For Seahawks, Early Smoke Truly Meant Fire

In some ways, the Super Bowl was a microcosm of both their past and future. The team that never seemed to be on the wrong side of destiny, filled with illusions of grandeur, lost in spectacular fashion, by way of the recurring problem they’ve seemingly dodged at every step of the way.

“Do you ever do this, you think back on all the times you’ve had with someone and you just replay it in your head over and over again and you look for those first signs of trouble?” - Tom in (500) Days of Summer

The team that caught lightning in a bottle at every step of the way, at an often enough pace that they truly believed they could create magic. They were hitting on trades for troubled, talented players like Marshawn Lynch, to signings of under appreciated defensive linemen like Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, and of course, finding a “franchise quarterback” in the third round of the draft.

There were BeastQuakes, fail mary’s, deflected interceptions, recovered onside kicks, and game winning touchdowns in overtime. Sometimes, when destiny finally catches up to you, you’re stuck looking at the shambles of what you built and you finally have the clairvoyance to see exactly where the cracks began.

This isn’t Marshawn’s fault. In fact, none of this really is. He’s a workhorse in a league surrounded by pundits that keep saying the running back position is dying, that quarterbacks are the driving force of winning and losing, and that once you hit a magical number of hits, your career is over. Those rules just never applied to Marshawn Lynch, who became the identity of the team offensively until all of a sudden, he wasn’t. It’s fitting, because he never really was supposed to be the man. He was a shot in the dark that hit and left everyone confused, like hitting running cards to make a flush in poker, when you were really just chasing a straight. In the euphoria of their successes, the parties involved thought they won because they were better at this than everyone else, and not just lucky, which would be a theme that would come back to haunt them.

The legend of the selection of Russell Wilson has grown over the years, from them just selecting the top QB on the board to some grandiose moment of vision where they had planned to take him since the previous September, but just played chicken with all 31 other teams and won the ultimate prize of all, a franchise Quarterback in the 3rd round. The geniuses had struck again, pulling a bigger coup than they did when they acquired Lynch, because they finally had THEIR quarterback. They were going to be lauded as the masterminds who won the draft, and won the biggest prize of all. A Franchise Quarterback! Not to mention the selection of a potentially elite corner in the 4th round who was coming into his own.

They were the kings of April (and now May) and everything was coming up for them. They used the money that was earmarked for Matt Flynn (their original franchise quarterback they were geniuses in finding) to acquire Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, at request of new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, and they were geniuses in finding all of this unearthed gems.

This led to great times. They traded for Percy Harvin hoping that he’d spark the passing game the same way that Marshawn did with the running game, and if you could believe it, they found a couple of undrafted WRs who were shaping up to be solid contributors across from the consistently great Golden Tate. Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse were the perfect compliments to their impending high flying offense, that would show the world just how smart Darrell Bevell was. He wasn’t just the guy who called running plays for Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch anymore, but the guy who was going to craft a high powered aerial attack in Seattle with underrated misfits and talented weapons.

Maybe he would become a modern Don Coryell, except he was never really that good. In fact, the entire offense he “created” really has just rode the coattails of Marshawn Lynch and a stellar defense throughout an entire dynasty. Their franchise quarterback has success with entire defenses loading the box and keying on his running back, and his ineptitude of getting talented WRs the football (see Golden Tate and Percy Harvin, who both had success outside of playing with Wilson and were neutered while playing with him) created a false sense of equality between wide receiver weapons. Look, they won the Super Bowl with them.

But maybe that wasn’t ever enough for Bevell, who really desired the gratification of crafting an offense, instead of running the one they already had. Golden Tate was no longer needed, because he could be replaced with Paul Richardson, a speedster who would be on a rookie contract who would stretch the field and allow Wilson to really attack the intermediate areas of the field. When Marshawn held out, there was talk of him not being part of the future, and he was going to be a casualty for their steal of a quarterback getting a record contract to truly cement his place among the league’s elite. Strangely, this season when things got tough, it was because Harvin never fit, and he was the problem, not the person calling the plays or the person who is supposed to get the ball in his hands. And, when the chips were on the table, the man who always wanted to be a mastermind had his opportunity and it blew up in his face.

Instead of running the ball with Lynch against a suspect Packers defense, he aired it out with Wilson and it took a herculean effort by a defense that had been historically great and some fantastic luck to get them back into the game at all. This was capped with a touchdown from their romanticized franchise quarterback to one of their unearthed gem WRs. He was a genius! And when given an opportunity to win it all, he called a goal line slant to a skinny speedster. Sadly, there was two throws that really show the true colors of those involved. Wilson’s throw was off and telegraphed, and subsequently intercepted, and Bevell used a post game interview to throw Ricardo Lockette under the bus, saying he wasn’t physical enough and it was on him.

If you’re a coach and you get the opportunity to publicly throw your player under the bus for not executing in a role he doesn’t really fit in, you have to do it. Coward.

That’s not the end of it though. The team that thought they could game the draft let Red Bryant and Chris Clemons walk after their last Super Bowl win, foregoing veteran depth for cap space and rookies trying to fill those shoes. When Cliff Avril went down, the Patriots fired off 14 points and the pass rush went from fantastic to average, and that’s all it takes. Simple arithmetic can show you that there’s no way that the Seahawks can afford a Wilson megadeal, Avril’s extension, and still have space to get the veteran depth on the front line they need for situations like this.

There was zero room for error for the Seahawks defense during the most recent campaign, and as unfair as it is, that’ll continue with the offense they have moving forward. Ironically, the defense built around forcing as much pressure as possible ended up exploding under the immense pressure put on them by their offense.

But that’s really what it comes down to. This is all systematic and all of this is true if Kearse never even catches that miracle YOLO-Ball at really either of the past two games. As brutal and salty as it sounds, this team caused the problems that ended up doing them in long before the game ever kicked off. After week six, Seahawks fans were calling for Bevell to stop being such a wannabe-guru and start calling the “boring” running plays that fit the Seahawks offense best. Instead, the team built on a bravado of faux-intelligence ended up going to the well one too many times, and it cost them the biggest prize of them all.

I can’t wait for them to double down and make #3 the highest paid quarterback ever, just so they can say they found the highest paid quarterback in the history of the NFL in the 3rd round.


Senior contributor for Football Savages.


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