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Cigar Thoughts, Game 13: Seahawks steal parachute, push New York out of the jet

The Seattle Seahawks bounced back in a big way, obliterating the Jets 40-3 and moving to 9-4 in the process.

New York Jets v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Last week was one of the most disappointing performances of the last nine years, so it was beyond nice to see our boys come out and just kick the teeth out of an inferior opponent. They entered this game like a heavyweight contender that had been demoted down the ranks after an upset loss, taking their frustration out on some hapless jobber willing to get knocked out in exchange for a paycheck.

We have long bemoaned Seattle’s infuriating habit of playing exactly to the level of every opponent, so to see them treat the worst team in the league like the worst time in the league did a lot to assuage some of the pain they inflicted on us last Sunday. They dominated in every aspect of this game, pummeling the jets and keeping the pressure on until the lead was 5 scores and the backups could be inserted.

The Jets, to their credit, had a nice opening drive— the one thing they’ve been consistently good at this year— and walked away with a field goal. There were no real defensive breakdowns from Seattle, just a crisply executed opening script that pushed the ball deep enough to give New York the only lead they’d ever know.

The Seahawks answered with a great, multi-faceted drive incorporating the pre-snap movement, play-action, and moving pockets that were suspiciously absent from their game against the Giants. It started with a Chris Carson power run for 4, then a little hitch to DK Metcalf out of the slot for 14 more. It was a slick play that addressed one of my biggest frustrations from the last month— not throwing the ball to Metcalf underneath— but it didn’t happen without consternation. DK got his ankle rolled up on from behind, and sat the rest of the drive out while he tested his appendage’s functionality on the sideline while Penny Hart took his place.

Seattle, meanwhile, just kept clicking. A jet sweep to David Moore went for 9, then a Carson pledge rattled off defenders for another 10. On this drive, the ‘Hawks used pulling guards and misdirection to keep NY’s linebackers and safeties off balance. That was especially true on the final two plays of the drive, with Hart taking a sweep for 19 before a chaotic play-action series of crossing routes left Freddie Swain all alone in the back of the endzone. Russell Wilson stood strong and delivered, hitting Swain between the numbers to make it 7-3.

The Jets went three-and out on their second possession, one of four times they’d do it today. Seattle went for an early kill on their next drive, with Wilson smelling blood and attempting a deep off-balance throw to Metcalf down the left sideline. The ball was under thrown, allowing Marcus Made to make a circus interception in the endzone. This time, the Jets possession lasted 4 plays but only because Jamal Adams, who played the whole game against his former team like a sugared-up 8-year-old, dropped the easiest interception opportunity of his life.

Seattle’s next drive was more of the same chain-moving offense we had gotten naively used to duringg the first month of the season. Wilson hit Lockett on a cute lil pocket pass for 10 and, three snaps later, found him again on a cross for 15 more. Then it was Carlos Hyde doing his best Carson impression for 33 yards on his next two carries, setting up a pretty little pass to Metcalf in the back right corner of the endzone for a toe-tapping 6. I feel so bad for whoever that poor cornerback was on that play. Lined up in man coverage against the NFL’s leading receiver, he got sold on an endline cross before getting buried knee-deep in the turf when DK changed direction. Coasting towards the back pylon, Metcalf calmly received Wilson’s perfect toss for the score before literally hopping into the stands and commandeering the nearest TV camera. 14-3.

The first play of the next Jets possession took any drama out of the game when Adams and Damon Harrison converged on running back Ty Johnson to knock the ball out. The fumble clattered to the ground at New York’s 32 where it was pounced on by Bobby Wagner. The turnover led to Jason Myers’ 27th(!) consecutive made field goal, pushing the lead out to 17-3.

From that point on it was just a bunch more Seahawks scores and a metric shit ton of Jets buffoonery. Five different Seahawks scored touchdowns in this one, with Chris Carson charged in from 5 yards out, Will Dissly lumbering in from 10 to start the third quarter, and David Moore catching a dime from Wilson in the back of the endzone with defenders hanging all over Russ’ legs. The best New York could do in the meantime was hilariously miss three field goals and take 36 sacks.

Seattle pulled all their starters late in the third, a courtesy that went unreturned by their guests, not that it mattered. The ‘Hawks replacements played like obvious second-stringers, but that was still enough to outscore NY’s primaries 3-0 down the stretch. By the time this tragic mismatch ended, the Seahawks were shaken g hands on a 40-3 drubbing.

