The Seahawks got a well-rounded performance from all positions in their 28-14 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday. Bob Condotta gives out his first A+ of the season.
DETROIT — Maybe we are making too much out of this game — just one of 16 during the regular season — especially one played in October.
But this game felt pivotal, coming as it did following Seattle’s bye, capping a stretch of five-of-seven on the road to start the year, and with a tough slate of games in November still ahead. Notably, this win got the Seahawks over the .500 mark for the first time this season, and it came against another NFC team vying for a playoff spot.
In their first game since owner Paul Allen’s death, the Seahawks played as if this one was a really big deal. They dominated the Lions in a 28-14 win Sunday, and noted later that they wanted win this game Allen.
The website 538.com gave Seattle a 38 percent chance of making the playoffs heading into the game but upgraded that to 54 percent after the win. And if the postseason does indeed come to fruition, this may indeed be the game viewed as a turning point.
Russell Wilson completed 14 of 17 passes for 248 yards and three touchdowns and a perfect QB rating of 158.3. One of the incompletions was the incredible fourth-down play to find Nick Vannett for a TD, only to have the play nullified due to a penalty on Vannett. Another incompletion was the almost-touchdown to Doug Baldwin, when Baldwin was ruled barely out of bounds. Suddenly, Wilson is having a season as good as any in his career. He has 16 TDs to just four interceptions (one of which was a last-play desperation heave in the opener against Denver) and he has a 112.8 passer rating that would be the best of his career.
Not that anyone has really doubted Chris Carson’s ability. But it’s also time to start applauding his consistency as he now has gained 100 or more yards in three of his last four games. Carson is averaging 4.4 yards per carry this season despite having no run of longer than 24 yards. Mike Davis chipped in with a solid complementary game. First-round pick Rashaad Penny, though, didn’t get any carries.
Wilson showed extreme confidence in his receivers to make plays in tight coverage situations, and the receivers repaid his faith every time, be it Tyler Lockett, Baldwin, David Moore or even tight end Ed Dickson. Lockett has six TDs this season and Moore has four in three games. Seattle leaned on the trio of Baldwin, Moore and Lockett more than ever, and neither Brandon Marshall nor Jaron Brown got any targets.
Quite the debut for Ed Dickson, who had two catches for 54 yards and a touchdown in his first game with Seattle. Nick Vannett added a key 16-yarder to convert a third down on Seattle’s first scoring drive, the kind of play Vannett has seemed to make with increasing frequency.
The way the offense played, give a ton of credit to a long-beleagured offensive line that continues to show that this is a new crew and a new year. Germain Ifedi and D.J. Fluker teamed up for a pancake block to give Wilson time on his third TD pass of the second quarter that went to Dickson. It was symbolic on a day when Wilson was sacked just twice — with both sacks appearing to come due to coverage. Wilson said later he felt he had so much time to throw that he told the linemen, “I’m cooking steaks back there.”
The line made life tough for Detroit QB Matthew Stafford, who entered the game with five straight 100 -or-better passer ratings, but was under duress for most of Sunday and sacked three times. Dion Jordan also had a real nice game, both rushing the passer and defending the run and Shamar Stephen has become a significant factor against both the run and pass, with sacks each of the last two games.
Bobby Wagner didn’t let Kerryon Johnson out of his sight and deserves a ton of credit for the way the Seahawks held down the Lions’ running game. K.J. Wright returned and had five solo tackles.
There were a couple of shaky moments along the way, notably Tedric Thompson letting Marvin Jones behind him on the first TD. But given the pedigree of Detroit’s passing game, this was another solid outing. Bradley McDougald had a key third-down breakup on a pass to Golden Tate in the third quarter and Tre Flowers continues to be a revelation. And then there was Justin Coleman’s late interception at the goal line.
Thompson’s forced fumble on the kickoff was one of the turning point plays of the game. And, well, Michael Dickson’s unplanned fake punt? Yes, please.
SEAHAWKS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Wilson had the best game of what has been an increasingly good season with a perfect passer rating and good decisions all day long. And a stat as important as any this season? After Sunday, Wilson has a touchdown percentage of 8.8, which for a season would rank among the 20 best in NFL history.