JOHN CLAYTON

Clayton’s regular-season Seahawks awards: Russell Wilson gets MVP

Jan 4, 2017, 10:53 AM | Updated: 10:55 am
Russell Wilson didn't match his career year of 2015, but he made every start despite two serious in...
Russell Wilson didn't match his career year of 2015, but he made every start despite two serious injuries. (AP)
(AP)

Though the Seahawks might not have found their true offensive identity during the season, they still finished with a 10-5-1 record and the NFC’s No. 3 seed. They didn’t play at the top level they usually reach in December, but they are still in a great spot. If the Seahawks beat Detroit in Saturday’s wild-card game, they would head to Atlanta and face the Falcons in the divisional round.

While the common assumption is that the Seahawks might need to win two road games to get to the Super Bowl, it’s not out of the question for the winner of the Giants-Packers wild-card game to pull off an upset in Dallas against the Cowboys. That could give the Seahawks the chance to host the NFC Championship game if they beat Atlanta.

Preparations for Saturday’s wild-card game at CenturyLink Field got underway Tuesday.

In the meantime, let’s look at some the regular-season awards for the team:

Most Valuable Player: QB Russell Wilson. This is a no-brainer. Despite starting the season with a high-ankle sprain and then suffering an MCL knee injury, Wilson made every start and just about every practice. He showed incredible leadership. He passed for 4,219 yard and 21 touchdowns. In the playoffs, the Seahawks will go as far as Wilson takes them.

Comeback Player: C Justin Britt. He bounced from right tackle to left guard to center and ended up being a Pro Bowl alternate and the leader of Seattle’s offensive line. Britt has been dominating at times.

Most Improved Player: DE Cliff Avril. Avril had a career year with 11.5 sacks and applied constant pressure on quarterbacks.

Breakout Player: DE Frank Clark. Everyone predicted Clark would have a breakout season. He did. He had 10 sacks and filled in nicely as a starter when Michael Bennett was out with a knee injury. Clark is a rising star.

Best Minor Signing: FB Marcel Reece. The Seahawks made a late-season steal when they picked up Reece. He’s not only a good blocker, but he can run the ball and he’s very effective in the passing game. The team should try to sign him to a contract extension.

Survival Award: CBs DeShawn Shead and Jeremy Lane. Both held up well at the cornerback this year. Shead had 52 completions on 86 attempts for 692 yards and only two touchdowns. Lane had only 35 completions on 55 attempts for 481 yards and three touchdowns.

Top Corner Award: Richard Sherman. Sherman often doesn’t get a lot of action his way when he isn’t trailing a top receiver. For the year, Sherman had only 37 completions on him on 79 attempts for 564 yards and three touchdowns.

Tough Loss: WR/KR Tyler Lockett. He gutted out an early-season PCL knee injury and had his version of a breakout season. He resumed being on the best returners in the game. Before breaking his leg, he moved ahead of Jermaine Kearse as the team’s No. 2 wide receiver.

Overachiever Award: WR Doug  Baldwin. Baldwin continues to advance into being on the top receivers in the NFC. He caught 94 passes for 1,128 yards and continues to baffle defenders trying cover him in the middle of the field.

Patience Award: DE Michael Bennett. For two years, Bennett was waiting for the Seahawks to update a contract that was outdated. He far exceeded his four-year, $28.5 million deal by becoming one of the best defensive players in the league. He waited until the Friday before the regular-season finale to sign a three-year, $31.5 million extension.

Want more John Clayton? Listen on-demand to his weekday and Saturday shows as well as his “Cold Hard Facts” and “Clayton’s Morning Drive” segments on 710 ESPN Seattle. Also, check out his all-new “Schooled” podcast and look for his columns twice a week on 710Sports.com.

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