Otto Greule Jr / Stringer

Boy, what a half-assed finish to the Seahawks regular season that 27-24 win over the Arizona Cardinals was. The Cardinals, who are straight up trash in a way that only an entity from Arizona can be, played really badly, but the Seahawks matched them with a sophisticated array of blunders and miscues.

But let’s not focus on those for right now. Ethan Pocic kinda sucks, and the Seahawks special teams let down Michael Dickson in a huge way on Sunday. Whatever. The Seahawks won and are in the playoffs and those problems likely won’t persist into the playoffs. What will persist? This really fun football team.

My take? This was the most fun Seahawks team of the Russell Wilson era. His rookie year felt too ephemeral to be truly fun. Everything was so new and fragile. The Super Bowl winning year was too stressful; every game was fraught with expectation because the team was just so damn good. The next year was really, insufferably fun until it all turned to ashes in our collective mouths after one bad pass. Then two good but not quite as good seasons where the theme was unmet potential due to the psychic trauma of the Super Bowl. Then last year’s slow-motion demolition derby, where everyone we loved got hurt or cut or traded.

This year though? No expectations. Hardly ephemeral. No heartbreaking Super Bowl loss… even if we lose the Super Bowl, making it with this jalopy of a young squad would be a worthy accomplishment. And for as much as I miss some of the former greats, the psychic weight from losing the Super Bowl is gone, the team felt liberated. This year was dumb, and fun, and lucky. For the first time in a long time the Seahawks weren’t destroyed by penalties, and the turnover situation was largely great. We won some real shootouts, and also some real dumb ones, like Sunday’s game.

I guess what I’m saying is, I thought this season could suck a lot. It did not. Instead it was kinda great. And we’re headed back to the playoffs with no expectations. This team gets beat up by Dallas? Oh well. It’s probably going to be better next year anyway, when they finish replacing the guys who left. And if they do beat Dallas? Well, that would just be the best. But before we look ahead, let’s break down the good parts of this dumb as hell Seahawks win:

• Jarran Reed finished the season with 11.5 sacks. For a guy who was a highly regarded run stuffing tackle coming out of college who would struggle getting after the passer, Reed has evolved into an absolute force up front. His game is as complete as any defensive tackle’s in the league. That Reed stepped up to provide stability and production that is comparable to what Michael Bennett used to do is one of the pleasant surprises of this season.

• Also good on the defensive line? Rookie Jacob Martin who showed up in a big way playing in place of the erstwhile Dion Jordan. Martin displayed a few different moves, utilizing both power and speed against Arizona’s admittedly broken offensive line to get to quarterback Josh Rosen. It was a performance for the Seahawks to dream on, and more than could have been expected from the sixth-rounder when he was drafted. Also Poona Ford. Poona Ford is good too.

• The defense as a whole was fine. They gave up one touchdown because Larry Fitzgerald is boss, a bunch of field goals because field position was not something the Seahawks had any interest in controlling on Sunday, and otherwise held a dismal Arizona offense in check. Dallas is way better than Arizona at offense and football stuff, but seeing KJ Wright ball out makes me think we’ll be able to hold our own.

• The Seahawks offense was less good on Sunday, but Chris Carson is the bossest running back alive right now. I don’t care about Todd Gurley or Melvin Gordon or whomever else. Carson runs through dudes like he’s Marshawn, and he’s fast as hell. He’s the perfect Pete Carroll running back and I love him.

(It’s still so dumb this team drafted a running back in the first round. SO DUMB. Guys, I’m really trying to get over this. I haven’t yet. I promise that one day I might.)

• Russell Wilson finished the season with a perfect passer rating when targeting Tyler Lockett. I used to think Tyler Lockett would never reach his upside of being the Seahawks’ answer to Antonio Brown. Now? Is he better on a per play basis than Antonio Brown? Maybe. Maybe.

• Doug Baldwin had two drops on Sunday. Just brutal drops where the ball hit him in the hands and then he put the ball on the ground. THIS IS NOT NORMAL. Therefore, one of two things is true: Doug Baldwin is done, or Doug Baldwin is going to rain hellfire down upon Dallas next week. I’m banking on the latter.

• Dallas is fine. They’ve improved since the Seahawks pasted them in week three; their defense has solidified and the addition of Amari Cooper has been critical for their offense. The Seahawks meanwhile have lost Earl Thomas. So that’s not great.

But the Seahawks offense is way better than it was early this year. And in primetime with Russell Wilson playing in a temperate climate, the return of DJ Fluker and a healthy Doug Baldwin? I think this could be a fun one. A high scoring fun one. And that would be in line with this season which hasn’t been insufferable. It’s just been fun. And that’s in some ways so much better than being insufferable and winning the Super Bowl (note: it is not really, but it’s kinda nice anyway).