Seattle Seahawks fall short of NFC Championship
Kierrla Yates, Staff Writer
On Jan. 12, 2020, football fans across the nation witnessed the beat-up Seahawks nearly make an underdog comeback against the Green Bay Packers. Yet, in crucial moments, the Seahawks lacked the proper execution that could have led to their victory. At closing, the Seahawks found themselves only five points behind the Packers, leaving them out of contention for the 2020 NFC Championship game and Super Bowl LIV.
After what most considered to be a decent season, the Seahawks’ performance against the Green Bay Packers left 12’s across the nation wondering why they fell apart and what will happen next year. During the preseason, Cynthia Frelund, the official analyst of the NFL, predicted that the Seahawks would finish the season at 9-7, and have a slight chance of being a wild card team in the playoffs. Although they struggled to perform at home, the Seahawks performed more diligently on the road and ended the regular season at 11-5. Before the Seahawks postseason began, they lost vital players to injury and had to hunt down replacements. The biggest hit came to their running backs in December. Rashaad Penny had put in two stellar performances against the Eagles and Vikings, and looked to be a key player in the upcoming games. Unfortunately, he suffered a season ending knee injury, knocking him out of the Seahawks’ arsenal. Not only did they suffer the loss of a player finally heating up, the Seahawks lost their first-string running back, Chris Carson, who was beginning to establish himself as one of the best running backs in the league.
With both their first-string and second-string running backs out of the picture, the situation looked grim for the Seahawks. They looked to their third-string running back, C. J. Prosise, to continue the progression of Carson and Penny. However, the universe had it out for the Seahawks, and Prosise was left injured and unable to play. Scrambling to find players before their final game of the regular season, the Seahawks turned to retired players Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin. Both players were eager and passionate about playing for Seattle once again. Lynch had stated he had “unfinished business” and Turbin felt it was a dream to be back and playing with his best friend, Russell Wilson.
By having two passionate and experienced players return, most would think the Seahawks could have been able to turn around their unfortunate circumstances. However, these players had only days to adjust to a new team, and lacked the fitness level an NFL player needs. Lynch scored a touchdown in his debut against the San Francisco 49ers and followed that performance with a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles and two touchdowns against the Green Bay Packers. Turbin was nowhere to be seen in any of the games since leaving retirement. In his place, fourth-string running back Travis Homer was used. Homer was merely a rookie with zero touchdowns and only 114 yards to his name. In failing to play Turbin, Seattle lost his skill of being a two-way back, a running back that, on top of rushing, runs receiving routes out of the backfield. Utilizing Turbin would have given Wilson more opportunities to throw, rather than take sacks.
Despite the uncontrollable events that the Seahawks faced, several of their own faults led to their defeat against the Packers. In a struggle to find open receivers, Russell Wilson found himself sacked five times, which resulted from broken protection from the offensive line. However, it was not only the offensive line that lacked execution, as the Seahawks defense found themselves struggling throughout the entire game. The defensive line left open numerous gaps allowing the Packers to finish with 109 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. Continuing to analyze the defense, the secondary was picked apart by Packers receiver Davante Adams. In the second quarter, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had a clear pass to Davante Adams down center field. Adams continued the run with all of Seattle’s secondary surrounding him, yet they could not land a tackle on him for another 15 yards. Adams had another stellar moment in the middle of the third quarter when Rodgers was able to land a pass to him even with Trey Flowers staring him in the face. Adams was then able to trip up and out run both Flowers and Quandre Diggs for the Packers third touchdown of the game.
Beyond the defensive struggles, the Seahawks struggled with completing field goals, which in a close game of five points can make or break a win. In the second quarter, when the Seahawks were down 14-3, their kicker Jason Myers missed a field goal attempt. This could have changed the losing gap from five points to two, and instead of needing an entire touchdown for victory, Seattle would have needed only another field goal towards the end of the game. Regrettably, this was not the only occurrence of Myers missing an important field goal. In the game prior to the Packers, Myers missed one of two field goals attempted, leaving him with the postseason percentage of 50, quite a dismal number.
Seattle’s performance in Green Bay, highlighted their strengths and weaknesses. They have a strong quarterback, Russell Wilson, who can analyze tough situations and make plays. The Seahawks also have strong running backs, Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny, who would have been able to make a big impact on the game if they were not injured. But in the last game of their season, the defensive weaknesses and simple mistakes, such as missed catches and field goals, lead to their loss. Looking forward, the Seahawks could find themselves back in the playoffs if they strengthen the gaps in their players training. Having another “Legion of Boom” would wreak havoc in Seattle and make themselves formidable championship contenders.