It was a big win in more ways than one for the Seahawks today. Not only did they show they could dominate in a game they were expected to win big, they earned a victory on a day when many of their biggest competitors failed.
Although the 49ers were at home, where they shouldn’t have to worry about crowd noise, San Francisco was inept in their 27-7 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. The Rams and Cardinals both lost to give the Seahawks an early two-game lead in the NFC West.
Outside the division, the Atlanta Falcons lost 27-23 to the Miami Dolphins and the Green Bay Packers lost 34-30 to the Cincinnati Bengals. The New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears along with the Seahawks are the only undefeated teams remaining in the NFC.
Playing the Jaguars this week, it was important for the Seahawks to get off to a strong start. Though they went three-and-out on the first drive, their second opportunity with the ball ended with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Zach Miller. Jacksonville left Miller wide open in the end zone after the entire defense bit on a fake to Marshawn Lynch on 3rd-and-1.
Early in the second quarter, Russell Wilson hit Miller in the end zone once again to go up 14-0, but the Hawks were just getting started on offense. Wilson recognized how well the team was moving the ball, after struggling at times in the first two games.
“I think offensively we’re starting to come into our own now, we’re starting to get into a rhythm,” said Wilson. “We have to continue that, and not settling for just being 3-0. We want to win the whole thing.”
The best display of the team clicking on offense came with just 44 seconds remaining in the first half. Wilson moved the team down the field very efficiently connecting with deep passes to Golden Tate and Sidney Rice.
The five-play, 34-second drive ended with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Rice giving the Seahawks a 24-0 lead going in at halftime.
“That’s the biggest drive we’ve had so far and I think it’s the most important thing we did all day,” said Wilson. “That’s the way we need to play football.”
Up 31-7 toward the end of the third quarter, following an interception by the Jaguars that led to their first points, Tarvaris Jackson made his regular season debut with the offense.
Jackson and Doug Baldwin linked up for the most exciting play of the game as T-Jack aired it out down the sidelines. Baldwin pulled the ball into his body with one hand as he fell to the ground before the goal line and he rolled into the end zone untouched for the 35-yard score. It was a play even coach Pete Carroll was captivated by.
“Doug’s catch might be the catch of the year for us so far,” said Carroll. “Going down and sliding into the end zone and all that. That was really cool.”
But Carroll seemed to be most impressed by the discipline the team showed in executing throughout the game. Something they hadn’t done quite as well in their first two games.
“The most important thing to report is that we had four penalties. That’s awesome,” said Carroll. “We finally took care of an area that has been a real problem for us.”
In addition to significant playing time for Jackson, who also had a 5-yard touchdown run, rookie running back Christine Michael was able to show his skills along with rookies on the offensive line. Long-haired linebacker John Lotuleilei also had an opportunity to get on the field and make some tackles.
“We got everybody to play today and they got significant play time,” said Carroll. “We’ll benefit from that in the long run.”
Brandon Browner returned to action for the first time this season along with Chris Clemons. Although Clemons won’t show up in the box score, he was in the backfield several times putting pressure on Jacksonville quarterback Chad Henne.
Even with many of the starters on defense out in the second half, the defense held Jacksonville to 265 yards of total offense. Maurice jones-Drew had only 43 yards on 19 carries.
The Seahawks will travel to Houston where they’ll play next Sunday as they look to remain undefeated. The Houston Texans came into this week seeming like one of the teams to beat in the AFC. A 30-9 loss to the Baltimore Ravens showed their offense can be limited with a strong defense.
Considering the Seahawks defense is nearing full strength, Houston’s struggles on offense are likely to continue.