Seahawks review: Three likes and dislikes about the 30-20 victory over Minnesota
Related column: Seahawks survive, then admire Adrian Peterson
I liked a lot more than I disliked in this game. Overall, I thought the Seahawks played well, and it's evident in the fact that I struggled to find some significant dislikes, outside of the defense allowing a preposterous 243 rushing yards. So that tells me the Seahawks were closer to playing a complete game. This was especially true in the second half.
Here are my highs and lows from the Seahawks' 30-20 victory over the Minnesota Vikings:
1. The Seahawks' first-half run defense was shockingly woeful. Here's guessing you never see a stat like this again for however long the young Seahawks defense remains together: Seattle allowed 197 rushing yards to Minnesota (228 total yards) in the first half. Adrian Peterson had 144 of those yards -- on just 12 carries. This was, by far, the worst run defense we've seen from the Seahawks. San Francisco's 175-yard performance three weeks ago seems like nothing compared to this showing. Overall, the Seahawks gave up 243 rushing yards, but only 46 in the second half. The first half was "a nightmare, to tell you the truth," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said.
2. Brandon Browner's unsportsmanlike conduct penalty cost the Seahawks three points. This season, Browner has done a better job of avoiding silly penalties. He was penalized 19 times last season. This season, he's on pace for about 12. Still, he's tied with Breno Giacomini as the second-worst rules violator on the team with seven penalties this season. Only left tackle Russell Okung, with nine, has more penalties. Browner's 15-yard personal foul in the third quarter set up Blair Walsh's incredible 55-yard field goal to trim the Seahawks' lead to 27-20 late in the third quarter. The penalty was easily avoidable. Browner had his normal good game, with an interception and seven tackles, including his display of great effort in chasing down Peterson and keeping him out of the end zone on that 74-yard run at the start of the game. But Browner needs to maintain a higher level of composure to complement his aggressive play. He still crosses the line too many times.
3. On third down and 1 in the second quarter, the Seahawks abandoned Marshawn Lynch, tried to get a little too cute and failed. Instead of bringing in Beast Mode and pounding the power run game, the Seahawks decided to run fullback Michael Robinson on that third down. Robinson was stopped shy of a first down, and the Seahawks were forced to punt. Rookie Robert Turbin was the tailback in the game at the time, and he has done some fine work. But the Seahawks needed to keep it simple, with the play call and with personnel, and keep Lynch in the game for that conversion attempt. It cost them a promising drive during a time in which the offense was moving the ball. I don't really mind the hand-off to Robinson there. The Seahawks have done that before and been successful. My issue is eliminating the threat of Lynch by not having him on the field. The Seahawks do that too many times on third and 3 or shorter.
1. The Peterson-Lynch running back matchup exceeding expectations. Peterson ran 17 times for 182 yards. Lynch didn't have the long runs and ridiculous yards per carry, but he was a workhorse, as usual. He ran 26 times for 124 yards and a touchdown. This was a classic matchup between the NFL's top two rushers, and it more than lived up to its billing. Peterson was electric. Lynch was determined.
2. The Seahawks offense is making major progress. Seattle amassed 385 total yards of offense, its highest total in more than a year. The Seahawks scored a season-high 30 points. Over the past two weeks, the Seahawks are averaging 27 points per game. Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson threw three touchdown passes and didn't turn the ball over. The Seahawks were balanced -- 195 yards rushing and 190 from the passing game. The Seahawks scored touchdowns on their first four trips to the red zone. They managed a field goal the fifth time, and they probably would've scored again on the game's final drive, but with the victory in hand, they let time expire nine yards from the end zone. Golden Tate made the most of his 28 receiving yards, catching two touchdown passes and going airborne and flipping into the end zone in the second quarter. Sidney Rice, who also caught a touchdown, even completed a pass for the second time this season. Minnesota has a good defense (No. 11 in total D in the NFL), and for the Seahawks to put together such a strong performance against a defense of this caliber shows the progress the offense is making.
3. For all their struggles stopping the run, the Seahawks defense was terrific against the pass (44 net passing yards) and on third down (3 of 10). The Seahawks were somehow good enough on defense to win this game. It helped that
It wasn't a thumping, but this was the Seahawks' most convincing victory since their 27-7 win over Dallas in Week 2. The Seahawks (5-4) opened the second half of the season in a manner that provides hope they're ready to put it all together and become a more balanced team. They won a game they absolutely had to have, and they were able to separate from an opponent. They avoided playing another game that came down to the final possession.
The two-game losing streak is over. The Seahawks look rejuvenated. This was the perfect way to begin the stretch run of the season.