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Another season of close calls leaves more questions of how to fix the Seahawks

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Wild Card Round - Seattle Seahawks v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

These Seattle Seahawks weren’t that far away from being the number one seed in the NFC. Yes, really. These Seahawks. The 2018 version. It wasn’t that far way, depending on how much you’re willing to bend reality.

No matter how good or bad you think the team really was — oh yes, we’ve entered the past tense version of the 2018 Seattle Seahawks following their wild card loss to the Dallas Cowboys — sometimes teams do get overrated by record. I don’t think Seattle was at all overrated at 10-6, but they probably would have been at 13-3 or 14-2, which wasn’t that far off from being a reality.

The team easily finds itself at 12-4 and at the two-seed if they just manage a couple extra plays against the LA Rams:

  • Week 5, they blow a 31-24 and 31-30 lead against the Rams in the fourth quarter, including failures to stop LA on a 4th-and-2 and a 4th-and-1 that were both critical. Make one stop in either of those plays and you potentially win the game. Penalties by offensive linemen also negated a potential winning drive.
  • Week 10, they lead 21-20 at the end of the third quarter, then fumble on a critical fourth quarter critical drive while falling short on two others. Penalties on offensive linemen? You bet.

But if the Seahawks win those games, they’re not even playing on Saturday. They’re waiting to host a team in Seattle next week. That’s not all.

In Week 1, they led 24-20 in the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos. The Broncos go-ahead touchdown was highly questionable, but there was still plenty of time left. There’s also more instances of Wilson being sacked and having those plays kill drives, just as happened against the Rams when he fumbled. A little better coaching or execution though, and that gives the Seahawks another win.

Most obviously, they should have beaten the San Francisco 49ers and they didn’t. They still could have and should have, including when they had the ball in the fourth quarter and a holding penalty by an offensive lineman killed the drive. They had yet another chance in the fourth quarter, but a holding penalty by an offensive lineman killed that drive too. Seattle still almost won in OT, but a holding penalty by an offensive lineman killed the drive.

If somehow the Seahawks sweep the Rams, beat the Broncos, then beat the 49ers, maybe we’re even looking at a 14-2 record and a guaranteed one seed. But we’re seeing a pattern of issues here that at least needs to be addressed: this offensive line sucks when the game is on the line. You can put some of the work on Wilson if you want to, but are we going to completely overlook the penalties and the sacks allowed when Seattle needed to win the game?

I mean — it just happened again against the Cowboys.

By the way, the Seahawks got worked pretty hard by the Chicago Bears in Week 2, but it was still a 17-10 Chicago lead in the fourth quarter, and then a 24-10 lead after Wilson’s pick-six. On the ensuing drive, Wilson was sacked and fumbled the ball away. Remember the LA Chargers game? The Seahawks trailed 19-10 in the third quarter and picked up 14 yards, at which point an offensive lineman drew a penalty that took it back 15 yards. It was still 19-10 on Seattle’s next possession, and there was a holding penalty by an offensive lineman. It was 25-17 when the Seahawks had one untimed down at the 1-yard line to score. Until a false start penalty took it back to the six.

As Pete Carroll takes the 2018 Seahawks into 2019 and starts to dissect the losses, which are basically the difference in being a real Super Bowl contender (aka a top-2 seed) and finding themselves having to fight out of road playoff games in each of their last three postseason trips, I think something that should be even more obvious than playcalling or upgrading personnel, is the lack of finishing games like they used to when they were a Super Bowl contender. And right now they aren’t finishing games because they aren’t finishing drives.

I didn’t have to write a single offensive lineman’s name down either. Because the penalties stretch across all of them. Well, I’ll write one down: Duane Brown. He’s by far the best lineman on this team and worth the $36 million extension he signed. The other guys did not seem to have a season any more valuable than their previous one.