Last week the Hawks finally beat a team with a winning record when they took down the Steelers at home. On Sunday, the Hawks looked like a team that could thump any opponent in the NFL.
MINNEAPOLIS — Yes, this was just one game. Yes, there still are areas of concern. And yes, anything can happen over the next four weeks in the country’s most competitive sports league.
But having acknowledged all that, allow me to write what Seahawks fans have been waiting to say all season.
Blowouts under Carroll
Sunday’s victory at Minnesota featured the Seahawks’ third-largest margin of victory under coach Pete Carroll (since 2010).
Dec. 9. 2012
Dec. 16, 2012
Dec. 6, 2015
Dec. 23, 2012
Dec. 21, 2014
Sept. 22, 2013
Last week the Hawks finally beat a team with a winning record when they took down the Steelers at home. Sunday, the Hawks finally looked like a team that could thump any opponent in the NFL.
Their 38-7 drubbing of the Vikings wasn’t a win — it was a declaration. It was a reminder that anyone who sleeps on the Seahawks will wake up in a cold sweat.
Minnesota entered this game with an 8-3 record and a first-place standing in the NFC North. The Vikings feature the league’s best running back in Adrian Peterson and a top-10 defense to boot.
The Vikings are good. Real good. Yet the Seahawks treated them the way a frat guy’s forehead does beer cans.
Tyler Lockett returned the opening kickoff 47 yards, and it was pretty much all Seahawks from there. Even if they did fumble away the football on the opening drive, the eye test suggested a vast disparity between the teams.
It didn’t take long for the scoreboard to confirm this, as Seattle took a 21-0 lead into the half. And aside from the touchdown they allowed on a kickoff return, the Hawks were every bit as dominant the next two quarters.
After the game, Seattle tight end Luke Willson was asked if his team had been waiting for this kind of breakthrough.
“I don’t know if waiting is the word,” Willson said. “I think we’ve been working toward it.”
Well said. Games such as Sunday’s don’t just magically appear. But a few weeks ago, it was clear the Hawks had quite a bit to work on.
After the Seahawks began the season 2-4, there was little evidence suggesting the offense would rediscover its potency. Russell Wilson was inconsistent, his offensive line was a disaster, and the team’s red-zone touchdown percentage was by far the worst in the league.
But in the past three games, the Seahawks have not only been sufficient offensively — they’ve been downright spectacular.
After hanging 29 points on San Francisco, then 39 on the Steelers last week, Seattle racked up 433 net yards vs. Minnesota. Wilson completed 21 of his 27 passes for 274 yards and three touchdowns, and is 66 for his past 86. Thomas Rawls rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, giving him four 100-yard games this season and an NFL-leading 5.6 yards per carry.
By land or by air, the Seahawks (7-5) have spent the past three games traveling virtually obstruction free. As safety Earl Thomas said of the offense: “They’re ballin’.”
Of course, it didn’t hurt that the Seahawks had what might have been their best defensive effort of the year. The Vikings’ only points came on special teams, and Peterson — the NFL’s leading rusher — had just 18 yards on eight carries.
Even Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was astounded by the shutdown, admitting he never could have expected to contain Minnesota so effectively. But it happened.
Now we wait to see if it will continue to happen.
The Seahawks’ downfall this season has been elite quarterbacks who repeatedly carve up their once-revered secondary. Aaron Rodgers, Andy Dalton, Carson Palmer, Cam Newton, Ben Roethlisberger — they’ve all had their way with the Seahawks, with the first four leading their teams to victories. Until Seattle can prove it can at least challenge these golden arms, Super Bowl expectations are a touch far-fetched.
But only a touch.
The Seahawks we’ve been watching the past three weeks have been about as good as any team in the NFL. Rawls has rekindled the running game, Wilson has played at an MVP-level, and the front seven has been magnificent. It’s not unrealistic to think the Legion of Boom will progress closer to the level that made it famous a couple years back, and if that happens, the rest of the league’s heart rate would increase at least 10 beats per minute.
On Sunday, receiver Doug Baldwin said the Seahawks’ mojo had returned. He spoke of a swagger they had during the week of practice leading up to the Vikings game, and he seemed sincere in his description.
The final score proved the confidence was justified, and that’s gotta be frightening for Seattle’s future foes.
Because right now, the Seahawks look scary good.
|After the victory Sunday, with four games to go, the Seahawks held their position as the second and final wild-card team in the NFC. Six teams make the playoffs, with the four division winners seeded by record, followed by two wild-card teams. Seattle sits sixth:|
|1. Carolina||12-0||NFC South|
|2. Arizona||10-2||NFC West|
|3. Green Bay||8-4||NFC North|
|4. Washington||5-6||NFC East|
|5. Minnesota||8-4||Wild card|
|6. Seattle||7-5||Wild card|
|7. Tampa Bay||6-6||Not in|
|8. Atlanta||6-6||Not in|
|9. N.Y. Giants||5-7||Not in|
|10. Chicago||5-7||Not in|