There was the hook in 2016, when Stephen Hauschka missed what would have been the game-winning field goal for the Seahawks from 28 yards in Arizona. There was the inconsistency in 2018, when Seahawks kicker Sebastian Janikowski finished last in the NFL in field-goal percentage. There was the hair-pulling start to 2019, when current Seahawks kicker Jason Myers missed five of his first 17 attempts.
Critical three-point scores have been elusive for Seattle in recent years. But now? They’re virtually guaranteed.
During a season in which six of the Seahawks’ eight wins have been decided by one score, Myers has been as valuable as he is accurate. He has nailed all 15 of his field-goal attempts this year and, dating to last season, has made 26 in a row.
One of those kicks came from 61 yards out at the end of the first half vs. the Rams last month, which set a franchise record. The journeyman has become a money man for this football team, assuaging anxiety with consistency Seattle hasn’t seen in some time.
“He’s having an incredible year. He’s just been rock solid. He’s such a tremendous athlete for this position. He’s just so well-tuned and fitted to be really consistent,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s just got that makeup, and he’s a great worker, and he’s a good competitor. … He’s having a great year, and we’re counting on him.”
Myers was in Seahawks training camp in 2018 but lost the job to Janikowski. This appeared to be less performance-based and more a result of the Seahawks signing “Seabass” to a $2 million contract before camp began.
Myers went on to thrive with the Jets, for whom he made 91.7% of his field-goal attempts. A year later he signed with the Seahawks, for whom he has been near impeccable this season.
Of course, the guy holding the ball for Myers this year has been pretty damn solid, too. Seahawks punter Michael Dickson, who made the Pro Bowl his rookie year in 2018, is fourth in the NFL in net yardage at 44.2 yards per punt. This is a significant upgrade from last season, when Dickson finished 19th in the league in net yardage. The Aussie with the booming boot has seemed to have found his footing.
The Seahawks’ offense has been lauded and criticized throughout the year, as has their defense. Scribes will fawn over Russell Wilson’s brilliance one day, then denounce his turnovers another. Critics will pile on the yards per game the defense allows one week, then praise their surging pass rush the next.
What’s rarely discussed in great length is the special teams, which is probably a good thing. If it were talked about more, it would likely be because Seattle was falling short in that area.
“They’ve been lights out, both of those guys (Myers and Dickson). A lot of the fans, not our fans, but a lot of people watch football for the defense and the offense. They don’t really understand the importance of having someone go out there and always make the extra point, or you’re confident in their making the field goal, or you’re confident that if you’re close enough you can try a 50-plus yard field goal,” Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner said. “Or even a guy like Mike, where he constantly puts the defense in a great position by pinning it down inside the 10. So those guys have been amazing for us.”
Myers and Dickson were not available for comment, as has become the norm in this age of Zoom. Had they been, though, they likely would have exuded humility. They generally do.
What they have achieved this year, however, deserves the highest of acclaim. Special teams rarely get the glory, but they’ve earned whatever praise has come their way.