I feel like we could say this every week, but I’m gonna say it again: it should’ve been MUCH easier than that.
The Seahawks went into New Jersey and beat the Giants by a score of 24-7. That sounds like a quality, sound win, right? 17 points easily covered the spread. Pretty hard to complain about a 3-score victory. And yet, here we are.
For starters, I should point out that I have no beef with the defense. They were what we thought they were. I said in my preview on Friday that the Giants had no business scoring more than 9 points in this game, and lo and behold look at what we got. On top of that, the 7 they DID score came off of a fumble recovery; they had to go all of 17 yards to get their lone score. Someone said something to this effect on Twitter yesterday: the offense gave up 3 points and the defense only gave up 4 points. That’s the appropriate way to look at this. You could argue the Seahawks should’ve shut them out, which would’ve been the second consecutive time they shut out the Giants on the road (last time: 23-0 back in 2013).
Eli Manning was held to 134 yards, on 19/39. The running game was held to 46 yards on 17 carries for a 2.7 average. The Giants were 2/12 on third down and 0/1 on fourth down; not counting turnovers or end of half, the Giants were held to a 3 & Out on four possessions. Really, the only guy who had a good day on offense was their tight end, Evan Engram, who caught 6 for 60 with a TD. On the one hand, that’s kind of annoying that it was their tight end who had all the success, but he really was their ONLY weapon on offense (Sterling Shepard was a pre-game scratch). Also, the Seahawks were shadowing him with Bradley McDougald most of the time, which overall was pretty successful. I mean, Engram had 6 catches, but he was targeted 12 times.
The Giants couldn’t do a damn thing, bottom line. And if the Seahawks’ offense didn’t repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot, they would’ve been buried early in this one. This was the type of smothering defense we haven’t seen from the Seahawks in quite some time. Harkening back to the good ol’ days of 2013!
But, holy hell, that offense. I guess their solution to the running game woes was to repeatedly run the fly-sweep to Tyler Lockett for minimal gains. It might’ve been effective had the Seahawks ever, I dunno, showed that look in the past. Maybe faked it to him on occasion, to at least put that play on tape, so that when we finally hand it to him it’s actually surprising instead of totally telegraphed? I dunno. That was actually my only problem with the play calling, shockingly enough. I mean, I don’t know what more you want from Darrell Bevell. He’s calling runs, and either they’re getting stuffed, or Wilson is checking out of them. He’s even isolating Jimmy Graham out wide near the goalline with more regularity! It’s not his fault that Wilson can’t throw a fade for some reason, or that Graham fucking drops everything in sight.
I know he ended up redeeming himself, sort of, with 3 catches for 51 yards and a touchdown, but a lot of that (particularly the score) came when the game was decided. When shit was on the line? That’s when he couldn’t get out of his own way. He dropped a perfect pass in the endzone (one of two goalline targets on that drive alone, so don’t tell me the Seahawks aren’t looking out for Jimmy Graham), then later dropped another perfect pass when he was wide open near the sideline with nothing but green ahead of him for at least 30 yards. I’d like to say that this was just an anomaly, but he’s been dropping passes regularly all season. Sure, things worked out this time, but as long as he’s healthy and wearing a Seahawks uniform, he’s going to command a certain percentage of the targets, and his fumble-fingers are going to cost us an important game. I can see it now! Don’t say I didn’t warn you, when we gag away a winnable game.
Then, of course, there’s our own running game struggles. Sure, we eclipsed 100 yards, but it took 31 carries to do it, with 5 different runners (including Lockett and Wilson). No one looked good. Rawls had his usual burst, but he also, quite frankly, runs like an idiot. He’s always going WAY too fast and lacks any semblance of patience. On a screen pass, he had a nice 16-yard gain, but if he’d just allowed his blockers to run ahead of him and do their job, he could’ve gone for twice that amount! And that’s aside from his usual slip & falls when he tries to hit the hole like a fucking Tasmanian Devil. Just, you know, take half a beat, collect yourself, then explode through the hole! You don’t have to go 100 miles per hour all the fucking time! I mean, honestly, between that and his constant parade of nagging injuries, I’m more annoyed at that than I am his fumble which led to New York’s only score. That’s just sort of a fluke, but the rest of it is who he is, and it’s fucking difficult to watch.
Unfortunately, Eddie Lacy was Eddie Lacy. He is who he is, 11 carries for 34 yards.
Russell Wilson finished with probably his best game of the season (27/39, 334 yards, 3 TDs), but he also left a number of plays on the field. As I noted before, he over-threw Graham on a goalline fade (when he really should’ve just lazered it in there, as Graham had his defender walled off; but then again, he probably just would’ve dropped it like he did the next throw his way, so whatever). He had Doug Baldwin wide open for a long bomb and over-threw him by about 10 yards. And, I want to say he had something similar going to Lockett where he over-threw him. Again, all of these mistakes prevented the Seahawks from really pouring it on. I mean, 50 points wasn’t out of the question yesterday, had things gone according to plan.
But, the offense as a whole looks a lot better than it did early in the season. The Seahawks generated 425 yards. They converted 6/13 on third down (0/1 on fourth). They held the ball for over 35 minutes. The offensive line pass protected pretty well (I want to say the sack was on Wilson for holding the ball too long and not stepping up into the pocket; ditto the intentional grounding), though they could still be better in their run blocking (I’m hearing good things about Pocic, who got a lot of play at left guard, though he was out-snapped by Glowinski 48-34).
Doug Baldwin had an epic game (9 catches for 92 yards and a TD). Paul Richardson had a couple big catches (2 for 61 and a TD). Beyond that, Wilson did a good job spreading the ball around.
Again, as I say seemingly every week, all that matters is the W. The Seahawks are 4-2, a half game behind the Rams (who will be on a BYE this week), and are still in a good position for the playoffs and possibly competing for a top seed.
What I will say is, they can’t keep playing like this on offense. They need to cash in on their scoring opportunities. It’s one thing to dominate the likes of the Giants and Colts, but aside from a close win over the Rams, who have they beaten? They lost to the Packers, and they lost to the Titans (which looks more grotesque with each passing week, as the Titans’ offense continues to struggle against the rest of the league). Yes, I want the Seahawks to win against everyone, but I don’t give a shit about these games they’re SUPPOSED to win. The whole point is to win a championship, which means the Seahawks need to start showing up against teams destined to make the post-season!
I’ll be very interested in how they look at home next Sunday against the Texans. Deshaun Watson looks like the real deal, he’s got tons of weapons on offense, and even though they’ve been hit by the injury bug on defense, they still have enough talent left over to make our lives miserable. Win THAT game by 17 points and I’ll be impressed.
Also, not for nothing, but the delicate ecosystem that is the Seahawks’ defense sure as shit needs to stay healthy if this team is going to go anywhere. Thankfully, they look back to their elite form, just in time.