SMOKE RINGS

~With Brandon Shell back on the right side, the Jets secondary depleted, and the rain stopping just before kickoff, this had all the makings of a bounce-back game for Russell Wilson. And overall, he was phenomenal. There’s already a lot of chatter about the interception, his career-high 12th of the season, but that was dramatically overcome by his 4 TDs— giving him

12 interceptions on the year, which is the most he’s ever had in a season, but it was more than offset by his 4 TDs, giving him a remarkable 36 on the season. That number is good for 2nd most in the NFL and, for all the shit that’s been flung his way of late, his season-long numbers are nothing short of spectacular. His line today was gorgeous, as Wilson completed 21 of 27 passes (77.8%) for 206 yards, the 4 TDs, and the aforementioned pick for a sterling passer rating of 122.6.

Indulge me for a moment; forget what happened when, and look at Russell Wilson’s season from 20,000 feet in the air. Through 13 games, Wilson has the following numbers (with his NFL ranks in parentheses):

*70.4 completion% (3rd)
*3,685 yards (T-3rd)
*8.0 yards/attempt (T-5th)
*36 TDs (2nd)
*7.8 TD% (2nd)
*109.0 passer rating (5th)

There have been some less-than-stellar performances this year to be sure, but Wilson remains a top-5 performer in every meaningful category. And for as well-deserved as the criticism he endured last week was, so too is the praise he’s earned in this one. Look, I was a little nervous about his recent trajectory too, but I never accepted that he was all of a sudden some middling QB in this league. Russell Wilson is still the man, and games like this are capable of beating anyone.

~Geno Smith got his first meaningful action in relief and, despite the comical lack of pocket presence one might expect from a dude that’s been holding a clipboard all year, completed 4 of 5 passes for 33 yards. Meaningless but meaningful, ya know?

~DK Metcalf came into this game leading the league in receiving yards and while that lead got gobbled up by Travis Kelce’s monster performance, he still led the way for the Seahawks in this one. And while it was awesome to see him find the endzone again after his recent drought, I was most happy to see them manufacture some touches closer to the line of scrimmage instead of simply running him deep and hoping.

Metcalf played less than three quarters, and sat out the bulk of two of those drives getting his ankle re-taped, but still managed to lead the team in targets (8), catches (6), yards (61), and tied for the team lead with his TD. We are watching the continued evolution of the best receiver ever to wear a Seahawks uniform and every game with DK on the TV is a blessing that shouldn’t be taken for granted.

~The rest of the receiving production was pretty evenly distributed, which is the case when this offense is at it’s best. DK may be Michael, but the rest of the Jackson 5 performed exquisitely in their backup roles. Tyler Lockett snagged all 5 of his targets for 52 yards, and that handful of receptions was enough to push him up to 9th in the NFL with 81 on the year. David Moore had a brutal drop on a 50-yard bullseye from Wilson but caught 3 of his other 4 targets for 20 yards and a score. Freddie Swain continues to earn his roster spot with 2 catches for 22 yards and a score on 3 targets, while Seattle’s RBs and TEs hauled in 8 of their 10 targets for a combined 81 yards. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out Colby Parkinson’s first 2 career catches.

~As y’all know, I’m almost always in favor of any team with Russell Wilson passing it significantly more than they run. Almost always. Last week was a prime example of forcing the issue when the pass game wasn’t working, and it kept a very productive Chris Carson from having as big of an impact on the game as he should have. Today they mixed in the run admirably, and while the final split (36 runs to 33 passes) had more to do with making Geno Smith hand it off for the entire 4th quarter, the runs were a really effective counter punch to the pass.

~Chris Carson at full strength is, objectively, a top-10 running back in the NFL. Whether the Seahawks decide to give top-10 money to a back with his injury history will be a hotly debated topic when the time comes, there’s no doubt this offense is different with him in it.

He ran with his unique combination of aggression and finesse, attacking defenders with style and substance. He carried the ball 12 times for 76 yards (6.3 YPC) and a TD while catching 3 of 5 targets for 22 more. Without his contributions, we don’t see Seattle’s 7 scoring drives.

~Carlos Hyde is an ox. He won’t wow anyone in a combine— not this deep into his career— but he has a Frank Gore-esque ability to haul a plow through the defense, creating an environment in which the seeds of beautiful flowers can be planted. He actually led the team in carries with 15, translating them into 66 yards (4.4 YPC) and three first downs. DJ Dallas got 4 garbage-time runs for 7 yards. I like him a lot as a prospect, and am glad the team trusts him when they need to, but he’s not a game-changer. Yet.

