HOUSTON — The Seahawks did what they absolutely, positively had to do Sunday in Houston.
Anything short of an at least mildly convincing win would have meant another week of wondering where things go from here. Instead, Seattle used a dominant second half to pull away for a 33-13 win over the terrible Texans and can now at least say they have stayed alive for another week.
Onto the grades.
OK, we can pretty much now cast aside all the questions about Russell Wilson and his health and whether he could ever again be the kind of QB he had been in the past. Wilson’s numbers weren’t spectacular — 17 for 28 for 260 yards and two touchdowns. But he made a few of the kind of plays that only he can when he had to — the TD before halftime was maybe the biggest play of the game — and he is now 47 for 65 for 491 yards, four TDs and one interception that wasn’t his fault in the past two games.
So this is why the Seahawks have always showed so much faith in Rashaad Penny. When healthy, which admittedly hasn’t been as often as anyone would like, he’s been a big-play machine. Penny’s 137 yards on 16 carries were the most for any Seahawk since Thomas Rawls in 2015, and his touchdowns of 47 and 32 yards were the kind of plays Seattle has been sorely lacking out of its running game most of the season. Worry later about whether Penny can stay healthy. But without him, Sunday might have been much more of a struggle.
From one week to the next, Tyler Lockett can sometimes seem streaky. But in the big picture, boy is he steady. Lockett has now gone over the 1,000-yard mark in three straight seasons, the first Seahawk to do that since Steve Largent. And his 142 yards meant he’s now surpassed the 100-yard mark in three of the past six games. DK Metcalf had just 43 yards on four receptions but could have had a TD if not for a holding call. After something of a breakout game last week, rookie Dee Eskridge was held without a catch on one target. But the way the running game was going, Seattle didn’t need much more out of its air attack.
A bounce-back day for this group, and particularly Gerald Everett. Coming off his tough game a week ago with two lost fumbles and a bobbled pass for an interception, Everett had a clutch third-down reception early in the third quarter and then a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Will Dissly added two catches for 38 yards.
The oft-maligned line had one of its best days as Wilson was not sacked and the Seahawks averaged 6.7 yards per carry, more than a yard better than any game this season. It wasn’t perfect — Gabe Jackson was called for a hold that negated an apparent touchdown from Wilson to Metcalf in the third quarter — but overall it was hard to find much to complain about. As expected, undrafted rookie free agent Jake Curhan got the start at right tackle in place of Brandon Shell and seemed to hold up well. The Seahawks had success running over the right side early in the game, including on Penny’s 32-yard TD run to end the first quarter.
Chalk up another really good day for the interior line as the Texans managed just 63 yards on 25 carries and didn’t have a run of longer than 10 all game. Ageless vet Al Woods had another really strong day with five tackles and half a sack. Speaking of sacks, Seattle’s pass rush felt nonexistent early but got better as the game wore on with the Seahawks finishing with two overall and five quarterback hits. Darrell Taylor had a solo sack in the fourth quarter and would have had another in the third quarter if not for a penalty that negated it. Taylor’s six sacks are the most for the Seahawks this season and show why the team had faith in him to help take over for K.J. Wright.
The first drive was a little shaky for all involved on the defense. But the Seahawks held the Texans to just six points in the final 56 minutes, and the play of Bobby Wagner (15 tackles) and Jordyn Brooks (10) was a big part of it. Brooks helped team up with Woods to stop a second-and-goal run at the 5 after Houston had appeared to score a TD late in the second quarter, a key sequence in the game as the Texans had to settle for a field goal. Seattle also mostly held down Houston’s screen game.
In the first game this season without Jamal Adams at strong safety, the Seahawks proved vulnerable at times early as Davis Mills completed his first 14 passes, but they got better as the game wore on. Mills was 17 for 28 for 156 yards in the second half but just 4 for 9 for 38 yards during the third quarter, when the Seahawks began to exert their superiority. Adams’ replacement, Ryan Neal, finished with seven tackles, one for a loss. Cornerback Sidney Jones was called for a hold in the third quarter that negated a sack by Darrell Taylor, and the Texans were able to make a few plays. Brandin Cooks finished with 101 yards on eight receptions. But Seattle kept the big plays to a minimum in the final three quarters.
A hit-and-miss day here. Michael Dickson pinned two more punts inside the 10. His punt at the end of the first half forcing Houston to start at the 2, downed by Penny Hart, was one of the keys of the game as it led to the Wilson-to-Lockett TD that put Seattle ahead at the half. And Freddie Swain had maybe his best punt return of the season with a 22-yarder from Seattle’s 11 to its own 33 early in the fourth quarter that helped set up a touchdown. But Seattle also allowed a 43-yard return on a lateral on the ensuing kickoff that set up a Houston field goal. And Jason Myers missed two PATs, continuing what has been a somewhat spotty year. He is now 29 for 32 on PATs for the season.
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