Seattle Seahawks 2020 Season Recapby Andersen Pickard January 27, 2021 0 comments
2020 was a peculiar year for the Seattle Seahawks. After starting the season 5-0, they lost four of their next seven and fell out of playoff contention. They regained steam in the final four games, winning out and clinching an NFC West title. After an electric start to the year offensively, the unit fizzled and relied on an up-and-coming defense to bail them out in the final games. Then, the Seahawks suffered a painful playoff exit at the hands of John Wolford and Jared Goff, leaving them stunned.
In the aftermath of their elimination, the Seahawks fired offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, citing “philosophical differences.” The news came as a slight surprise considering the Seahawks’ offensive prowess led to a successful season, but evidently, something took place behind the scenes that led to the divorce. Seattle poached Los Angeles Rams passing game coordinator Shane Waldron to replace Schottenheimer.
Seattle employed an NFL-best seven Pro Bowlers in 2020, including two on offense (Russell Wilson and DK Metcalf), three on defense (Bobby Wagner, Quandre Diggs, and Jamal Adams), and two on special teams (Tyler Ott and Nick Bellore).
Wagner was selected as a First-Team All-Pro while Metcalf and Adams earned Second-Team All-Pro bids.
What Went Right
Offensively, the passing game looked really good for most of the season. They stuttered from time to time, but Wilson was the frontrunner for the MVP award until late October and Metcalf had a career season. The unit wasn’t quite in the 2020 “elite” tier—after all, it fired its offensive coordinator—but it deserves a tremendous amount of respect and recognition.
The offensive line also looked solid. PFF ranked them 14th overall (16th in pass-blocking), their highest mark of the Russell Wilson era. 35-year-old Duane Brown continues to be a major part of the success of the unit, which finds itself in the positive column as the season culminates.
The defense, on the other hand, is a different subject. The main bright spot of the defense was the line. After being one of the worst units in the NFL to start the year, the defensive trenchmen welcomed Carlos Dunlap to the fold and became the relentless core of the defense. While their lack of flair to start the year was disheartening, their end-of-season rejuvenation provides tremendous promise for 2021.
Finally, on special teams, Jason Myers rare reliability at kicker. His streak of 37 consecutive field goals made continues to stand, and he’ll look to build on this franchise record in 2021. Punter Michael Dickson also continued to play at a top-tier level of play, averaging 49.6 yards per punt (second-best in NFL) and a league-best 36 punts inside the 20-yard line.
What Went Wrong
A lot went right for the Seahawks, who won 75 percent of their regular season games. But a lot went wrong, too. For starters, the running game was “meh.” Injuries once again plagued the unit, forcing players like Bo Scarborough and Alex Collins to take on lead roles. Even when healthy, Chris Carson was nowhere near impressive. He finished 22nd in the NFL in rushing yards per game (56.8) and 27th in total yards (681). Carlos Hyde and Russell Wilson finished far behind, while DeeJay Dallas showed potential but was not a major factor. Rashaad Penny provided optimism upon his return, especially with Carson expected to hit free agency, but he was quiet in three games (34 yards).
Defensively, the secondary was concerning for the first 10 games. During this time, PFF ranked them dead last in coverage grade. The unit impressed in the final six games, but their easy schedule (against Dwayne Haskins, Carson Wentz, C.J. Beathard, Sam Darnold, Colt McCoy,and Jared Goff) cannot go unnoticed. On a more individual level, Jamal Adams, looked like the special player he is when rushing the passer, but his work in coverage did not meet expectations. Meanwhile, Tre Flowers and Quinton Dunbar each disappointed with triple-digit passer ratings when targeted and sub-52.0 coverage grades, according to PFR.
Team Award Winners
MVP – Russell Wilson
Bobby Wagner and DK Metcalf were both candidates for this selection, but considering Wilson was the frontrunner for league MVP for nearly half of the season, he finds himself receiving this honor. He started off the year hot, completing 71 percent of his passes for 2,541 yards and 28 touchdowns in his first eight games. However, in his last eight games, he completed just 66.3 percent of passes for 1,671 yards and 12 scores. Still, his prowess to open the year and lead the Seahawks to the playoffs must be commended. By a narrow margin, Wilson is this year’s Seahawks MVP.
Offensive Rookie of the Year – Damien Lewis
There weren’t a lot of candidates for this award, so Lewis is the clear-cut option. He started in all 16 games, lining up for 91 percent of the team’s total offensive snaps. He allowed just three sacks while being tabbed for nine penalties on the year. A third-round pick out of LSU, Lewis has the makings of an offensive staple. He should be able to protect Russell Wilson for years to come.
Defensive Rookie of the Year – Jordyn Brooks
First-round pick Jordyn Brooks was the most impressive Seahawks rookie on the defensive side of the football in 2020. While he made just six starts, Brooks, a linebacker, appeared in all 16 games. He also started in the team’s playoff game. The Texas Tech product tallied two passes defended in the regular season while amassing 35 solo and 22 assisted tackles (including two for loss). He has plenty of room to grow, but all signs point to a solid career for the Houston, Tex., native.
Biggest Surprise – D.J. Reed
Amidst a year where the defense faltered, D.J. Reed certainly impressed. One of the unit’s lone bright spots, Reed was no lock for a starting job after he was cut by the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys due to a torn pectoral suffered in July. He missed time in Seattle, too, ultimately making his season debut in Week 9 against his old team, the 49ers. In 10 games (eight starts), he tallied two interceptions, seven passes defended, and two fumble recoveries while forcing 62 tackles (two for loss). The 2018 fifth-round pick has made his presence felt in Seattle and will become a high-priority target for the Seahawks when he hits free agency after 2021.
Biggest Disappointment – L.J. Collier
Collier was not a dramatic letdown, but he definitely left fans disappointed after failing to meet expectations. The former first-round pick started all 16 games but finished the season with just three sacks and 22 tackles. These are not horrendous numbers, but everybody hoped for more from 2019’s No. 29 pick.
One Burning Question
Can the Seahawks find the right balance of improvement on defense?
The Seahawks will look to shore up their offensive line this offseason, but their main focus should be the defense. It will be crucial for the Seattle brass to focus on solidifying the entire unit and imposing a proper balance rather than heavily addressing one area and neglecting the other. Adding a young pass-rusher could make the defensive line relentless while the secondary needs significant help. General manager John Schneider certainly has his work cut out for him.
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