2018 Season Recap: Seattle Seahawks

2018 SEASON RECAP: SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

Seattle Seahawks - 43rd Season, Ninth under Pete Carroll, Seventh under Russell Wilson

Division: NFC West

Record: 10-6, 2nd in NFC West

Playoffs: Qualified as 5th Seed
Seventh Trip to Playoffs under Pete Carroll
Sixth Trip to Playoffs under Russell Wilson
Wild Card Weekend: L @ Cowboys, 22-24

Pro Bowl: 3 - QB Russell Wilson, LB Bobby Wagner, P Michael Dickson

All Pro: 3 - LB Bobby Wagner (1st team); P Michael Dickson (1st team); OT Duane Brown (2nd Team)

Statistics

  • General Team Stats
  Seahawks
Total First Downs 329
1st Downs (Rush-Pass-By Penalty) 133 - 156 - 40
3rd Down Conversions 81/208
4th Down Conversions 11/14
Total Offensive Yds 5653
Offense (Plays-Avg Yds) 1012 - 5.6
Total Rushing Yds 2560
Rushing (Plays-Avg Yards) 534 - 4.8
Total Passing Yds 3093
Passing (Comp-Att-Int-Avg) 280 - 427 - 7 - 8.1
Sacks 43
Field Goals 22/27
Touchdowns 52
(Rush-Pass-Ret-Def) 15 - 35 - 0 - 2
Time of Possession 31:28
Turnover Ratio +15
  • Russell Wilson Stats
Passing Stats Att Comp Yds Comp % Yds/Att TD TD % INT INT % Long Sck Sack/Lost Rating
Russell Wilson 427 280 3448 65.6 8.1 35 8.2 7 1.6 66 51 355 110.9
  • Rushing Stats
Rushing Stats          
Player Att Yds Yds/Att Long TD
Chris Carson 247 1151 4.7 61 9
Mike Davis 112 514 4.6 37 4
Rashaad Penny 85 419 4.9 38 2
Russell Wilson 67 376 5.6 40 0
Tyler Lockett 13 69 5.3 18 0
J.D. McKissic 3 8 2.7 6 0
Tre Madden 3 3 1.0 2 0
Ed Dickson 1 9 9.0 9 0
Michael Dickson 1 9 9.0 9 0
David Moore 1 5 5.0 5 0
C.J. Prosise 1 -3 -3.0 -3 0
  • Receiving Stats
RECEIVING STATISTICS          
Player Rec Yds Yds/Rec Long TD
Tyler Lockett 57 965 16.9 52 10
Doug Baldwin 50 618 12.4 42 5
Mike Davis 34 214 6.3 18 1
Nick Vannett 29 269 9.3 32 3
David Moore 26 445 17.1 54 5
Chris Carson 20 163 8.2 27 0
Jaron Brown 14 166 11.9 45 5
Ed Dickson 12 143 11.9 42 3
Rashaad Penny 9 75 8.3 24 0
Will Dissly 8 156 19.5 66 2
C.J. Prosise 3 22 7.3 8 0
Tre Madden 2 35 17.5 28 0
Malik Turner 2 20 10.0 19 0
Tyrone Swoopes 1 23 23.0 23 0
  • Defense
DEFENSE STATISTICS (Exerpted)          
Player Comb Total Assist Sck Fumb
Bobby Wagner 138 84 54 1.0 2
Bradley McDougald 78 66 12 0.0 3
Tre Flowers 67 55 12 0.0 3
Barkevious Mingo 48 37 11 1.0 2
Jarran Reed 50 34 16 10.5 0
Frank Clark 41 33 8 13.0 3
TEAM TOTAL 968 710 258 43 18
OPPONENTS TOTAL 1121 758 363 51 13
  • Interceptions
INTERCEPTION STATISTICS          
Player Int Yds Yds/Int Long TD
Bradley McDougald 3 39 13.0 39 0
Earl Thomas 3 25 8.3 25 0
Shaquill Griffin 2 8 4.0 8 0
Bobby Wagner 1 98 98.0 98 1
Frank Clark 1 26 26.0 26 0
Justin Coleman 1 0 0.0 0 0
Tedric Thompson 1 0 0.0 0 0
TOTAL 12 196 16.3 98 1
OPPONENTS TOTAL 7 135 19.3 49 2
  • Punting
PUNTING STATISTICS          
Player Punts Avg Touchbacks/g IN 20 Long
Michael Dickson 78 48.2 5 28 69

2018 Draft Picks

Round Overall Player
1 27 RB Rashaad Penny
3 79 DE Rasheem Green
4 120 TE Will Dissly
5 141 LB Shaquem Griffin
5 146 DB Tre Flowers
5 149 P Michael Dickson
5 168 OT Jamarco Jones
6 186 DE Jacob Martin
7 220 QB Alex McGough

2018 Signed Free Agents

Player Position 2017 Team
Barkevious Mingo LB Cleveland Browns
Ed Dickson TE Carolina Panthers
Akeem King CB Atlanta Falcons
Maurice Alexander S LA Rams
Jaron Brown WR Arizona Cardinals
Mike Davis RB Santa Clara 49ers
D.J. Fluker OG NY Giants
Shamar Stephen DT Minnesota Vikings
Sebastian Janikowski K Oakland Raiders

2018 Presumptive Draft Picks

Round Overall
1 21
3 84
4 124
5 159

General Season Review

The Seahawks were largely playing with house money in 2018. With the dramatic flame-out of the team’s relationship with its former top defensive stars, including Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett, the loss of other defensive stalwarts like Cliff Avril and Kam Chancellor to career ending injuries, and the departure of other star players in Jimmy Graham and Sheldon Richardson, most predicted the Seahawks to win less than eight games. In fact, many people in the Offseason Review Series post blasted my prediction of 9-7 as being too homer-ish for the level of talent that the team possessed.

