Well, it's been one interesting off-season, hasn't it? Heard there was something about a player getting traded, I understand there were some extra picks acquired through that making for the first entertaining draft in several years, and of course, a QB battle for the ages.
And here we are, on St. Crispin's Day, the eve of battle. "We Few, We Happy Few, We Band of Brothers."
Honestly thinking about it, I cannot in years and years remember seeing a more fractured and contentious fanbase in Seattle, and specifically not a happy fanbase, nor band of brothers. Not happy with the current state of the team, or the direction, or the players or coaches, and not happy with one another for sharing those disparate views. It has been interesting. But this post isn't a crusade to encourage us to all get along, nor to see things "my way" - - as my mind keeps changing as to what will happen.
This, instead, is the counter to Frank's eternally optimistic what-if. This is the dark side. There will be no playoff run, or even hope for one here. Casey strikes out in the rain, and the Mudville 9 go home dejected.
Do I believe this all will happen?
No, I do not. Do I believe it could? Absolutely....
The Vegas Line.
I've felt since the day I saw it that the Vegas 5.5 over/under was a fantastic line. Looking objectively from my perspective, it seems very perfectly "just right." I know, it's truly hard to be objective, for all of us. To me, being objective means disassociating my wants, desires and beliefs. Creating a disconnect and just looking around, and see what I can see.
And what do I see?
A team with a castaway quarterback that by all accounts has an extremely wide range of potential performance outcomes, but generally can be agreed upon to expect significantly less from than the prior starter.
A team with a great albeit potentially fading coach. And yet, for the first time in a while, with legitimately talented new blood on the defensive staff. There's also the youngish offensive coordinator who nobody knows yet if he's good or not, as well as a "fresh minded" 40 year old offensive line coach, which compares positively for the "new ideas" crowd compared to the ages of 47 and 63 when Cable and Solari were Pete hires.
A team with a new philosophy with the new defensive leadership. That typically takes time to develop. And of course, a ton of new starters, in particularly on the offensive line, one of the position groups everyone always harps takes the most time to build cohesiveness and chemistry. But, there is also more upside talent on that line that we've seen in years.
A team with a running back room that has perhaps the widest range of potential outcomes in the league. For the optimists, Penny builds upon last year, Walker is the best skill position player in the draft, and we have the best group in the league. A saltier view sees injuries, a rookie learning curve, a lack of balance and threat from QB and a new OL making for a... rougher road to the mountain tops.
And then of course, there's the schedule. The AFC West is just a brutal draw, as is our own division, and the NFC South has two very good teams, but also two "winnable games" and then of course there's the sprinkling of 4th place teams.
That's why the Vegas line is so interesting. It's legitimately hard to win so few games in the NFL. 5 or less is hard to do. Especially now that we've gone to 17 games. You have to be baaaaaaad. And things have to go badly. Maybe, unfortunately, this is that year.
Here we go...
Week 1: Denver @ Seattle.
Russell Wilson plays a great game, comes out on fire and the MVP talk is off to the races. Geno starts slow, and ends with a mediocre but not terrible game. The Seattle offense is the slow start and the defense is simply not ready for the talent and tempo and dynamic aspects to the Denver attack.
This Denver offense is not a Seattle-style Russell Wilson offensive attack. An early Denver score followed by a quick Seattle turnover quiet the crowd super early. A double digit lead extends to 20-3 late in the 2nd quarter, and the wheels really fall off when Denver chooses not to take their collective foot off the gas. After the game, there is discussion about how much of that was Russ' choice while 'proving something' vs Hackett.
Russ ends with a career game - 375 yards, a crazy 5 TD's, and the early lead in the clubhouse for the MVP race.
A late TD gets us to double digits, a theme that is going to recur multiple times this year.
Final Score: L, (0-1), 16-44.
Week 2: San Francisco @ Seattle.
Hawk fans hope to continue dominance over the Niners regardless of the year and roster construction.
It doesn't go well.
Trey Lance and Geno Smith both look mediocre, but the Niners veteran laden defense rips apart the young Seattle line. The poor Seattle tackles end the game with both in the top10 for penalties committed and sacks given up.
On a more positive note, the defense shows signs of life with a better performance, although the Niner skill players just overwhelm a young and fatigued Seattle defense.
Final Score: L, (0-2), 13-33.
Week 3: Atlanta @ Seattle.
This is deemed a "must win" for the franchise to get back on track. Atlanta is deemed to be a directionless team and being a home game, Seattle has every opportunity to get in the win column.
It's a fun game for the fans, if more offensively attuned than Pete would like. Both teams move the ball relatively well, neither team does much on defense. Penny, Walker, DK and Tyler Lockett ALL get 100 yards in the game, as does Drake London for the first time, and Kyle Pitts. This is what the sunny-side folks are envisioning for the season by the offense.
Unfortunately, Penny also sustains a hamstring injury that nags on him the rest of the year.
Seattle plays a little better, sneaks away with the victory.
Final Score: W, (1-2), 33-27.
Week 4: Seattle @ Detroit.
