Seattle had a shot to finish .500, but fell to Arizona on Sunday in OT. Of course when the game hit overtime it should have been known that the Cards were going to win, they were a perfect 4-0 in the extra period this year. This was a meaningless game for both teams. They both were eliminated from playoff contention the previous week. Ultimately all this game decided was where each team would draft in April. The Seahawks as a result of this lost will get the 12th pick, while Arizona sits one spot lower at 13th. There are 7 teams in all that finished 8-8, so Seattle may have even been lower than 13th, so it is probably a good thing that they did lose the game.
This was a pretty similar game to what happened throughout the entire season. Jackson acted as a game manager, throwing for 222 yards, a TD, and his first INT in 4 games. Lynch had another solid day, rushing for 86 yards on 19 carries. In fact, I was a little surprised he didn’t surpass 20 carries in the game. It was a career year for Lynch who rushed for 1200 yards and 12 touchdowns. He is an impending free agent, but I have to imagine Seattle will make a strong push to bring him back. I fully expect Lynch back in Seattle next year. Leon Washington had a 48 yard rush for a score and finished with 78 on the day. His explosive ability wasn’t utilized enough this year in the offensive game, but he showed flashes of what he is capable of in this game. He may be a bigger part of the offensive game this year.
The wide receiver situation for next year will be an interesting thing to follow. Sidney Rice will be back, and hopefully healthy. This should be huge in the passing game that struggled much of the year. It is mildly concerning that the passing game was actually better with Rice out, but this is likely more of a result of a more conservative offensive attack that was centered around Marshawn Lynch. However, with a better QB, Rice can be better utilized. Doug Baldwin had a great rookie season, especially for an undrafted free agent. He had 51 catches for 788 yards and 4 TDs, and could see a huge role next year. Of course Mike Williams struggled this year, and then went on the IR midway through the season. I have a hard time seeing him retained, especially with the emergence of Baldwin. There is also Obomanu, who could work well as a 3rd receiver and Golden Tate who has disappointed in the early stages of his career.
The biggest aspect of this offseason will certainly be the biggest issue for Seattle fans, or at least I hope so. Jackson wasn’t awful this year, but with the talent on defense and Marshawn Lynch emerging as a great RB, the only position holding them back has to be QB. The defense ranked in the top half of the league in both rushing and passing, and have a ton of promising young players in Chancellor, Thomas, Browner, among other. Now with the 12th pick in the draft, the elite QBs aren’t likely to be available, but both the top two picks may be looking to trade back. I doubt the Colts give up the pick for Andrew Luck, but the Rams don’t have much of a need for Robert Griffin III. St. Louis may be hard pressed to trade to a division rival however. If they want to take a QB where they are currently slotted, they make look at Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill or possibly Landry Jones out of Oklahoma, depending on if he decides to enter the draft. There is a long time between now and April, so there will be some updates on what Seattle is thinking from now until and then.
They could also go the free agency route, where there will be a few interesting names. The biggest is likely Matt Flynn, the Packers backup QB. He exploded last week against Detroit for over 500 yards and 6 TD’s. Obviously this is a small sample size, with his one other career start last year against the Patriots. He is a solid option who did look impressive, but I have a feeling someone is going to overpay for a guy with just two career starts. Backup QB’s sometimes turnout great for other teams, look at Drew Brees (who was actually a starter most of his time in San Diego), Matt Schaub, and to an extent Ryan Fitzpatrick. But you don’t have to look too far back to see where it didn’t really work out, at least not yet. The Cardinals gave up a first round pick and former first round pick Rodgers-Cromartie for Kevin Kolb just last offseason. He then was was signed to a huge contract, despite starting just a handful of games in his career. He had an injury plagued season, but was also very ineffective when playing. It is probably too early to consider him a complete bust of a trade, but I doubt they make the trade in hindsight. Other options will likely include Jason Campbell, Vince Young, Kyle Orton, and some others, but it is hard to say if any of these options are better than Jackson.