Apparently Pete Carroll was right: That dud in Tampa in Week 12 was an exception to the Seahawks’ new rule.
Their explosion in a prime-time payback game vs. Carolina was their third season-best performance in the past four weeks.
In the 40-7 blowout, they set season highs for points and rushing (240) and total (534) yards as Thomas Rawls and Tyler Lockett showed what they can do when healthy.
On a night Marshawn Lynch showed up on the sideline, Rawls had his best game of the season: 106 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.
He and Lockett combined for 181 of the 240 rushing yards and 75 of the 315 receiving yards — almost half of Seattle’s output. Lockett’s 196 all-purpose yards were a career-high and among the top 30 performances in team history. The team record is Shaun Alexander’s 273 yards (266 rushing) vs. Oakland in an upset win in 2001.
The Hawks have now set season highs in yards in three of the past four games — over 400 vs. New England and Philly, with the Tampa Bay debacle the outlier.
In addition to showing they can still wrack up the yards and points, they avenged two bad 2015 losses to Carolina and remained half a game up on Detroit for the No. 2 seed in the NFC.
If the Hawks can win in Green Bay next week, they should easily maintain their lead. They face their three struggling division foes to finish the season. Detroit gets an easy one vs. Chicago next Sunday but then has to play at the Giants and Cowboys before finishing at home vs. the Packers. Not an easy road for Golden Tate & Co. to catch the Hawks.
Other tidbits from Seattle’s big payback game vs. Carolina:
The Seahawks improved to 18-3-1 in prime-time games under Pete Carroll — the best mark in the NFL. They are 6-0 at home this season and 37-5 at home with Russell Wilson.
The Hawks went over 34 minutes in TOP for the third time this season (they also did it vs. San Francisco and Miami). K.J. Wright told KING-TV it was nice to have that kind of game after some of the 90-play contests the defense has endured this season. He also said he would love to be picked to his first Pro Bowl this season — an honor he certainly deserves.
Steven Hauschka scored 16 of the 40 points, hitting all four field goals. He went over 100 points for the sixth consecutive season, a team record. Self-confessed wife beater Josh Brown did it in 2003-07.
Jimmy Graham, eschewed in the red zone recently in favor of Jermaine Kearse (0 for 12 this season), got five targets in the red zone (plus one from the 22-yard line). He caught two of the red-zone passes, including a 1-yard score, and is now 7 for 15 in the red zone.
Carroll lauded Justin Britt as a major key for Seattle’s offense.
Michael Bennett played 36 of 58 defensive snaps in his return after missing five games with a knee injury. Carroll told 710 ESPN that it was obvious Bennett was back when “he lined up offsides perfectly right off the bat.”