The Seattle Seahawks: 2014 Final Report Card
Russell Wilson had another solid season, statistically, but was more game manager-like this year, recording career-lows in touchdowns and interceptions despite throwing the ball around 50 more times. With nearly a 3/1 ratio and a passer rating of 95.0 though, this was still a good year. As always, Wilson did not have to carry the offense, as the team won most games early due to stout defensive play, but when they needed him, he came through.
This year was noticeably bad for the wideouts, with the lead receiver, Doug Baldwin, recording just 66 receptions for 825 yards and three touchdowns while no one else had more than 40 receptions or 600 yards. One can make the argument that Baldwin and fellow receiver Jermaine Kearse came up big when they had to and that they really were not needed to win games, but they had more than their fair share of struggles, most notably in the Super Bowl.
Marshawn Lynch had another outstanding year with 1,673 yards from scrimmage and 17 total touchdowns. Lynch actually recorded more rushing yards and touchdowns this year than he had in 2013 and 2011 despite receiving less carries and he contributed the most he ever had in the passing game, so the beast is not going anywhere soon. Lynch also comes up big in the biggest games, as he topped 100 yards and scored a touchdown against both the Packers and the Patriots in the playoffs.
The Seahawks, a defensive-minded team, did not have the prettiest stats offensively, but they more often than not got the job done. They finished just 27th in passing but finished first in rushing and tenth in points with 24.6 per game.
The Seahawks were coming off of the most dominant season defensively, so expectations for high for them in 2014, and they lived up to it.
It all starts with the front seven, with the likes of Michael Bennett and Bobby Wagner anchoring the middle of the defense. They have talent all throughout which makes them so special; there is not a direction where it is easier to run the ball, especially with Bennett moving around the line. The Seahawks finished third in run defense allowing just 81.5 yards per game and 3.4 yards per carry.
Many teams, like the Ravens, have so much talent up front that they are not able to build the back end of their defense. However, the Seahawks may even be stronger in the secondary than they are in the front seven. Led by arguably the best defensive back in the league and a safety duo unmatched by others, teams found it difficult to both run and pass the ball against them. The Seahawks led the league in pass defense despite often being ahead in games. Opposing quarterbacks threw just 17 touchdowns to 13 picks for a passer rating of 80.4 while averaging just 185.6 yards per game.
The Seahawks seemed to match their 2013 with another strong performance and are only going to get better. Most of their star players are young, which is one of the scariest thoughts for opposing teams to grasp.
Steven Hauschka had a very average season, finishing the season ranked 18th with a field goal percentage of 83.8. Hauschka missed 4-of-13 from 40 yards out of 2-of-4 from 50 or more, so making the long ones is not his forte.
Jon Ryan had a rough year punting, finishing just 26th in net yard average with 38.3, but he did a fine job pinning opponents deep in their own territory, nailing 42% of his punts within the 20.
The Seahawks did not do much in the return game following Percy Harvin's departure. Doug Baldwin and Paul Richardson combined for just four kick returns while Bryan Walters returned just six punts for an average of six yards.
The Seahawks made it to the Super Bowl for the second year in a row, but to lose this time around was a disappointment. However, there is no arguing that the Seahawks are still among the league's best, especially on the defensive side of the ball.