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Another week, another Seahawks game on a holiday. Whether you’re nursing a hangover, with your family, or nursing a hangover with your family, we’re gonna keep it brief again and hop straight into Smoke Rings.
Just like on Christmas, there wasn’t a lot of back and forth in the game flow, but unlike Christmas, it was all Seattle today. The Seahawks opened the game with a marvelous 60-yard run from Ken Walker III and leveraged it into a touchdown for Colby Parkinson on Geno Smith’s first throw. Quandre Diggs ended the Jets’ opening drive with a pick three minutes later, and Seattle quickly scored 10 more points to lay a 17-3 lead that they sat on like a mother ostrich until it hatched into the team’s eighth win of the season.
~He downplayed it all week but make no mistake, this was a revenge game for Geno Smith. He didn’t need to do it all himself, however, as the Seahawks turned in a wet-dream performance for Pete Carroll, dominating on defense and with the run game. Still, Smith was calm and smooth, playing smart football and taking advantage of a few opportunities when they were there.
Smith completed 18 of 29 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns but most importantly, he protected a lead after the two early scores. Geno didn’t force anything, content to take sacks or throw it away knowing it would take a big turnover for New York to get back into the game. Smith now has 29 TD passes and more than 4,000 yards throwing, sprinkling in over 300 yards and touchdown on the ground for added flavor. Despite the struggles over the last couple of months, the full picture of Geno Smith’s season is a pretty one and will make for a very interesting offseason.
~Ken Walker III is back, baby. His midseason foot injury was exacerbated by the regression from the offensive line but today both he, and they, were great. He announced his arrival with a scintillating run that saw him take a handoff going right, jump cut left, then show remarkable patience until a gap opened up on the backside. He accelerated through the line and past the linebackers, sprinting 60-yards to set up the opening score. He ran decisively and downhill all afternoon, tallying 142 total yards on 23 carries and a catch.
The rookie now has 1,091 yards from scrimmage on the season, with 936 of those coming on the ground at a 4.7 YPC clip. Named the top running back in college last year, Walker III has been everything that was advertised and seems primed for an impressive career at the pro level.
Deejay Dallas got 10 touches in relief and was awesome with them, racking up 98 yards including a 41-yard catch-and-run to set up a score. This team, which has been searching for a consistent running game for years now, has seen everyone step up when called on this season and that’s a very exciting development.
~This was the quietest game you’ll ever see Seahawks receivers have but today, it didn’t matter. DK Metcalf only caught one of four targets for three yards while Lockett caught both of his for just 15. Both were banged up a bit but ultimately, it came down to the fact that, in addition to the Jets being excellent against wide receivers, they just weren’t needed. Smith peppered his tight ends and running backs, keeping the Seahawks offense on schedule all day long.
Dallas actually led the way with 55 receiving yards while Noah Fant added 40 on two catches and Colby Parkinson caught five for 36 and a score. The biggest highlight of the day was Tyler Mabry, who has spent the last three years on the practice squad, catching his first NFL touchdown to make 1t 17-3. Tremendous vibes from that position group.
~This is the defense we’ve been looking for. They actually played pretty well in the loss last week, eventually succumbing to the greatness of Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, but it was the lack of offense that did Seattle in last Sunday. Today, they were excellent again and the result was much better because the Jets’ offense stinks.
New York’s talented receivers were blanketed by Seattle’s secondary on most plays and the pass rush forced errant throws the few times they weren’t. Darrell Taylor went ballistic, recording 2.5 sacks and Quinton Jefferson dominated inside, adding 1.5 more. The Seahawks recorded six tackles in the backfield and weathered the loss of leading tackler Jordyn Brooks, keeping the Jets out of the endzone all game long.
Quandre Diggs finally got the pick he’d been dropping all season and Michael Jackson added another one, expertly undercutting an in-route in the second half. The front hit Mike White 10 times, with Uchenna Nwosu, Cody Barton, Shelby Harris, and Bruce Irvin joining Taylor and Jefferson in their three-hour harassment of White.
The big story here is the severity of Brooks’ knee injury, as it creates a hole in the middle of this defense that the current roster will have a hard time filling. It ends Brooks’ pursuit of the NFL’s tackle lead, a mark he nearly hit as a rookie last year, too. Injuries like his this late in the year tend to linger into the following season so that will be something to monitor between now and then. For now, however, this team will have to rally in order to give themselves a shot at the playoffs, but today’s effort gives us plenty of hope that they can do just that.
~The offense wasn’t great on 3rd downs in this one, converting just five of 15 but the defense held New York to four of 13, so it didn’t end up being an issue. Still, if Seattle is to make any noise from here on out, the offense will need to get better at converting these.
~The crowd was fuckin’ rad today. Seattle’s once-vaunted home field advantage has taken a big hit over the last few years, with Seattle essentially being a .500 team at home since the end of the LOB. But there was no doubt the fans had a big impact on today’s game and we’ll need all of that and more when the Rams come to town next week.
This is a game the Seahawks should have won, as much as any team should beat any other in a modern NFL that is as even from top to bottom as it’s ever been. But there have been other games they “should” have won that the team failed to capitalize on, so it was great to see them put the boot to a struggling opponent and keep it there all game long.
The Seattle Seahawks are 8-8 with one game left in what many considered a lost season. No matter what happens next week, this year has been a success in my eyes and keeps the needle pointed up as the team continues to build their new identity. They are young, fierce, and fun— and they have a massive war chest of draft picks and cap space waiting to be opened in the offseason. But we’re not quite there yet— still got some business to handle in the here and now.
Today’s win keeps the playoffs squarely in Seattle’s crosshairs and with Week 18 comes some clarity. Most of the permutations were settled today, leaving just two variables on the table as far as Seattle is concerned. If the Seahawks beat the Rams and the Lions beat the Packers, Seattle is headed to the postseason. Any other outcome leaves them watching at home.
Gonna be a hell of a week. In the meantime, onwards, upwards, and happy new year!
I’ve been saving this 2015 Opus X Forbidden all year and busted it out for the advent of 2023. The fact that it accompanied a Seahawks win made it all the more special, as this cigar is a truly wondrous creation. The thing about the Opus X line is the immaculate construction, burning slow and evenly throughout the entire experience. Once, I smoked an entire Opus X without ashing it once, leaving a pure white cocoon in the shape of the original cigar when I was done. If you ever get a chance to smoke one of these masterpieces, you gotta do it.
This is the 4th year of our incredible partnership with Seattle Cigar Concierge. They have the plug on some of the most insane stogies on the market and they’re offering them to Cigar Thoughts readers for 20% off. These are extremely special sticks, and among the most enjoyable I’ve ever smoked. To get the hook-up, 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 them up on Twitter: @SeattleCigars. Just be sure to mention that you’re a Cigar Thoughts reader. Many of you have taken advantage of this incredible opportunity and for those who have always wondered what elite cigars are like, this may the best chance you’ll get to step into that world.
The 2022 season of Cigar Thoughts is also proud to be sponsored by Fairhaven Floors and Brandon Nelson Partners in Bellingham, WA.