The NFL season has been over for almost a month, and it’s been nearly two full months since the last time we saw the Seattle Seahawks in action. Yes, it was a frustrating, playoff-less season which has seen substantial turnover in the coaching staff, but it wasn’t all misery and disappointment.
Using the power of subjectivity, I’ve ranked all nine Seahawks wins from worst to best. I figure this is less controversial than ranking burger joints or Star Wars movies. My personal criteria includes overall team performance, the quality of the opposition, magnitude of the game, and entertainment value. ... which is a laugh because I’ve routinely called the 2017 Seahawks boring to watch, but let’s cut the chatter and get right to it!
#9: 12-9 vs. San Francisco 49ers
The Seahawks’ home opener was played in the rain, and for some reason this offense just has no clue what to do when faced with bad weather. Dropped passes were the theme of the day, with C.J. Prosise and Tanner McEvoy each spilling touchdowns. Russell Wilson also had numerous inaccurate passes and was fortunate not to be intercepted at least once. The run defense totally collapsed, allowing 159 yards on just 19 carries to Carlos Hyde and Matt Breida, and somehow Seattle was trailing 9-6 in the 4th quarter.
Wilson took matters into his own hands by scrambling for 1st downs, and made magic happen by throwing the game-winning touchdown to Paul Richardson with 7:13 to go. Of course, Blair Walsh missed the extra point, opening the door for the 49ers to tie the game with a field goal. Brian Hoyer had no chance against the Seattle pass defense, and Chris Carson sealed the win with 41 yards rushing on the final drive.
It was absolutely horrible football to watch, and a sign of things to come for the Seahawks at home.
#8: 22-16 at Arizona Cardinals
Russell Wilson had his jaw jacked on one of his five sacks suffered. Thomas Rawls led the Seahawks with 29 yards rushing, 23 of which came on one play. Most importantly, Richard Sherman suffered a season-ending achilles rupture, and Kam Chancellor’s season also ended with a neck injury. The referees also went out of their way to penalize the Seahawks for as much as breathing near a Cardinals offensive player. It was your typical Thursday night poopfest, but one that hurt the Seahawks in victory.
At least we got to see this:
#7: 24-13 at San Francisco 49ers
Another rain game, another ugly start by Russell Wilson in the first-half. He literally threw an interception on the game’s first offensive play, but that was really his only mistake all afternoon. Seattle comfortably won, and the only reason it ranks this low is because these were the 1-win, pre-Garoppolo 49ers. It was supposed to be a routine win.
Oh yeah, and Bobby Wagner did this.
#6: 24-7 at New York Giants
The final scoreline accurately reflects how statistically lopsided the game was. However, you peel the onion back and realize that the Seahawks were only up 10-7 with under ten minutes to go in the final quarter, having been fortunate that the Giants had missed a field goal to start the 4th.
On the plus side, the Seahawks defense balled out against an offensively impotent New York squad, and Russell Wilson had one of his best games all season, throwing for 334 yards and 3 touchdowns. It could’ve been an even better day had Jimmy Graham not been in a drop-happy mood in the first-half, as well as Tyler Lockett not having offensive pass interference called to nullify his touchdown.
Fun Fact: Seattle has played at MetLife Stadium a total of five times (record: 5-0), and they’ve only given up 50 points, of which 25 came in 2011 against the Giants.
#5: 16-10 at Los Angeles Rams
As dramatic as this win was, I’m torn between thinking Seattle should’ve lost this game and that they should’ve actually won by more. They recorded five takeaways and put up only two field goals off of those opportunities. The Seahawks offense didn’t record a first-down for the final 20:41 of game time. Tanner McEvoy threw a dreadful interception. As heroic as the defense performed, there were some brutal third-down conversions allowed for no good reason.
On the flip side, Earl Thomas III...
It was an ugly win, but at the time, it was a huge victory that put the Seahawks atop the NFC West. The whole coronation of Jared Goff as some budding superstar sure took a hit with a 22/47, 3 turnover (2 INT, 1 fumble) performance. Not yet, Jared. Not yet.
#4: 46-18 vs. Indianapolis Colts
Somehow the Seahawks trailed 15-10 at halftime to the Jacoby Brissett-led Colts, but then beat the brakes off of them for the remaining 30 minutes. Russell Wilson was just shy of 300 yards passing, Justin Coleman got a pick-6, Bobby Wagner ran back a fumble for a touchdown, and J.D. McKissic had a two-touchdown night. Little did we know that McKissic would be the only Seahawks running back to score a rushing TD all season, and that Al Michaels would call him Eddie Lacy during that run.
Why did I put this over the Rams despite the Colts being horrible and the Rams being one of the best teams in the league? Because it’s essentially the only complete offensive performance the Seahawks managed all season. They nearly racked up 300 yards passing and 200 yards rushing, and this was literally the only time all season that the Seahawks had and maintained a two-score lead for the whole of the 4th quarter.
#3: 21-12 at Dallas Cowboys’
Backs against the wall after the 42-7 pasting against the Los Angeles Rams, this was a virtual playoff elimination game. Winner stays alive for one more week — as it turns out, neither one of them would’ve gotten in at 10-6 — the loser is gone.
And really, who wouldn’t want to end the Dallas Cowboys’ playoff hopes at JerryWorld, with Jerry Jones watching angrily from his cozy suite?
