It took a little while, but the Seahawks finally took control in the fourth quarter and pulled away from the Houston Texans en route to a 33-13 road victory Sunday.

Rashaad Penny had his best game in a Seahawks uniform, and the Seahawks improved to 5-8 and kept their (very, very) slim playoff hopes alive.

Three instant impressions from the game:

Defense does its job, again

In the end, it was a typical day on defense for the Seahawks. In a lot of ways, this game mirrored their season-long story arc.

They were shaky early.

They dropped into their usual pillow-soft zone coverage and left open too many received underneath in the middle of the field.

They made QB Davis Mills look a lot like Peyton Manning in the first half.

This is how Pete Carroll wants his defense to play football. We’ve seen it time and time again.


There’s a feeling-out process early in games. They don’t want to give up big plays, and they want to be stout in the red zone and they want to keep the score close until the fourth quarter.

They achieved all three things once again Sunday in Houston. They shut down the 49ers at home last week en route to a much-needed, get-right victory, and they did it again Sunday to the Texans.

They gave themselves a chance to win — gave the offense a chance to finally pull away late — and there’s a good chance we’ll see much the same again next week

Now, when you’re playing a rookie QB who was 0-6 in his first six NFL starts, you would have thought maybe, just maybe, the Seahawks would have tried to make Mills more uncomfortable early. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’d have to blitz, but just not make it easy for him — mix up coverages, force him to beat you over the top. Simply put, don’t be predictable.

Alas, it didn’t matter. The Seahawks, clearly, were confident they would outlast Mills and this limited Texans offense in the end.

And they did.

Al Woods, once again, played a bit part in that.

There’s a good case to be made for Woods as Seattle’s defensive MVP this season.


Quandre Diggs certainly deserves strong consideration in that regard, but it’s a bit scary to think would the Seahawks’ defensive front would be without Woods.

A 34-year-old, 330-pound journeyman, Woods is playing a career-high 53% of defensive snaps this season, and he might be playing his best game of the season today. He had five tackles through three quarters and combined with Rasheem Green for the Seahawks’ first of two sacks of Texans rookie Davis Mills. Woods also had another tackle for loss on a run play. He was everywhere Sunday afternoon.

To the bank

The Seahawks were desperate for something like this from Rashaad Penny.

And Penny was desperate for one more opportunity like this.

It could not have worked out better for both.

Penny, as has been well documented, has had an injury-riddled run with the Seahawks since they used their first-round pick on him in 2018. He will be a free agent after this season, and he came into Sunday with just 78 yards rushing on 27 carries this season as he’s battled a calf injury and a hamstring injury at various points.

He eclipsed all that against the Texans, posting career highs in carries (16), yards (137) and touchdowns (2).

He had a beautiful 32-yard touchdown run on the final play of the third quarter — cutting right, getting outside and using a lethal stiff-arm to get free.


He then put the exclamation point on the win with a patient 47-yard TD run midway through the fourth quarter.

The Seahawks have been waiting for four years for a performance like this from Penny, and they’ve needed it with Chris Carson out for the season.

That had to feel good for him — no question — and it had to feel good for Pete Carroll and the Seahawks front office, whose trust and patience in him finally paid off.

Penny’s emergence was the best development of the day for Seattle. Question remains: Can he keep it going? Can he be productive — and available — for the final four weeks of the season as the Seahawks try to sneak back into the playoff chase?

The Seahawks need more of that from Penny, and he needs to show again he can do it.

Lockett hits 1K

This was vintage Tyler Lockett.

We’ve talked for years around here that Lockett might be the most underrated receiver in the NFL, and he showed why again Sunday.


When Russell Wilson scrambles, Lockett has always had knack for finding the small openings downfield. And Lockett was open a lot Sunday.

Lockett finished with 142 yards receiving on his five catches, surpassing the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the third consecutive season. The only other Seahawk to do that — Steve Largent.

He also caught a hard-thrown pass from Wilson in the back of the end zone to convert a 2-point play in the fourth quarter, after Gerald Everett’s goal-line TD grab finally allowed Seattle to pull away.

Russell Wilson had another nice performance two months removed from finger surgery, throwing for 260 yard on 17 of 28 passes with two touchdowns and no turnovers.

DK Metcalf (four catches, 43 yards) got involved in the second half. He had one touchdown negated by penalty, and he set up Everett’s touchdown by drawing a pass-interference call.

Wilson, at least, is trying to get Metcalf involved more, and that’s an encouraging step forward from where this offense was a few weeks ago.