A good Sunday morning for the Seahawks — a 20-15 road victory over Washington — got that much better in the afternoon with the Rams’ stunning home defeat against the Jets.
That now means Seattle can win the NFC West with a victory over the Rams in a 1:25 game at Lumen Field next Sunday. It also means Seattle could still win the West even if it loses to the Rams, if the Seahawks then beat the 49ers the following Sunday while the Rams lose to Arizona.
With its victory Sunday, Seattle stays within at least remote distance of the No. 1 seed in the NFC. It won’t be easy — Seattle would need to win out and have the Saints and Packers lose at least one more each.
But every upset that happens — to Seattle or any other team — shows anything is possible until it’s not.
And for Seattle, the results Sunday made things seem a lot more possible than they appeared two weeks ago in the aftermath of the stunning loss to the Giants.
What we also know is that, with so much on the line against the Rams, the Washington game will be forgotten quickly.
But before it gets too far in the rearview mirror, some grades.
There wasn’t a lot of Letting Russ Cook in the traditional sense as Russell Wilson was held to a season-low 121 passing yards with Seattle going with a quick game to combat Washington’s pass rush and Seattle emphasizing its running attack. Wilson averaged just 4.5 yards per attempt, his lowest of the season and tied for fourth-lowest of his career, with no completion of longer than 15 yards.
But Wilson continued a quietly effective season running the ball with 52 yards, including the 38-yarder in the second quarter that set up Seattle’s first touchdown.
Wilson’s interception was a somewhat fluky play, with the tip at the line as he tried to roll out and make something happen. But he now has 13 on the year, two more than his previous career high.
It was obvious the Seahawks wanted to win this one on the ground, and for most of the day that proved an effective strategy as Chris Carson banged out a tough 63 yards on 15 carriers and Carlos Hyde had a 50-yard touchdown run on the first possession of the second half at a time it felt like the Seahawks could do what they wanted on the ground. But the running game disappeared from there — Seattle had minus-4 yards on five carries in the fourth quarter.
Rashaad Penny did indeed return to action with two carries for 6 yards on consecutive plays in the third quarter. But Pete Carroll said it was by design to get Penny’s feet wet in this game but not overload him in his first action in 54 weeks.
One piece of bad news was the loss of rookie DeeJay Dallas to an apparently serious ankle injury while covering a kickoff.
Tyler Lockett set a career high in receptions with a 15-yarder at the end of the first quarter — he now has 85 catches for 920 yards this season.
But otherwise, there weren’t a lot of obvious highlights here as the short-pass strategy obviously held down the numbers for both DK Metcalf and Lockett.
Metcalf, in fact, was held to just one catch for 6 yards in the first half — though he also drew a critical pass interference penalty — but finished with 43 yards on five catches.
Lockett, though, didn’t have a catch in the second half after getting four for 34 yards in the first, and it’s at least worth wondering if defenses have found a blueprint for stopping Seattle’s big plays.
It’ll be nice to add Josh Gordon to this mix as David Moore and Freddie Swain were held to just 13 yards on three receptions.
Jacob Hollister continued his second-half resurgence with two catches for 17 yards and a touchdown. But Will Dissly did not have a target on a day when it seemed like Seattle might be able to do some damage with its tight ends. Dissly did have a good day blocking.
Greg Olsen will be a welcomed return.
Wilson was not sacked for the second consecutive week. But if doing that against the Jets was one thing, doing so against Washington and a vaunted pass rush that came in with 40 sacks was another. The quick passing game helped negate the sacks, obviously. Still lots of credit to go around for keeping Wilson pretty much untouched — Washington had only three quarterback hits.
The offensive line also opened up some big early holes for the running game.
Cedric Ogbuehi stepped in for the injured Brandon Shell at right tackle and played much better than he had previously and helped combine with Damien Lewis and Ethan Pocic to open the hole for Hyde’s 50-yard touchdown (it was fun seeing Pocic almost catch up to Hyde in the end zone).
One negative — Mike Iupati was called for holding on Seattle’s first series that negated a first-down run by Carson and eventually meant the Seahawks had to settle for a field goal.
Iupati departed later in the first quarter with a neck injury and was replaced by Jordan Simmons.
There didn’t seem to be a lot of pressure until it suddenly really mattered with Dwayne Haskins sacked three times on the final drive. Haskins was otherwise sacked just once, by Jamal Adams, though he admittedly was getting rid of the ball quick and is pretty elusive.
It was good to see Carlos Dunlap back — he had his fifth sack in six games on the final drive and had two quarterback hits overall. Alton Robinson and L.J. Collier had sacks on the final drive.
Seattle did a nice job for most of the game on Washington’s tailback running, holding it to 56 yards on 17 carries. Poona Ford continues to lead the charge against the run, playing really well inside.
Damon “Snacks” Harrison saw ample action at nose tackle and helped plug up the run as well.
As the game wore on, WFT seemed to take advantage of Seattle’s coverage in the middle of the field, both on throws to tight end Logan Thomas and on shorter passes to receivers and running backs.
K.J. Wright was solid much of the day but had the critical helmet-to-helmet penalty late in the game. Bobby Wagner finished with a game-high 13 tackles, and give him credit, too, for helping bottle up Washington’s run. But Thomas seemed to get the better of him a few times in man situations.
D.J. Reed continues to play so well that it’s worth wondering if Seattle really needs to go back to Quinton Dunbar or Tre Flowers once either of them is healthy. He had another interception — his second of the year — and three pass defenses.
Adams had another sack and nine tackles and seems to be getting steadier with his overall play.
And Shaquill Griffin made a nice play to get his third pick of the year — equaling his total of his first three years.
This turned out to be the area where the Seahawks won the game as much as anywhere else — Washington’s missed PAT after its first touchdown really changed how the game was played at the end.
Jason Myers now has made 31 consecutive field goals, and Michael Dickson again seemed to hit every punt just where they were needed, downing all four inside the 20 and averaging 50.8 yards per kick.
Among other highlights, Ryan Neal got quickly downfield to make the tackle on Dickson’s 57-yard punt in the fourth quarter that forced WFT to start at its own 14 after cutting the lead to 20-15.