~Don’t look now, but this defense has been ballin’ out of late. After spending the first half of the season as the punchline to a bad joke, they have pulled an inspiring about-face of late. They allowed a staggering 233 points in their first 8 games (29.1 PPG), but things began to click after a renowned defensive team meeting that Pete Carroll called the best he’d ever witnessed. Whether their recent performance is a direct result of that altar-call, or if it’s merely coincidental, there’s no questioning the fact that they’ve gone from really bad to (gulp) really good.

Over the last 5 games, the Seahawks have allowed a grand total of 81 points for an average of 16.2 PPG. For reference, that’s almost exactly what the Legion-era Seattle defense allowed during their four-year stretch leading the NFL in points allowed 2012-2015. Now, don’t hear what I’m not saying— this defense is absolutely NOT on that level— but there is no doubt that this team is playing at a remarkable defensive standard over the last 30 days.

~Much was made of Jamal Adams’ opportunity for revenge against the team he very publicly broke up with prior to getting under the covers with the Seahawks. He bounced around on the field like a maniac, yapping constantly and sticking his nose in everywhere it belonged and plenty of places it didn’t. Just a joy to watch and, much like DK, his flubs are easy to stomach in light of the big plays he made. In addition to helping force a fumble, Adams also broke up a pass and recorded his team leading 8.5th sack of the year in just 9 games. By the way, Jamal Adams now stunningly ranks 8th in the NFL in that category.

~Bobby Wagner continued his decade-long string of excellence, captaining a defense that didn’t allow a single point for the game’s final 56 minutes. He led the way with 6 tackles, breaking up a pass and recovering a fumble. He’s now 6th in the league with 118 takedowns and continues to lead with the focus and ferocity of an alpha predator.

~Wagner was joined at the six-tackle mark by his longtime running mate KJ Wright, who had another great game and was some Poona Ford exuberance away from snagging an interception to boot. Other contributors included Ugo Amadi, who was great in coverage and broke up two passes, as well as Shaquill Griffin who erased every meaningful pass thrown his way. We also saw sacks from Jarran Reed and Shaquem Griffin as the Seahawks simply snuffed out an overmatched Jets offense.

The Seattle Seahawks are 9-4 and while that’s not quite where we know they could be at this point in the season, it’s also a lot better than many of the potential outcomes within their range. 9-4 is good for a tie for the division lead and a tie for thee third best record in the NFC. Granted, they’re still technically the 5th seed but I’m not personally slotting them behind the Rams until after they play each other in Seattle in two weeks.

After last week’s sewage fest, anything short of an absolute rout would’ve been a disappointing result. But you know what? They did blow out the Jets today— their biggest, most decisive win in five years. We can’t undo last Sunday’s upset but we can take this result at face value. This team isn’t perfect— far from it— but they were pretty damn close today and that’s good enough for me.

Next week brings a road game against the better-than-their-record Washington Football Team; an opponent boasting one of the league’s better defenses. It’s not a must-win game but also it kind of is. I don’t anticipate an easy victory next week but in the grand scheme of things, there are always very few of those on the schedule. What we do have, right now, is a team with the 4th most wins in the NFL and one that is just a single game out of the #1 seed in the conference. Again, if you step back and look at this team’s season, as a whole, we’ve got a good thing going.

The final three games will tell us everything we need to know, but we can all go to sleep feeling mighty fine about where our favorite team sits. Onward, and ever upwards, my friends.

Jacson on Twitter | Cigar Thoughts Hub | Cigar Thoughts Facebook

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If you’ve never smoked an Ashton cigar, I really recommend it. It’s taken a lot of restraint not to unsheathed my VSG Illusion from them until now, but today’s version of Jacson is really glad I did. It smoked as easily as the ‘Hawks win, loaded with taste delivered by a smooth, easy burn. I had it with some Jim Beam non-chill-filtered Repeal Batch and it’s a combo I’ll keep in mind for the future.

For the second straight year, I am STOKED about our partnership with Seattle Cigar Concierge. They have the plug on some of the most insane stogies on the market and they’re has offering them to Cigar Thoughts readers for 20% off. These are high-end sticks, and among the most enjoyable I’ve ever smoked. To get the plug, just email SeattleCigarConcierge@gmail.com. They are carrying over 70 cigar brands with many rare releases, including Davidoff, Opus X, and Padron. You can also hit him up on Twitter: @SeattleCigars.

Seattle Cigar Concierge is also offering a special promotion from Caldwell One, the proceeds of which are going to support first responders. Bundles of 10 going for the deeply discounted rate of $120 for 10 of these beauties.

The 2020 season of Cigar Thoughts is also proud to be sponsored by Fairhaven Floors and Brandon Nelson Partners in Bellingham, WA.