Once again, the Seahawks offense was abysmal, but 122 of their whopping 136 yards of offense did result in two touchdowns. This game was most memorable for Justin Coleman’s game-changing pick-6, which made up the other scoring from Seattle that afternoon.
The Seahawks made history by being the first team since the 1960s to win a game with more penalty yards than total offensive yards. Much praise should go to Kris Richard and Seattle’s defense, which prevented Ezekiel Elliott from gaining more than 9 yards on any of his 24 carries, sacked Dak Prescott four times, intercepted him twice, and made Dez Bryant look more mediocre than Michael Crabtree.
It was an ugly slog to sit through, but I rank it this high largely because of the stakes at hand, and the fact that the Seahawks ruined Christmas for Cowboys fans.
#2: 41-38 vs. Houston Texans
From pure entertainment value, this is not only the best Seahawks win, but it’s one of the greatest, most exhilarating games across the NFL for the whole of 2017-18. You had an epic quarterback duel between DeShaun Watson and Russell Wilson, career days for Tyler Lockett and Paul Richardson, accidentally fumbling forward for a first-down, Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas combining for three interceptions and a touchdown, Houston thinking they had the game won, only for Wilson and company to rip their hearts out for the second time in as many matchups.
How many of you screamed at the top of your lungs when this happened?
Rather unfortunately, DeShaun Watson’s desperation heave that was intercepted by Sherman wound up being the final throw of Watson’s incredible rookie season.
For Wilson, it shut up anybody who thought that he couldn’t win shootouts/needed his defense and running game to be elite for him to thrive. How does 452 passing yards, 4 touchdown passes, and 30 yards rushing sound to you? Seattle allowed 38 points and 500+ yards of offense, and the running backs combined for 5 yards on 16 carries.
And now, for my favorite Seahawks win of 2017...
#1: 24-10 vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday Night Football. The 10-1 Philadelphia Eagles are rolling into town with their MVP candidate at quarterback. Seattle was fighting to keep pace with the Rams in the NFC West, as well as to keep themselves in a wild card spot.
Unthinkably, the Seahawks were home underdogs. I repeat, home underdogs! In primetime! This was effectively a must-win for Seattle, and in a season defined by maddeningly inconsistent performances, they needed to put their best foot forward in order to stop Doug Pederson’s bunch.
I’d say the mission went well.
Believe it or not, this was the only time all season that the Seahawks led by two possessions in the opening half. Noted for terrible starts throughout the campaign, they jumped on Philly by scoring the first 10 points, and held the vaunted Eagles offense to just a field goal heading into intermission.
Carson Wentz’s attempted dive into the end zone saw him get stripped right near the goal line, with the ball harmlessly going out for a touchback. This is something that has benefited the Seahawks far too many times, so presumably the NFL will amend this rule in the offseason. Nevertheless, this is vintage Seahawks football.
Also vintage Seahawks football? Russell Wilson attacking the Cover 0 blitz by tossing it to Doug Baldwin.
Touchdown to Doug Baldwin!!! The #Eagles go Cover 0 and blitz everyone else. Man to man coverage which gives Russell Wilson a one-on-one with his corner route. Great throw to give him a chance and great adjustment by Baldwin to track the ball. #GoHawks #Seahawks #PHIvsSEA pic.twitter.com/9CLm7zH4iV— Samuel Gold (@SamuelRGold) December 4, 2017
Philadelphia had a glimmer of hope sparked by a couple of tremendous throws by Carson Wentz, including a touchdown to Nelson Agholor to cut the deficit to 17-10. They would add no further points on the scoreboard, and Seattle killed the game off with an MVP caliber drive from Wilson, which included this illegal-but-legal in spirit flip to Mike Davis to extend the game-clinching drive.
J.D. McKissic sent Mychal Kendricks’ ankles flying into the Puget Sound, and that restored Seattle’s two touchdown lead. The final insult for Philadelphia was Byron Maxwell picking off Wentz in the end zone to squash their already feint comeback hopes.
Lest we forget the full contributions of Davis, who had 101 total yards of offense on just 19 touches, including a multi-cut 22 yard scamper that left numerous Eagles defenders strewn on the ground.
The final statistics may not wow anyone: 310 yards of offense and only four plays of 20+ yards, but for my money this was the most efficient performance the Seahawks had all year. Zero turnovers, 6-12 on 3rd down, and 3-for-3 in red zone opportunities is exactly what you want when facing a defense as dangerous as Philadelphia’s.
Defensively, Seattle held Philly’s running backs to just 68 yards on 20 carries, forced two turnovers, a turnover on downs, three sacks, and (at the time) a season-low in points scored. Keep in mind that Seattle had long lost Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, plus Nazair Jones was effectively out for the season.
This would effectively be the last time the Eagles would lose a meaningful game for the rest of the season, as they went on to win the Super Bowl with Nick Foles at the helm, deputizing for the injured Wentz.
I ranked Philly over Houston if only because the Texans are a bad team even with DeShaun Watson. The Eagles looked like one of the best teams in the league, if not #1 outright, and the Seahawks led wire-to-wire. Mistakes were minimal, timely plays were made, and the coaching staff gameplanned damn near to perfection. It gave you hope that the Seahawks were on the verge of another textbook December run, and that they would pull together for an unlikely deep postseason push. Obviously none of that transpired, but the high of toppling the Eagles is unmatched for me.
Whew! That was a lot of writing. Hopefully I get to rank 19 Seahawks wins next season.