Russell Wilson was a star on offense and the defense picked up three interceptions to help the Seahawks cruise to a 27-17 victory over the Jets on Sunday.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — As the Seahawks said goodbye to the New York Jets and the first quarter of the season Sunday, they headed into what they hope will be a good bye.
After beating the Jets 27-17, the Seahawks now take next Sunday off. They do so tied for first in the NFC West with the surprising Rams at 3-1, and in an even more surprising development, two games ahead of their supposed biggest threat in the division, the Arizona Cardinals.
They also do so having the ability to get quarterback Russell Wilson that much healthier (as well as a few other notable players, such as receiver Tyler Lockett).
“We’ll enjoy these next two weeks and get well, get right and come back getting after it again,” said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.
They also head into the bye getting some high marks for their performance against the Jets.
This was billed as being a mammoth test for Seattle’s offensive line going against a Jets’ front some have called among the best in the NFL.
But while the Jets held the Seahawks to 66 yards rushing on 26 carries — a season-low 2.5 yards per attempt — Seattle had little trouble throwing with Wilson completing 23 of 32 passes for 309 yards, three touchdowns and a passer rating of 133.5.
He was sacked just twice and hit only six times, a sign of some improved protection — especially when Seattle wanted to go deep — as well as Wilson’s ability to get rid of the ball quickly when the play called for it.
Rookie Germain Ifedi made his first start at right guard and seemed to make a noticeable impact.
The Seahawks also got stellar performances from their receivers — nine in all caught at least one pass — highlighted by tight end Jimmy Graham, who had six catches for 113 yards, his second straight 100-yard game, with the Seahawks doing some nice things to get Graham in favorable matchups against smaller defensive backs. Graham has 213 yards on 12 catches in the last two games.
Paul Richardson, who saw a bit more time with the Seahawks limiting the snaps of Lockett — who has a sprained knee — made a highlight-reel 27-yard catch to set up a touchdown, Doug Baldwin survived a harrowing blow to the head early in the game to make four catches, and rookie Tanner McEvoy made his first NFL catch about as memorable as possible, scoring a 42-yard touchdown.
Christine Michael and C.J. Spiller also combined for seven receptions for 37 yards and two touchdowns, with Wilson expertly taking what the Jets were giving him.
And while the running numbers could be somewhat of a cause for concern, they came against a Jets’ defense that came in ranked third in the NFL against the run and with Wilson hobbled.
While the Jets moved the ball a little bit early, and also got a couple of big plays out of receiver Brandon Marshall, this ultimately was another typically solid day for the Seattle defense.
Matt Forte, who came in with 261 yards in his first three games, had 16 yards on his first four carries and then was held to 11 on his final 10 to finish with just 27 on 14 carries. Tackles Athyba Rubin and Tony McDaniel and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner led the charge against the run.
The Seahawks, meanwhile, decided to have Richard Sherman exclusively cover Marshall, who has caught 100 or more passes six of the last nine years.
Marshall beat Sherman for a few plays early, including two big ones in the second quarter — a 41-yarder and then a 17-yard touchdown right before halftime.
But on six targets in the second half, Marshall had just one catch — a 17-yarder on a play where Sherman was called for pass interference but protested it could have been on Marshall.
No matter, Sherman picked off the next pass — one of his two fourth-quarter interceptions and one of three for Seattle (Earl Thomas getting the other) which tripled the number of turnovers the Seahawks had coming into the game.
The kickers were the stars of this one.
After Seattle was stopped on its first possession of the second half, ahead 14-10, Jon Ryan’s 56-yarder forced a fair catch at the Jets’ 8 that helped flip the field and helped set a field goal on Seattle’s next possession.
And Steven Hauschka made his first field goal of the season longer than 40 yards with a 53-yarder in the fourth quarter that put Seattle up 27-10 and came after Wilson had taken a sack for a loss of 14 yards on third down.
Spiller uneventfully handled kickoff returns with the team still limiting Lockett.
And Graham recovered an onside kick to basically end it after New York’s bizarre final touchdown on a 42-yard recovery of their own fumble.