A sampling of national-media reaction following the Seahawks' 36-20 loss to the Falcons in an NFC divisional playoff game on Saturday.
And just like that, the season is over for the Seahawks.
Seattle certainly appeared game early on, but the Falcons ultimately came away with a 36-20 win over the Seahawks on Saturday afternoon in the Georgia Dome in an NFC divisional playoff game. It was the second straight year Seattle’s season ended in this round of the playoffs and third in five years (the other two years, the Seahawks played in the Super Bowl).
The Seahawks led 10-7 early in the second quarter and appeared to be gaining momentum until a holding penalty on Kevin Pierre-Louis set off a series of events that swung the game for good in the Falcons’ favor. Now the offseason and all the questions that come with it gets underway.
As usual, the national media had plenty to say about the Seahawks in the wake of their exit. Below is a sampling:
Jonathan Jones of Sports Illustrated pointed out what the Seahawks need to upgrade on their roster:
“With back-to-back divisional round exits, the Seahawks’ empire seems to be crumbling. A healthy Earl Thomas would have helped (the defense didn’t get an interception for the rest of the season after its star safety broke his leg) but wouldn’t have saved the Seahawks, who will be shopping both in free agency and in the draft for offensive linemen.”
ESPN.com’s Sheil Kapadia was also looking ahead to Seattle’s offseason:
“In the months ahead, teams will make desperate attempts to fill their voids at quarterback. The Seahawks don’t have to worry about that, and it’s the No. 1 reason why they’ll continue to stay competitive. And then there’s the continuity of the roster. None of the Seahawks’ 22 regular starters will be unrestricted free agents. The core of the team that has won 10 games or more in five consecutive seasons is in place. But there are concerns that need to be addressed.”
Jerry Brewer of The Washington Post gave plenty of credit to Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan:
“Ryan wouldn’t let his offense relent. He threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns, exposing every hole in a weakened Seahawks defense, making the accomplished unit look shoddy. The Falcons scored on five of their first six possessions, including touchdown drives of 75, 99 and 75 yards.”
The Ringer’s Shea Serrano said it might be time to get rid of penalties during punts:
“I propose that no away-from-the-play penalties be called on punt returns. It’s just too much of a net negative. It wipes away things that are too good. It’s not an even trade. So I would like to see them gone. Matter of fact, since we’re here and since we’re rewriting rules, let’s go a step further: I propose the erasure not only of away-from-the-play penalties on punt returns, but also of all penalties on punt returns. Punt returns should operate under some kind of football martial law.”
Kevin Patra of NFL.com wrote about how the Seahawks weren’t able to keep pace with the Falcons on offense:
“The Seahawks entered 2016 with the most wide-open offense of the Wilson-era. Yet, spending cheap on the offensive line eventually proved Seattle’s Achilles heel. Pete Carroll’s team has the nucleus in place to retain its spot among the NFC powers. The offensive line, however, must be improved in 2017 for Wilson to have a chance of keeping up with the scoring machines in the conference.”
The New York Times’ Ken Belson focused on the penalty by Pierre-Louis:
“In the playoffs, when the best teams meet, games are often decided by a mistake here or there, or a penalty called or not called. Under Coach Pete Carroll, the Seattle Seahawks have built a reputation of minimizing those mistakes and forcing their opponents to make them instead. But on Saturday, it was the Seahawks who came up short in a divisional-round playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons and their potent offense.”
Tom Pelissero of USA Today wondered if anyone can stop the Falcons’ offense:
“That’s an honest question. Because the way Matt Ryan’s arsenal ran circles around one of the NFL’s most talented, seasoned defenses Saturday makes you wonder what chance the