The Seattle Seahawks are 8-8 heading into the final week of the season. They are still alive in the playoff race. Very few expected them to make it as far as they have — many national pundits even had them scrapping for the first overall pick this season.
And, of course, thanks to what must be one of the most disappointing seasons in NFL history by way of the Denver Broncos, the Seahawks will still pick in the top 5 this coming April. But whoever the Seahawks bring in with that pick will undoubtedly have some stiffer competition than anticipated. Credit to Pete Carroll and John Schneider once again for piecing together a team that’s overcome a slew of injuries to key players and has still managed to remain competitive amidst all the “next man up” they’ve been forced to deal with.
Before I dig into some of the names and games I’ve become much more familiar with over the course of the season, though, I want to set a few ground rules for this musing:
Several Seahawks exceeded expectations in 2022
First off, I will not include Geno Smith in this particular list. Incredible as he’s been, I’ve already made mention of him in probably every article I’ve written this season. One deep playoff run from his team, and he’ll likely cement himself as this generation’s Rich Gannon.
But he is only one part of what has made this beaten, tattered roster a playoff contender. There are plenty of other names that have gone unnoticed and underappreciated for their contributions this season — names that deserve to be remembered in some regard.
Secondly, I will put most of the focus on players who were not expected to contribute significantly to the first team, with one notable exception I probably owe an apology. The premise of this article is not simply to give shout-outs to the guys whose names don’t get brought up on a national level; it is to pay tribute to those who contributed to the team’s success in ways and positions which were not expected of them.
For example, Kenneth Walker was technically not a starter to kick off the season, but received meaningful snaps almost right out of the gate and was expected to be a potential day-one weapon for Seattle as a second-round halfback. So, even though his contributions are technically from a position of injury, by my arbitrary standards, he does not qualify for this list.
Those qualifications out of the way, who stands out as the Seahawks’ Cinderella men, who were counted out and punched above their perceived weight anyways?