Seattle fans are hungry for a victory, and still think this season can be written to a happy ending. Detroit is still Detroit, right?
At this point, Morgan Freeman chimes in, "Detroit was not, in fact, still Detroit." Dan Campbell has the Lions playing scrappy grindy Pete Carroll-esque football. In fact, Detroit out-Seattle's-Seattle this week behind the better of the two QB's, and the better of the two and the better and underrated Lions OL wins the day. It's a scrappy ugly punt and turnover ridden day, lowlighted by Jason Myers missing a 44 yard field goal to tie it in the 4th quarter.
Detroit wins at home, and the panic in Seattle begins in earnest.
Final Score: L, (1-3), 16-19.
Week 5: Seattle @ New Orleans
Optimistic about this at the start of the season, everyone in Seattle is at least mildly surprised to see the Saints 4-0 coming into this game. Even more surprising is how well Jameis Winston is playing. After outplaying Tom Brady significantly in Week 2, Winston has shockingly joined Russ in early "MVP talk."
Seattle has some good spurts, but doesn't have answers defensively for the dynamic New Orleans offense. Michael Thomas, Jarvis Landry, Chris Olave and Alvin Kamara all have great games, and Winston gets 400 yards and 4 TD's in the game. A late Seattle score in an already decided game cuts the game, move to 5-0.
Final Score: L (1-4), 22-31.
Week 6: Arizona @ Seattle.
The first home divisional game is likely the most winnable. Unfortunately, it proves not to be the case. Peteball is in full effect this week, in a low scoring ground-and-pound in the wind and rain. Kyler Murray unsurprisingly outplays Geno, who doesn't turn the ball over. Despite the lack of turnovers by Geno, the offense doesn't move the ball either, and for the second time this season, a bad game by Special Teams is the difference. Jason Myers misses an extra point and a 37 yard FG, Seahawks lose late.
Final Score: L, (1-5), 12-16.
Week 7: Seattle @ the Chargers.
This one is ugly. Geno continues to not turn the ball over, but the offense isn't moving the ball and is getting boat-raced against significantly better teams. The 5-1 Chargers are a significantly better team, and pissed off after losing to Denver at home the week before on MNF. For their short week, they rebound and after losing to Russ, take it out on his former team and go into their bye at 6-1.
Final Score: L, (1-6), 13-37.
Week 8: NY Giants @ Seattle.
Ahhh, finally. Another game that was circled as a winnable when the season started. Daniel Jones struggles on the road. Geno plays it safe once again. Seattle wins the Pete Carroll way, but the fans aren't happy, and we see a 3/4 filled stadium booing the offense several times when they fail to move the ball or score a TD at all.
Defense plays a great game, stifling the talented Saquon Barkley and punishing both Daniel Jones and when he leaves with injury, Tyrod Taylor, to the tune of 6 team sacks and QB harassment all game.
Final Score: W, (2-6), 12-9 Seattle.
Week 9: Seattle @ Arizona.
The Stadium from Hell attacks Seattle again, and injuries ensue. Geno Smith suffers a high ankle sprain, two starters on the OL leave for the game, Penny and Walker both reaggravate injuries and the defense suffers several injuries as well.
After the Geno sack and fumble and subsequent drive, Drew Lock enters the game down 20-3. He plays a perfectly Drew Lock game, battling back from behind and with the help of a pick6 by the defense and a blocked punt-and-TD return by special teams, Lock improbably brings us to within 3 points at 24-27. Then he throws a stupid pick to end the game.
Final Score: L, (2-7), 24-27.
Week 10: Versus Tampa Bay in Germany.
Gametime 6:30am in Seattle to watch a 2-7 team leads to the lowest television ratings for any Seattle game since 2011. We don't miss much.
Final Score: L, (2-8), 34-17.
Week 11: Bye Week.
Geno heals. Quarterback controversy time. Two kickers are brought in to try out, neither take the job away from Myers.
Week 12: Las Vegas at Seattle.
Geno is not quite 100% yet, and Drew Lock gets the start against the 4-6 Raiders. The Raiders schedule had been brutal to this point in the season, and despite only a two win difference between the teams, we see a massive difference in talent and performance levels vs results. Lock throws 3 TD's and 2 Interceptions, and the defense plays a relatively solid game.
Myers misses yet another costly FG, this one at the end of the 1st half, and it would have cut the lead to a FG and given us momentum. 10-13. Instead we go in down 7-13, and Las Vegas scores, to start the second half, extending the lead to 13. After a bad Lock interception and subsequent LV score, the game goes out of reach.
Final Score: L, (2-9), 17-30.
Week 13: Seattle @ LA Rams.
Geno is back in the saddle. The offense struggles to move the ball, and the defense is just overwhelmed by now. McVay goes to 9-3 against the Seahawks All-Time. The Seahawks get a late TD to make the final score look much closer than the game felt.
Final Score: L, (2-10), 16-27.
Week 14: Carolina @ Seattle.
