The 2023 NFL season didn't end as planned for the Seattle Seahawks. Despite winning in Arizona, the Green Bay Packers secured the final Wild Card spot after defeating the Chicago Bears, 17-9. Leaving the Seahawks to answer the same questions as last year. How do they fix the inconsistency? What is the answer to the poor rush defense? Do staff members need to get fired? Is Pete's time up?
Of course, there is free agency to discuss and what direction the team can head in the 2024 NFL Draft. But, I would like to focus on the resilience this team displayed. I get the pushback, they only won because Matt Prater missed two field goals. One to extend their lead to 10, and the other to win the game in regulation. But, the point is that this Seahawks team could have just quit when they saw the scoreboard or dealt with the Cardinals PA trolling them by announcing the Green Bay win.
Instead, they continued to play for each other knowing that winning wasn't going to get them in the playoffs. That says something about the testament of this team and resolve in the locker room. It's something to build upon as we enter the off-season. Which, was the message from Tyler Lockett before the game. One of the longest-tenured Seahawks on this roster who is small in size but large in impact.
Game changing play for Seattle Seahawks in Week 18: Lockett it in -- Ol' reliable
Historically, Glendale Arizona is not a place well served for the Seattle Seahawks franchise. They have had a lot of bad moments there, especially under the tenure of Pete Carroll. Of course, there was the Earl Thomas incident, where he suffered a season-ending injury during his contract year, resulting in him flipping off the sideline. Richard Sherman tore his Achilles in Arizona. Kam Chancellor suffered his career-ending injury in Arizona. Russell Wilson played his last game as a Seahawk in Arizona.
Worse of them all, the Seahawks lost to the Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX, hosted by Arizona, in a heartbreaking fashion. However, the one bright spot for the Seahawks when playing the Cardinals on the road has been Tyler Lockett. He has had some monstrous games in what is now referred to as State Farm Stadium. Since 2020, Lockett has scored at least one touchdown in games played in Arizona. Most notably in 2020, despite an overtime loss, Tyler Lockett recorded 15 receptions for 200 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Although he didn't put up those type of numbers in Week 18, he was the hero of the game.
On the 34-yard touchdown pass, it appears as if the Cardinals are in man-to-man on the outside boundaries with some zone responsibility for everyone in the middle. You'll notice D.K. Metcalf is being guarded in man-to-man, but Jaxon Smith-Njigba gets passed off as he clears the middle. Nonetheless, this was a great anticipation throw by Geno Smith. He does enough with his eyes to draw away the single-high safety and drops an absolute dime to Lockett, who catches the pass while being interfered with (even though no flag was thrown).
The two-point conversion was drawn up beautifully by Shane Waldron. Oftentimes, scoring within two yards of the endzone is difficult. Seattle decides to run crossing patterns on a play-action fake. Against man-to-man, the hope is that defenders run into each other and someone breaks wide open. But against zone, which the Cardinals run, the hope is the crossing patterns create confusion, leaving someone open. Between the crossing action of Dissly, Parkinson, and Metcalf, Lockett is able to sneak behind everyone.
With only 1 catch prior to the final drive, Tyler Lockett found a way to leave his imprint on this game, as he often does in clutch moments. Speaking of clutch, with the game-winning drive, Geno Smith became the first player in NFL history to throw 7-go-ahead touchdown passes in the 4th quarter/overtime. He was consistently clutch for this team and delivered regardless of the circumstances. A true leader on and off the field, Geno may have secured his spot under center next season.
As for Tyler Lockett, watching the ending of this game and postgame, I believe he played his last snap as a Seattle Seahawk. It is my belief that he is going to retire this off-season. If I am correct, I would just like to say thank you to Tyler Lockett, who has been as consistent a player as I have watched since he entered this league. Hopefully, he finally gets the notoriety he deserves when he decides to hang up the cleats. If I am wrong and he doesn't retire, I can't wait to see him back next season.