Opinion: Seattle Seahawks – the lost season that wasn’t


Ben Wheeler, Online Editor

To say the Seahawks had a rough off-season before the 2018 opener would be putting on a thick coat of sugar.

Richard Sherman said the Seahawks lost their way after he was released. Rumors dropped alleging Seattle’s supposed coddling of star quarterback Russell Wilson. Earl Thomas was contemplating holding out, and even if the front office could convince him to play, the historically great “Legion of Boom” (LOB) was essentially dead; a relic on a mountain peak that the franchise was destined to slide off of. Not only was the LOB gone, but disruptive defensive linemen such as Michael Bennett, Sheldon Richardson and Cliff Avril no longer donned blue, green and gray uniforms. Exit Darell Bevell, Kris Richard and Tom Cable (OC, DC and O-Line coach respectively), enter Brian Schottenheimer, Ken Norton Jr. and Mike Solari.

These distractions had a large influence on how the media viewed the Seahawks heading into the 2018 season. SI’s website had the Seahawks racking up a 7-9 record, USA Today’s website had them at 4-12 and ESPN’s online publication had projected them to finish at 8-8.  

Early indications were that the media pundits had it right.  After an opening 27-24 loss to the Denver Broncos where the Seahawks’ mistakes canceled out their spectacular successes, they were embarrassed in Chicago on Monday night in week two. Russell Wilson threw an beautiful TD pass to Tyler Lockett to get Seattle back in the game in the second half, only to throw a pick-six on the Seahawks’ subsequent possession in an error that proved to be the ultimate back-breaker. The problems were easy to highlight; the defense was vulnerable in its efforts to gel with a variety of new starters, they weren’t running the ball effectively often enough and Russell Wilson was uncharacteristically shaky. A QB that almost seemed to always make the right decision with the ball was now holding onto the ball for too long, staring down receivers and running right into opposing defensive linemen for easy sacks. Rumors of an undisclosed injury to Wilson began to swirl.

Then something happened. After two uninspired wins over the Cowboys and Cardinals that did show a re-commitment to running the ball with Chris Carson and Mike Davis (and later with Rashaad Penny), week five against the Los Angeles Rams shocked those watching. These seemingly unimpressive Seahawks began exchanging (metaphorical) right-hooks with the NFC West division-leading Rams at CenturyLink Field. A few late mental mistakes (including a bad late timeout from Pete Carroll) allowed the Rams to secure a 33-31 victory, but it was impossible to not feel the mood change in and around the team; players, coaches and fans alike were starting to believe.

It showed; the Seahawks have gone 8-3 since that first game against the Rams. The formula was simple: run the ball effectively, play tough, simple defense and sprinkle in some Russell Wilson creativity for good measure. The numbers speak for themselves, according to the NFL stats section on ESPN’s website: the Seahawks boast the number one rushing offense in the NFL at 160 yards per game, they have their first 1000 yard rusher since 2014 in Chris Carson and Russell Wilson has gotten back into his groove for 35 TD passes to only 7 interceptions. The defense, while not statistically great, does create enough plays to come in at 16th overall in yards and 11th in points allowed in the NFL.  The team finished 10-6 in the regular season, winning six of their last seven games, the one loss taking place in overtime against a scrappy 49ers team in San Francisco. The Seahawks’ record allowed them to wrap up the NFC’s number five seed, good enough for a wild card bid against the Dallas Cowboys.

Despite the team’s bid to reach the playoffs, the Seattle Seahawks fell to the Dallas Cowboys by a score of 24-22. With the team now heading into full offseason mode, it’ll be interesting to see what comes next for the Seahawks organization.