Did you hear that?
That was the sound of the Seahawks' championship window slamming shut.
That doesn't mean that a Wilson-captained Seahawks team will never reach the big dance. Not at all. What it does mean is that the landscape where the Seahawks were clearly elite has most certainly transformed.
I hate to start in on my end-of-the-year-post-mortem when we still have two games to play, but the Seahawks had the opportunity to control their own destiny heading into the playoffs and, instead, let the Rams-- who haven't made the post season in 13 years-- beat the stuffing out of them on their home turf.
Now, Seattle is not yet mathematically eliminated from post season play-- but now they must not only win-out, but they will need help from other teams in order to back into the playoffs.
We've been seeing the tides change in the NFL this season. Perennial pushovers like the Rams and Jaguars now appear to be legitimate, young powerhouses in this league. Don't let the Browns fool you-- this is how the NFL is set up to operate. Bad teams with a decade of top-ten picks are supposed to eventually turn their rosters around, providing the parity the NFL thrives upon.
They Seahawks aren't old. They have a core group of seasoned veterans with ample playoff experience, but I don't really see anyone on this roster that we should worry about retiring in the offseason-- from injury, perhaps, but not age.
What happened with the Seahawks was that they gambled and lost.
They have been rolling the dice with their run game and offensive line since Marshawn left. With the exception of a stretch of games with Thomas Rawls 2 seasons ago and a few games this year with Chris Carson-- the Seahawks have majorly whiffed on their backfield.
Rawls never looked the same after breaking his leg. Despite being healthy, he cannot seem to get on the field. The free agent signing of Eddie Lacy will go down as one of the worst moves in the NFL this year. Lacy wasn't productive last season with Aaron Rodgers and a decent line-- why on earth would he be any better behind a markedly worse line?
The Seahawks went into this year expecting to lean heavily on its talented defense while putting the offense entirely on the shoulders of Wilson. That might have been a good plan had Seattle used its cap salary to sign some veteran offensive linemen like Andrew Whitworth and used some of it draft capital to bring in a promising young lineman instead of selecting Malik McDowell.
When your team has no threat of running the ball and your line is bottom of the barrel-- teams are going to have no issue blitzing the hell out of you. They send the house at Russell. Sometimes he scrambles for his life and makes a remarkable play, but more often than not, it doesn't work.
The defense has suffered unparalleled loss this season when it comes to injuries. Losses we've largely been able to overcome because we had decent depth, except at the cornerback position. All together, the defense had hung in admirably with the exception of this Rams game.
I don't want to hear about injuries, though. Vikings coach, Mike Zimmer, is without question the Coach of the Year. He lost his franchise QB last season and was forced to trade high draft picks to get Sam Bradford to fill in. Not only did they lose Bradford this year, essentially causing them to rely on their 3rd string quarterback, but their first-round running back went down early in the season, too.
Yet, the Vikings are battling for the #1 seed in the NFC.
The Seahawks simply drank too much of their own Kool Aid this year and it came back to bite them in the ass. There will undoubtedly be consequences to this season. The band will break up. You can expect some familiar faces to be dealt or let loose. I hope the coaching staff gets a bit of a face lift, as well.
It's great when Pete & John find a late-round gem in the draft, but I'm getting real sick of relying on them to pay off. It's been too long since a late pick turned into a major contributor. I want to see Seattle trade up to get someone that is a consensus top-pick. I want to see Seattle add some experience as well as talent to their offensive line in free agency.
Most of all, I want to see the Seahawks get back to being a physically-intimidating, dominate team.