Through two games however, it seemed as if the naysayers would have their wish, as the Seahawks looked flat and disorganized in their first two games. In the Seahawks’ fourth game of the season, they would lose the last member of their vaunted Legion of Boom, as Earl Thomas re-broke the same leg he foolishly chose not to surgically repair and chose to flip off the sidelines and the coaching staff that had propelled him to numerous All-Pro and Pro-Bowl awards.

But the Seahawks would prove them all wrong in the end. The prophets of doom were not prepared for the resurgence of the Seahawks run game under new OL coach Mike Solari and for Russell Wilson to have a career year in terms of efficiency stats. Buoyed by this, the Seahawks were able to win 10 of their next 14 games, hold their own against the top teams of the NFL, beating the NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes in a duel in Primetime, and taking the Super Bowl Loser LA Rams all twelve rounds twice.

Alas, the magic ran out in the playoffs, as the Pete Carroll-led team was commanded to run into a brick wall for far too long, dooming the Seahawks’ playoff hopes. But the Seahawks definitely surprised some people and achieved a few big things for the future – including jettisoning locker room malignant cancers that had put themselves above the team and establishing a young group of talent that could serve as building blocks for the next few years instead of worrying about aging talent that could fall off the cliff at any minute. The “Always Compete” culture of the Seahawks appears to be on the rise once more. A young and hungry group of players are chomping at the bit to get back out there. If the Seahawks can bolster their talents and lock up their core players in Wagner, Reed, Wilson and Clark, they could be ready for another run sooner rather than later – which was the biggest surprise of the season for me.

All in all, I would consider the Seahawks’ season to be a positive development. Gone are the old guard – bitter and greedy as they were. A new hungry core seems to be developing. Time will only tell if Carroll can recapture the 2012 magic once again.

Weekly Game Recaps

In my quest for new voices and different opinions on how the Seahawks did this year, I asked those that reached out to me to help on the post to draft their own versions of the game by game recaps. Unfortunately, only one person actually followed through: /u/TheNulgarian – please congratulate him for his efforts.

Another year, another Seahawks loss on the road to start the season. I don’t know why the Seahawks always start slow and not great, especially if they have to play on the road on Week 1, but it’s a problem that Pete Carroll should be aware of. Unfortunately, after crowing about the newly revamped O-line and the commitment to the run game, the Seahawks came out of the gate and fell right on their face – they didn’t run the ball well at all, their o-line surrendered six sacks of Russell Wilson, and the veteran QB threw uncharacteristic interceptions.

There were a few other surprises – the strong play of Earl Thomas after his holdout and the emergence of Rookie TE Will Dissly. Both looked they had a very big role to play in the season going forward. The biggest concern was the defense though, which gave up large runs and backbreaking completions. Shaquem Griffin started for the injured KJ Wright, which was a good story, but was a disaster on gameday.

The Nulgarian: Heading into Week 1, nobody was sure what to expect from the Seahawks. However, with Earl Thomas back they started strong, jumping out to a 7-0 lead thanks to rookie TE Will Dissly. Phillip Lindsey and Broncos came back however, and took a 17-13 halftime lead thanks to Janikowski’s missed field goal before half. The 2nd half went back and forth, but despite 3 Case Keenum interceptions, the Broncos would come out on top, in no small part to Emanuel Sanders gashing the Seahawks suspect defense.

After surrendering six sacks to the Broncos, including three to Von Miller alone, you’d think that the Seahawks would have a bounce back game, especially with the commitment to the o-line and running the ball, right? You’d be incorrect. They adjusted NOTHING. Six more sacks. Three to Khalil Mack. The Seahawks were beat up and down the field from pillar to post this game. They looked flat. They looked anemic. The Defense looked terrible. Russell Wilson looked like he was one more hit away from injury… People were calling for Pete and Schotty’s heads. It was a bad loss. The only redeemable thing from this game was that Shaquill Griffin looked like he had become a ball hawk worthy of replacing Richard Sherman, picking off two passes. Unfortunately, that turned out to be a mirage.

The Nulgarian: Rock bottom. That was the mood after this game. The Seahawks were thoroughly outplayed for 4 quarters. Don’t let the 24-17 score fool you. This game wasn’t close. A late Russell Wilson pick-six, only the 2nd of his career, doomed the Hawks to their 2nd straight road loss. There were some positives. Will Dissly continued his impressive start, with 42 yards and a TD on 3 receptions. Sophomore CB Shaquill Griffin, who many had high hopes for, snagged 2 picks off Mitchell Trubisky.

