On Sunday, the Cardinals lost to the Patriots, and the Rams lost to the 49ers. It was a good day for Seahawk fans, as with those losses, Seattle slightly regained their lead in the NFC West. On Monday Night, the Seahawks beat the Eagles, and their lead in the division strengthened. I will gladly take that.
No, it was not a sexy outing by the Seahawk offense. Russell Wilson didn’t cook up sexy passing stats. In fact, he got hammered by a highly determined Eagle defensive front, and at more than a few times, it felt like it was going to be “one of those games.”
The truth of the matter is that Russell Wilson, again, quietly had another highly efficient game, making enough plays as needed to guide his team to a relatively easy victory. It wasn’t sexy, but sometimes sexy is overrated.
Right now, the Seattle Seahawks just need Russell Wilson to play efficient ball to win winnable games. They don’t likely need him to cook during this stretch of games against the Giants, Jets, and the Washington Team. It’s cool if he does, but it’s not likely needed, just as it wasn’t in this game against the Eagles, and the most recent game against the Cardinals, and in the game against the 49ers.
Sometimes, Efficient Russ is the best Russ. In the world of football, there are quarterbacks that you want to date, and then there are quarterbacks that you want to marry. For me, give me the efficiently productive quarterback every single time. This is why Russell Wilson has been my favorite quarterback for nearly a decade. When he plays like this, he’s the marrying type.
Here are my further thoughts about this game.
As expected, the Seattle defense continued playing better ball. They did what they needed to do against a struggling Eagle offense. They harassed Carlson Wentz into sacks and bad throws, they came up big on fourth downs, and they kept the Eagles from scoring a lot of points (the Eagles got to 17 points on a fluky garbage time interception). While it wasn’t a shutout many Seattle fans were probably hoping for, it as a solid all around effort.
Numerous defenders had big plays. Jamal Adams was obviously the big impact defender as Seattle’s do-it-all safety. Linebackers Bobby Wagner, KJ Wright and Jordyn Brooks were also highly active. Carlos Dunlap continued his disruptive efforts as Seattle’s main edge rusher. Defensive end Rasheem Green had a flashy early sack and was active as a pass rusher throughout. KJ Wright probably had the defensive play of the game that sealed Philly’s loss by batting a fourth and two pass down at mid field.
Of all defenders, I thought the defensive tackle duo of Jarran Reed and Poona Ford especially stood out both in pressuring Wentz and making splash plays against the run. Reed, in particular, played with a particular bad ass quality, and Ford continued showing that he is maybe Seattle’s most disruptive interior pass rusher. The emergence of pass rushing Poona Ford over the last month has been an overlooked thing by some, but not here. His break out play has been duly noted at 12th Life.
While Russell Wilson had a good overall game passing, DK Metcalf was the clear star of the offense, hauling in 10 passes for 177 yards. He owned Darius Slay in this game. It continues to be exciting watching his game evolve, especially knowing that he is just scratching the surface of his potential. He is now officially over one thousand yards receiving in the season and they have five games left to go. I can’t remember a Seahawk receiver getting to a thousand yards quicker than him. Make no mistake about it, this guy is going to be a superstar in the league for years to come. Bank on that.
It was really nice seeing Chris Carson back in this offense and running with authority. The Eagle defenders did a stellar job snuffing out the run late in the game when it was obvious that Pete Carroll just wanted to drain clock by running more than he wanted to score by passing, but when it was earlier in the game and the Eagles had to concern themselves with Russell’s arm, Carson was a beast. I fully believe that Seattle should extent him to a new contract. He is the perfect back to pair with Russell. This game kinda solidified it for me.
As good as the Seahawk defense was, they kinda got caught napping a bit when Doug Pederson had Carson Wentz go up tempo with the offense. This is me nitpicking, but while they didn’t give up a bunch of points, you could feel some of the old leaks with the defense emerge again, and I found that unsettling during those stretches of ball.
Also, I wasn’t totally in love with Pete Carroll majorly dialing down the offense in the final minutes of the game, and taking the ball out of Russell’s hands by calling runs that the Eagle defenders were destroying. I would have preferred to have had Russ go for the throat a bit more. You know, get that touchdown to further put the Eagles away, instead of settling for the field goal. While I appreciate this more simmered down and efficient Russ, I don’t want to see the offense so dialed back that you aren’t fully trusting your MVP contending quarterback to put a team away when it seems clear that he is more than capable of doing that.
On the injury front, it appears that Carlos Dunlap hurt his foot late in the game. Fingers crossed that he doesn’t miss much time, if any at all. His addition on the defensive line has made everyone better.
It was a weird night for the zebras throwing the laundry on the field. The weirdest thing for me was calling Russ on an intentional grounding call in the red zone that could have been uncalled, and then not calling Wentz for grounding when it was clear that he tossed a ball out of bounds well behind the line of scrimmage.. which is grounding.. grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
Fans didn’t get the big blowout victory that they were hoping for against this struggling Eagles team. The thing is though, and I hate to put it in this overly simplistic cliched way, but that is football.
The Eagles were playing for their division title. They were going to give it their all, and their defense certainly did that. That is why I felt that this game was perhaps going to be a trap.
Seattle did what it needed to do to avoid that trap. They didn’t turn the ball over, they played efficient at quarterback, they played with enough balance on offense, and they did what they needed to do, defensively. That’s winning football.
Sure, Seattle won a match that proved to be a tougher out than some would think. I predicted a 31-17 win in my preview, and I got the 17 right. That said, as tough as the Eagles played on defense, it is fair to be reminded that Seattle left several points on the field. DK Metcalf dropped a touchdown pass that he should have caught. Carlos Hyde had a nifty rushing touchdown called back by a silly hold from their backup right tackle. Seattle went for it twice in field goal range on fourth down and failed.
It’s very likely that this final score could have been closer 31-17 that I predicted than it ultimately was. This is why I am not concerned about the state of the offense. This is still a unit capable of scoring a lot of points against good defenses.
That said, get ready for Seattle to maybe gut out a few more tougher outings against struggling NFC East teams. The Giants and Washington Team, as bad as they are, are still very much in the hunt to win their lowly division, and Seattle will play both in the next three weeks. You can be certain that both clubs will be giving it their all, just as Philly did. While it is very probable that Seattle beats both clubs, it might not be in the prettiest of ways. Both teams have relatively tough defenses that can rush with four and that is what you want to do when playing against Russell Wilson.
I’m saying this now because I think we have gotten a bit too caught up in the Let Russ Cook thing. It is obvious that Pete would rather have Russ play efficient ball over airing it out all over the place. I personally think that is fine, especially when they play against teams that don’t have good offenses. Seattle can win this way. They have proven that two weeks in a row against teams playing for their division titles. Be efficient, be smart, and be balanced.
For Pete Carroll, I think this is the way.