Trust me, the Seahawks will be back. In what seemed like a game mostly dominated by Carolina, this Divisional Round loss actually gave me hope. Hope for an even brighter future. Some of you are probably getting mad at me already...
"Evan, how can you have hope after that? The Seahawks got their butts kicked."
"Evan - that was an absolute pathetic performance for most of the game. Despicable."
"They dropped the ball big time."
Hope. Yes, this game gave me hope. Not because the Seahawks were shut out 31-0 in the first half, not because they lost a playoff game, and not because they rallied back from being down 31-0. I have hope because I believe we're entering a new phase in the evolution of the Seattle Seahawks. I'm just going to come out and say it: I would be shocked if Marshawn Lynch is wearing a Seahawks' jersey in 2016. For years, Marshawn Lynch has been the face of this team. This era. Uncontainable swagger, obscene talent, and a rebellious nature have been the identity of the Seattle Seahawks. However, things are changing now.
This is now officially Russell Wilson's team.
Pete Carroll can say whatever he wants - that the Seahawks are still the ground and pound team that primarily functions through the run. But he's wrong. This team's offensive identity has adapted and shifted. In order to be successful in the NFL, you have to be willing to adapt.... and the Seahawks are doing just that. No longer relying on BeastMode for their offensive production, Russell Wilson is now the engine to this offense and the leader to this team. This is Russell Wilson's team now, and I believe he's already proven he can carry the load.
Disappointing injuries and numerous challenges stood in the way of the Seahawks being fully successful this season. Yet, Russell Wilson led them to another 10-win season. Yet, Russell Wilson had one of the best statistical seasons for a QB in NFL history. Yet, Russell Wilson led them to another playoff victory.
To rally back from 31-0 down on the road against a 15-1 team is a true indicator of this team's character. There's a reason the Seahawks have never been blown out in the Pete Carroll era. It's their ferocious desire to fight to the very last second, have confidence despite their ails, and their unrelenting hunger to constantly be the best that makes this team special. This team has one of the prolific young quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen, one of the best defensive minded head coaches in NFL history, and a supporting cast littered with Hall of Famers. This isn't over. As long as Russell Wilson is healthy and able, the Seahawks will always be competitive. And for that, I am thankful. Many teams are still struggling with 3rd tier quarterbacks and knucklehead coaches.
The Seahawks have the pieces, the coaches, the management, and the wisdom. They're still the dream team. They'll be back.