Three observations from the Seahawks’ 30-13 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday at CenturyLink Field.
Three observations from the Seahawks’ 30-13 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday at CenturyLink Field:
1. THE WIDE RECEIVERS
Doug Baldwin joined elite company Sunday. He had two more touchdown catches against the Browns, which gave him four consecutive games with at least two touchdown passes. Baldwin joined Calvin Johnson and Cris Carter as the only players since 1960 with four consecutive games with at least two touchdown catches.
Baldwin also has 11 touchdown catches in his past six games. He had 11 touchdown catches in his previous three seasons combined. He has 10 — 10! — touchdown catches in his past four games. He is also one of only a handful of receivers in the NFL with 12 touchdown catches this season. He has been lethal and Wilson’s favorite target of late, but he was in good company among the receiving corps against the Browns.
Jermaine Kearse had seven catches for 110 yards — a season high for him and only the second time in his career that he had more than 100 yards receiving. He has 14 catches and 184 yards receiving in his past two games and his 613 yards this season are a career high with two games to play.
Tyler Lockett caught another touchdown pass, giving him three in his past two games. He also has at least five catches in three consecutive games and is averaging 83 yards receiving in that stretch.
2. Running back Christine Michael
Michael was the Seahawks’ best running back.
It was the Great Fantasy Football question: How would the Seahawks split up carries among Derrick Coleman, Bryce Brown and Michael? Coleman got the start, and Brown came off the bench first, but it was Michael who had the best day.
Michael carried the ball 16 times for 84 yards, an average of 5.3 per carry. That’s the most yards Michael has gained in a game. He ran hard. He bounced off tacklers. He looked explosive, quick and physical.
Who knows what this means for the rest of the season? Who knows when, or even if, injured running back Marshawn Lynch will be back this season? And that means there’s also uncertainty with Michael’s role — how much the Seahawks will need him, or how many carries he might get. But in his first game back, Michael showed the one thing he has always had in abundance — potential.
Michael’s issues with the Seahawks in his first stint are well worn but worth going over again. He struggled with consistency. He would do the right thing one play, then not do it the next. He fumbled too often in his limited opportunities. He didn’t always hit the right hole or follow the play as it was designed. He admitted after his rookie season that he wasn’t a “complete pro,” and that followed him in his two-plus seasons in Seattle.
As former Seahawks fullback Kiero Small put it last year, “Once he gets to Point B, his God-given ability takes over. It’s getting from A to B with him.”
Michael’s talent spills over. Former NFL scout Louis Riddick once said Michael was the most gifted running back drafted in the past five years, and a strength-and-conditioning coach who worked with both players said Michael was as explosive as Adrian Peterson. The talent was never the problem. It was how Michael deployed that talent.
Now he’s back, and in his first game with the Seahawks, he looked more like the player the Seahawks were hoping they had drafted in the second round.
3. Quarterback Russell Wilson
What else is there to say about Wilson’s current hot streak?
To be honest, I’m not really sure. Wilson has been a one-man destroyer of defenses disguised as a quarterback in his past five games. Let’s start with the record: Wilson has thrown at least three touchdowns and no interceptions in five consecutive games, an NFL record. That is insane.
But there is more. He has 19 touchdowns in his past five games. That is insane. He has thrown 20 consecutive touchdown passes since throwing his most recent interception on Nov. 15 against the Cardinals. That is insane. He has completed 74 percent of his passes in his past five games. That is insane.
Wilson scrambled a little more than in previous games, but he still did most of his damage from the pocket — the place where he has dominated defenses in recent weeks.
Wilson completed 21 of 30 passes for 249 yards and three touchdowns against the Browns. A few weeks ago, it would have been a game that drew huge praise for efficiency and productivity. Now, somehow, it feels like just another game.