It sounds douchy to say that a 28-point win went as expected but that's the world we live in with the Seahawks and the Jaguars. Seattle walked, ran, skipped, tipped, somersaulted, and flew over a beleaguered Jags team that appeared to simply be looking for moral victories. There were some bright spots for the Jags -- Cecil Shorts III had a career-high 143 receiving yards, Maurice Jones-Drew had 62 total yards and a touchdown, Chad Henne didn't literally crap his pants* --but much of that came in the third and fourth quarters, when many of the 'Hawks starters were getting back massages from Pete Carroll on the sidelines.
The most obvious theme of this game was the sheer fluidity with which the Seahawks enforced their will on the game. At the onset, it looked as though the game would follow the script most of us assumed it would, as Marshawn Lynch wildebeested his way to 55 first quarter yards and Russell Wilson seemed content to to lean on that run game. It was the expected approach, which is probably why Pete Carroll scrapped it the minute it was established. The first TD came on a brilliant little play-action pass to Zach Miller on a 3rd and goal from inside the one yard line. Miller lined up in a three-point stance and dove at the feet of the man in front of him as though to cut-block him on a run. The second-level defender on his side is using Miller as his run/pass key, so when he saw Miller go down, he committed all out to the run. President Wilson then calmly withdrew the ball from Lynch's heaving bosom and lofted it softly to the back of the endzone, where an arisen Miller stood waiting with naught but an empty zipcode around him.
From that point on, it was the Russell Wilson Show, as Threezus notched four touchdown passes before throwing his fifth incompletion. His second touchdown was a carouseling affair, spinning towards his throwing shoulder (which ain't natural) to avoid an edge blitz before finding Miller again in the front right corner of the Promised Land. His third TD was a dime to Sidney Rice, as was his fourth. At halftime, the Seahawks were up 24-0, meaning they'd allowed one point per quarter on the season at that point.
Wilson did turn the ball over twice (interception and a fumble) and the second one ended his day with Seattle up by a million in the third quarter, setting the stage for Tarvaris Jackson who blew the roof off the place. Jackson finished with a perfect 158.3 passer rating, going 7-8 with 129 yards and two TDS (one rushing). His aerial score was a gorgeous parabola down the right sideline that a diving Doug Baldwin snagged in such awe-inspiring fashion that my mandibles collected carpet lint. At full sprint, Baldwin slithered below the defender, snaking out his right hand to corral Jackson's downward spiral before sliding inside the pylon and into my heart.
To my furthering delight, the widening Seahawks lead allowed the 'Hawks to take the chains off Christine Michael like that snaggly-toothed monster in "300" and he responded with four runs of 7+ yards in his short stint. The numbers aren't mind-blowing (nine carries, 37 yards), but they came against a defense that knew he was getting the ball and he had to deal with a defender behind the line of scrimmage on nearly half of those touches. Michael runs decisively, which is a rarity for a rookie RB. Most uber-talented first-year backs are accustomed to being able to juke everyone, so you see a lot of them wiggle and look to skirt outside. Not so with Michael, as he instinctively plants his foot and drives forward when his gap opens. I hope we start to see him more often moving forward.
Defensively, the Seahawks were everything we wanted them to be. Forget the 17 points they allowed in the second half, because while it would've been nice to see a shutout, many of the yards that the Jags accumulated came on missed assignments that you're not likely to see the starters make. In the first half, Seattle's D attacked like piranhas, converging on intact Jaguars and emerging with everything but the bones in their stomachs. The king of the feast was Bobby Wagner, who took his respite in the second half with nine tackles and an interception. If Wagner was the epicenter, the rest of the defense were the shockwaves. Tony McDaniel dominated upfront although much of his impact was in relief of the rest of the D-line demanding constant help from a beleaguered Jags O-line. With Earl Thomas providing field-shrinking coverage over the top, everyone beneath him free to attack runners and jump routes without hesitation. With the starters in, Seattle out-gained Jacksonville 303 to 70, and it didn't even look that close.
Other bright spots included but aren't limited to Golden Tate, who broke out for the first time this season with 150 total yards (88 receiving, 29 rushing, 33 returning), Clinton McDonald (5 tackles, 1.5 sacks), and Luke Willson, who grabbed five catches for 76 yards. I could go on, but y'all saw the game; the Seahawks waxed the Jaguars like a bride-to-be's bikini line.