The come to Jesus moment came early for the Seahawks, as Pete Carroll and Brian Schottenheimer both decided that they actually needed to live up to their own words and commit to running the ball. And run the ball, they did. 39 damn times. Carson’s averages weren’t great, but the clock kept moving and the Seahawks kept grinding. Eventually, the storm broke, and Dak Prescott made mistakes – throwing two interceptions to Earl Thomas, who took a bow to the team he wanted to trade for him but they spurned his love. Russell Wilson got back on track and threw his first game all season without an interception. It looked like a vintage Seahawks game, especially at home – the stadium was rocking… The Seahawks defense, however, was proving to not be vintage Seahawks, and turn out to be quite suspect against the run… I wonder if that would come back to haunt them.

Spoiler alert: It would.

The Nulgarian: Do or die time for the Seahawks. 0-2, and returning to the cozy confines of CenturyLink, it was time to put up, or shut up, and they put up a shut-down of the Dallas Cowboys. In this game, the Seahawks began to develop their identity, using Chris Carson to punish the Cowboys to the tune of 32 carries for 102 yards and a TD. Earl Thomas continued his incredible early season form, picking off Dak Prescott twice, the 2nd of which all but sealed a crucial win for the Seahawks.

Is there a more cursed place for the Seattle Seahawks than @ Arizona at University of Phoenix Field? Outside of Super Bowl 49 (which we don’t need to go into detail here), the field at Arizona destroyed the Legion of Boom. In a strange twist of fate, all three core members ended their careers as Seahawks on this field – Kam Chancellor, neck injury; Earl Thomas, broken leg – twice; Richard Sherman, torn Achilles Tendon. It was surprising to me, because the Seahawks when playing the Cardinals under Bruce Arians seemed to dominate in Arizona. Perhaps Bruce Arians’ last gift to the Cardinals was a curse on the Seahawks, because the injuries did not stop with Earl Thomas, who broke his leg in the same spot he broke it before (largely because he did not get surgery to fix the break, over the objections of the Seahawks doctors), but also claimed Will Dissly, the promising TE that was proving to be an all round stud in both blocking and receiving. Worse still, it was the patellar tendon, the career killer.

I haven’t talked about the game yet, which was terrible. The Seahawks should have won comfortably, but Sebastian Janikowski – Ole’ Seabass – missed two field goals but hit the game winner. His kicking woes would play a further role in this story, but hey, he could be Blair Walsh… Perhaps we should count our blessings.

The Nulgarian: Fuck this field. Seriously, fuck University of Phoenix stadium. Let me provide a list of all the sins that have occurred on this accursed stretch of turf:

  • A certain play involving the 1 yard line and passing the ball that occurred during the Super Bowl That Shall Not Be Named.
  • Richard Sherman tore his ACL on this field, which would end his Seahawks career
  • Kam Chancellor received the neck injury that would end his football career on this field
  • Will Dissly tearing his patellar tendon
  • Earl Thomas breaking his leg, most likely ending his Seahawks career.

So to recap, our chances at a dynasty, our legendary, generational defense, and our promising young tight end all died on this field. Did I mention that I hate this place? The Seahawks gained an early 7-0 lead, but then the Cardinals did what they do best: play the Seahawks incredibly close. The Cardinals actually had a 10-7 lead at half, and the knotted the game up at 17. They had a chance to take the lead, but Phil Dawson missed a 45 yarder with 1:55 left. Russell Wilson than took the Seahawks down the field, and then Janikowski shocked the Greater Seattle Area by actually making a game-winning field goal as time expired. I don’t think any Hawks fan would reject a road win over a division rival, but a 3 point win over the putrid Cardinals didn’t inspire much confidence.

Like something out of a Rocky movie, the Seahawks went toe-to-toe from bell to bell with the LA Rams, a team that had gone all in for the Super Bowl in 2018. This was largely the same team that slaughtered them the previous year at home so even just being on the same level during a rebuilding year was something to be proud of. They even made Jared Goff look like the QB he was before he had Sean McVay in his ear doing all the hard work for him. That being said, the Seahawks just couldn’t stop Todd Gurley, who bulldozed the Seahawks defense for 3 TDs. Run defense, once the staple of Seahawks football under Pete Carroll, was incredibly suspect. One big bright spot for this week was that the Seahawks finally were able to contain Aaron Donald to one sack. The Seahawks O-line took it to the Rams D-line, and it looked like Mike Solari was making progress with the talent.

The Nulgarian: This was essentially the opposite of last weeks game. While the Seahawks lost the game, they showed the could hang with the big boys by pushing the mighty Rams to the absolute limit. It took a late 4th down conversion on a gutsy QB sneak call by McVay for the Rams to win this one. This was the game that truly established the Seahawks as a dominant ground attack, as Chris Carson and Mike Davis gashed the Rams porous run defense to a combined total of 184 yards on 31 carries at a rate of 5.85 YPC. It dropped the Hawks back under .500, but there was a sense of renewed hope amongst the Seahawks fans.

