It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win. This isn’t the College Football Playoff, so style points mean very little when you’re hunting for a playoff spot. The Seattle Seahawks hadn’t won a home game down by 10+ points since the 2014 NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers. What do they do on Thursday Night Football, with the season just about on the line? Rally from 10+ points down for the W.
Let’s get into a little primetime edition of Winners and Losers:
4th Quarter Russell Wilson
Given his documented 4th quarter struggles this year when trying to lead his team to a comeback win or a tie game, Russ stepped up at a time when the Seahawks’ season hinged upon his skills, and he came through in the clutch. He made the key plays he made on Thursday night that he failed to make in previous 4th quarter comeback opportunities this season.
He lost a fumble on the opening play and that led to a 7-0 hole. From then on he was his usual, bruising self, recording 83 yards on 17 carries and an easy one-yard touchdown plunge. I am concerned about his ball security given that’s three lost fumbles dating back to preseason, but his overall production has been as good as we’d hoped heading into 2018.
He made a great block on Carson’s TD run. I might never say that again.
A game-winning touchdown catch on third-down puts you in the winner’s column. It was your classic blitz beater on that seam route, and Wilson and Dickson ran it to perfection.
I get that Lockett’s final catch of the game could’ve been ruled incomplete. That’s on Mike McCarthy, who will likely be roasted by Packers fans for sitting on a challenge flag even with an injury timeout. He officially led the team in yards with 71 on 5 catches, plus a 47-yard pass interference because he burned Jaire Alexander, and was so important on that game-winning drive. Lockett’s leap in abilities as a WR has been one of the stories of the Seahawks’ season.
Seven catches for 52 yards is... ugly for a #1 WR, but Russ missed him on a couple of occasions for bigger plays (with two of them certain touchdowns). He did get into the end zone for the first time this year, and he looked more healthy than in previous games with that bothersome knee. I just wish Baldwin would stop juking his way out of first-down yardage.
His first career NFL sack prevented the Packers from turning a 21-20 game into 28-20 (or possibly 29-20 if they wanted to go for 2 and convert). If he didn’t hustle to get to Aaron Rodgers on that 3rd down in the red zone, it’s almost certainly a different task at hand for Russell Wilson. Congrats on your first sack, rook!
Two more sacks gets him double digits for the season, and that second one prevented Rodgers from escaping for a potential 20-25+ yard run. Contract extension for Frank is a must.
Give the big man another .5 sack to bring his total up to 5.5. I also credit him for getting Jacob Martin his own sack by forcing Rodgers to step into some more pressure. He may be getting picked on in run defense at times (which is ironically his strength), but his improvement as a pass rusher is wonderful to see.
Wagner led the team in tackles (9) and he was like a brick wall stopping the freight train that is Aaron Jones. Hell, he even was tasked with a mismatch on Davante Adams deep down the field and forced an incomplete pass (albeit with a chance that it could’ve been DPI). He’s a freak.
2nd Half Defense
The big throw to Davante Adams aside, the Packers offense was held to four first-downs and three points. That’s a major improvement from the first-half blowtorching that Ken Norton’s group endured in the opening half.
An average of 52 yards per punt and some beauties, too. He’s awesome.
1st-3rd Quarter Russell Wilson
He was going to be completely in the loser’s column had the Seahawks... well... lost the game. Wilson was not good through three quarters. He took bad sacks, misfired on simple throws, and just looked out of sorts. His 4th quarter was the difference here, but perhaps a comeback wouldn’t have been necessary had he played better in the preceding 45 minutes. Perhaps the Packers just know how to frustrate him regardless of who’s the defensive coordinator. There are still valid concerns about his hesitant decision-making and failure to step up into pockets.
The offensive line
It might be completely valid that the Seahawks were getting thrown off by the Packers mimicking the snap count, but there were certainly other pre-snap penalties that were just plain sloppiness. Five false starts in a home game is unacceptable. Duane Brown and JR Sweezy also had some nervy moments in pass protection, although Sweezy apparently was cramping up during the game, which is why Jordan Simmons made an appearance.
Tre Flowers and Shaquill Griffin
They weren’t necessarily awful, but Davante Adams had 166 yards on 10 catches and both young cornerbacks gave up a combined 97 yards to Adams on just two plays. Griffin in particular has been in the picture and at least partially culpable for a big passing play for four straight weeks. Hopefully they keep learning, because it’s been trial by fire for both men since their respective pro debuts a year apart.
The Dumbass Tide Ads
Get that cringeworthy shit off my TV.
- I understand Russell Wilson’s ridiculous lateral attempt to Nick Vannett. If Vannett catches it (and... well... it’s not an illegal forward pass), he likely gets out of bounds and stops the clock. Wilson sliding on that run means the clock hits triple zeroes. It sure looked silly, though. He also should’ve just batted that pass to himself straight to the ground instead of losing 11 yards of field position.
- Rashaad Penny clearly wasn’t in good shape after tweaking his ankle on that dazzling Tecmo Bowl style 30-yard run, and only had 16 yards on his final seven carries. Still, the run was really cool.
- Credit to Mike Davis for closing the game out with positive running plays and the game-clinching first-down run.
- David Moore is coming back down to earth a bit. That catch and fumble was originally ruled incomplete, but he’s got to hold on there all the way. He still had a decent enough night with 4 catches for 57 yards.
- Brian Schottenheimer’s red zone offense works, I’ll give him that. His ridiculously run-heavy approach to 1st and 2nd downs is maddening, though. The run game as a whole has taken off, which is a credit to him and Mike Solari, along with the players themselves.
- George Fant as an extra OL has been a work of genius. He thrives in that role as a “blocking TE.” Now throw to him!
- Mike McCarthy punting on 4th and 2 with four minutes left, only one timeout and a defense that was on its way to plucking players out of the crowd, is peak Mike McCarthy. Green Bay ought to move on.
- Is it me or (presumably because of the large number of Packers fans) for a primetime game, CenturyLink Field didn’t sound all that loud compared to previous seasons?
- This is somehow not holding. This is somehow not a false start. Great going, refs.
- Tough night for Jimmy Graham. One catch for 13 yards and then an injured thumb while trying to block Bradley McDougald. 33 catches for 439 yards and 2 touchdowns on the year for Seattle’s former TE. Perhaps it was fitting that one of Jimmy’s replacements won the game for the Seahawks.
- The Carolina Panthers are next, and hopefully the Detroit Lions can spring a surprise and beat them this Sunday, leaving the Seahawks only one game back in the standings. It’s a tall task given Carolina’s improved offense under Norv Turner, but it’s not impossible. Go ‘Hawks!