By Shannon Sanchez //@ShannonSanchez3
Over a week has passed since the end of the Seattle Seahawks 2017 season. To say that this year has been tumultuous would not even raise an eyebrow in Seattle. The Seahawks were making news, whether it was good, bad, polarizing, thought-provoking, and outrageous, off or on the field.
But that it wasn’t any different than any other year under head coach Pete Carroll. So why did this season end in disappointment? Not the sudden devastation of losing a playoff game, but a slow death-rattle-like loss of identity. As the season progressed, we kept waiting; waiting for something to turn, something to change. When the season ended, it looked like nothing changed.
Last January, after they were eliminated from the playoffs, the main concerns were the offensive line and the running game. But the kicking game became surprisingly unpredictable too.
Seahawks went to fix the concerns that followed them into the off-season by signing kicker Blair Walsh. They continued to acquire free agents like running back Eddie Lacy. Before the regular season began Seahawks traded wide receiver Jermaine Kearse to New York Jets for defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.
The draft produced some future assets like defensive back Shaquill Griffin and RB Chris Carson. The first round pick defensive tackle Malik McDowell never made it on the field. He had to be put on injured reserve/non-football injury after an accident on an ATV.
As the regular season began hopes were high, but injuries were already apparent with offensive lineman George Fant suffering a torn ACL in the preseason.
The regular-season opener against Green Bay Packers ended in a loss. Penalties, lack of offense, ejections, offensive line earned criticism. And that began the 18-week refrain of no protection for quarterback Russell Wilson. Poor offensive line presence, no running game, and penalties. Seattle had more penalty yards than rushing yards for the season.
By week 3, questions about the identity of the 2017 Seahawks arose, and so did the season-altering injuries. The running game’s new hope, rookie RB Chris Carson, broke his ankle. Defensive end Cliff Avril left in the same game (stinger) and would eventually be placed on injured reserve. As the season went on, season-ending injuries to cornerback Richard Sherman (Achilles) and strong safety Kam Chancellor (stinger). Linebacker K.J. Wright missed a crucial game with a concussion and LB Bobby Wagner missed a game with a hamstring injury.
As the season progressed, the offense was unmistakably one dimensional. Wilson emerged as the team’s leading rusher (586 yards for the season) and never lost that title. Ironic, since the offensive line was 32nd in the league for protection and he was sacked 43 times for 322 total yards lost.
Walsh started the season well but began to be unreliable. Having missed three field goals in the Washington game, he started having crucial misses more often. The criticism and concerns about the free agent signing were being asked. Walsh was broken and Lacy was so ineffective that he was a healthy scratch for four games.
Having enjoyed a decisive win over Philadelphia, it looked like Seattle would finish strong as usual, but what followed was the most bewildering sequences of games. With only one win against Dallas, the Seahawks spiraled. Demoralizing end of game brawls and ejections in Jacksonville, the worst home loss in recent history against LA Rams. Another home loss to Arizona eliminated them from the playoffs.
After looking back over the twelve months of 2017, the same problems remain. And new problems emerged with the defense decimated with severe injuries. The possibility of a dismantled Legion of Boom looms on the horizon.
It seems appropriate that the season ended on the last day of 2017. Coaching changes, player changes, 2018 will be brand new in ways that Seattle has not experienced since Pete Carroll has been at the helm.
Talk Seahawks with Shannon on Twitter @ShannonSanchez3