3 Key Moments: Third down defense and a drop end Seahawks’ season
The Seahawks’ season ended in brutal fashion after another sluggish start and a performance where the defense could not get off the field on third down.
The Green Bay Packers advance to the NFC Championship game while Seattle is done for the season after another road loss in the divisional round, this time a 28-23 heartbreaker after the Seahawks came clawing back after falling behind 21-3 at the half.
As we do with every Seahawks loss, let’s take a look at three moments that were especially important in Seattle’s season ending in Green Bay.
Malik Turner’s late drop
The Seahawks had a chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter after sacking quarterback Aaron Rodgers on third down and forcing a punt, but they ended up having to punt the ball back to the Packers.
With the Packers ahead 28-23, the Seahawks gave the ball to their star quarterback, Russell Wilson, who had been having a stellar second half. After a 14-yard gain to Tyler Lockett, Wilson threw to receiver Malik Turner, who was wide open in the middle of the field. A catch would have given the Seahawks a first down around the 50-yard line, but Turner just flat out dropped the pass.
The next play went for 5 yards and then on third down, Wilson was sacked for a 6-yard loss and the Seahawks had to punt.
That was the last time the Seahawks would have the ball, as they would be unable to stop the Packers on their final offensive drive.
Davante Adams cooks Ugo Amadi
Adams was a force all game, compiling 160 yards and two touchdowns. He was really Rodgers’ one reliable target all season, and that was on full display Sunday night.
Adams was torching Seattle’s secondary all game, and with 2:19 to go and needing a third-and-8 conversion to avoid giving the ball back to the hot-handed Wilson, Rodgers looked to his No. 1 target and was rewarded with a 32-yard gain.
— NFL (@NFL) January 13, 2020
Adams was lined up in the slot opposite Ugo Amadi, a rookie from Oregon. Adams had an excellent release off the line and Amadi, who is four inches shorter than Adams, was trailing him the whole way. Rodgers threw it right on the money for the completion.
It was a big blow as the Seattle defense had stuffed a run on first down and then forced an incompletion to stop the clock again to force the third-and-long.
It was a microcosm of Seattle’s defensive struggles, as Adams beat them again, and they were unable to get off the field on third down. Green Bay converted 9 of 14 third-down chances.
Jimmy Graham on third down
Bob, Dave and Moore’s Jim Moore warned us all about the potential of a Jimmy Graham “revenge game,” and he was right. The former Seattle tight end had three catches, all on third down, with none bigger than his final catch with 1:48 left in the game.
Graham’s first two catches were followed up by Adams’ two touchdown receptions, but his last catch on third-and-9 ended Seattle’s season.
He ran across the middle of the field with safety Lano Hill in pursuit after Graham made the snag, and Graham got just enough for a first down, which put the game on ice.
From some angles, it looked like Graham was just short of the first down, but after a review, he was awarded the first down and the Packers then just had to take three kneel downs to run out the clock and advance.
The Seahawks end the season with a combined record of 12-6.
The season will be known for a lot of late comebacks and one-score wins, as well as battling season-ending injuries to many core players, such as tight end Will Dissly, center Justin Britt and running backs Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny. It also was arguably Wilson’s most impressive season of his career, as he was in the MVP discussion for most of the year.
The Seahawks will head into the offseason in good shape as far as contracts and cap space go and they will likely look to bolster a defense that underperformed as well as an offensive line that was inconsistent and banged up.