyler Lockett in the head with his helmet and wasn’t called for a personal foul.
Jimmy Graham appeared to be short on the third down conversation that iced the game for the Packers, and yet again, they decided there wasn’t enough to overturn.
I’m not going to say that the refs threw this game for Seattle, but they certainly weren’t doing much to help. The no call hold on Poona Ford was really egregious.
I will also say that if I hear another Green Bay Packer fan complain about the Fail Mary play in Seattle from back in 2012, I will find where they live, and I will leave a poop on their doorstep. I don’t know who’s poop I will leave, the size, or the texture, but when they step out in the morning, there will be a poop waiting for them with a sign that reads “this is for you, Green Bay Pooper fan. Go Hawks.”
I’m excited about this Seahawk team in 2020, and I am damn proud of the way they battled through 2019. They built off of their 2018 campaign and improved in many ways, and they were largely a fun team to watch. There is a decent young nucleus of talent forming on this roster with Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner leading the way.
With the new additions this year, I think DK Metcalf feels like an absolute superstar in the making. I think Jacob Hollister is an interesting pass catching talent at tight end, and defensively, I am intrigued about Marquise Blair and Cody Barton, and how they all might grow throughout the off season program, and factor as potential starters.
Yes, these Seattle Seahawks fell short of where I wanted them to go this year, but they were also one inch away from winning the division away from the San Francisco 49ers, and they Aaron Rodgers a legitimate scare in Green Bay. They did this with a roster that was largely overachieving their talent. If they can hang onto Jadeveon Clowney on the defense and add another dynamic pass rusher to compliment him, if they can shore up some lesser issues on the offensive line, and get Russell Wilson one more legitimate pass catching threat, there is every reason to believe that they can properly be contending for a title in 2020.
I have said this before many times, and I am happy to say it again. With Russell Wilson at quarterback, and Pete Carroll as the head coach, Seattle should be a contending team every year.
As the days follow, I will write more about what I think the off season plans will likely be for Seattle. I think pass rush is going to be the big theme to the off-season. With the potential of nearly $70 million in cap space, Seattle is in a unique position to spend more in free agency than in recent years, if it so chooses, and it just so happens to look like this year there is going to be a number of quality pass rushers potentially hitting the market.
Seattle would be wise to look long and hard at this Packer team that just beat them, and note how they spent to bring in free agent pass rushers Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith who each collected two sacks apiece on Russell Wilson in this game. They were huge factors against Seattle in this game and they are a big reason why Green Bay is now playing in the NFC Championship Game. I would expect Seattle to follow a similar model, and they have shown in years past that when they target a major need, they almost always act aggressively.
That’s probably why I am most excited about this team moving forward in 2020. They were close in 2019, Now they just need to make the few moves needed in 2020 to help put them over the top again. I think they can do it, and I sense the special around the corner.
At least this is the way I see it.