BY Art Thiel 10:21PM 12/13/2020

Thiel: Jets give Adams, Wilson what was needed

The Jets discovered fresh terror in the Seahawks defense, and Russell Wilson rediscovered the power of the shorter pass. The result was the largest winning margin since 2012.

Russell Wilson lowered his sights a bit and found much room to complete passes. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

The only drama of the Seahawks-Jets game Sunday at Lumen Field was afterward, when SS Jamal Adams met up with his former New York coach, Adam Gase. Spoiler alert: They did not slug it out. They hugged it out. End of drama. Which, for the New York tabloids, was a pity.

They had to toss away the preparedness back-page headlines for the hoped-for fight: Adams gets Ja-mauled. Adam-ic bomb goes off. Gase of hit-and-run.

There was none of that, according to Adams.

“He just congratulated me, wished me well, told me to stay healthy,” he said. “It’s pretty cool. At the end of the day, I don’t have any hate towards, not even just Gase, to the
organization.

“He told me to go get one. He was talking about a Super Bowl.”

For Seahawks fans, the last part was what they wanted to hear. Sure, it was nice that time has taken care of some of the hard feelings that forced the Jets to trade Adams to Seattle in July. But that soap opera was so then, replaced by a fresh one now:

Are the Seahawks (9-4) as tragic as they looked in the 17-12 loss to New York Giants a week ago? Or as magic as they looked in slashing the Jets, 40-3? (box) As with many spectacles involving the Big Apple, it’s a little of both at once.

For the first time this season, the Seahawks put together in the same game above-average performances on offense and defense. But neither unit offered awe. Only possibilities.

“Real solid performance across the board, in all areas,” coach Pete Carroll said. “Third downs were good. Red zone was good.  You saw another day with the defense coming out here.  It’s getting going now. It’s pretty clear that we’ve made a big turn.

“That was a dominating day today.”

Yes, we all know it’s the Jets, now omigawd-and-13. But as with any yip-dog biting a pants leg, a carefully calibrated kick is mandatory. It really could have been 60-3, but Carroll rested Russell Wilson. By the third quarter.

Yes, Geno Smith, maestro of the coin flip and the backup quarterback, saw game time.

“I told Geno early in the second half to get ready, we’re going to try to get you out there,” Carroll said. “We just haven’t done it, in the last 10 years, very many times. Russ was great about it, and Geno was thrilled to have a chance to play, as all the (backup) guys were. It’s really important to get those snaps, so I’m thrilled that we got to do that.”

Carroll too, is a former Jet. And really, aren’t we all? We’ve all done some 0-13 time.

Even the Seahawks. Like, last week.

That was as 0-13 as it has been around here in the past decade. But in some places in the NFL,  it lasts quick. All it took in Seattle was convincing Russell Wilson that all of his pass plays with DK Metcalf don’t have to look like a Fast & Furious sequel, and persuading the defense that stopping the run is done perpetually, not selectively.

First, Wilson.

Badgered by fans, and presumably, coaches, for creating sacks by holding the ball until Metcalf hits his nitrous controller, Wilson was brilliant with his short and intermediate throws. The longest completion was 20 yards to, ahem, a tight end. The two times he went deep resulted in an end zone interception intended for Metcalf, and a drop by WR David Moore of a 30-yards-plus toss of perfection.

That’s not to say the #LetRussCook phenomenon is over. But it is, when defenses decide they shall have no more of it. With double-high safeties last week, the Giants pretty much closed the joint. So Wilson, to further beat the hell out of the familiar analogy, opened a taco truck.

“They were trying to cover all the deep stuff, so we just hit everything intermediate,” said Wilson, the first QB in NFL history to have a winning season in each of his first nine years. “That’s what we can do. We can do it all. We can hit the short stuff, we can hit the intermediate game, the long game.”

The coaches had to persuade him about the shorter part. As a result, Wilson had a big four-touchdown night (Metcalf, Moore, Will Dissly, Freddie Swain) that required only 206 yards, and allowed him to do it with a tidy 27 passes, 21 complete, with a passer rating of 122.6. He had his first sackless game of the season, and his 36 touchdowns are a franchise record, with three games to go.

“It’s not Russell throwing the ball quicker; it’s what we’re asking him to do,” Carroll said. “There’s a lot more quick game involved, for the ball to get out right now. But Russ can do everything. So, it’s not that we finally told him how to get the ball out. It’s play selection, style and stuff that fits the game plan, and worked out great.”

