Well, you’ll get no more MVP arguments from me. The game was obviously not as close as the score, although it’s not like Wilson was just piling up yards in garbage time in the second half either. Given what a cap hell shambles the franchise was in when they took over, Rivera and Gettleman have really done a tremendous job, regardless of what happens over the next three weeks. And the importance of how well-prepared Rivera had the Panthers can’t be overstated. In last year’s conference final, Wilson was terrible for 3+ quarters, and yet McCarthy’s idiotic tactics kept Seattle hanging around long enough to pull it out. The Panthers got out to a lead that Carroll’s typically good half-time adjustments couldn’t surmount. (To modify a point made by a commenter, this is the third postseason in 4 in which the Seahawks have been completely steamrollered in first half, and the three valiant comebacks have only produced one win. This is obviously something that needs to be addressed going forward.) And, yes, I can at least take consolation in the number of anti-Cam Newton hot takes that have been pre-empted. YOU’RE WELCOME AMERICA!
A final point as we close the book on the Seattle season. The Seahawks made two big trades in the offseason. The first one looked really bad on paper, effectively trading the 95th, 112th, 167th, and 181st picks for Tyler Lockett. It must be said, however, that this trade looks really good — Lockett was as-advertised as a special teams weapon and was surprisingly effective as a wideout for a team that really needed depth at the position. You can argue bout the extent to which Schneider and Carroll were lucky or smart, but I think they’ve earned the presumption that it’s a fair measure of the latter.
On the other hand, there’s the decision to trade Max Unger and the equivalent of the 65th pick for Jimmy Graham. I didn’t love the trade at the time — I was concerned about Graham, who showed serious signs of decline at age 28, particularly given his cap hit, and the emphasis on getting a “Red zone weapon” specifically felt like overpaying to exculpate Bevell for his indefensible Super Bowl-losing play call — but I certainly understood the logic: Unger is about to get expensive, so it represented the chance to get a desperately needed top-grade weapon without surrendering a huge amount in return. It was a reasonable gamble, but it really didn’t work. Graham was nothing special before being injured, and the offensive line was a shambles that really could have used Unger, who started 16 games for the Saints, as well as the potential that Schneider could have spotted an offensive line talent with the lost pick. Anyway, hopefully this game was a wakeup call: I’m sure Cable is a good o-line coach, but he’s not a wizard who can make a competent offensive line out of anything they give him. The Seattle window is far from closed, but if they don’t improve the line significantly it will keep getting slammed on their fingers, as I’m sure Schneider well knows.