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Seahawks who shouldn’t be blamed for the 2020 season

NFL: NFC Wild Card Round-Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks 2020 season is over and it was as bad an ending as is possible to describe through text. At no point was the offense within a mile of being in sync.

We will collectively spend several weeks breaking it all down, poking holes and looking for areas to improve next year, and rightly so.

I wanted to break up some of the soul-searching this week (it’s depressing enough) and glimpse the good.

Here are five Seahawks who are not to blame for the way things so abruptly ended.

Blitz

I have poured through the tape this season and come to the decision that Blitz the loveable mascot did nothing wrong.

And that’s the list, thanks for reading!

Ok fine, real Seattle Seahawks who are not to blame this week:

Tyler Lockett

Once-top option Lockett was again elite, with a 76% catch rate, tied for fifth in the NFL. Lockett had three games this year in which he caught every one of his targets. DK Metcalf had zero.

In the game-that-will-not-be-mentioned, Lockett had a mediocre two catches on four targets. On the other side, Metcalf was 5-for-11.

I wrote about the decline in Tyler Lockett’s usage earlier this year and people didn’t want to hear it. Yet on a year when he set a career high in receptions and broke 100 total, his yards per reception plummeted from 13.0 to 10.5

The point here being simply that Lockett continues to catch (nearly) everything thrown his way. He set a career high in first downs, tied his high touchdown mark. They just simply didn’t use him deep anymore. Forcing it to Metcalf was bad against the Wild Card game, but if this team’s got 99 problems throwing at Lockett is not one.

Poona Ford

Poona Ford was PFF’s highest-rated defensive tackle on a rookie salary.

The undrafted nose tackle has been violent, efficient, and committed zero penalties this season.

Ford played all 16 games this year and tripled his stats from last year with 13 pressures and two sacks. He had eight tackles for loss and nine QB hits. Ford is as sure of a starter on this defense as anyone, and has set himself up for quite the awesome story.

We have but one simple opinion on this matter:

Chris Carson

This was an awkward contract year for Carson. The Seattle Seahawks never gave him even 18 carries in a game this year.

What?

Against exclusively top-end defenses in Washington, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, Carson still refused to dip below four yards per carry. He was 12th in the NFL in per-carry average, but never had a dud game. He had only one fumble after seven last year.

Here are the second down plays from the playoff loss on Saturday:

Carson converted first down twice on 2nd and long, and left his quarterback with a third and one, one, and three.

I would argue that the cooking movement could still withstand another 3-5 carries per game from Carson. Once it stalled out the team did not increase his use, but he has absolutely proven himself trustworthy if given the chances.

K.J. Wright

Wright is here because he refuses to win any other awards and I legitimately can’t think of a game where the defensive struggles were his fault. The Seahawks don’t win the game against the Minnesota Vikings without him, and they probably don’t win against the Miami Dolphins or the 49ers rematch either.

Wright’s stats were among the best of his career. Second-best mark in tackles for loss, two sacks for the first time in four years. Two fumble recoveries ties a career-high, 10 passes defended was his second best.

He played all 16 games.

If K.J. Wright was an integral strength of the Super Bowl teams, and we just saw the second-best version of him at 31 years, this was not his fault.

John Schneider

At this point all the draft picks belong to him. He hit home runs this year with Jordyn Brooks and Damien Lewis. He hit well with Alton Robinson and Freddie Swain considering the late picks. Chris Carson is a seventh, Poona Ford is undrafted, he found Russell Wilson, he was the one brave enough to take Metcalf, blah blah blah. This roster “underperforms” because on paper it’s very good and that part of the job is his.

The trades still seem to have addressed the team’s primary needs. Not only is Schneider pulling in top talent year after year, but he’s pretty consistently getting guys that are a great fit for the Seattle culture.

Free agency is a mixed bag, but technically that could be said of each part of every GM’s job. Greg Olsen and B.J. Finney were bad, but many other moves were good, and it goes beyond just the simple “they signed this guy for x dollars” tired argument. For example, not going hard after Jadeveon Clowney proved to be tremendous. In fact, not pursuing Everson Griffen or Yannick Ngakoue seemed wise as well. Extending Jarran Reed, finding D.J. Reed, obviously Brandon Shell.

The primary question once a team finds their franchise quarterback is if they have been given enough talent. The answer to that at the conclusion of the 2020 season is yes, which is why we’re so disappointed. There should not have been any roster holes so glaring that a first-round exit was inevitable.

Lockett and Schneider are on the team next year. Wright, Carson, and Ford are set to hit free agency.

Details are uncertain as to the contract situation regarding Blitz the mascot.