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, assistant coach of the year, and many more.
Continuing to hand out postseason hardware, who deserves the honor as Seattle's Special Teams Player of the Year for 2021? Our panel makes their picks:
Ty Dane Gonzalez: In his first official season as special teams coordinator, Larry Izzo had plenty of studs in his unit. For me, the special teamer who stood out the most was Homer - a running back by trade, but a Swiss Army knife who excels in the little things for Seattle. He played 67 percent of the team's special teams snaps in 2021, doing everything from punt protection to kick coverage and so forth. In a Week 8 blowout win over the Jaguars, Homer became just the 10th player since 1994 to return an onside kick attempt for a touchdown. Then, to kick off the Seahawks' Week 13 victory over the 49ers, he took a fake punt the distance for an explosive 73-yard score, and added a fumble recovery to his tally later in the day. Putting the cherry on top of his stellar campaign, Homer recorded a forced fumble of his own after nearly blocking a punt by the Cardinals in the team's season finale, setting up Russell Wilson and company in the red zone for an eventual go-ahead touchdown. While he's struggled in his first three seasons to make a significant impact offensively, the Florida native has found his niche doing the dirty work for Izzo.
Colby Patnode: Remember the epic double punt against the Rams that everyone wondered whether or not it was legal at the time? Need I say more? Dickson was integral to Seattle's ability to keep points off the board defensively, pinning opponents inside their own 20-yard line 42 times, best in the NFL. When it comes to the task of flipping the field, nobody does a better job for his team. Dickson should be an All-Pro every year he's healthy, but for whatever reason, that hasn't been the case now for three straight years. That's as inexplicable as what everyone witnessed on that legendary double punt.
Nick Lee: Dickson was a Pro Bowl and All-Pro snub, plain and simple. The punting wizard led the NFL in punts that were downed inside the opposing 20-yard line. Per TruMedia, he had the second-highest percentage of punts (50.6%) downed inside the 20 as well. And who could forget the world famous double punt against the Rams? He displayed incredible awareness not just picking the ball up after his initial punt was blocked, but bolting outside and then booting the ball again and watching it bounce favorably for the Seahawks. That has to be a candidate for play of the season.
Rishi Rastogi: Continuing to put his Rugby background to good use, Dickson punted an absurd 83 times in the 2021 regular season, and it’s fair to say the team wouldn’t have been as successful without him. Dickson was a key component in allowing the Seahawks to win numerous games in which they were dominated in time of possession and the offense stalled out on frequent drives. His ability to flip the field constantly and pin opponents deep inside their own territory stands head and shoulders above the rest of the field as statistics bear out.
Corbin Smith: Receiving his first All-Pro vote in the process, Bellore continues to shine as one of the premier kick and punt coverage specialists in the NFL. Playing a team-high 318 snaps (68 percent) on special teams, the veteran always seemed to be around the football, consistently delivering bone-jarring hits in open field and finishing third in the NFL with 15 total tackles. He also forced a fumble that was recovered by running back Travis Homer on a kickoff against the 49ers in Week 13. Additionally, he made a pivotal downfield block to help spring Homer earlier in the same game on a 73-yard fake punt touchdown run. On special teams, Bellore is the complete package and his value in the locker room as the team's "class clown" can't be overlooked either.