This is another game that was circled at the start of the season. It happens to be Geno's best game of the year, and he throws a career best 4 TD's, two to DK, one to Lockett and one to Fant. The run game was working as well, and it's a fun game for Seahawk fans. Also of note, Baker Mayfield struggles with 1 TD and 2 INT's, which at least helps most Seahawk fans to erase any thought that maybe things could have been different had that move been made.
Final Score: W, (3-10), 38-20.
Week 15: San Francisco @ Seattle.
The Niners are fighting for a Division championship, and with a go-nowhere season, the Seahawks want nothing more than to play spoiler. The younger players have at moments looked good, if inconsistent, but it just doesn't matter.
Sadly but unsurprisingly, Luman is filled with scarlet and gold. To make matters worse, much of the green and blue exits at the end of the third, knowing full well Geno Smith led teams aren't going to make up 20 point deficits.
After Geno's 2nd turnover of the game, Drew Lock comes out for the 4th quarter. Admittedly, there were very few fans still in the stadium to actually watch him. Once again, a couple late scores make the final score closer than the actual game was, and the Niners sweep the Seahawks for the first time in a decade, since 2011.
Final Score: L, (3-11), 23-36.
Week 16: Seattle @ Kansas City.
In a must-win game for KC in their three team division race, Pete switches things up again and starts Drew Lock. The shuffle also including pulling Mannion up off the practice squad, while Geno gets his (long awaited by many) release. At this point between the season's results and his performance, the release is to the chagrin of nobody...well, aside from Geno himself.
Most Seahawk fans are now openly rooting not for wins, but for close losses with rookie improvement, and watching the reverse standings for the draft order. Drew Lock goes for a very Lockian 2 TD's and and 2 picks.
Unfortunately in looking at the big picture, Denver has themselves on a playoff path, so fans are slowly coming to grips with the fact that our QBoTF is going to have to come from our own draft pick. That pick is trending to be between 1st and 3rd overall. However, many fans don't believe Pete will even draft QB, but instead will "fix the defense" with Will Anderson. This makes for ugly back and forths on the direction of the franchise and Pete Carroll.
Hugh Millen aside, local area media still lobbing Pete softballs on a weekly basis despite the 3 win season.
Final Score: L, (3-12) 17-33.
Week 17: NY Jets @ Seattle.
What a horrible place for the fans to be. The winner of this game is likely the loser of the race to the 1st overall pick. Seattle starts Drew Luck, and hijinks ensue. It's New Year's Day, with the lowest home game attendance since Jim Mora was manning the sidelines, and the weather is horrid. Just a miserable day for anyone in the half empty stadium.
Seattle is in the top10 teams in the league in starters lost to the IR, including the most expensive safety tandem in the league. The QB play has been an unmitigated disaster. Rashaad Penny went down once again, as did Kenneth Walker in an incomplete-at-best rookie season. The Defense has played admirably despite injury and lack of support from the offense.
Pete Carroll is in the crosshairs, as is his offensive coordinator, who has unsurprisingly not been able to make chicken salad out of chicken shit.
It's week 17 and Russell Wilson is still fighting for not only playoff position, but he is still sitting neck and neck in the MVP race. In short, he's having the season he wanted. Seattle? Not so much.
Despite the overall path of the season, the Seahawks still play hard. But when Myers misses a game-winning 42 yard FG with seconds remaining, by the body language nobody is less surprised than Myers himself.
When he missed again from 27 yards out in OT and the game ends in a tie, he walks off the Lumen field turf for the last time as a Seahawk.
Final Score: Tie, (3-12-1) 13-13.
Week 18: LA Rams @ Seattle.
The Rams are still playing for playoff positioning. Some people think Seattle is playing for Pete Carroll's job, and the "Statement of Confidence" by Jody Allen after the second San Fran loss has done nothing to quell the cacophony.
Because of the tie last week, fans are interested in both our own game and three others. All games with teams we've faced. The Jets-Dolphins game, the Falcons-Bucs game, and the Giants-Eagles game. Depending on what happens in those four games, the Seahawks could be anywhere from 1st to 4th overall.
Drew Lock gets what most Hawk fans assume is the final start of his career, and it goes as expected. McVay sweeps Seattle for the second season in a row.
Final Score: L, (3-13-1), 13-31.
Week 17's results in a draft order of the NY Jets, Seattle, Atlanta, and then the Giants. Zach Wilson made huge strides during the season, so everyone knows Seattle is going to get their choice of QB. The Jets make us sweat, however, by shopping the first overall pick. The Jets end up trading the pick, but to a team in need of the elite pass rusher, and Seattle still gets our pick of the QBoTF's in the 2023 Draft.
The questions remain, however. Which QB, and who will be his head coach, his offensive coordinator, and his position coach?
This may surprise some of you, but this was not fun to write. Do I believe all of this could happen? Yes. Do I think it will? Nah. I actually think we're going to end up with 5 wins, pick 3rd overall. Hopefully we'll still be able to get our guy for next year, because we're gonna need him.
Look, I don't want to lose. Honestly, I hate losing. Makes me nauseous. But this post isn't about want. It's merely one of the potentialities in the Multiverse, and not the least likely by a long shot.
It's gonna be a rough one, don't panic, and hold on to your towels!