GREEN BAY, Wis. — There will now be eight long months to analyze what to make of the 2019 season. Eight long months to dissect the moves to come, the moves that they will make, how different the team will be in 2020 and all that lay ahead.
Here’s what we know — for pure entertainment value, the 2019 Seattle Seahawks delivered.
There was never a game they really felt out of. Never a moment you didn’t wonder what might happen next.
Until the final third-down pass Sunday from Aaron Rodgers to Jimmy Graham, that was a first down by a controversial foot or so, you couldn’t rule out this season would end in the Super Bowl.
“Definitely a fun journey,” said tight end Luke Willson. “Just a great locker room and a great group of guys top to bottom. I’m not sure there are that many teams that have this camaraderie at this level. Usually you see that kind of thing at younger ages.”
The hope going forward will be the Seahawks can keep that feeling while repairing what needs to be fixed — a pass rush that came up wanting too often, a secondary with a lot of young players with room to grow, an offense that put up a lot of numbers but a few too many times, such as Sunday, just took a little too long to get started.
For one last time this season, here are the grades.
OK, so Russell Wilson misfired on a pass in the first quarter that probably should have been picked off. But otherwise, this was Russell Wilson at his best, which means playing at an MVP level.
“I thought Russell was extraordinary tonight,” said coach Pete Carroll. “He did everything he could have done and I just thought his courage and his toughness and his resolve showed up.”
Indeed it did as Wilson was basically all the Seattle offense in the second half as the running game faltered. His 64 yards rushing was a season high and he basically didn’t miss a pass in the second half.
Did any Green Bay team really want Wilson to get the ball one more time?
Carroll had said Marshawn Lynch would get more action and he got the start, the first in his three games back with the Seahawks. And Seattle indeed forced it to Lynch early — he got it on three straight plays on the second possession of the game. But Green Bay wasn’t fooled and he was stopped on a third-and-one, which foreshadowed the rest of the day. Lynch was tough and he scored two 1-yard TDs. But Seattle’s attempts to establish the run didn’t work as the Seahawks got just 26 yards on 12 carries from Lynch and 13 on three from Travis Homer. Lynch was courageous and tough and everything that could have been expected given the circumstances. But the losses of Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny seemed to show up Sunday.
An A+ grade for Tyler Lockett, who caught nine of 10 targets for 136 yards and a TD. And a good grade for DK Metcalf (4-59). But no other WR caught a pass, and Malik Turner was the only other one to get a target — the ill-fated and disastrous drop on Seattle’s final possession.
Jacob Hollister escaped disaster on the first play when it was ruled that his fumble had not been clearly recovered by the Packers. Hollister then had a drop of what likely have been a first-down reception from the Green Bay 26 later in the quarter that forced Seattle to have to settle for a field goal.
But he also had five catches on six targets for 47 yards.
This was a really gutty performance. Carroll and teammates couldn’t talk enough about how left Duane Brown gutted it out to play left tackle 20 days after surgery to repair a meniscus injury. Carroll said Brown never practiced before telling the team Saturday night he would play.
“He was an inspiration through the whole thing, and I don’t know how well he played and I don’t care,” Carroll said. “Just the fact he was out there was extraordinary.”
Seattle then had to go with a third-stringer at left guard for the second half — rookie Phil Haynes, who was seeing his first action on offense of any kind — after Jamarco Jones suffered a concussion.
Still, Seattle got good pass protection for much of the night. The run blocking, though, was an issue. An A for effort, at the least.
Jadeveon Clowney, who is going to need surgery to repair a core muscle injury, again started and again had some big plays with two quarterback hits, a tackle for a loss and half a sack. But Seattle’s pass rush was again an issue and the run defense was a little too leaky on the first tone-setting drive for Green Bay.
Cody Barton, a rookie continuing to start at strongside linebacker in place of the injured Mychal Kendricks, had a rough beginning but smoothed out as the game wore on.
Bobby Wagner came oh-so-close to a pick on a third-and-four early in the fourth quarter. K.J. Wright was everywhere and had half a sack.
It’s fair to say Aaron Rodgers feasted on Seattle’s young defensive backs.
Second-year Tre Flowers simply couldn’t cover Davante Adams most of the night as Adams caught eight passes for 160 yards and two TDs.
Shaquill Griffin also had his issues when covering Adams, called for a pass interference that set up a touchdown in the second quarter.
Rookie Ugo Amadi again played as the nickel and in dime packages but didn’t provide much help on the first touchdown of the game when there appeared to be confusion over whether he or Flowers should cover Adams. No one did, and Adams broke into the open for an easy TD. Amadi also got beat on a key third down when matched up against Adams on the final drive.
Bradley McDougald, coming off one of his best games last week, again came up big, though, with a solo open-field tackle on a third-down in the first quarter that forced a Green Bay punt and another on second down on a run by Aaron Jones on the first play of the fourth quarter that was stopped for a 2-yard loss and forced another punt.
After hitting a 45-yard field goal to give Seattle its only points of the first quarter, Jason Myers missed a 50-yarder with 5:43 to play in the second. The kick appeared to have distance but was wide right and gave Green Bay the ball at its own 40. Myers, who was 6-7 from 50 or beyond last year with the Jets when he made the Pro Bowl, was 2-5 this season.
And Seattle also didn’t get much out of its returns with the Packers doing a good job to pin Seattle deep much of the night.