Seattle advances to 3-1 on the season with a 27-17 thumping of the NY Jets on the road in New York. They are on a BYE this week.
All week, the talk of Russell Wilson’s limbs dominated the headlines. Surely, with a heavily taped ankle a knee injury that would have relegated most other QBs to the bench, many fans thought that Seattle’s prolific quarterback should ride the pine than possibly sustain a third injury at the hands of the Jet’s dominant defensive line.
After Sunday, the only talk that kept reoccurring is how Wilson’s ailments appear to have slowed down the offense and opened up a new world of offensive possibilities for the Seahawks. It is hard not to look at Wilson’s numbers (23/32, 309 yds, 3 TDs, 0 INTs) and scratch your head. Just what are his ligaments made out of- hybrid steel or carbon fiber? Wilson displayed pretty prominently that there was no real issues with range of motion, in spite of some pre game commentators describing his movements as “limited.” The offensive line, bolstered by the return of 1st round draft pick Germain Ifedi, provided Wilson all the time he needed to cut the Jets to pieces.
Just like last game, Wilson and Jimmy Graham connected in a big way. Graham ended the game with a team high 6 targets and 113 yards. Doug Baldwin was hot on his heels, until his long catch of 38 yard dime from Wilson found him getting hit from two different Jets defenders. The Jets would be penalized for the severity of the hit, and even though Baldwin passed the NFL’s concussion protocol, it was a scary moment for fans. This game was full of ridiculous Seahawks catches, with back shoulder fade throws to Graham, Paul Richardson, and the aforementioned Baldwin reeling in passes and moving the ‘Hawks down the field. New running back signee C.J. Spiller got involved early, catching a TD pass from Wilson in between defenders. Tanner McEvoy-preseason’ hype train player, waltzed for a 42-yard score as well. The Jets just didn’t have an answer. Christine Michael, who didn’t amass too many rushing yards in this game, notched a 6-yard receiving score as well.
Defensively, the ‘Hawks got on the turnover train, logging THREE interceptions of Ryan Fitzpatrick, two by Richard Sherman, and one off of a tip pass into the outstretched arms of Earl Thomas III. Sherman, who gave up long receptions and a fade throw for a score in the end zone against Jets #1WR Brandon Marshall in the second quarter, came back after halftime and shut Marshall down, notching both interceptions on Marshall. The ‘Hawks defense got four sacks on Fitzpatrick, 1 forced fumble (by Cliff Avril) and held the Jets running game (anchored by Matt Forte and Billal Powell) to just 58 total yards.
The questionable part of the game came from a 47 yard fumble recovery for a TD in the fourth quarter by Jets rookie Charone Peake, which the officials deemed score worthy. Pete Carroll had lost a challenge earlier, and the score occurred within the 2:00 part of the fourth quarter where only booth challenges by officials are allowed. Without that call, it would have been even more of a scoring distance between these two teams.
Carroll remarked after the game that the team “left the game without any major injuries,” a brilliant way to secure a tough road win and heading into the bye. Wilson, whose audacious recovery plan makes other QB’s shudder, looked more than serviceable enough with a bum ankle and knee that should have shredded like lettuce. Now, Wilson and co look to be clicking early, and this bye provides a crucial opportunity for the team to get healthy and prepare to face a red hot Atlanta squad that (led by QB Matt Ryan and WR Julio Jones) torched the Panthers for 500 passing yards for. The ‘Hawks have looked absolutely dominant in run stopping and nickel defensive packages, and the turnovers are beginning to pile up. The future looks bright for this team.