The Seahawks failed on offense too often and fell apart on defense. But kick returner Godwin Igwebuike did all he could to win the game.
It’s not exactly a secret that the Seahawks came up short on the offensive side of the ball too often versus the Panthers. And while the defense did make one excellent goal-line stand, that series of downs was one of the few times Clint Hurtt’s unit looked like they belonged on the field. After a game like that, it isn’t exactly easy to come up with an MVP.
That’s not to say there weren’t a few candidates among the Seahawks. Despite the loss, we saw some outstanding performances. Marquise Goodwin had the best game so far with the Hawks. He pulled in five of his six targets and led Seattle with 95 yards receiving. True, his touchdown came in garbage time, but in many respects, he had the best day of all of the Hawks wideouts.
Seahawks might never have scored without Godwin Igwebuike
That is, he would have had the best day if it weren’t for the efforts of Tyler Lockett. He continued his patented brilliance along the sidelines and in the endzone. I doubt there has been anyone with the body control of Lockett since Mikhail Baryshnikov. Lockett made it six straight games with a touchdown catch Sunday to set a Seahawks record. Oh, and he’s also the top-ranked WR in the league, according to ESPN Analytics. As if the 12s haven’t been screaming that for years, right?
Still, I have to recognize the brilliance of a man who only had three plays show up in the stat sheet. Godwin Igwebuike is hardly a household name. He’s bounced around the league since 2018 and was only activated off the Seahawks practice squad for this game. He was only on the field for 14 snaps, and only touched the ball three times, all on kickoff returns. But man oh man! Did he ever make the most of those opportunities?
On his first return, he picked up 19 yards. Nothing spectacular there, but it did give the Seahawks the best starting field position they’d seen all game. Starting at their 33, Seattle was finally able to move the ball and got on the scoreboard, after falling behind 17-0. Igewbuike was just getting warmed up, though.
After the Panthers moved ahead 20-7, Godwin Igwebuike took the kickoff 50 yards to set the Hawks up at the Carolina 46-yard line. With just 2:01 left in the half, he put his team in position to drive down the field and score on a Smith to Metcalf pass with just 20 seconds on the clock. Without that spectacular return, I don’t see the Hawks even sniffing the end zone the way things had been going, not with that little time.
And he still wasn’t done. Igwebuike took the opening kick of the second half 35 yards to give Seattle the ball at their own 40. While the drive stalled, Jason Myers did kick his 24th field goal in 25 tries. The only drive that the Hawks scored on without an Igwebuike return to set them up was the final scoring drive with the Panthers playing the softest defense this side of the Maginot line. Or perhaps Seattle’s own.
Unfortunately, the defense made too many mistakes, and for the first time this season, so did Geno Smith. But without the guy that was just brought up from the practice squad, the Hawks might not have scored until that final drive. That’s why my MVP for this week couldn’t be anyone else but Godwin Igwebuike.