It was the final game of the season, an absolute nail-biter like we haven’t seen all year. Not a must-win, but a matchup against a formidable opponent with big playoff implications on the line.
Yes, the Seattle Seahawks were short a penalty, a non-penalty, about four inches, and one missed Marshawn Lynch touchdown opportunity from beating the NFC #1 seed. But the surprise of the night may have been the combination of how freakin’ close that game was, and how well (and often) the 2019 rookies played in Week 17.
Add that to how well the 2018 draft class has played this year, with the likes of Rasheem Green Rashaad Penny’s three games, Will Dissly, Tre Flowers and Michael Dickson - and this looks like a pretty good young core for Seattle.
Let’s start with the obvious, the anticipated, the hoped for, and objectively, the most important of Sunday Night’s rookie performances.
Bob Condotta reported it, we boldly proclaimed it, but John Ursua did it.
Never mind the fact that I had literally just finished explaining to my wife that the Seahawks were either going to score or the game was over, this was awesome. “Why isn’t the game over?” was met with “ok so he did the only other option which was inside a two yard window so I didn’t think it was possible” and other mumblings.
It’s more than a bit ironic, that Malik Turner’s absence is what allowed John Ursua to suit up on gameday in the first place. Turner most notably dropped a critical fourth down pass against the Los Angeles Rams mere weeks ago.
On 4th and 10, Ursua kept his composure and made what could have been a game winner on several levels. It’s among the most critical and contested first NFL catches I’ve ever seen, and what a massive confidence booster for the
young receiver out of Hawaii.
He’s a rookie on a team with Tyler Lockett and four weeks of Will Dissly, yet he’s been the leading receiver for the Seahawks in multiple games this year. He closes his first season with 900 yards and 7 touchdowns. For reference, Doug Baldwin only had three better seasons his whole career. Lockett’s only had two. He’s crazy composed, if he stops dropping the easy balls he’ll be elite, and he’s just bigger than dudes:
The pass was phenomenal, but he catches (some) passes in a way that communicates confidence.
He was 6-81-1 on Sunday night, and really does need to tighten up some of the drops, but he has maintained a high level of consistency even as he’s drawn more attention from opposing teams.
I was fortunate enough to watch Homer play in preseason, and commented that he looks like the fastest running back on the team. I don’t know if that’s statistically or scientifically accurate, but Homer is stupid fast.
And he just averaged 6.2 yards per carry against a team holding opponents to 4.5, so possibly he’s got something.
Oh and he had 30 yards receiving, putting him a good burst short of his first 100-yard game. Not too shabby.
He could end up as the best or second best defender from either this or last year’s draft class. I think he will.
Even if Blair never figures out the playbook or whatever is keeping him from more play time, he is the best hitter on the team besides Quandre Diggs and I love it.
Blair hit a guy so hard, where once the ball was past the first down marker, it ended up a fourth down because the lost control means loss of forward momentum. It’s a remarkable strategy and I anticipate the Seattle coaches will be making it a consistent part of the game plan throughout this playoff season.
He played some, he’ll probably play some more now that Mychal Kendricks is out, and he...doesn’t suck at least.
Barton is a classic example of a guy who looks like he’s really good at football, looked really really good throughout all the summer activities, but looks just a tad too amped up on gameday. He might be a really good linebacker, but it’s way too early to say.
That’s about it of significance, because we are categorically ignoring the first round miss of this season and pretending like our first two picks were Blair and Metcalf. That way we feel as good about our chances in the future as possible.
But in all seriousness, these are highly significant reps for young players who will undoubtedly help propel the cultures of winning and competing far into next year. It was a good day for the Seattle Seahawks.