Following a 38-30 win over the Cardinals at State Farm Stadium, the Seahawks have officially transitioned into offseason mode after a disappointing 7-10 campaign.
While the franchise didn't live up to lofty expectations coming off of an NFC West title and a 12-win season in 2020, several players still starred in all three phases for Seattle. Over the next two weeks, the Seahawk Maven writing staff will be naming their selections for end of season awards, including most valuable player, most improved, and many more.
Nearing the conclusion of our postseason awards, which special teams highlight stood out as Seattle's best in 2021? Our panel makes their picks:
Nick Bellore obliterates Chester Rogers in kick coverage against the Titans in Week 2
Corbin Smith: A special teams tackle doesn't normally merit consideration above an onside kick returned for a touchdown or a 73-yard fake punt for a touchdown as Travis Homer managed to accomplish this year. Or even a rare double punt like Michael Dickson orchestrated. All of those were special plays in the third phase of the game for Seattle. But Bellore's hit stick in kick coverage in the home opener deserves strong consideration for tackle of the year in the NFL - it was that good. Even with fans back in the stadium, when Bellore blew up the ball carrier on this particular play, the thud from his shoulder pads thumping Rogers into oblivion could easily be heard in the press box and if you watched closely, you could see the returner's soul slowly vacate his body. Okay, it wasn't that extreme, but it was as memorable of a special teams tackle as you'll find and drew plenty of oos and awes from the crowd.
Travis Homer puts himself in rare company by returning onside kick for touchdown in Halloween blowout of Jaguars
Ty Dane Gonzalez: There were many spectacular plays made by Larry Izzo's unit in 2021, but one in particular goes above and beyond the rest in my mind. Towards the end of a blowout victory over the Jaguars in Week 8, Travis Homer executed one of the rarest touchdowns you'll ever see recorded in a professional football game. Seattle's shutout bid had just been denied with a 16-play, garbage-time touchdown drive by Jacksonville, setting up an onside kick attempt with a minute and 49 seconds left on the game clock. Instead of simply sitting on the ball to seal a 24-7 victory for the Seahawks, Homer scooped up the recovery, bounced off a tackle and sprinted to the south end zone for just the 10th touchdown returned on an onside kick since 1994. With frustrations mounting up following the crushing Week 5 injury to quarterback Russell Wilson, Homer's Halloween trick served as a cathartic moment for the team before it headed into a much-needed bye week.
Travis Homer races 73 yards on a fake punt for a touchdown in win vs. 49ers
Nick Lee: Seattle's offense had been scuffling for the better part of two months with or without Russell Wilson and after opening with what looked to be another three-and-out possession, Homer decided to take matters into his own hands. With the Niners giving him a perfect defensive look to run a fake against, he took the snap from his upback position, sprinted off the edge without any contain defenders in his midst, and then followed a late block by Nick Bellore to pay dirt. This couldn't have been better executed and helped spring the Seahawks into life offensively.
Rishi Rastogi: There truly is nothing more satisfying than seeing a trick play run to perfection in the NFL, given how aware opposing teams are nowadays. Pete Carroll and special teams coordinator Larry Izzo got deep in their bag of tricks for this fake punt, allowing Homer to call his own number if given the correct defensive look, setting him up for an easy stroll as he exploded through the 49ers defense untouched 73 yards to give the Seahawks an early 7-0 lead against their rivals.
Michael Dickson pulls off a magnificent double punt vs. Rams in Week 5
Colby Patnode: The difficulty of picking just one special team play this year was harder than you may think. The double punt was so random and weird that it's easy to forget many of the other big plays the team's unit came up with. The 73-yard fake punt TD by Travis Homer deserves recognition, as does the blocked PAT returned for a safety by Rasheem Green against Washington. Any countless number of Nick Bellore hits have merit as well, as does the Cody Thompson's fumble/blocked punt recovery in Week 18 against the Cardinals. Seattle had a special year on special teams. It's a shame they couldn't take advantage of it, but in this instance, I can't overlook the awareness and execution by Dickson punting a second time after having his first one blocked and pinning the Rams deep in their own territory.