Led by backup QB Geno Smith and rejuvenated defense, the Seahawks snapped a three-game losing skid with a boy-did-they-need-that 31-7 victory over the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday afternoon at Lumen Field.
The Seahawks improved to 3-5 entering their bye week.
Instant impressions from Sunday’s game:
Shut down defense
We have to start with the defense because, well, they ALMOST posted a shutout.
It’s a defensive performance that deserves to be highlighted, even if it came against a Jacksonville team that looks as badly coached as any NFL in recent history. (Yep, everything you’ve heard about the disaster that is Urban Meyer certainly appeared to be true Sunday — and the Jaguars were coming off their bye week!)
This is three solid performances in a row from Seattle’s defense, and you know it was a good day when Pete Carroll spent half the fourth quarter doing a double-barreled fist pump on the Seahawks sideline.
Yes, the Seahawks needed this.
They need Russell Wilson back, of course.
But if they are to get back into the playoff chase — in any legitimate fashion — they also needed to have this kind of defensive resurgence.
They did it in 2020 after a historically bad start.
And they’re doing it again in 2021 after a historically bad start.
The defense deserves credit for that.
Sure, you can nitpick a lot of issues still and note that these three games were against Pittsburgh, New Orleans and Jacksonville — three of the worst offenses in league.
We’ll still reserve judgment about this defense until it plays Green Bay and Arizona in back-to-back weeks. We’ll know a lot more in a few weeks, for sure.
But Sunday was another positive step forward.
The Seahawks took a shutout into the game’s final two minutes, until Jacksonville scored on Trevor Lawrence’s fourth-down touchdown pass to Jamal Agnew.
Quandre Diggs had another interception, this one a gift from Jacksonville rookie Trevor Lawrence in the first half. Diggs has all three of Seattle’s interceptions this season.
Officially, the Seahawks had only one sack of Lawrence, but it sure felt like they were in the backfield much of the afternoon.
Bobby Wagner did have one sack nullified by a penalty downfield. And Carlos Dunlap tipped two passes at the line, and Al Woods and Rasheem Green had one pass breakup at the line too. The pass rush in general needs to be better, but those are at least positives — in what was an overall very positive day for the defense.
Geno’s big day
The offensive plan in Monday night’s game against New Orleans was obvious: The Seahawks weren’t going to let Geno Smith lose the game for them.
Six days later, the plan flipped.
In what the Seahawks hope will be Smith’s final start, the veteran backup QB had one of the best games of his NFL career. From the get-go Sunday, coaches were willing to let him air it out — to get his best playmakers involved — and it worked.
Smith completed 20 of 24 passes for 195 yards with two touchdowns — a rating of 128.3. He scored Seattle’s first touchdown on a fourth-down QB sneak, and he didn’t commit a turnover for the second game in a row.
He not only didn’t put his team in peril, Smith actually played a significant role in winning it for the Seahawks.
That could be a nice send-off for Smith before Russell Wilson’s return.
Wilson had stitches removed from his busted middle finger late in the week, and then he went through his usual pregame warm-up routine Sunday morning. The Seahawks, idle next weekend, are hopeful he can return for their next game at Green Bay.
Trick and treat
What’s the point of Halloween if we all can’t have a little fun, yeah?
The Seahawks sure enjoyed themselves on a sunny and crisp afternoon at home.
And, yes, they did have one trick up their sleeve in the third quarter. Smith pitched to running back DeeJay Dallas, who threw back to Smith, who then threw to Tyler Lockett for a 28-yard gain.
That set up DK Metcalf’s second touchdown of the game a few plays later, extending Seattle’s lead to 24-0 midway through the third quarter.
Both of Metcalf’s touchdowns came with ex-Seahawks cornerback Shaquill Griffin in coverage.
Metcalf and Griffin spent the past two years going head-to-head in Seahawks practices, and for the first time today they’re going one-on-one when it counts — and, yep, Metcalf is wining this matchup in a landslide.
Metcalf reached over Griffin at the right pylon to haul in his first touchdown catch of the day in the second quarter on a perfect 16-yard throw from Smith.
In the third quarter, Metcalf beat Griffin on the left side of the end zone for a 5-yard TD to make it 24-0.
As important as any development Sunday, the Seahawks finally got Tyler Lockett going again. After five relatively quiet weeks, Lockett has his first 100-yard receiving game since Week 2. He finished with 12 catches (on 13 targets) for 142 yards.