Where were these Seahawks all year? It’s a valid question to ask, because you’ve got the Seahawks getting into the Six Sack Day, getting picks and forcing fumbles… Russell Wilson dropping dimes to his WRs… this is what Pete Carroll wanted from his team. It’s just strange that he had to go all the way to London to get the first complete performance of the year. This was also the first resurgent game for Doug Baldwin, who had been limited with injury. Since then, however, Tyler Lockett had done an amazing job as the #1 receiver. This was also the return of Marshawn Lynch against his former team, and the Beast looked a bit long in the tooth.

The Nulgarian: Pure defensive dominance. Despite being against the lowly Raiders, this game evoked memories of the old LOB glory days. The defense, led by Frank Clark, stifled any signs of life from the Raiders offense. Clark was unstoppable, picking up 2.5 sacks along with 2 forced fumbles. On the offensive side, it was again like the old days. Wilson only threw the ball 23 times, but was very efficient, and the Seahawks leaned on the run game spearheaded by Chris Carson and 1st round pick Rashaad Penny to romp to an easy win.

Perfection. It’s very rare that a QB finishes a game with a perfect passer rating. In fact, it’s only been done 72 times in the history of the league. The Seahawks only had one such instance before this game – a 1983 game where Dave Krieg was the QB. They added another one tonight. Russell Wilson destroyed the Lions with 3 TDs and only 3 incompletions. The defense was stifling. Chris Carson thundered his way over the 100 yard mark and added another TD even after the Lions added Snacks Harrison to help their rush defense. It was another complete game for the Seahawks, who looked like they were finally getting their motors running.

The Nulgarian: In a battle between two 3-3 playoff hopefuls, the Seahawks proved to be the real king of the jungle (I’m sorry I couldn’t help myself). After going down 7-0 early, the Seahawks roared back and never stopped, cruising to a relatively easy 28-14 win. Russell Wilson had a perfect passer rating, going 14/17 for 248 yds and 3 TDs. Chris Carson continued his breakout year, charging for 125 yards and 1 TD. More importantly than any of that shit, is that this game marked the release of the first CableThanos video. If you haven’t seen these yet, do yourself a favor and feast your eyes on the kind of art Picasso wishes he could make. https://twitter.com/CableThanos_/status/1057767662384627712

Yuck. The Seahawks, perhaps feeling themselves a bit too much, ran into the Philip Rivers buzzsaw once again. The Chargers are one of the only teams that Russell Wilson has not defeated, but he’ll have to wait another four years to beat the Chargers again as his teams have lost in both 2014 and 2018. Perhaps the Seahawks were looking ahead to their rematch with the Rams? Either way, their old bugaboo – run defense – came back to haunt them. More importantly, Russell Wilson again threw what I like to call the Schotty special, a short curl route that Brian Schottenheimer liked to call when the sticks needed to be moved a bit too much in earlier stints as a playcaller, and it was taken to the house, one of a very small handful of passes that Russell Wilson has thrown that has directly led to points for the other team. For some reason, the Seahawks seem to not play hard when they have to play Rivers. It could be something to watch out for in the future.

The Nulgarian: Riding high on the strength of 2 straight wins, the Seahawks came back down to Earth at home against the Chargers, losing 25-17. The main culprit this time was the run defense, as they got gashed by Melvin Gordon, who averaged 7.1 ypc. The Seahawks were very much in the game when they got the ball down 19-10 with 7:51 left. However, just like in the Bears game, Russell Wilson threw a disastrous pick-six to Desmond King that all but sealed the game. Thanks to Caleb Sturgis missing 2 extra points and a field goal, the Seahawks were still within one score, being down 25-17. They drove to the Chargers one yard line, but the final pass of the game was deflected and went through David Moore’s hands. Overall, not a terrible performance, but like with the Bears the score made the game seem closer than it was.

Ugh. So close to beating the Rams, but yet, not enough. The Rams, motivated by the wildfires that were ravaging California, held on to avoid a two game skid. The Seahawks defense got gashed on the run by Todd Gurley but they didn’t defend the pass well enough to hold the Rams back. This game came down to the wire, as Russell Wilson was strip sacked which gave the Rams a lead that our boys just couldn’t overcome. But yet, if there are moral victories in sports, the Seahawks had just experienced the two most quality losses that they could have had, but the season was in dire straights. However, with most of their games coming up at home, help was on the way.

The Nulgarian: Another day, another loss to those horn-wearing motherfuckers. In all seriousness, this game was a lot like the last meeting between these 2, high scoring and close throughout. The Seahawks yet again took advantage of the Rams run defense, with Rashaad Penny, Mike Davis, and Russell Wilson combining for 258 yards at a staggering 8.16 ypc. Despite this, the Seahawks defense was equally ineffective, as Todd Gurley ran for 120 yards and 2 TDs. A late strip sack by Dante Fowler gave the Rams a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Wilson led one last charge down the field, but he missed an open Tyler Lockett on 4th down to send the Seahawks back under .500.

