A familiar story for the Seattle Seahawks in the postseason: Russell Wilson heroically leads Seattle back from a terrible 1st half and the rally comes up just short. That’s been the story in nearly every playoff defeat they’ve had bar Super Bowl XLIX and the 2016 blowout against the Atlanta Falcons. The 2019-20 edition came at Lambeau Field, where a 21-3 deficit turned into a 28-23 loss to the Green Bay Packers. I was six years old the last time the Seahawks won at that damn stadium, and the drought continues.
Valiant in defeat, but “valiant in defeat” in postseason play means you didn’t win the Super Bowl. We are now in the unenviable position of potentially seeing the San Francisco 49ers, who have been mostly terrible this century, hoist the same number of Lombardi Trophies as the Seahawks in what has clearly been the best run of football we have ever seen. Gross.
Here’s the final Winners and Losers of the season.
Outside of a couple of overthrows and some ill-timed sacks when he had checkdowns available, Russell Wilson unleashed havoc on that Packers defense. He was phenomenal in the 2nd half and he effectively was the “running game” thanks to his scrambles and otherworldly abilities to escape sacks. 21/31 for 277 yards and a TD pass undersell how well Wilson played. This was by far his best showing at Lambeau and it’s a shame it didn’t result in a W.
This was a breakout year for Lockett and outside of his leg contusion problem, he was a super dependable #1 receiver. He had 9 catches for 136 yards on 10 targets, with a touchdown to boot. The best is yet to come from Tyler and DK Metcalf as a dangerous 1-2 receiving combo.
They were unable to get DK involved in the deep-passing game, but he still had a productive 4 catches for 59 yards on five targets. He did not look or play like a rookie at any point this postseason, which is reason to be excited about his second year.
Was he stuffed a bunch? Yeah. 26 yards on 12 carries is horrible. But two more touchdowns moves him up to 5th all-time for playoff rushing scores, and he had four in possibly his final three games as a Seahawk. I wish they could re-sign him strictly as a goal-line back, because he’s a legend of this team, a legend of the league, and I’m not yet ready to say goodbye.
The Griffin Twins
I cannot think of a more emotion-stirring play this entire Seahawks season than Shaquem Griffin’s first NFL sack happening with his twin brother Shaquill also converging on Aaron Rodgers. Had the Seahawks won the game it would’ve felt like something out of a movie. I’m excited to see Shaquem become more of a pass-rushing threat next year, while Shaquill takes that next step towards becoming a top-tier corner.
McDougald was one of the few sound tacklers on defense all game, if not the only one. His one-on-one tackle of Jamaal Williams prevented a 3rd and 13 conversion, while he helped force a punt thanks to a terrific undercutting of Aaron Jones. Well done to him on a night when the defense just was deeply disappointing.
He played very well in spurts, struggled at times in other spurts and committed three penalties along the way. You cannot knock his effort given he played through pain and then took one in the nuts during this game.
Offensive Line - Pass Blocking
Wilson was sacked five times but I think most of those sacks were on Russ, or “coverage sacks.” Schottenheimer obviously went max protect on so many dropbacks due to the depleted nature of the o-line, but I do not think they were that bad as much as the receivers were not consistently getting open.
Ken Norton Jr
Flowers was abysmal this entire playoffs. The pass interference penalties were an issue in Philadelphia, and against Green Bay he was just flat out beaten. He was awful in run defense and pass defense alike, with Aaron Rodgers repeatedly victimizing him on 3rd down. Flowers’ sophomore season was a net positive, but he was terrible on Sunday in a way that further justifies my belief that the Seahawks should still look at drafting more corners.
The rookie had his “Welcome to the NFL” moment. A miscommunication led to Adams’ first touchdown and he was beaten off the snap by one of the league’s best receivers on that huge 3rd down late in the game. It happens, I have to put him on here, but I am optimistic that he’ll be a quality contributor both on special teams and on defense.
