A disappointing end to the season has fans questioning if and when the Seahawks will ever make another Super Bowl run.
It was another early playoff exit for the Seahawks this season as it came to a promising end at the hands of division rival Los Angeles Rams in a 30-20 loss on the ninth. The team looked their worst as it was easily one of the worst performances of the season where the Rams dominated the game in almost every aspect. Pete Carroll and company are headed back to the drawing board and will once again try to get the Seahawks back to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2014.
The Seahawks had high expectations coming into the season with Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner leading the charge along with the rising star DK Metcalf and newly acquired pro-bowl safety Jamal Adams. The team looked set to make a return to the Super Bowl.
A popular phrase from fans coming into this season was “let Russ cook,” which was a plea to Carroll and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to call more pass plays to put the ball in the hands of Wilson more often. Carroll’s offensive strategy has always been to run the ball heavily which opens the pass game up. After paying Russ one of the most expensive contracts in NFL history, fans were dying to see them put more trust in their quarterback.
This seemed to be working at first, as the Seahawks offense had a blazing hot start to the season averaging 34 points per game in their first eight contests with Wilson emerging as the MVP frontrunner. It seemed as if the offense would have to carry the entire team if they wanted to go all the way since the defense was putting together a historically bad season coming in at dead last in the NFL at the time in yards and points allowed.
This all changed in week 10 of the regular season in their first matchup against the Rams in Los Angeles that resulted in a 23-16 loss. While the offense seemed to hit a brick wall the defense was able to figure something out in the second half that put them on a roll for the rest of the season.
One of the key factors to this defensive emergence was the return of Jamal Adams who missed four straight games due to injury, as well as the acquisition of veteran defensive end Carlos Dunlap from the Cincinnati Bengals following week seven. The two were acquired in order to bring a better pass rush attack to one that was almost nonexistent in the year prior.
Adams and Dunlap did exactly what they were supposed to throughout the season and combined a total of 14.5 sacks on the year. This led a Seattle defense that, after getting off to a historically bad start, put together an outstanding second half of the season ranking as one of the top defenses in the league.
However, as the defense had an awakening, the offense seemed to lose all of its firepower down the final stretch of the season. The offense managed to only put up more than 30 points once in the final eight games of the regular season — something they accomplished six times out of their first eight.
Wilson was no longer in the MVP conversation and the “let Russ cook” energy quickly died once it became apparent that defenses began to figure out the Seahawks’ passing attack. He was not the same quarterback who began the season and it looked like he lost all confidence he originally had.
Even with the offensive struggles, the team finished with the same record of 6-2 as they did in the first half. This gave everyone hope that if the offense can get back to how they were playing at the beginning of the season to go along with the emergence of the defense, this could be a team to make a run in the playoffs.
Sadly, this is not what occurred. The Seahawks were matched with the Rams for the third time this season in the first round of the playoffs. Rams quarterback Jared Goff originally did not start the game due to a thumb injury but was suited up to serve as an emergency replacement, giving fans and analysts the confidence that this should be an easy win for Seattle. But, some forgot about the offensive struggles in Seattle and the fact that LA fields the top defense in the league.
What followed was one of the worst performances I have seen recently as a Seahawks fan where they only managed to put up 20 points and turned the ball over three times. Wilson was somehow only able to muster 11 passes and was sacked five times.
After a 12-4 finish and a division championship, this ugly loss should leave a terrible taste in the mouths of players and fans everywhere with an overall disappointing mark on what was originally projected to be a successful season.
The team now goes into the offseason with different problems than those they were dealing with coming into this season. How will they fix the sputtering offense? With Wilson still in his prime, there is still time to make another run at a Super Bowl, but time is running out.