I was really tired of watching my Seahawks have to play the Green Bay Packers in Wisconsin. I was really tired of watching a Dom Capers’ led defense, a terrible defensive coach, out scheme and out coach Pete Carroll and his offensive staff. I was really tired of watching family-hating Aaron Rodgers grin as he beat the Seahawks again. Luckily, I didn’t have to watch any of that, because the Seahawks were at home finally, and you know what that means… fail mary highlights! Actually, the networks seemed to have moved on, so that was a good thing. The game was a great back and forth nailbiter that both teams really played hard to win, with the Seahawks doing enough to claw their way back into the game and into the driver seat. Of course, they were helped by poor decision making by McCarthy and bad passes by Aaron Rodgers (the highest paid QB in NFL history by both cap percentage and raw APY), but the Seahawks proved that they were not going to fall into mediocrity. They wanted the playoffs and they were gonna score until they got there.

The Nulgarian: Once again, the Seahawks playoff hopes teetered on the brink. At 4-5, they had all but conceded the NFC West and were outside the playoffs. Thursday night, against another NFC wildcard contender who had dominated the Seahawks in their last 3 meetings, everything was on the line. The game started poorly. Chris Carson fumbled on the first drive, and the Packers took a 14-3 lead. It evoked memories of the disastrous 10-38 loss in Lambeau 2 years prior, but the Seahawks proved resilient. Led by the three-headed monster of Carson, Penny, and Davis, the Seahawks fought back to make it 21-17 at half. In the 2nd half, the Seahawks defense begin to take over, as they sacked Rodgers on numerous key 3rd downs. The Seahawks took a 24-27 on an Ed Dickson touchdown pass. On the next Packers drive, Rodgers missed a wide-open receiver on 3rd down in the flats. The Packers then decided to punt the ball on 4th and 2, a much-scrutinized decision by McCarthy. The Seahawks would then get the ball back and comfortably lean on their run game to close out a crucial win. The biggest surprise of the day? Russell Wilson didn’t totally shit the bed, going 21/31 for 225 yards, 2 TDs, and no INTs against new Packers DC Mike Pettine. For context, in the last 4 games against Dom Capers, Russell Wilson’s average was 17/31 for 203 yards, 1 TD, and 2.5 INTs. Packers fans better be driving around downtown Green Bay begging (thru texts) Capers’ family for his address.

I was really tired of watching my Seahawks have to play the Carolina Panthers in Carolina. I was really tired of watching a Ron Rivera led offense, a terrible coach with a tendency to gamble, out scheme and out coach Pete Carroll and his defensive staff. I was really tired of watching Cam Newton grin as he beat the Seahawks again. Luckily, I didn’t have to watch any of that, because the Seahawks won finally, and you know what that means… Cam wore the towel on his head again! The game was a great back and forth nailbiter that both teams really played hard to win, with the Seahawks doing enough to claw their way back into the game and into the driver seat. Of course, they were helped by poor play from Captain Munnerlyn, Corn Elder, and Graham Gano, but the Seahawks proved they were not going to fall into mediocrity.

The Nulgarian: Another must-win game against a longtime NFC rival. This time the Seahawks traveled to Carolina to face the Panthers who I think, along with Packers, most Seahawks fans will agree are our biggest out-of-division rival. I’m going to be totally honest. The Hawks had no business winning this game. The defense had no answer whatsoever for Christian McCaffrey, who destroyed both the Seahawks and my fantasy team. The vaunted run game got shut down, as Carson was held to only 61 yards rushing. Despite this, the Seahawks hung tough. They stuffed Cam Newton an 4th down at the 1 yard line on the first drive. Then on the first drive of the 2nd half, Bradley McDougald picked off Cam in the endzone. Despite this, the Seahawks were down 20-27 with 3:33 remaining. On a 4th and 3 from the Panthers 35, Wilson threw a bomb to David Moore who made the one-handed catch over Corn Elder. The Panthers turned and drove down the field, having a 1st and 10 at the Seattle 40 with 2 minutes remaining. The Seattle defense held firm, and Graham Gano missed the subsequent 52 yard FG. The Seahawks got the ball back and on 3rd and 5 at the 50 Wilson found Lockett wide open deep thanks to a blown coverage by Captain Munnerlyn. Janikowski’s 31 yard FG as time expired was good, giving the Seahawks a dramatic, vital victory.

You know in the original Fast and the Furious where our heroes pull up to the asshole in the Ferrari and Vin Diesel tells Paul Walker to “Smoke ‘em?” That’s what this game felt like for Richard Sherman’s Seattle homecoming. After enduring all of the trash talk from Richard Sherman in multiple hit-pieces, Russell Wilson proved that he was the most important member on the Seahawks, dropping dimes all over the field, including roasting Dick Sherm for a TD. For the first time in what feels like forever, the Seahawks clamped down on a team, and didn’t let them run or score and try and keep the game close. The Seahawks put their foot on the gas, and like Paul Walker and Vin Diesel, smoked that Ferrari. Although, rather worringly, the Seahawks allowed some scrub named Nick Mullens to throw for over 400 yards. I wonder if that would prove to be an issue going forward?

