Despite their nearly annual presence in playoff games each January, the Seahawks have been unable to advance to the NFC Championship round or Super Bowl since their back-to-back Super Bowl appearances in 2013 and 2014.
Seattle has bowed out of the playoffs in the Divisional Round three times (2015, 2016, 2019) and suffered a first-round loss a year ago to the Dallas Cowboys as hopeful campaigns have fallen short of their intended goal. Quarterback Russell Wilson said Monday following another Divisional Round exit that the Seahawks have to find a way beyond the second weekend of the playoffs.
“A lot of people think that we overachieved. I think we underachieved, in my opinion, because I think the goal should be always winning the Super Bowl. That’s got to be our standard. That’s got to be our focus,” Wilson said.
“The reality is that we’ve been very, very good for the past eight years or so, and to go to the playoffs seven of the eight, and to do all those things are special, special things, to go to two Super Bowls, to win one. We’ve got to capture that throughout the whole entire season going into next year. We’ve got to find ways to get better. We’ve got to find ways to get past just the first or second round of the playoffs and get to the final push. That’s the reality. I know that’s why I play the game. I know that’s why a lot of guys in this locker room try to play the game (is) for that. We’ve got to find ways to get better and we’ll try to do everything we can to figure that out.”
The Seahawks have fallen behind by significant margins in each of their three most recent Divisional Round playoff losses. They trailed 31-7 against the Carolina Panthers in 2015 early in the third quarter before rallying back in a 31-24 loss. Against the Atlanta Falcons the next year, Seattle would end up in a 26-10 hole into the third quarter before losing 36-20 and they faced a 28-10 deficit midway through the third quarter on Sunday night before being unable to complete a go-ahead drive with five minutes remaining.
This Seattle team probably did end up with more victories than expected given a point-differential of just plus-7 for the regular season. Many key late-season injuries left Seattle short-handed, especially at running back. The Seahawks have managed to earn consecutive playoff berths while undergoing a reset with the roster post-Legion of Boom. However, Wilson clearly wants his team to find a way to get back over the hump and have another shot at a Super Bowl.
“To be the best in the world, you’ve got to do all the necessary things to get there. I think that we have a lot of those things and we need a few more things here and there to get that done,” Wilson said. “I think that’s just the reality. It’s a good one to be in because we’re not far off, but it’s also not a good one to be in because we’re sitting here today and I don’t want to be sitting here today anymore.”