The Seahawks snapped a three-game losing streak and kept alive their playoff hopes with a convincing 23-6 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday afternoon at Lumen Field.
At 8-8, the Seahawks will enter their regular-season finale next week against the L.A. Rams at home with a chance to sneak in the playoffs — though they’ll need help from the Detroit Lions to get there.
Three immediate impressions from Sunday’s game:
Defense does its part
Mike White clearly isn’t the answer for the Jets offense. Not today, anyway. And not that the Seahawks care about any of that.
The Seahawks had to beat the Jets (7-9) to keep their playoff hopes afloat, and credit to Seattle’s defense for doing what it had to do Sunday.
The Seahawks forced three turnovers and were able to put consistent pressure on the QB, neither of which they did much of in losing their previous three games.
Sure, the Jets are a mess. But this was an important step forward for a Seattle defense that has looked uninspiring for much of the second half of the season.
The Jets managed just 75 yards rushing and 204 yards passing.
Quandre Diggs and Michael Jackson each intercepted White, and Darrell Taylor continued his recent surge with 2.5 sacks. Veteran Quinton Jefferson added 1.5 sacks and three QB hits.
The bad news? The Seahawks lost middle linebacker Jordyn Brooks, their leading tackler, to a knee injury late in the second quarter that appeared to be significant. He was checked by trainers and carted off the field.
Tanner Muse replaced Brooks and appeared to play well in the second half. Cody Barton took over as the signal caller, and the Seahawks will obviously lean on him heavily next week against the Rams.
What a rush
You knew it was going to be a good day for the Seahawks ground game when on the first play of the game Kenneth Walker III ran 60 yards to the Jets’ 13-yard line. Two plays later, the Seahawks had a 7-0 lead on Geno Smith’s touchdown pass to Colby Parkinson. Perfect start, and exactly what the Seahawks needed to kick-start this two-game closing stretch at home. The Lumen Field crowd was raucous early and often, and the Seahawks responded with one of their most complete performances of the season.
Walker, the rookie, finished with 133 yards on 23 carries, his second-highest rushing total of the season (and highest since he went for 167 against the Chargers on Oct. 23).
The Seahawks overall had 198 yards on the ground against the Jets, Seattle’s highest total since that Chargers game.
Geno Smith, in turn, had a solid, if unspectacular, performance Sunday. He played a mostly mistake-free game, completing 18 of 29 passes for 183 yards with two touchdowns and no turnovers.
Even without injured starter Will Dissly (knee), the Seahawks leaned heavily on their three tight ends. Colby Parkinson had five catches, including the opening touchdown, and Tyler Mabry — signed off the practice squad to take Dissly’s place on the roster — had his first touchdown on his first career reception, on a 7-yard pass from Smith early in the second quarter.
It was a quiet day for DK Metcalf (one catch, 3 yards on five targets), but the good news for the Seahawks’ thin receiving corps is Tyler Lockett did return just 13 days after having surgery on his left hand. He finished with two catches for 15 yards, after missing part of the game with an unspecified leg injury. He was checked by trainers and returned to the field in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, in Green Bay
The seventh and final spot in the NFC playoffs will come down to three teams: Seattle, Detroit and Green Bay.
The Seahawks got some of the help they needed early Sunday from the Cleveland Browns, who knocked the Washington Commanders (7-8-1) out of the final spot in the NFC playoff bracket. Washington has been eliminated from the playoffs entirely.
Detroit (8-8) continued its late-season surge with a blowout victory over the Chicago Bears early Sunday. The Seahawks, however, own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Lions.
The Giants (9-6-1) clinched the No. 6 seed for the NFC playoffs with a victory over the Colts on Sunday.
Detroit can clinch No. 7 spot with a victory at Green Bay in Week 18 and a Seahawks loss.
The real hurdle now for the Seahawks is Green Bay.
The Packers thumped the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday afternoon en route to their fourth straight victory to get to 8-8.
The Packers are in control of their playoff hopes; if they beat the Lions at Lambeau Field next week, they will earn the No. 7 seed in the NFC. The Packers own the tiebreaker over the Seahawks based on their record against NFC opponents.
The Seahawks need to beat the Rams at home to get to 9-8 and they need Detroit to knock off the Packers in Green Bay, which means Seahawks fans everywhere will suddenly become major Lions fans next weekend.
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