Wilson wakes up & other observations from a rare win

Russell Wilson had a good value-rebuilding game, snapping out of the worst funk of his career as he hit 30 of 37 passes – his best percentage (81) of the season.

He also nailed a quick RB screen to Rashaad Penny that gained 27 yards – the most successful screen play Wilson has executed in memory (Geno Smith had a decent one earlier this season, but the Seahawks largely stink at these — as everyone knows).

Even with two third-stringers playing on the line, Wilson looked a lot more like the resilient player we have long seen. We’ll see whether he can keep it going.

The Seahawks still started very poorly on offense. On their first four drives, they gained just six yards and Wilson was 5 of 6 for just 12 yards and a fumble as he threw short WR screens and, as usual, tried to go long on third-and-short. Shane Waldron still is not using enough movement, either before or after the snap.

At halftime, CBS analyst Nate Burleson, a former Seahawk, repeated our longtime complaint: “I would love to see that Seattle Seahawks offense be a little bit more creative pre-snap. … Just to line up and have your guys stand out there stacked every single play, that’s just not the way you move the ball. You look at the creativity within the NFC West, it’s a shining example of how much better your offense can be if you just use pre-snap movement.”

We had a Carlos Dunlap sighting. The veteran has had a very disappointing first full season in Seattle and had been used less and less the past few games. He played just seven snaps against the 49ers but came up with two huge plays, pulling down Jimmy Garoppolo in the end zone for a safety sack and batting down Garoppolo’s final pass attempt to tie the game.

Dunlap did not want to discuss the reasons for his lackluster year, but Ken Norton Jr.’s rotations simply have not worked – he is playing the wrong people in the wrong groupings at the wrong times.

Gerald Everett, who was on the incomplete end of several errant Wilson passes in the loss at Washington last week, returned the favor in spades against the 49ers. He turned the ball over three times – two on the goal line.

The Seahawks overcame that to become the first team in 20 seasons to win after two turnovers from inside the 5-yard line.

This rough game for Everett comes after a great three-game run in which he caught 16 of 21 passes (almost all of the incompletions were Wilson’s fault).

Wilson was right when he said, “He’s a tremendous football player and he’s been great for us this season.” The Hawks need to extend Everett or re-sign him before next league year.

It took 12 games (most of them missed due to a serious concussion), but Dee Eskridge finally showed us a little of what he can do. He caught three balls and scored his first NFL touchdown. He needs to keep getting action as the season winds down so he turns into a strong No. 3 for 2022.

While Eskridge scored his first TD, Adrian Peterson notched his 126th – tying Jim Brown for 10th in NFL history.

Bobby Wagner got an early pick when he had the ball put in his back pocket by Garoppolo. Wagner, the NFL’s leading tackler, had nine stops and a pass defensed as well. He’s still a solid player, and the Seahawks should be looking to trade him in the offseason. They probably could get a 2 and 4 for him, plus $16.6 million in cap room.

Travis Homer has become quite the special teams player. He scored his second TD on teams this season with a 73-yard run off a fake punt – the longest fourth-down TD from scrimmage in the NFL since 2003. That joined his 44-yard onside-kick return for a TD against Jacksonville. He also recovered a fumble caused by Nick Bellore against the 49ers and converted a fourth down with a strong run at the goal line late in the game.

Jake Curhan deserves a lot of credit for hanging in there at left guard after replacing Kyle Fuller. He got beaten on the pass rush here and there, but he looked pretty good on a few runs to that side. We were among those wondering before the game why Phil Haynes was inactive. The coaches seem way too high on Fuller, who is simply not very good. Haynes surely would have been better at LG.

Stone Forsythe had to step in for RT Brandon Shell after his bum shoulder forced him out again. The Hawks should start rotating Forsythe there more and see if he might be able to fill that starting spot in 2022.  

Jamal Adams was the biggest loss, leaving with a sprained shoulder that sounds like it could keep him out a while. Good thing the Hawks have Ryan Neal. He had five stops, including one on third down, and was strong against the run.

Quandre Diggs, meanwhile, picked off a pass for the fourth time this season. The Hawks need to extend him before free agency or else use the franchise tag to keep him. Looks like that would cost $13.5 million.

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