It’s happened just about every playoff season the Seahawks have had — except the only one that ended with a win, in the Super Bowl.
A player explodes in the locker room at a member of the media minutes after his season just ended. It’s understandable. Not appropriate or commendable, but understandable. This is a sport where emotion, testosterone and sacrifice are expended so in such a raw and extensive way, where players absolutely put their long-term health at risk to win.
It happened again Saturday night at the Georgia Dome.
Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett berated a Seattle television reporter at his locker for asking questions after the Seahawks’ season ended in the divisional playoffs with a 36-20 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
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Asked why he and the Seahawks were not able to get “a lot of pressure” on Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who completed 26 of 37 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns , Bennett erupted much as he did last January following the playoff loss at Carolina.
“We got a lot of pressure. He threw the ball really fast (unintelligible),” Bennett began. “Obviously, you don’t know football, so there was some (expletive) that happened. He threw the ball pretty fast. He did his thing. We rushed as good as we could.”
The Seahawks did get to Ryan for three sacks, hitting him eight times in 39 dropbacks
“Don’t point a finger that we didn’t do anything. We did. (Unintelligible)! Don’t do that! Get out of my face, now!” he yelled at the TV reporter. “Don’t tell me I didn’t do my job, (expletive). Get the (expletive) out of my face! … Like I said, get out of my face! Don’t play with me! Don’t play with me! I just put my heart on the (expletive) field, don’t (expletive) play with me! Get the (expletive) out of my face, then. Try me again and see what happens. ... I played as hard as we could. We (expletive) lost the game.
“Whatch you do? Whatch you do with your life, (expletive)?”
Bennett, who made the Pro Bowl for the second consecutive season despite missing five games because of arthroscopic knee surgery in November, was his usual, fiery self on the field, too. He finished with one sack, one hit on Ryan, two tackles for losses and three tackles in all.
At one point, he was jawing at Falcons and officials following a third-down stop.
Coach Pete Carroll said Bennett “got tackled or something” and “nicked” but that all was fine with the star.
The Seahawks gave Bennett a three-year contract extension last month worth up to $31.5 million with $17.5 million guaranteed.
IFEDI GOES OUT EARLY
Germain Ifedi got a high-ankle sprain in the first half. He was on the sidelines testing his left leg when rookie replacement Rees Odhiambo stepped on Russell Wilson’s foot tripping the quarterback into the end zone for a safety.
Ifedi, the Seahawks’ top rookie draft choice last spring, hobbled back into the game for a short time in the second quarter, then left again. Odhiambo, the rookie third-round pick mothballed for much of the regular season, finished the game for him.
Atlanta defensive end Brooks Reed stormed free past him inside right tackle Garry Gilliam for a sack of Wilson while Odhiambo doubled teamed with center Justin Britt.
“Offensive line is about chemistry and continuity. Having a person that you have been playing next to all year out, it is just a little bit (impacting),” Gilliam said. “Obviously, little things here and there (go wrong), but you have to expect that with someone who hasn’t played in a while.”
PROSISE OUT AGAIN
C.J. Prosise was inactive for the Seahawks’ divisional-playoff game at Atlanta.
The team made that designation 90 minutes before kickoff.
The rookie running back and third-down pass catcher spent the Seahawks’ early pregame drills Saturday on the field with teammates running routes and catching passes, doing rapid-fire high steps to get his legs loose.
He was a full participant in Thursday’s practice and practiced all this week for the first time since he broke his scapula during the win over Philadelphia on Nov. 20.
Carroll said Prosise was close to playing but did not have the strength his needed in his shoulder.
The Seahawks used rookie Alex Collins as their third-down backs behind lead runner Thomas Rawls.
Defensive tackle John Jenkins was inactive one weekend after getting snaps on the defensive line in the first quarter of Seattle’s wild-card playoff win over Detroit. That was because Tony McDaniel missed the game with a concussion. McDaniel was back from that and played Saturday.
The rest of the Seahawks’ inactives Saturday were all healthy scratches and deep reserves: rookie tight end Nick Vannett, linebacker Ronald Powell, running back Terrence Magee, wide receiver Kasen Williams.
GOING INTO THE OFFSEASON
The Seahawks currently have 41 players under contract for 2017, and $35M in cap space according to overthecap.com.
Tight end Jimmy Graham will be entering the final year of his contract with a hefty salary-cap charge of $10 million scheduled for 2017. Strong safety Kam Chancellor’s cap number next year is currently scheduled to be just over $8,125,000, the final year of his deal. The team could seek to renegotiate either or both of those salaries.
No. 2 tight end Luke Willson’s contact ended Saturday. So did starting cornerback DeShawn Shead’s, late-season fullback addition Marcel Reece’s plus Kelcie McCray’s. McCray has been Chancellor’s backup.
Mike Morgan is due to be a free agent this spring. The sixth-year veteran linebacker and special-teams mainstay has been with Seahawks coach Pete Carroll since Carroll recruited him to USC.