The Seahawks had a rare on-field respite in Week 14, but now it’s back to work: Three NFC games to determine their postseason position.
After improving to 9-4 with a 40-3 win over the New York Jets, the Seahawks sit one game behind Green Bay and New Orleans in the race for the top seed and accompanying bye. They also have a huge game against the Rams (9-4) in Week 16 that will help determine the division winner; Seattle needs to win that to have a chance at the division, though Week 17 still would loom large.
At this point, the Seahawks are slotted into the first wild card, which would send them to Washington if the playoffs started this week. As it turns out, they are going to Washington anyway for a tough game against the WFT’s stellar defense.
The Washington game is important only for the top two seeds. Seattle can win the West without winning that game, because Arizona (7-6) and L.A. still have to play each other.
So, this week the Hawks are playing to stay in the race for the bye. In Week 16, they are playing to stay alive for the third seed (and the first, if they beat Washington). Week 17 will decide it all.
As for the other teams in these hunts:
Top seed: The Packers (10-3), who beat Detroit on Sunday, finish with Carolina, Tennessee and Chicago. The Saints (10-3), who lost to the Eagles on Sunday, finish with Kansas City, Minnesota and Carolina. The Hawks need the Packers and Saints each to lose one of their NFC games while Seattle wins out.
Division: The Rams, coming off a 24-3 win over New England, get their mini-bye against the Jets next week, then play Seattle and finish with Arizona. The Cardinals have a shot, too, if they win out and Seattle beats L.A. and loses to San Francisco.
NOTES FROM WIN OVER JETS
Jamal Adams set the NFL record for sacks by a defensive back (8.5). He said, “I’m trying to shatter it. This is just a start. It’s not the finish.” He also dropped an easy interception, which he called “horrible.” But he was happy to put that revenge game behind him. The Hawks had a bunch of ex-Jets in that game: Pete Carroll, Brian Schottenheimer, Geno Smith, Brandon Shell, Damon Harrison, Jason Myers.
Russell Wilson threw four TD passes for the fifth time this season, a career best, and broke his franchise record for TD passes in a season (36). He is the first NFL QB to have a winning record in his first nine seasons. He also threw an interception, giving him a career-high 12.
A day before his 23rd birthday, DK Metcalf recorded his 10th TD catch (fifth in the NFL). Metcalf, who is second in the NFL with 1,180 receiving yards, became the fourth receiver in team history to put up 1,000 yards and at least 10 touchdowns. The others: Steve Largent (1983, 1984), Joey Galloway (1997, 1998) and Doug Baldwin (2015).
Wilson and company finally had an easy win. It was the 11th time Wilson has led the Hawks to 40 points and was the biggest blowout by the Hawks since a 58-0 win over Arizona in 2012, his rookie season. That win was the start of a monster three-game streak at the end of that season that included a 50-17 victory over Buffalo and 42-13 win over San Francisco. Would be great if the Hawks could repeat that this year.
The Hawks’ defense has made big strides ever since the loss to the Rams in Week 10. After giving up 30.4 points over the first eight games, they have surrendered just 16.2 over the past five games. Their sack numbers have jumped as well. They got Sam Darnold three times and have 24 over the past six games, after just 12 in the first seven games. “You saw another day of the defense coming out here,” Carroll said. “This is us getting going now, and it’s pretty clear that we’ve made a big turn.”
Myers has made 29 straight field goals, one shy of Olindo Mare’s franchise record.
Injuries: Shell (ankle) left the game and Carlos Dunlap (foot) sat out, but both could return for Washington. The Hawks really need Shell against Chase Young and the stellar Washington defensive front – or it will be a long day for Wilson.