People often say that football is a game of inches and the Seahawks have proved this theory throughout this past season. Multiple plays throughout the year suggested that if even one play went slightly different it could have changed the course of the whole season – the Divisional Playoff game against Green Bay was no exception. The Hawks could not recover from an eighteen point halftime deficit and were eventually eliminated by the Packers. This leaves fans asking the question: what needs to change during the offseason if this team wants to see themselves back in the Super Bowl?
Down 28–23 with less than two minutes left in the game, the Packers faced a 3rd and 8 where a first down would end any chances for a Seahawks comeback. Aaron Rogers would find former Seahawk Jimmy Graham on a crossing route. The call could have gone either way — even though he was clearly short — but it was determined he crossed the line to gain. This resulted in a Packers first down and in turn looked very similar to the scenario during the final play that contributed to the Seahawks’ loss against San Francisco a few weeks prior – they came inches short of scoring a game-winning touchdown.
Although a Seahawks comeback win was what hopeful fans were looking for, it was surprising they were even in this situation after falling behind 21–3 in the first half. If the team were to come out of the locker room with the same fire and intensity as they do in the second half, then this game would’ve had a completely different outcome.
“Well, we’re real disappointed that we put ourselves in a position where we had to come flying back into this game,” said head coach Pete Carroll in his postgame press conference. “And as crazy as it seems, when we went in at halftime, these guys were jacked up to take on the challenge of coming back.”
Simply emerging with a greater sense of urgency would be a straightforward answer as to why the Seahawks always seem to fall behind so quickly. While it’s clear they had the talent to match with the Packers, the Seahawks started playing to their potential far too late to recover. With the addition of some tenacity to their game, as well as improvements in certain areas of the team during the offseason, fans should see the Seahawks take things even further in 2020.
One of the first areas of improvement the Seahawks ought to address is the defensive back position. Overall, the defense held up well against Rogers and the rest of the Packers’ offensive attack. But with this being said, all-pro wide receiver Devante Adams tore up the Seahawks secondary and tallied eight catches for 160 yards — well over half the Packers’ receiving yards. Cornerback Shaquill Griffin has solidified himself as the #1 guy on the depth chart, but finding someone to complement him on the other side could make this defense top tier. While Tre Flowers has shown his ability to handle the #2 spot duties, he still shows signs of struggle when matched up with top players like Adams.
The injury bug was prevalent in the Seahawks over the course of the 2019 season and hit the offensive line especially hard. At one point, three of the five starting offensive linemen were all sidelined with injuries. The biggest loss being center Justin Britt, who tore his ACL during a week eight win over the Falcons. The solution to a loss like this would be simply adding offensive line depth to the roster; this could include adding veteran players or drafting players out of college who have shown solid durability over their career. Most importantly, while he ages and the chances of a serious injury are increasing, protecting Russell Wilson should always be the #1 concern.
After starting the season with a record of 10–2, the team lost four of their next six games ending any hopes for another Super Bowl. While the current roster is showing fans that it has a lot of young talent, adding another year of game experience should give them what they need to accumulate more wins. And as long as the team has #3 under center, they’ll have a chance at another Super Bowl title.
“I think that we can go somewhere that not many people have ever gone,” said quarterback Russell Wilson the following day after the loss. “That’s where I want to go. That’s where I believe we can go, and that’s where I think we’ve got to go. It would be a shame if we don’t. So let’s make sure that happens. That’s my mentality today.”