He was on the field for some reason and was late to getting to Davante Adams on that fateful 3rd and 8, and while I feel he tackled Jimmy Graham short of the first down on the game-deciding play, it goes into the stat-sheet as another conversion allowed. The fact that a team that prides itself on a speedy defense has allowed Hill to still get any playing time is mindboggling to me. Even if Marquise Blair was healthy, Hill would’ve played in all likelihood because of “experience.” His NFL future cannot be with Seattle.
That drop basically killed the Seahawks’ final drive. Turner was a pretty productive WR4 this season and he’d missed the last two weeks with a concussion, but this is another critical drop in a high-leverage situation. Don’t fool yourselves, the Seahawks can still upgrade the WR depth chart. Hopefully Turner also improves entering next season.
Offensive Line - Run Blocking
Dreadful again, but to be expected when your left guard is Phil Haynes and your center is Joey Hunt.
Brian Schottenheimer’s first-half playcalling
That was as I feared. Until the Seahawks get a better pass-blocking offensive line, they need to stop defaulting to “establishing the run” as a means of countering a dangerous pass rush. Time-consuming, drive-killing Marshawn Lynch carries were not the way to go. Not with THAT offensive line combination. He was way better in the 2nd half but it was too late, which is a familiar refrain. I’m sure the film experts can get a better handle on what feels like a regressing play-action passing game, which way too often yielded no open receivers off of Russell’s dropbacks.
Pete Carroll’s conservatism
Punting on 4th and inches near midfield yet again is just maddening to me, even in the 1st quarter. I actually can somewhat understand his late-game decision to punt on 4th and 11, and funnily enough this may have been an instance where the Seahawks having their timeouts worked against them. He trusted his defense to get a stop, they failed, but you can strongly argue that a red-hot Wilson converting a 4th and 11 opportunity was likelier than this defense making another big play. If you don’t convert, the Packers are likely in scoring range to add to their lead, whereas you hope that the defense can force them to punt the ball back to the Seahawks. I get it from a logical standpoint, I don’t think it’s an inexcusable call, but a more aggressive coach is probably sending Wilson out there to go for it.
Waiting until the 2nd half to start opening up the offense is a wholly unsustainable strategy that we have been dealing with since Wilson’s rookie year. This is a worse Seahawks team now than any of the 2012-2015 squads, and Carroll has to look in the mirror and realize he cannot coach based on the team he used to have.
- Duane Brown toughed it out with a knee injury, Phil Haynes looked decent as emergency left guard when Jamarco Jones went down, and this was one of Joey Hunt’s better pass-protection games of the season.
- Travis Homer needs more offensive involvement. Not only does he look like the team’s best pass-protector, he’s a legitimate receiving threat and was arguably the better running option than Marshawn Lynch. If they were going to run it early, Homer should’ve still gotten more carries than Marshawn.
- Jason Myers missing a 50-yard field goal in freezing conditions is nothing to get worked up about. He settled down as the season ended and I won’t get on him for that miss, which proved to be a ten-point swing but was still not some unforgivable moment.
- Jacob Hollister had a mixed bag. A fumble that should’ve been ruled Packers ball, a drop on 3rd down, a sack given up because he was somehow tasked with blocking Preston Smith, but 5 catches for 47 yards. He did well given he wasn’t on the roster to start the year, and you can only hope he stays next season but with Will Dissly (or someone else) as TE1.
- The refs were not good but I also don’t think they were so obviously biased towards the Packers. I’d say the worst missed call was Poona Ford getting blatantly held on the second play from scrimmage, but it wasn’t flagged and the Seahawks end the year with six straight games failing to draw an offensive holding penalty.
- Thanks to every single one of you who endured by W&L columns throughout the year. It wraps up my third full season at Field Gulls, and I finally got to experience a playoff win as a staff member. The whole team looks forward to bringing you great offseason coverage, and here’s to a better, less stressful, less injury-riddled road to Super Bowl 55.