After a convincing 42-13 victory over the San Francisco 49ers, the Seattle Seahawks are officially heading to the playoffs. With a chance at winning the NFC West, their season has been a nice surprise over the expected preseason expectation of the 49ers winning the division without worries. While the guidance and leadership of head coach Pete Carroll, there are several other key players who have made this solid season a reality.
QB Russell Wilson
Who knows where this team would be at without the play of Wilson. The third-round pick was expected to be the backup to highly-touted free agent Matt Flynn. Instead, he won the job in training camp and has wowed everyone with his accuracy, mobility and leadership. Despite not having the same hype as Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III coming out of the draft, his excellent play has garnered him attention for Rookie of the Year consideration.
RB Marshawn Lynch
The one constant on offense coming into this season, Lynch is on pace to carry the ball over 300 times this season, an unfathomable mark for most running backs in football today. A workhorse averaging 5.0 yards a carry, he has been dominant in every sense of the right and was particularly needed in the first half of the season during the team’s run-heavy days.
WR Sidney Rice
The top target for Wilson this season, Rice has bounced back nicely after catching just 32 passes in nine games last season. On a team featuring young receivers like Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin, Rice’s presence has helped in Wilson’s growth this season.
LB Bobby Wagner
Another rookie who has made a big impact on the team’s success this season, Wagner has turned out to be an excellent selection in the second round. As the team’s middle linebacker and signal caller, he’s served as a great leader on one of the best defenses in the league, both statistically and literally.
CB Richard Sherman
While the Seahawks feature three other excellent defensive backs in Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas and Brandon Browner for the best secondary in the NFL, Sherman has been the best playmaker of the group. Leading the team with seven interceptions on the season, his play opposite of a Pro Bowl cornerback has been impeccable and helped solidify the team’s defense all season long.
Austin Chang is a Writer for Sports Out West and a San Francisco Bay Area-based sports journalist. His work can also be found on Yahoo! Sports and Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @_austinchang.