Cardinals 26 Seahawks 24: Winner and losers from Seattle’s 2017 finale

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Mercifully, it’s over.

I don’t know about you, but I find the Seattle Seahawks boring to watch. There are plenty of exciting players on the team, and they often find themselves in exciting finishes, but their style of play is staggeringly boring. It’s completely unrecognizable from even two years ago. It’s one thing to be boring and still great, it’s another to be boring and mediocre. Seattle was a boring, often mediocre team in 2017, and they deserved to miss the playoffs. You can say they were a missed kick here, a missed throw there, a defensive stop here, etc. away from being 11-5 or 12-4 and atop the NFC West, but how many times can you honestly say that the Seahawks played well from start to finish this season? I’d say the Philadelphia Eagles game and that’s it. And considering the soft schedule the Seahawks had this year, it’s unacceptable.

Here’s the final winners and losers for the season.

Winners

Russell Wilson

As usual this season, Wilson (and the whole offense) was of no use in the 1st half. It’s a problem that has to be corrected, ideally with a different offensive coaching staff. Of course, if Seattle had even average quarterback play, these close losses would be blowouts almost 100% of the time. With that said, he was better in the 2nd half, and finishes the year as the NFL leader in touchdown passes, with 34. Sure, the asterisk here is Carson Wentz’s injury, but it’s pretty awesome to see Wilson actually leading that category. Wilson should’ve had a game-winning drive on Sunday, except Blair Walsh had other ideas. Thanks for everything, Russell. There are a lot of things to improve on for year 8, and it’s your most important one yet.

Doug Baldwin

The chemistry between Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin is one of the few things I genuinely enjoy about the Seahawks offense. Baldwin caught four balls for 90 yards and the final two touchdowns of Seattle’s season. Patrick Peterson is now legally obligated to change his name to Patrick Baldwin after Doug beat him for the second TD.

Mike Davis

Sure, he gained 55 yards on 3 carries but had -7 yards on the other 7 carries, but he’ll finish the year with the most rushing yards of any Seahawks running back, with a whopping 240. I really thought Chris Carson was going to still hold that mark despite not playing a down since October 1st, but Davis made the most of his unexpected playing time.

Tyler Lockett

One year after breaking his leg against the Arizona Cardinals, Lockett raced out to a 99-yard kick return touchdown to provide the Seahawks their only 1st half points. That was awesome to see, and it’s really the first time I’ve seen Lockett look like Tyler Lockett at full speed.

Byron Maxwell

It’ll be an interesting offseason to see whether or not the Seahawks re-sign Maxwell to a cheap deal, because I thought he was fantastic on Sunday and had more good moments than bad in his return to Seattle. Maxwell does his job well, it’s just that he got paid way too much money to be a #1 corner, which he absolutely isn’t.

Shaquill Griffin

The rookie finally got his first interception of the season, despite the sinking feeling he and Earl Thomas were going to collide and fail to come up with the ball. Griffin had a very good season, especially with Richard Sherman out for basically half the year, and I’m excited to see him take the next step towards becoming Seattle’s next elite cornerback.

Losers

Blair Walsh

Goodbye. You should’ve gotten all of the criticism that Jim Mora unfairly unleashed on Olindo Mare back in 2009.

Luke Willson

Seen here: A microcosm of Seattle’s horrendous 2013 draft class

Russell Wilson underthrew this pass, but Luke still has to catch that. Willson should not be back with the team.

Paul Richardson

Final game of a contract year and he put up a goose egg on the stat sheet. He had two drops, including this brutal one that could’ve been a big-gainer.

Run defense

Arizona finished with 116 yards rushing, an overwhelming majority coming in the 1st half, where the Cardinals similarly did most of their scoring. They entered the game with a worse rushing attack than Seattle, a badly banged up offensive line, and Kerwynn Williams are routinely getting moderate gains. The Seahawks didn’t allow a rush longer than 11 yards, but that’s because of the greatness of the linebackers and secondary plugging the leaks in the dam. I don’t think Seattle will actually fire Kris Richard, but the run defense may tip the scales against him. This defensive line has underachieved.

Offensive Line

Russell Wilson was under pressure on 15 of his 35 dropbacks, and the running game’s 101 yards on 22 attempts is deceiving. Literally 64 of those 101 yards were courtesy of two plays from Mike Davis and Wilson, respectively.

It’s entirely possible this was miscommunication involving Jordan Roos, a rookie who has seen little playing time, but I couldn’t think of a more fitting summation of the Seahawks offensive line than watching Robert Nkemdiche do this.

Coaching Staff

I won’t prolong my complaints about Pete Carroll and the coaching staff as a whole, seeing as I already wrote about three guys who need to be gone, but they need to be the last item of discussion here.

Seattle still had a chance to make the playoffs. Of course the Atlanta Falcons ended up beating the Carolina Panthers, so it was moot anyway, but this team was unprepared. At home. Again. The Seahawks led at halftime only three times all season. This idea that it’s okay to start slow because you’ll always be able to strike back in the 2nd half is rendered useless when you no longer have an elite defense and your offense isn’t very good to begin with. The way things stand right now, the Seahawks are the boxer that concedes the first five rounds of a 12-round fight, comes back strongly, only to lose a split decision.

The future of the Seattle Seahawks is dependent on their willingness to adapt, and I really mean Pete Carroll’s willingness. If the philosophy is still to win with defense, “establish the run,” and not develop this passing game into what it could be, then that tells me all I need to know.

I’ve said it before and I’ll close by saying it again, dominant defenses never last longer than (potential) Hall-of-Fame franchise quarterbacks. Carroll and John Schneider need to figure out what they value more, and build accordingly.

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