Second, the defense.

Much was made, rightly, of Adams breaking the NFL record for sacks by a defensive back. His total of 8.5 has come in nine healthy games, a feat remarkable enough that he was in the locker room bestowed a game ball, a Carroll rarity for an active player.

“It was a unique time,” Carroll said. “I thought when the all-time record was set today, that’s big time.

“What a fantastic football player. He’s just an incredible player. There is a little emotional side of it, too, because it’s against the team he played for.”

Apart from the milestone, the bigger story was holding the Jets to 69 rushing yards on 23 carries, meaning they were one-dimensional. And when that dimension is Sam Darnold, it’s more like a half-dimension.

Behind a beat-up line, the former USC star was 14 of 26 for 132 yards and a non-factor. He was sacked three times — the Adams record-breaker was a minus-one run out of bounds that left him unaware — giving the Seahawks 27 in the past seven games. And top line rusher Carlos Dunlap sat out with a sore foot.

The renewals of the credibility of Wilson (abetted by Seattle’s 174 yards rushing) and the defense came at the expense of the worst team in football. That was of no concern to Carroll.

“If you play a team that’s struggling, you should beat them handily,” he said. “We were able to do that today, and that’s a statement about everybody (being) connected. I’m really pleased to get that done. Will we do it again? I don’t know. We’re playing good defense, though, and roaring.”

As Seahawks fans know, that’s a big deal to Carroll.  As was the achievement of his ninth consecutive winning season — in a game in which the Seahawks had a season high in points, a season low in points given up, and the biggest margin of victory since 2012.

“There’s nothing I love more than consistently being on it,” he said. “To me, that’s where I take the most pride in my work, that we can show that we can come back year after year after year and do good stuff.  So, that’s a good marker.”

And he did it against the Jets, the team that fired him after one season as head coach. Someone give the man a game ball.

Sam Darnold got to know Seahawks DT Jarran Reed a bit Sunday. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

 


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YourThoughts

  • Husky73

    Question— could Alabama beat the Jets? I’m serious.

    • Shelia Tharp

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    • art thiel

      Topic comes up every year. No.

      • Husky73

        Back in the day, the College All Stars beat the NFL champions 9 times.

  • jafabian

    I’m wondering if Adams will be named All-Pro this year despite the time missed? His level of talent seems very high in what I’ve seen this season. Can’t wait to see him after a full training camp. Same with Dunlap.

    • Husky73

      Adams is Seattle’s #1 pick in 2021 and 2022.

      • art thiel

        True. What would they have done if they had used the picks?

        • WestCoastBias79

          Late first round picks are crapshoots. Jamal Adams is better than any first rounder they’ve taken since Earl, and he was taken at 14. A pattern with successful teams and late first round picks, is they trade them for known quantities or more picks. Granted, if Russ breaks a leg and they go 2-14 next year, it will hurt, but Adams is a likely HOFer. The best player the Seahawks have drafted in the second half of the first round is Shaun Alexander at 18 two decades ago. You get past 20, and you see a lot of Ifedi types on that list.

          • art thiel

            The Seahawks, chiefly Carroll, imagine things in their first-rounders that aren’t there. That’s OK in the fifth round.

          • Stephen Pitell

            I would say Adams is better than Earl Thomas was.

          • Husky73

            It’s a small sample size thus far, but I agree.

        • 2nd place is 1st loser

          Perhaps draft a kicker that can kick PAT’s. No need for a FG kicker because they have a sharp shooter in that regard. But sheesh, he must look at those goal posts when he lines up for the PAT and they must look like chop sticks. Just kidding of course.

          • art thiel

            The universe is rich in inexplicables.

        • jafabian

          Draft linemen based on their past history and needs. None who’d have the impact Adams has given them.

    • art thiel

      I think the 16-gamers will get first dibs.

  • TimJoFred

    “Adams gets Ja-mauled. Adam-ic bomb goes off. Gase of hit-and-run.”
    Sometimes Art you try a little too hard to be clever.

    • Bruce McDermott

      Nah. All in good fun. Art’s columns don’t lack for substance. If he wants to add a bit of silliness here and there (which New York media often deserve, by the way, in this case), got no problem with it.

      • art thiel

        Thanks Bruce. You obviously have been to NY many times.

