Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 1/29/13
Top Hawks To say the Seattle Seahawks had a somewhat surprising season in 2012 would be an understatement. While they did come into the new year with a youthful roster that was built on potential, many believed the Seahawks would be a middle-of-the-pack 7-9, 8-8, or 9-7 team that would see its fair share of highs and lows during the season. And, while Seattle did start off by rollercoastering around in their first months of the season (they were 4-4 halfway through), the Seahawks saved the best for last as they torched the back-half of their schedule, only losing once in their final eight games. The run pushed Seattle into the playoffs where they immediately became the most talked about team in the league behind outstanding rookie quarterback, Russell Wilson. Unfortunately for Seattle, their run at a miracle season would come to a halt earlier than they had hoped when the Atlanta Falcons beat them on a last-second field goal in the Divisional Round of the 2013 NFL Playoffs. The loss came after a game that saw Seattle contain an ailing Robert Griffin III in Washington, further giving hope to a Seattle fan base that has been aching for another appearance in the NFC Championship Game. Russell Wilson leading Marshawn Lynch. (Photo: Mark Gormus/Times-Dispatch) Though that chance will have to wait until next season, there’s no reason to not once again reflect back on an outstanding 2012 campaign that should put the Seahawks in a position to be one of the NFC’s favorites in 2013. Let’s take a look back at the top 5 players that helped the Seattle Seahawks take their play to the next level, it’s surely better than hearing about the “Horrible Harbowl” and the San Francisco 49ers. Russell Wilson This pick is a no brainer. While Wilson did take some time to get going, once the game was put on his shoulders the young rookie did nothing but impress. He helped bring life to an offense that has been lackadaisical in recent seasons and also proved his doubters wrong. Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2012 NFL Draft, many believed “Danger Russ” had the skills, but not the height, to succeed in the NFL. After beating out anticipated starter Matt Flynn in the preseason, Wilson went on to shock the nation and arguably impress more than first-pick Andrew Luck. While Griffin III will likely take home Rookie of the Year Honors, Wilson is currently enjoying Hawaii as he was able to sneak onto the NFL roster with Aaron Rodgers failing a physical and both Griffin III and Matt Ryan going down with injuries. Marshawn Lynch Beast Mode was all that and then some during the 2012 season. The bruising back who has revitalized Seattle’s running game adjusted very well to the new offensive system the Seahawks have adopted under Wilson, letting the rookie take the ball on reads and remembering to place a firm hold on it when needed to. Lynch arguably had the best season of his career, rushing 315 times for 1,509 yards (a 5.0 average) and 11 touchdowns. Though he did fumble four times this year (the most in his seven-year career), this bruiser from Berkeley was phenomenal throughout 2012. Not only did he rush for over 1,500 yards, Lynch did so while rushing for over 100+ yards 10 times this year. If he’s able to duplicate his production in 2013, Seattle should be feeling good throughout the season. Bobby Wagner Who could’ve imagined that the Seahawks would essentially get their next Lofa Tatupu in the 2012 NFL Draft? Well, Pete Carroll probably saw quite the potential in Bobby Wagner, Seattle’s second-round pick out of Utah State. While Seattle’s linebacking corps was not the top unit on the team, Wagner has more than made his case to be the Defensive Rookie of the Year as he had an unbelievable rookie campaign that saw him live up to his potential and then some. The world now knows why Seattle drafted Bobby Wagner. (Photo: Ron Chenoy/US PRESSWIRE) Wagner led the team with 140 tackles while accumulating two sacks and hauling in three interceptions. Richard Sherman (and his mouth) Richard Sherman is one of those players that you love because he is on your team but would absolutely hate if he was not. Known for more than just his skills on the field, Sherman has an innate ability to get inside the heads of other players by talking…and talking…and talking…and talking. You get the point. Sherman is a loudmouth but he is deservedly so. Working his way from Compton to Stanford to the NFL, the converted receiver is an intimidating shutdown corner that is now one of the league’s best. Though part of his season was mired in controversy when he allegedly took banned substances (he was later found innocent), the second-year starter built off of an impressive 2011 campaign and continued to play side-by-side with the NFL’s top receivers. Not only did he come up with more than a few highlight plays on defense, Sherman also gave fans plenty of quotes to muse over and laugh about during the offseason. Earl Thomas The last player to make this 2013 list of players that helped the Seahawks surpass their 2012/213 expectations was Earl Thomas. The flying missile with great hands from the University of Texas continued to show vast improvements as he has built off previous years in the NFL. Thomas, part of the infamous Legion of Boom, helped Seattle’s secondary to be one of the most intimidating in the nation. Using his versatility and speed he played the safety position better than anybody else in the league. Not only did he assist the other members of the secondary in covering receivers, Thomas was also called upon to help jam the box if need be. This young superstar, who still has his best years ahead, was everything and then some. He shot like a bullet right off of the snap and was able to track down any play. No matter where the play would end, you could be sure that Thomas was going to be there. There are plenty of players on Seattle’s roster that could have made this list with the type of season that the Seahawks had. Players like Max Unger, Russell Okung, Michael Robinson, Golden Tate, and Leon Washington all helped the Hawks find a great amount of success this year. More than any other sport, football is a team sport. Without the contributions of everybody on the team, none of the players listed above would have had the seasons they were able to put together. Congratulations on the big year, Seattle, and here’s to plenty more ahead! Go Hawks. CLICK HERE CHECK OUT THE SEAHAWKS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE AT NWSB!
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