Through two games, what we know of the Seahawks is that Russell Wilson is cooking like never before and the offense appears to be Super Bowl-caliber — and the defense has some catching up to do.
Seattle needed every one of Wilson’s career-high-tying five touchdown passes to hold off the Patriots 35-30 Sunday night and stay atop the NFC West standings at 2-0 with Arizona and the Rams (and yes, what we also know is that the West is a bear of a division this year).
We also know, though, that the defense at least came through to make the final stop it had to have to prevent the talk of the week being whether a Seahawks team showing more willingness and ability to pass should have run it one more time on third-and-one at the 31 with 1:55 left.
Onto some grades:
It’s hard to know what more to say about Wilson other than just to recite his stats — he has nine touchdowns passes in two games, his most in any two-game time frame, and has completed 52 of 63 passes on the season. Just about every pass seemed on point and he also ran smartly for 39 yards.
Let the MVP campaign go up another notch.
Seattle indeed got Chris Carson and the running back corps more carries than last week, and Carson responded with a gutty 72 yards on 17 carries while also kicking in 36 yards on three catches, including the 18-yard reception for Seattle’s final score.
Carlos Hyde also excited the Seahawks bench with a physical run in the second quarter, though he largely gave way to Carson with just five carries overall. But 154 yards overall and a 5.1 average spoke loudly.
DK Metcalf sparred all game long — literally at one point — with standout New England corner Stephon Gilmore and ultimately got the better of him with a 54-yard score and another reception that set up a score in the final quarter.
Tyler Lockett, David Moore and Freddie Swain also all had scores, with Moore and Swain showing that any worry about a third receiver might be moot.
The big blotch on this group was the early pass that glanced off Greg Olsen’s hands and straight to Devin McCourty for a New England pick-six on the third play of the game.
And the tight ends were surprisingly quiet in the passing game with Will Dissly getting the only catch, for 9 yards.
The way the offense moved the ball was testament to the line’s overall play.
And if the protection seemed a little leaky at times on the surface — Wilson was sacked twice and had three throwaways — Carroll praised it, noting how confusing the Patriots can make things.
The line had a tough series on Seattle’s first possession of the fourth quarter with rookie Damien Lewis getting called for a hold — his third in two games — and then Jordan Simmons illegally downfield.
Duane Brown also had a holding penalty in the second quarter.
The line again failed to mount much of a consistent rush with just four linemen.
But the Seahawks did do a nice job clogging up a New England rushing attack that had rushed for 217 yards last week against Miami, the most in the league, holding it to 67.
L.J. Collier batted down a pass at the line and also had the play of the game at the end.
A knee injury suffered by Bruce Irvin late in the game — he was listed as doubtful to return — won’t help things, though he indicated he might not be out long, if at all.
Suffice to say, the pass rush remains the biggest question about this team, with the Seahawks forced to bring extra rushers to get any pressure. That exposes the secondary, and led to a few big plays Sunday.
Any game when the Seahawks contain the run as they did Sunday — just a 2.7 average per carry and no run longer than 13 yards — means middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is doing his job.
Wagner’s efforts helped keep Newton to just 47 yards and 11 carries.
First-round draft choice Jordyn Brooks got on the field for a few plays at weakside linebacker.
The secondary had to overcome all kinds of adversity with the ejection of Quandre Diggs and then a knee injury to Marquise Blair.
But while there were a few wobbles, they ultimately made it through, thanks in large part to another sterling game from Jamal Adams.
Adams was beaten for a 49-yard pass to Julian Edelman that set up a New England touchdown in the fourth quarter. But otherwise, he was mostly his usual wrecking-ball self, rebounding from that play to stop Newton on a two-point conversion run.
He then had the third-down stop on New England’s next possession, when the Patriots had a chance to take the lead. He also had a sack that forced a New England field goal in the third quarter, his second sack of the year.
Ugo Amadi filled in for Blair as the nickel and more than held his own, and Quinton Dunbar came up with his first big play as a Seahawk, jumping the route for an interception in the third quarter to give Seattle the ball at the 48, leading to a quick touchdown.
Lano Hill filled in at free safety and showed why the team likes him when he threw his body into the pile on the last series to help break up Newton’s run.
Punter Michael Dickson turned in one of the key plays of the game, a 63-yard punt after the Seahawks were stopped with a 28-23 lead early in the fourth quarter. The kick, coupled with a New England holding penalty, forced the Patriots to start at their own 7.
Travis Homer had a 44-yard kick return in the first half and Cody Barton the huge hit on the kickoff return — Carroll called it the hit of the game — among other highlights.