Well it wasn’t pretty and it really was never going to be pretty, but the Seattle Seahawks are in the playoffs after a 20-15 win over the Washington Football Team. The offense struggled to finish drives and points were at a premium against an undermanned but ultimately really talented defense, while the defense was strong for much of the day before one too many lapses in the late 3rd/4th quarter made this game closer than it had to be. Thankfully the defense came through at the very end to save ourselves from embarrassment.
But you know what? A win is a win. That rings especially true after the New York Jets shocked the Los Angeles Rams in Southern California. Seattle is now in first place in the NFC West and a win against the Rams gives them the division.
Let’s get to Winners and Losers to wrap up this penultimate road game of the year.
What a closer he is! He’s only played six games and is already tied with Jarran Reed for most sacks among Seahawks defensive linemen. For the second time this year he’s able to help close things out with a critical two-minute drill sack off the right side.
Alton Robinson and LJ Collier
The rookie and the second-year draft pick respectively picked up sacks on the game’s deciding drive. Robinson’s strip sack nearly sealed the game (or close to it) sooner whereas Collier’s pursuit after winning his edge rush led to a hustle sack.
When Tre Flowers and Quinton Dunbar return to the field, Reed needs to be starting or at least getting a lot of snaps. I don’t really care that he’s 5’9”. Flowers is too foot slow to hang with top receivers consistently. Reed is fast, his hips are fluid, and he has shown better ball skills in a handful of games than Flowers has in his entire Seahawks career. Dunbar’s repeated health issues throughout the year also have me concerned about holding a starting spot. Reed sticks to his man quite well and even though this hasn’t been a difficult stretch of offenses, he has wowed.
While Reed had the second interception, Griffin had the first one to give him a career-high three picks. That tip drill looked like Seahawks football from the Legion of Boom days and it was a difficult catch to make diving to the ground. Keep it up, Shaquill!
Adams had a tackle for loss, a sack (9.5 on the year now!) and he gets to be in the playoffs for the first time in his young career. If you watch the press conference you realize how much this means to him and despite missing several games to injury and not having time to adjust to the Seahawks’ defensive scheme he’s been a clear net positive.
First touchdown since Week 3 and it was a laser thrown by Russell Wilson into traffic and he did well to hang on.
A solid day at the office for Carson, who had 15 carries for 63 yards and then two catches for 6 yards, giving him a total of... nice. This is the healthiest Carson has looked all season and he remains a punishing runner in the open field.
That 3rd and 7 drop was brutal but his 50-yard touchdown run was beautiful to watch. I’ve been on his case a bit for tripping whenever anyone tries to ankle tackle him but he stayed upright this time and it gave Seattle their final points.
No sacks allowed and another really good day on the ground. The tight ends deserve plenty of credit for their blocking abilities but I thought the Seahawks held up quite well against Washington’s vaunted defensive front. Cedric Ogbuehi gets a shout out largely because of the dread knowing he’d be starting in place of Brandon Shell. Ogbuehi was adequate in pass protection which is all that should be required.
Michael Dickson and Jason Myers
This superb kicking duo continues to amaze. Dickson pinned Washington inside the 20 on all four punts, while Myers made all of his kicks and remains perfect on field goals. Keep that in mind when you realize how big that missed PAT was for Washington.
Brian Schottenheimer’s 2nd half playcalling
I thought the 1st half playcalling was mostly fine. They had four drives and three scoring possessions. Once it became 20-3, Schottenheimer really stepped off the gas pedal. There’s being wary of a great pass rush and then just being flat out scared. The offensive line performed well but there were virtually no real attempts to push the ball down the field (outside of the interception by Wilson in which he wanted to go deep and then the tip-drill happened). There continue to be issues for Seattle against competent to above-average defenses as to what their identity is, and that ain’t something they have a lot of time to fix considering the Rams are in town next week.
Those two 2nd half defensive drives
Can’t say I was particularly impressed with Ken Norton’s decisions even though they only allowed 15 points. The third down blitzes were frequently not working and far too often the first read for Dwayne Haskins was wide open, which meant giving him a lot of easy throws to march down the field. I think it was a mixture of questionable coaching and a lack of execution by the players, who may have been too complacent.
3rd down defense
Washington was 10/17 on 3rd down. A lot of the reason for the Seahawks defense being on the field for 79 snaps is their own doing. They did the good part by forcing 3rd down but they definitely struggled to get off the field on a few possessions.
Pass rush prior to the final drive
The pass rush whether through rushing three or four guys or blitzing really disappointed up until that last drive, when Haskins was sacked three times and nearly a fourth on Washington’s final play.
Adrian Hill’s officiating crew
Yeesh. That KJ Wright “penalty” on Terry McLaurin is indefensibly wrong. McLaurin braced for impact and lowered his head into Wright’s shoulder, and yet Wright got the unnecessary roughness penalty. Luckily for Seattle it didn’t matter but that was a huge and bad call. The JD McKissic spot on that same drive might have been correct on replay but was nevertheless generous. I also do not get how the line judge saw Freddie Swain’s second foot miles out of bounds and still ruled that a touchdown. There’s relying on the auto review and then there’s just getting an obvious call wrong. The only positive I suppose is that they were light on throwing the flags.
Los Angeles Rams
BWAHAHAHAHAHA DID YOU SEE THAT SHIT?! They lost to the winless New York Jets! AT HOME!
Here’s a weird stat: Russell’s QBR for this game was 92.8. I assume the 38-yard run plays heavily into the high grade he got and I’m glad to see him still capable of motoring even if his speed is mostly gone. But Wilson seemed off as a passer even with little pressure in his face. When do you see Wilson only average 4.5 yards per pass attempt? Some of that was by design but there was a decided “game manager” role that rolled Wilson back almost to his rookie season. He was off-target on a few makeable throws and the interception may have been unlucky but I think Chris Carson was covered well enough that it might have been an ill-advised decision anyway.
- Good to see Rashaad Penny on the field again if only for a few snaps (two carries for six yards). Also relieved to know Deejay Dallas’ injury is an ankle sprain and not a break, which it looked like given he was carted off with the air cast.
- I suppose Russell’s days would’ve been better if not for Swain’s touchdown rightfully getting reversed. I’m certainly digging Freddie’s potential as the new #3 receiver, especially if the team does not keep David Moore.
- Ugo Amadi looks like he could develop into one of the NFL’s best nickel corners. He’s like healthy Walter Thurmond III but with the potential to be better. Amadi is already a better tackler than Justin Coleman and has a great ability to close in on ball carriers.
- It’s important that the Seahawks got out of that cursed stadium without serious injuries to key players. Do you realize that was the first time in the last four home games that a quarterback on either team didn’t suffer an injury?
- The division is Seattle’s with a win next week. Don’t squander this opportunity. And don’t squander the opportunity to catch Enemy Reaction this week!