The only person even close to deserving being named offensive MVP is the only person besides Jon Ryan who merited Pro Bowl consideration. That person is Leon Washington.
Riley is like a brother to me, but I thought he was way off base with his choice of Matt Hasselbeck. The offense this past season was the worst it may have ever been with Hasselbeck under center. He must bear a good portion of the responsibility for that.
Hasselbeck did have some very good games, notably the regular season wins at Chicago and Arizona and both games against New Orleans. However, when I think of Hasselbeck’s play last season, the first thing that comes to mind is the third quarter meltdown against Atlanta. Then there was the horrendous showing at San Francisco, as well as at Denver and St. Louis. I cannot ignore the decline in quality and consistency of performance.
Mike Williams had a good season, but too many drops eliminates him in my eyes. Marshawn Lynch ran with extraordinary effort and determination, but the abysmal run blocking by the offensive line was too much to overcome. Some of Lynch’s best runs barely made it back to the original line of scrimmage.
Only Washington was a consistent threat during every game. That doesn’t mean he was mistake-free. He had a costly fumble against the New York Giants on a kickoff return. However, he made a number of stellar returns throughout the season. His numbers would have been even more impressive had he returned punts during the first six games of the season. Golden Tate began the season as the main punt returner and started well before making some errors in judgment which led to his being replaced by Washington.
Washington won the game against San Diego almost entirely by himself. The quality of his returns often gave the offense excellent field position, which makes the ineptitude of that unit even more frustrating. In the playoff win against New Orleans, Saints Coach Sean Payton’s refusal to kick the ball deep to Washington gave Seattle great field position that helped overcome an early deficit.
The Seahawks’ return game has been excellent for the past few seasons. Nate Burleson and Josh Wilson were both outstanding, but Washington elevated the return game to a whole new level. If not for Chicago’s Devin Hester, Washington would have earned a Pro Bowl selection.
It’s amazing that Seattle made the playoffs last season with my offensive and defensive MVPs being the kick returner and the punter. Kudos to Leon Washington and Jon Ryan, but I hope neither ever comes close to earning those honors ever again. For Washington, I mean solely as a return specialist, not as a running back.