SEATTLE – It was a fitting end to a wild, entertaining, and ultimately disappointing season.
Blair Walsh missed a 48-yard field goal with a minute left that might well have given Seattle a victory, and the Seahawks fell to the Arizona Cardinals, 26-24, at CenturyLink Field and ushered in an offseason of uncertainty.
The Seahawks’ postseason fate had been sealed several minutes earlier by the Falcons’ 22-10 victory over the Panthers, meaning Atlanta gets the NFC’s final wild card spot and the Seahawks will go home early to enjoy their familes for the first time since the end of the 2011 season.
It was vintage 2017 for the Seahawks. Timely takeaways. Infuriating penalties. Spectacular plays when it mattered from Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin. No real running game to speak of. Big highs and big lows on special teams.
"This game today was almost a microcosm of the season," Carroll said in his postgame press conference. "The slow starts, getting in our own way, making it hard on us at times when it wasn’t about the opponent – it was about us."
And at the end, their seventh loss of the season.
It was a weird end to a weird day that began with speculation from FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer that Carroll might retire, which was followed almost immediately by Carroll saying he had no intention of doing so. After the game, it got even more complicated as Michael Bennett said he didn't think he'd be back with the Seahawks next year, and Earl Thomas expressed uncertainty about his own future. Offensive line coach Tom Cable's future is up in the air as well, as he's reportedly in the running for the Colts' open head coaching job.
Carroll will have his work cut out for him, and it will start with one simple question: Was this a successful season?
On the one hand, no. The Seahawks define success with Super Bowls. And they traded away multiple high draft picks to bring in Sheldon Richardson and Duane Brown with the thought they could make another run this year.
On the other, Seattle had yet another winning season and were still in playoff contention in the final minutes of its final game of the season, and did all that despite a slew of injuries on the defensive side of the ball.
Wilson wrapped up one of his best seasons as the NFL’s leader in touchdown passes with 34. Sunday’s line was somewhat typical: Wilson completed 18 of 29 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions, and carried the ball five times for 36 yards.
Doug Baldwin fell just short of another 1,000 yard season but looked great doing it, catching four passes for 90 yards and two touchdowns. Tyler Lockett had three catches for 25 yards, and also had a riveting 99-yard kickoff return to give the Seahawks their first touchdown of the game in the first quarter.
The NFL draft begins April 26 in Arlington, Texas. Assuming they stand pat, the Seahawks will have the No. 18 overall pick in the first round.