The Nulgarian: Destroying the 49ers is always nice, especially at home. It’s pretty rare that you can say a single defensive player won the game, but it’s not a stretch to say Bobby Wagner did exactly that. He dominated the 49ers. He had 8 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack, 1 FF and recovery, and a 98 yard pick six to seal the game for Seattle in the 4th. Wilson only threw the ball 17 times, but 4 of those went for TDs as the Seahawks cruised to a 16-43 blowout and yet another win over the 49ers. We really dominate those guys. I’m sure we’ll just blow them out the next time we play.

This was a Seahawks football game if there ever was one. Defense, defense, defense until the dam breaks and the Seahawks win the game in the Fourth Quarter. As Pete Carroll preaches, that’s the only time you can win a game. Much like a prior wild card game, the Vikings largely shut down Russell Wilson except for one big play that led to their demise. Although this one was not a bomb to Tyler Lockett, the Vikings appeared to forget that Russell Wilson ran 4.5 at the combine and he turned on the jets to run for 40 yards and set up the big touchdown drive. With this win, the Seahawks were one win away from locking up a wild card spot and with the lowly 49ers left – a team they had JUST obliterated – it seemed like they would get it done the very next week.

The Nulgarian: Another important game against a fellow NFC contender, as the 7-5 Seahawks took on the 6-5-1 Vikings. This was a defensive slugfest for the entire game. With 13:26 left in the 4th, Seabass kicked his 2nd FG to make it 6-0 Seahawks. The only really big offensive play of the night came in the form of a 40 yard Russell Wilson scramble late in the 4th that set up Carson’s TD plunge which made it 14-0. With Frank Clark and Co. exploiting Minnesota’s weak offensive line, the defense kept Kirk Cousins locked up until garbage time in the 4th.

It was not meant to be, courtesy of the refs and poor play on Special Teams. The kick coverage game under Brian Schneider has been low-key awful for years but for some reason Pete Carroll does not see why its an issue. But overall, the Seahawks did what they had to do to win this game, but the refs appeared to have money on the 49ers, because they called everything they could on the Seahawks to ensure that the 49ers at least split with the Seahawks in order to preserve the rivalry with Sherman for another year.

The Nulgarian: Well fuck. In their version of the Super Bowl, the Santa Clara 49ers pulled off a dramatic OT win in a soggy Levi’s field. The story of the game for the Hawks was stupid errors. On the first TD of the game, Seabass missed an extra point. On the ensuing kickoff, the Seahawks gave up a 97 yard kick return. With 1:02 remaining in the 4th, Mike Davis rumbled for 19 yards to the SF 38, but it was negated by a holding penalty on Ethan Pocic. Then in OT, on a 3rd and 4, Wilson found J.D McKissic deep to the SF 48. However, Pocic again decided to channel his inner Cosby and get too handsy, getting the play called back. On the following 49ers drive, on 2nd and 15 Shaquill Griffen got called for PI, giving the 49ers a fresh set of downs. 3 plays later, Robbie Gould would nail the game winning field goal. Overall, a totally winnable game that the Seahawks absolutely butchered.

The Seahawks had to win at least one of their final double-header of home games to get into the playoffs, and they had a primetime game against what many thought was the best team in football with a red-hot rookie QB. Meanwhile, the Seahawks were fighting for a wildcard. Of course the Seahawks won this game. Of course Russell Wilson outdueled Patrick Mahomes, of course the defense did just enough to keep the Chiefs from scoring on every play, of course injured and old Doug Baldwin channeled enough anger to become Angry Doug Baldwin for one more game, slicing and dicing his way to 126 yards. Of course Russell Wilson threw one of the most beautiful passes I’ve ever seen in a game where Patrick Mahomes made passing look effortless. The Seahawks turned in a masterpiece against a red-hot team, much like the game against the Texans from 2017 and essentially locked up a playoff spot. Most people wrote them off after the 0-2 start, but here they were. Another trip to the postseason.

The Nulgarian: The Seahawks are a weird team. One week, they lose to a injured-as-hell 49ers team. The next week, they solidly beat the team with the best record in the league. On the day before Christmas Eve, in primetime, at home, with a playoff berth on the line, the Seahawks turned out their best performance of the season. Chris Carson was unstoppable, racking up 116 yards and 2 TDs. The star of the show however, was the Russell Wilson-Baldwin connection, as Baldwin had 7 receptions for 126 yards and 1 TD. Late in the 4th, the playoffs seemed to hang in the balance, as Seattle got the ball with 4:36 remaining up 28-31. Here, they embarked on my favorite drive of the year, highlighted by an absolute beauty of a throw from Wilson to Lockett for 45 yards. Not to be outdone, 2 plays later Doug Baldwin hauled in a beautiful 1 handed catch that got the Seahawks to the 1 yard line. Chris Carson scored a 1 yard TD on the next play to give the Seahawks a lead they would never relinquish.

But the Seahawks couldn’t slide into the playoffs without playing down to their opponents. The lowly Cardinals took the Seahawks into the final minutes, but like the 4th Quarter finishers that they have proven themselves to be, the Seahawks found a way to win – and that way was Russell Wilson connecting with Tyler Lockett to set up a game winning drive and a game winning FG from Seabass. 10 wins in 14 games was a pretty good clip, but if the Seahawks had had a few more breaks their way, they could have had 11 or even 12. Alas.

