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.
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
“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.
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) December 13, 2020
“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.
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.”
.@ccarson_32 leaps his way into the end zone for six! 🔥
Q2: SEA 23, NYJ 3
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) December 13, 2020
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.