A look back and a look ahead at the week that was and the week that will be for the Seahawks:
Anatomy of a 17-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday
The collective backbone of the defense. Yes, the Titans’ Chris Johnson got to 2,000 yards for the season. But the Seahawks made him work for it. He averaged 3.7 yards on a career-high 36 carries to get his 134 yards. Johnson was averaging 5.8 yards per carry entering the game. Middle linebacker David Hawthorne again led the charge with eight solo tackles and nine total – giving him a team-leading 116 for the season. It’s the fifth consecutive season the middle linebacker has led the team in tackles, but a first for Hawthorne. Lofa Tatupu, the injured player Hawthorne was replacing, led the team from 2005-08.
Sunday, nine other players got to Johnson on his six runs that produced no gain or minus yardage – linebacker Will Herring (twice), strong safety Deon Grant, defensive end Darryl Tapp, free safety Jordan Babineaux, linebacker Leroy Hill, cornerback Marcus Trufant, defensive end Nick Reed, defensive end Patrick Kerney and defensive end Lawrence Jackson.
“Obviously they’re a great run team and he’s a great running back,” Herring said. “I was proud of the way our guys fought today. But the bottom line is we came out with a loss.”
Jon Ryan’s right leg. It was his hands that dropped the snap that gave the Titans a short field (28 yards) on the drive to Johnson’s game-winning touchdown with 4½ minutes to play. But Ryan finished the season with a club-record 46.2-yard average on 88 punts, and his net of 38.7 tied the franchise record set by Rick Tuten in 1992. Ryan’s 88 punts were the most since Tuten had 91 in 1994, and the fifth-highest total in franchise history behind Tuten (108 in ’92, 90 in ’93 and 91 in ’94) and Jeff West (95 in 1984).
“Jon had an unbelievable year; he helped me have an unbelievable year,” kicker Olindo Mare said of Ryan, who also holds for field goals and PATs. “And he’s so young. I don’t think he’s as good as he knows that he can be yet. Which is good for the Seahawks, because he’ll be here for a while.”
Mare’s right leg. Two more field goals against the Titans, running his club-record streak to 21 in a row. In fact, Mare missed only two kicks all season (24 of 26) and has missed just five field goals in two seasons with the team (48 of 53). He also had 22 touchbacks on kickoffs, fifth-best in the NFL.
Justin Forsett’s full body of work. Another game, another all-around productive outing for the second-year runner/receiver/returner. Forsett ran for 74 yards, and a 7.4-yard average, against the Titans to give him 619 for the season. He also caught two passes, upping his season total to 41. He also returned kickoffs (24.0-yard average) and punts (5.8) this season, and scored five touchdowns. Forsett is the type of role player who can play a significant role as the offense moves forward.
John Carlson’s underused hands. The second-year tight end caught another touchdown pass, giving him four in the last four games and a team-leading seven for the season. Carlson caught 51 passes for 574 yards – just off his rookie totals of 55 for 627 that set the franchise records for the position. Carlson had games where he caught seven and six passes (three times), but also stretches where he caught four passes in four games and seven passes in three games.
The week ahead
For the players, it was a short one. They had their departure physicals this morning, a meeting with coach Jim Mora at 11 a.m. and just finished cleaning out their lockers before heading into the offseason.
The coaches, however, will dive into their postseason analysis. What worked? What didn’t? Who played well? Who didn’t? What parts are needed to avoid a repeat of the 5-11 season that just ended with four consecutive losses?
The search also continues for a general manager, who will have a lot to say about the direction of this team and how the Seahawks will use their draft choices – including the No. 6 and No. 14 picks in the first round, as well as a Top 10 pick in the second round.