By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- The "Legion Of Boom" broke up years ago, but the idea of the Seahawks as a perennial contender with Pete Carroll, Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner remained intact -- for the most part -- over the last several seasons.
That illusion is now no more, after the Seahawks put forth one of the most miserable Monday night efforts possible in Washington, in a game that ended -- appropriately -- with a goal-line interception thrown by Russell Wilson.
It was, of course, a Russell Wilson goal-line interception that stopped the Seahawks from establishing a legitimate dynasty seven years ago, when the then-unknown Malcolm Butler came out of nowhere to pick off what would have been the Super Bowl-winning touchdown from Wilson.
Had the Seahawks done quite literally anything other than that, they would've won back-to-back Super Bowls, which hadn't been done by anybody in a decade and hasn't been done since. They would've had the makings of a dynasty, with a perfect combination of a nasty defense, a budding young superstar quarterback, an overwhelming running game, a head coach with the ideal personality for the locker room, and the best home-field advantage in the league.
With two straight Super Bowls in the bag -- won against Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, no less -- there would have been no telling how successful the Seahawks' run could have been.
Alas, Wilson's goal-line pick shattered that fantasy.
And since the Butler pick, the Seahawks have won just three playoff games. One was against the Lions, which is hardly an accomplishment. One came via a missed 27-yard field goal by Blair Walsh in Minnesota. The third came over a mediocre Eagles team that made the playoffs by default as the NFC East winner.
When facing actual playoff teams in the playoffs, the Seahawks lost to the Rams (2020), Packers (2019), Cowboys (2018), Falcons (2016), and Panthers (2015).
They won't get the chance to lose a playoff game this year, though, after they dropped to 3-8 with a moderately embarrassing 17-15 loss in Washington on Monday night.
After a three-and-out on their opening possession, Seattle went ona six-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to take a 7-3 lead late in the first quarter.
After that ... here's how the next eight drives went for the Seahawks:
--Four plays, 22 yards, PUNT
--Two plays, 52 yards, FUMBLE
--Three plays, 9 yards, PUNT
--Three plays, 5 yards, PUNT
--Three plays, 7 yards, PUNT
--Three plays, 6 yards, PUNT
--Three plays, -3 yards, PUNT
--Five plays, 16 yards, PUNT
Against one of the league's very worst passing defenses, that was just dreadful. Seattle's only points scored in a 44-minute stretch came on a blocked PAT returned for two points.
But Seattle did rise from their slumber for an exciting and successful drive in the final minutes of the game, with Wilson stepping up and finding a wide-open Freddie Swain for a touchdown with just seconds remaining on the clock.
Now trailing by two (because the Washington kicker coincidentally got injured while pursuing that blocked PAT return, thus forcing Washington to go for two after its own touchdown in the second half), the Seahawks obviously had to try a two-point conversion for the first time all season.
They opted to go with a pass. It ended poorly, but in familiar fashion for Wilson.
In this instance, the interception didn't really matter. It doesn't count against Wilson in the stat sheet, as it came on a conversion attempt. An incompletion would have accomplished the same result for Washington.
But in terms of providing some good symmetry to the Seahawks' crumbling existence as contenders, a pick thrown by Wilson on a goal-line play is about as perfect as it gets.
(The Seahawks did recover the ensuing onside kick, but rather brutally they were penalized for an illegal formation, as one player who had nothing to do with the recovery lined up inside the opposite hash marks as opposed to outside the opposite hash marks. That's unfortunate, yes, as onside recoveries are incredibly rare these days. But it also reflects coaching.)
Carroll was a bit perplexed after the loss. He didn't know why Wilson's accuracy was so bad in the game, compared to practice. He didn't know why his kickoff team failed to line up properly, which cost his team one last-ditch shot at winning the game. He said Tyler Lockett might've been held on the failed two-point convesion. He had no explanation for D.K. Metcalf getting no looks for the bulk of the game.
The loss dropped the Seahawks to 3-8 on the season. They're in last place in the NFC West, and they have the second-worst record in the NFC, better only than the winless Lions. Aside from Detroit, only Houston and Jacksonville have worse records than the Seahawks in the entire NFL.
What's worse: The Seahawks don't even own their first-round pick in the 2022 draft. They traded that pick along with a first- and third-round pick in the 2021 draft, to the Jets in exchange for Jamal Adams. The idea behind that trade was likely that the addition of Adams could lift the Seahawks to an elite level. Instead, in a flash, they've faded into football obscurity.
The road to the bottom of the league was a long and winding one. But it began with a goal-line interception, and it was accentuated in the same fashion.
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