Seahawks grade out well, and say this victory could set the tone for the rest of the season
Team totals 350 yards on the ground with Marshawn Lynch rushing for 140 yards and four touchdowns, and Russell Wilson adding 107 yards on the ground
Seattle Times staff reporter
For a while, it appeared the Seahawks were in no rush to beat the New York Giants.
Ultimately, though, it was a rushing attack that set a team record with 350 yards that put away the pesky Giants, 38-17. It was the kind of performance, the Seahawks said later, that might define the season.
“It feels like everything is coming together,’’ said receiver Jermaine Kearse.
The grades, then, reflect a day that started a little unevenly, but ended with the Seahawks riding a season-high three-game winning streak for a 6-3 record.
Russell Wilson always has to be judged a little differently than most quarterbacks due to his running ability and overall style of play. His passing stats again were far from a fantasy owner’s dream — 10 for 17, 172 yards, two picks, no touchdowns, and a 53.7 passer rating. But his ability to operate the zone read and bootleg runs — getting 107 rushing yards of his own for his third 100-yard game this season — was invaluable (though it’s worth noting he also almost lost a fumble).
Marshawn Lynch, Wilson said later, is having “an MVP” type of year. Hard to ague after what he did Sunday with 140 yards rushing on 21 carries and a career-high four touchdowns. Christine Michael also had the best game of his career with 71 yards, including a 45-yard gain. The only quibble: Robert Turbin lost a fumble (and Lynch could have).
Another tough day to really judge the receivers with the weather and the emphasis on the run. There were just 14 targets to receivers. Kearse made the kind of big play that is his trademark, with the 60-yard gain off a pass on a Wilson scramble and a catch on fourth down that kept alive a second-quarter scoring drive. Doug Baldwin was steady with four catches.
Luke Willson went out with a sprained ankle in the second quarter, leaving only Cooper Helfet, who also battled some nagging injuries, and tackle Garry Gilliam, who again had to do some tackle-eligible plays. Helfet’s 32-yard reception set up Seattle’s first touchdown.
The rushing totals — a team-record 350 yards — say it all. That number also speaks to how important it was to have a healthy center Max Unger, who played after sitting out four contests with a foot injury, and left tackle Russell Okung, who was out last week with a calf injury. Alvin Bailey also had a nice day filling in at left guard for the injured James Carpenter. The return of Unger undoubtedly was a big reason Seattle didn’t have any offensive-line penalties, an issue in recent weeks.
The Seahawks had to revamp things after tackle Brandon Mebane left in the second quarter with a pulled hamstring that could keep him out awhile. That forced Jordan Hill, in his first game back after missing three with a sprained ankle, to play more than expected. It also left Michael Bennett playing a lot inside, with Bruce Irvin playing often at end. There were a few times early when Eli Manning had time to throw — he had 192 passing yards in the first half. But the line stiffened in the second half as the Giants rushed for just 22 yards on seven carries and Manning was sacked twice.
With Bobby Wagner still out, Brock Coyle again started in the middle, with K.J. Wright on the weakside and Irvin at strongside. Mike Morgan and Kevin Pierre-Louis also played extensively. Wright had seven tackles while Pierre-Louis, continuing to show why the team was so excited about getting him in the fourth round, had a career-high five.
There were a few uncharacteristic plays in the first half as the Giants took a 17-14 halftime lead, including Richard Sherman giving up a 44-yard pass to New York rookie receiver Odell Beckham Jr. But, as with the rest of the team, the secondary reverted to form in the second half with Earl Thomas’ pick of a pass Beckham was trying to tip away from Sherman serving as the turning point of the game. Jeron Johnson also had a team-high eight tackles starting at strong safety in place of the injured Kam Chancellor.
And Byron Maxwell, playing for the first time in four games, had one of the key plays of the game with a pass defense of a throw to Rueben Randle on a fourth-down play in the fourth quarter.
This was a quiet day for special teams. There were a combined nine touchbacks of punts or kickoffs, leaving just five punts or kickoffs returned. Seattle didn’t do much on returns but also didn’t give up much.
The quiet day was appreciated by a Seattle team that has had special-teams struggles the past couple of weeks. The return of players like Johnson and Jeremy Lane no doubt helped.