One down, two to go as the Seahawks show us who they really are for the home stretch.
The 28-14 win in Detroit showed they can beat a good team in its place (Carolina, take note). Next, the Hawks need to show they can beat a better team (the Chargers) in Seattle (so Green Bay, Minnesota and Kansas City can take note). And then the Hawks will get a chance to show us they can beat the NFC’s best on the road.
“We’ve been on the road a lot now (five of first seven),” Pete Carroll said after the win in Detroit. “It’s no big deal to us. It doesn’t matter where we play right now to get the style of play we want.”
That style is predicated on running the ball, getting big plays in the passing game and winning the turnover battle.
The Seahawks have averaged 173 rushing yards over the past four games. That includes 176 yards on 42 carries in Detroit — making Russell Wilson’s Seahawks 11-0 when running it 40 times.
The Hawks also pulled three more takeaways, putting them at plus-10 for the season — which leads the NFL. Along with allowing a season-low 34 rushing yards, the defense did its job well enough despite giving up 310 passing yards and 6 of 10 third downs.
And Wilson put up the first perfect passer rating in team history while also averaging a team-record 14.59 yards per attempt (Dave Krieg averaged 14.52 in a 34-24 win over San Diego in 1986). Wilson has thrown 16 TD passes, putting him on pace for 36, which would break his team record of 34 (2015, 2017). And it’s all rooted in the running game — just like it was in the 2012-14 seasons, when the Hawks were true contenders.
This team is using the same formula it used in 2014, when it set a team rushing record and used stellar defense to win eight of the final nine and advance to the Super Bowl.
The win in Detroit is a good sign the Hawks might turn into that kind of team — the next two games will tell us for sure.
As for the NFC West, with the Rams (8-0) beating the Packers to remain perfect, the next three weeks provide what likely is Seattle’s only chance to close the gap.
The Rams play three of the NFL’s best teams the next three weeks: the Saints (6-1), Seahawks and Chiefs (7-1). If the Rams were to somehow drop all of those, they would be 8-3. If Seattle were to also win its next three — vs. the Chargers, Rams and Packers — it would improve to 7-3 and sit just a half-game back. The Seahawks then could catch up with a win in Carolina, and it would come down to which team was able to run the table over the final five.
It’s definitely a long shot for the Hawks to make up 3.5 games in the division, but they’re certainly looking good for the postseason — in the sixth spot right now. It all comes down to whether they can sustain the formula the way they did in the 2012-14 seasons.
In fact, Wilson said, “It really reminds me of 2012, when nobody was really thinking anything and you had young guys who played great and veterans who played great. There’s nothing that we can’t do.” The Hawks went 11-5 in Wilson’s rookie year, using all of the same strengths they have now, and came up just shy of the NFC title game.
Carroll likes this club, too. “I’m always going to regret the fact that we started lousy. It’s a 14-game season for us to try to do something with it after screwing up the first two games. But this is a nice team. I like our team. I like what’s going on. I like the way it’s going and I like how they feel about it. It’s really clear. There’s no mystery how we’re trying to get it done. We’re not going to fool anybody.”
Tyler Lockett and David Moore each scored again and now have a combined 10 touchdowns. Moore had a career day.
Bobby Wagner reveled in beating Golden Tate and the Sea Lions.
K.J. Wright had five tackles and a pass defensed in his debut, and he called the Seattle defense “a force to be reckoned with.”
The safeties had some issues in coverage (Carroll told 710 ESPN they need to work on Cover-2 zone more to learn how to play certain situations).