    • Kevin Lynch

      Okay. But frankly, some comments are not worth the breath and energy used to create them. No criticism. Just sayin…

    • Chris Alexander

      I chuckled at each of those.

    • art thiel

      What writer who aspires to originality doesn’t?

      • tor5

        For sure. Let the other writers strive for mediocrity. That’s why we’re here, Art!

        • art thiel

          Thanks.

  • 2nd place is 1st loser

    Good win for the Hawks, onto Washington to play the…………football team. What a shame they laid an egg last week. I watched the Cards have zero issue with the Giants. The Cards coaching staffing obviously seen something in the Hawks misadventure against the Giants and said. We ain’t doing that. Go Hawks.

    • Chris Alexander

      It helped that Haasan Reddick had a good SEASON yesterday. Dude absolutely DESTROYED the Giants with a team-record five sacks and THREE forced fumbles.

      • art thiel

        Giants have an above average defense, but the O-line is not good and Alex Smith may be out Sunday.

      • Archangelo Spumoni

        Mr. Alexander:
        Many thanks for your post–when I saw the highlight replay of Mr. Reddick, I thought “Lawrence Taylor.” Have not seen a display like that one for a loonnnnnnng tme.
        Thanks again, sir.

  • Bruce McDermott

    Did y’all catch Metcalf’s release off the line on his TD? That was next-level stuff for a guy his size. He has definitely been working on his craft…

    • art thiel

      I will look. Thanks.

  • Will Ganschow

    “If you play a team that’s struggling, you should beat them handily,” Did not play down, at last.

    • art thiel

      All teams play down. All teams play up.

  • WestCoastBias79

    It was so nice to sit back, relax, and watch a boring Seahawks game.

    • Chris Alexander

      Agreed. Yesterday was the first time in almost a decade that I considered switching to a different game before the Seahawks game finished.

      • art thiel

        I understand this a little, but it really doesn’t make sense. The closeness of games is a big part of the entertainment. It why we like science fiction, mystery and horror. Scary movies are compelling and stimulating.

        • WestCoastBias79

          Agreed, but it’s also nice to have a break and watch a rerun of The Office you’ve seen multiple times. Just as Russ needed a get right game, fans needed a break from the drama.

          • art thiel

            No. You don’t need a break with live sports. You want a blowout every time, but the script is different every time. That’s the tingle.

            I enjoy a good re-run as much as anyone, but live sports mandate you buckle up. And live sports are why broadcast TV is still alive, because many people still savor buckling up in real time.

        • Brent Hannon

          winning a close game is more entertaining than winning a blowout, but the entertainment value of a close game is tainted by the possibility of losing, and losing is less entertaining than winning a blowout. hmm, not sure that helps . . .

          • art thiel

            The unpredictability of sports is what most of us find compelling. You invest some pre-game time in thinking about what may happen, watch it play out, often dramatically, and then judge it against your expectations. And when done over seasons, you develop loyalty and passion, which makes wins and losses more deeply felt.

  • Fu Bar

    Isn’t being proud of beating the Jets a bit like being proud of stealing candy from a kid?!?

    I know, I know … we did lose our candy to a kid last week … but he was really big for his age … and mean.

    • art thiel

      Pride in doing well isn’t bad, although I read somewhere that it was a sin.

  • Chris Alexander

    A bit “lost” in yesterday’s game was the fact that the defense made some serious adjustments at halftime. Not that the Jets were doing much up to that point, but their four second half possessions were 3-and-out (-6 yards), 3-and-out (-8 yards), 3-and-out (1 yard), and a meaningless 7-play, 28-yard “drive” to run out the clock. That’s a net total of 15 yards on 4 second half possessions. And it wasn’t just the skill position players on offense that left the game at the end of the 3rd quarter.

    Also “lost” in the excitement of Mr. Adams setting the record for sacks by a DB in a single season yesterday was the fact that he now has 20.5 sacks for his career which ties him for the record for most sacks by a DB before their 30th birthday. Mr. Adams turned 25 in October. Methinks he might have 50 by the time he turns 30; maybe more.

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  • woofer

    “Are the Seahawks (9-4) as tragic as they looked in the 17-12 loss to New York Giants a week ago? Or as magic as they looked in slashing the Jets, 40-3?”

    As a predictor of future performance, the Hawks’ lopsided victory over the Jets falls into the same category as the Huskies’ mauling of Arizona.

    • art thiel

      Yes, but I bet you’re still going to watch to see whether the Jets game marks the turning point.