Three immediate impressions from the Seahawks’ 37-27 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday afternoon at CenturyLink Field.
Let DK cook
Russell Wilson was sensational again. He threw for 261 yards and four touchdowns against the 49ers, a great bounce-back performance for him in keeping the Seahawks, at 6-1, atop the NFC West.
Wilson’s four touchdown passes give him 26 overall this season — keeping him on track to break Peyton Manning’s record of 55 touchdown passes in a season (from 2013).
DK Metcalf had two of those touchdown receptions, both in the first half, and finished with a career-high 12 catches for 161 yards.
Metcalf abused San Francisco cornerback Emmanuel Moseley throughout the game, and his 46-yard catch-and-run touchdown on the final play of the first quarter was another in a growing list of jaw-dropping highlights.
Metcalf was left in one-on-one coverage again at the goal line in the second quarter, and Wilson found him on a play-action pass for a 2-yard TD.
Outside of his unbelievable chase-down tackle of Budda Baker, Metcalf had his quietest game of the season in the Seahawks’ overtime loss at Arizona last week. He was held to just two catches (on five targets) for 23 yards, all season lows, while being shadowed by Arizona veteran Patrick Peterson.
But Metcalf proved again Sunday why he’s become one of the top receivers in the NFL. His seven touchdowns are tied for the most in the NFL with teammate Tyler Lockett and Minnesota’s Adam Thielen.
Metcalf’s seven touchdowns match his total from 16 games as a rookie in 2019.
The Seahawks came into the game with the NFL’s highest-scoring offense, at 34 points per game, and they added to that Sunday. They did it without their top two running backs, Chris Carson (foot) and Carlos Hyde (hamstring), both out with injuries.
In their place, rookie DeeJay Dallas got his first start — and scored the first two touchdowns of his career. The first came on a 2-yard pass from Wilson in the third quarter.
Dallas added his first career rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter, pushing the Seahawks’ lead to 37-20.
Welcome back, defense
For as great as Wilson and Metcalf were on Sunday, the most important development of the day for the Seahawks was the defense.
The defense was … good?
Yes, it was good Sunday.
Bobby Wagner looked like the NFL’s best middle linebacker again, posting 11 tackles, two sacks, four QB hits and three tackles for loss. It was his best game all season.
It was the Seahawks’ best defense performance … at least for the first three quarters. The Seahawks were aggressive and seemed to play with an urgency on defense they’ve rarely had this season.
Remember, the Seahawks didn’t have any QB hits on Arizona’s Kyler Murray in their overtime loss to the Cardinals last week. And through their first six games, they had just nine sacks, ranking as the worst defense in the NFL in yards allowed and among the worst at pressuring the QB.
They were better all around Sunday, Jimmy Garoppolo three times and knocking him out of the game in the third quarter with an apparent ankle injury.
Nick Mullens (238 yards and two touchdowns) relieved Garoppolo and made things interesting in the fourth quarter — more interesting than they needed to be — but the Seahawks were comfortably ahead throughout the fourth quarter.
D.J. Reed, a 49ers draft pick in 2018, made his debut for the Seahawks and intercepted Garoppolo in the first quarter, and rookie Alton Robinson had his second sack of the season.
So, yes, it was a pretty good day overall for Seattle’s defense — with more good news around the corner.
Jamal Adams (groin), Shaquille Griffin (concussion) and Benson Mayowa (ankle) are all expected back soon. And defensive end Carlos Dunlap, acquired in a trade with Cincinnati mid-week, is scheduled to make his Seahawks debut next week.
Atop the NFC
The Seahawks approach the season’s midway point with the best record in the NFC. Most importantly, their win Sunday extended their lead atop the NFC West.
Arizona, idle this week, sits in second place in the division at 5-2.
The Los Angeles Rams lost at Miami, 28-17, to fall to 5-3.
And, of course, the 49ers lost in Seattle to drop to 4-4.
In what is widely considered the toughest division in the NFL, the race figures to heat up in the season’s second half.
The Seahawks travel to Buffalo next week, before two more intriguing matchups against division rivals the two weeks after that — with a trip to Los Angeles on Nov. 15 followed by a rematch with Arizona for a Thursday-night showdown on Nov. 19 in Seattle.
The Packers’ loss to Minnesota on Sunday means the Seahawks also take over the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Under the NFL’s new playoff format, that No. 1 seed has become more important than ever because the top seed will be the only team to earn a bye in the opening round of the playoffs.