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The Seattle Seahawks are officially out of Super Bowl contention after losing to the Atlanta Falcons 36-20. While blame should be equally shared among the players, the offensive line was once again the main culprit holding Russell Wilson and the offense back from scoring.
Dan Quinn’s Falcons called stunt after stunt, stretching the thin fabric holding Seattle's inexperienced line together. By my count, Atlanta ran 20 stunts out of the offense's 39 called passing plays. This aggression yielded results as Wilson was pressured 13 of these called plays. When the Falcons did not run a stunt and only used their base four-man pass rush, they still were able to pressure Wilson seven of his 19 passes.
In this video breakdown, I looked at the variety of stunts Atlanta used to attack the Seahawks’ offensive line and discussed what I think Seattle needs to do to improve over the offseason.
Clearly, the Seahawks desperately need new offensive linemen. I've been saying this all season, but if they don't spend some of their estimated $35 million in cap space on new players, they will regret it going into next season. Over the past five years, Seattle has drafted nine offensive lineman. Three of them are starting with Justin Britt, Mark Glowinski, and Germain Ifedi. Outside of Britt, none of them have proven they are worthy of keeping their jobs in the NFL.
Going back to last offseason, I am still confused why the Seahawks cut Jahri Evans. According to ProFootballFocus, Evans scored a 76.8 blocking score as a right guard, which is better than everyone on the Seattle’s current line except for Britt (83.9). As a said in my video breakdown (here), he would have made an immediate upgrade to the team.
The Seahawks pick 26th in this year's draft. Unfortunately, this year's draft class does not yield a surplus of good offensive lineman. While I am a huge draft advocate and want the Hawks to develop internally, they eventually need to pay a premium for an influx of developed talent. I would strongly advise John Schneider to look into Kevin Zeitler from the Bengals or Ricky Wagner from the Ravens to upgrade their team in free agency.
As far as the Falcons go, they have a serious battle ahead of them against the red hot Green Bay Packers. The Packers just defeated the #1 seed Dallas Cowboys. This game next weekend should be very entertaining even though the Seahawks are out of the playoffs.