The Nulgarian: Remember what I said about the Cardinals always playing us tough? Well I wasn’t lying, because they yet again pushed us to the limit. Thanks to 2 blocked punts, the Cardinals kept it close and actually tied the game 24-24 with 1:54 remaining. That was when Russell Wilson did Russell Wilson things, finding Tyler Lockett deep for 37 yards to the Cardinals 25. 4 plays later, Janikowski again kicked a game winning field goal as time expired to get the Seahawks back to double digit wins.

What is there to say about this game that hasn’t been said by everyone else? This game was an utter repudiation of Pete Carroll’s run-first, run to set up the pass, philosophy by the modern NFL. The Seahawks slammed their head into the Cowboys D-line brick wall for quarter after quarter after quarter to no avail. They didn’t leave enough time on the clock to allow for their Pro Bowl QB to get them back in the game. More importantly, the Seahawks run defense collapsed once again, allowing a back-breaking 3rd down conversion that felt almost as bad as the conversion against the Jaguars last year that ruined that season. Pete Carroll needs to do better next season.

The Nulgarian: After a 1 year break, the Seahawks were back in the playoffs, and headed to Jerryworld to take on the Cowboys. This was a mostly ugly game throughout, and there was nothing uglier than the Seahawks playcalling. Despite Chris Carson gaining a grand total of 20 yards on 13 carries, the Seahawks continued to constantly run the ball even when it clearly wasn’t working. Thanks to a redzone INT by Dak Prescott, the Seahawks were still in the game, down 14-17, with 7:20 left and the Cowboys having the ball. For every bit as amazing as that drive against the Chiefs was, this drive was equally frustrating. The Seahawks were called for PI on 2 consecutive 3rd downs, extending the Cowboys drive. Then came the single play that made me rage more than any other this season. Down 14-17, with 2:33 left, the Seahawks gave up a 3rd and 14 on a QB draw by Prescott. On the next play, the Cowboys scored to make it 24-14. On the next drive, the Seahawks FINALLY put the ball in their Pro Bowl QBs hands and surprise surprise they drove down the field and quickly scored a TD and 2 point conversion to make it 22-24. The ensuing onside kick by Michael Dickson was …just no. In all, a disappointing ending to an otherwise great season for the Seahawks.

Performance Review of New Additions

Generally, the Free Agent acquisitions for the 2018 Seattle Seahawks were again, a mixed at best bag. After Blair Walsh, there was no where for the Seahawks kicking game to go but up, but Seabass was barely an average kicker, and definitely lost games for the team with his missed field goals and extra points – perhaps as many as he kicked game winners for. However, signings like D.J. Fluker and J.R. Sweezy did solidify the guard play, while veteran TE signing Ed Dickson played a valuable role when Will Dissly went down.

All in all though, I think that the free agent signings that John Schneider engaged in were not worth the loss in comp picks that they could have received. I would rather have them had more ammunition to rebuild this thing through the draft and cheap club control versus 1 year signings. They even signed Tom Johnson and then lost him for nothing when they had to find a spot on the team. Schneider made a name for himself in part by his skillful maneuvering of free agent acquisitions, signing Brandon Browner, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril just to name a few. It seems that recently he’s been getting worked over in the market.

How did the team perform?

As you can tell by my recaps and my general overview above, I think the team achieved a bit more than what I expected, but I did predict them to go 9-7 and contend for a wildcard. They went 10-6 and they did get that wildcard. That being said, to most of the general populace, I feel that they would believe that the Seahawks overachieved due to their talent level… but I believe that those people are incorrectly assessed the talent level on the Seahawks.

You’ve got one of the best QBs in the NFL in Russell Wilson. One of the best LBs in Bobby Wagner. Another top tier LB in K.J. Wright. A top tier DE in Frank Clark. One of the best LTs in Duane Brown. A pro bowl center in Justin Britt. A vastly underrated WR duo in Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett.

Even leaving out the younger players like Jarran Reed and the players who aren’t quite top tier like Bradley McDougald, I think this is more than what other teams can dream of having. And people predicted this team to win 4 games – maybe if Russell Wilson had a season-ending injury… but maybe only then.

However, while this team feels like it has a good nucleus to build around – 4 of the people mentioned above (Clark, Reed, Wagner, Wilson) are all free agents next year. New deals are imperative to get the team to compete. This isn’t like 2012 where the Seahawks can add and not think about the future.

Coaching Staff Turnover

The Seahawks replaced some of their coaching staff during this offseason before the new 2019 League Year began.

  • Most of the Strength and Conditioning Team was let go, replaced by Ivan Lewis and a team of Jamie Yanchar, Mark Phillipp, Thomas Garcia and Grant Steen. Ivan Lewis is known colloquially in the college football ranks as “Ivan the Terrible”.
  • Former Seahawks Backup Quarterback Austin Davis will work under Brian Schottenheimer as an Offensive Assistant.
  • Former Offensive Assistant Steve Shimko was promoted to Assistant Quarterbacks coach.
  • Carl Smith and Will Harranger have departed for the Texans and Falcons, respectfully.

Analysis on how these coaching changes will impact the Seahawks’ will hopefully during the combine and during OTAs, and will be discussed in greater detail in the 2019 Offseason Review.

2019 Team Needs/Free Agency

1. Re-sign Russell Wilson

Russell Wilson needs to be re-signed as soon as possible. If I ran the Seahawks, my potential solution to the Russell Wilson contract saga would be to Jjust tell Russell: "You're the best QB we've ever had in this franchise. We will pay you anything between $35-40m APY right now and build the team around you if you commit to the team long term." Essentially, just throw money at the problem and see if that solves it.

There’s no position more important than QB. And besides, it’s not like a 7m (read, 40m APY) jump year over year isn’t that unaccounted for when it comes to the QB position with today’s cap. In 2018, Rodgers got $6.5m more than the prior year’s high water mark (Matt Stafford in 2017), and he jumped the highest QB that had been at the time, Matt Ryan, by 3.5m. It’s HIGH but its not INSANE.

Because honestly, I can live with Russell walking away from the Seahawks' offering a true market setting deal because he wants to hit free agency or because Pete Carroll won’t build the team around him. It would hurt my fandom for the man very much so, but I can live with that decision. If Russell turned down a true, top-of-the-market setting deal with Seattle to hit free agency, then I could live with it. I don’t think he would, but if he turned down $40m APY to try the free market, that’s his prerogative. You can’t do anything about that if Pete and John have burned the bridge with Russell by foolishly investing in rapidly depreciating assets (See, e.g., Kam, Lynch, Bennett) instead of building around the best QB we’ve ever had.

What I CANNOT live with is the Seahawks trying to be cheap with the best QB we've ever had in the history of the franchise. If they're not willing to offering Wilson a true top dollar, market setting deal, then honestly Schneider should probably be fired. They already disrespected him once by making him sign a deal that was under Aaron Rodgers' deal when comparatively worse QBs (e.g., Luck, Stafford, Matt Ryan, Derek Carr) got to set the market when it was their turn.

Imagine WILLINGLY going back to the 90s where we tried QB after QB, including 710 ESPN’s Brock Huard, and nothing worked – wasting the career of Cortez Kennedy. Imagine going back to the 2000s, where we were ecstatic to have mediocre talent at the QB position even though we wasted a god-tier O-line and probably the best RB in franchise history.

Pay the man.

2. Re-sign or Trade Frank Clark, Jarran Reed, and Bobby Wagner

The Seahawks have three “assets” outside of Russell Wilson that are going to be up for another contract after the 2019 season. I would like to see all three signed to long term deals, but if the front office doesn’t think it can afford to put that much of the cap into these studs, then trade them this year! Pull a Patriots and flip Frank Clark for a 1st and change. Reed could probably fetch something similar. I’m tired of the Seahawks letting talent walk out the door and then praying for a comp pick (see, e.g., Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas).

3. Re-sign or Acquire Offensive Guards

I feel this is pretty self explanatory. Fluker and Sweezy were good stop-gaps, but they’re aging and are getting injury prone. Re-sign them if you can’t find anything better at the moment, but you’ve got to find long term replacements!

The Draft

The Seahawks have a decent amount of needs, but with their diminished level of draft picks due to the 2017 disaster, I do not have high hopes that they will be able to satisfy all of them this year. In fact, I think that the team should focus on developing their own instead of drafting someone new (for example, focus on developing Jacob Martin and Rasheem Green instead of drafting another EDGE).

A preliminary list of team needs is as follows:

  • TE
  • DE
  • DT
  • S
  • CB
  • LB
  • K

To me, LB is the most drastic need. Shaquem Griffin has not shown himself to be stout at the point of attack. Mychael Kendricks might be in jail. Another CB to push Shaquill Griffin as the #1 or Tre Flowers as the #2 should also be acquired. Another TE to hedge against Will Dissly not recovering would also help. WR is also a low-key need to push David Moore and Jaron Brown.

Unfortunately, because the Seahawks went all-in last year and traded their future for the present, the Seahawks only have 4 selections within the entire draft, and did not receive any compensatory picks to help restock the larder. It will be a hard time to try and fix all of the holes, manage the cap, and find suitable players to continue the rebuild.

Conclusion

I'd like to give a shout-out to /r/Seahawks for being awesome, Seahawks Twitter and the Seahawks Discord for being consistently awful, /r/NFL_Draft for hosting some of the best draft conversation, /u/therealDoctorKay for hosting this thing, and all of you for reading it.

The Seahawks face one of the most interesting off-seasons to date. With Russell Wilson having only one year left on his contract, all eyes are on the small in stature but enormous in importance Seahawks QB. Will the Seahawks let their best QB walk? Or will they sign him to a top tier, market setting deal and build a team around his strengths? With a very strong NFC field and the Super Bowl Losers in their division, time will only tell if the Seahawks can soar to the heights they once enjoyed. Perhaps we shall discuss this more in the Offseason Review Series. Until then, Go Hawks.