Welcome to Seattle’s 2019 season. You better get used to this.
Chaos, brilliance, frustration and elation.
Games that swing and sway.
Ultimately though, they’re 5-1. Somehow, some way.
Their winning margins in the five victories so far are:
Bengals — 1 point
Steelers — 2 points
Cardinals — 17 points
Rams — 1 point
Browns — 4 points
With a daunting schedule ahead, it’s possible their luck will change in the coming weeks. For now — enjoy the fact that they’re off to a start that, at least in terms of wins and losses, matches the 2013 season.
You might shake your fist at the TV and wonder why it can’t be easier than this. I’m here to tell you the Seahawks are not that unique. Look around the league. Very few teams are making life easy.
The Patriots? Sure. Now look at their schedule so far.
The rest? Every other team is facing the same peaks and troughs. The Chiefs losing back-to-back home games is a classic example.
It’s going to be this way for the rest of the year. It’s actually a positive that, so far, the Seahawks have shown they’re good at winning close games.
This was actually quite a sloppy and often ugly game — mixed in with bursts of pure excitement. The refs didn’t help. Jarvis Landry’s ‘illegal block in the back’ on Marquise Blair is one of the worst calls you’ll see this season. The Browns magically regained a called timeout so the refs could explain a ruling to Freddie Kitchens. The Seahawks almost had a good redzone play wiped out on an ‘illegal blocker downfield’ — executed by a player who’d declared as an eligible receiver.
The game stuttered and stalled with little rhythm mainly due to the officials.
The two teams didn’t help matters with a number of careless mistakes.
From the Seahawks — they started by giving up a long kick-return that set the tone for a rough first half. They gave up 302 yards in the opening two quarters and offered no resistance on defense.
The Browns really should’ve gone into the break with a handsome 27-12 lead. They were in the redzone and marching for a score. They also needed to take time off the clock to prevent the Seahawks having an extra possession. With time running, Baker Mayfield snapped the ball with about 20 seconds on the play clock and promptly threw an interception.
It was an avoidable massive momentum shift.
Moments later the Seahawks finished off a quick-fire touchdown drive to make it 20-18. Instead of trailing by three touchdowns, they were within two points and fired up a 19-0 scoring run.
The Browns had a punt blocked. Nick Chubb fumbled. Mayfield threw three total interceptions — one straight to Tre Flowers.
And when Seattle were looking for a knockout punch late in the third, C.J. Prosise fumbled.
Still the mistakes kept coming. Kitchens threw an ill-advised challenge flag just as Chubb was about to run for a touchdown, only to see the subsequent fourth down attempt stuffed. Michael Dickson shanked a punt leading, finally, to a Browns touchdown.
There were two missed extra points.
Am I missing anything? What a mess.
Yet amid all the nonsense was a flash of occasional brilliance.
Russell Wilson was again superb — throwing for 295 yards, rushing for 31 more and scoring three total touchdowns. He now has 17 passing and running scores and zero interceptions. It’s clearly his best ever start to a season and he is the shining light that will give fans hope this can, actually, be a special season.
The running game eventually got going and they ended with 170 yards (124 to Chris Carson). More important than the production — Carson again had a couple of ‘beast mode’ moments to match the ones against LA. He’s finding his best form and that’s underrated news for Seattle.
Despite losing Doug Baldwin to retirement and Will Dissly to injury in this game, Wilson completed passes to eight different targets. The receivers are stepping up to make plays.
The offensive line — missing two starters — gave up three sacks and some other pressures. However, they did enough to enable Wilson and the running game to prosper against a talented defensive front.
The defense — so poor in the first quarter — really stepped up in the second half. They forced four turnovers in the end, had the great goal-line stop and made the plays they had to. The lack of sacks or QB hits is still a worry but as the game developed so did the unit.
You also have to credit the Browns. Nick Chubb put on a classic ‘look what you could’ve won’ showing. Odell Beckham — questioned all week — had a couple of drops but also made some spectacular plays. Mayfield had the three interceptions but also gutted through an injury.
In the end, Seattle found a way to win. Again.
The Seahawks still have plenty to work on if 5-1 is going to turn into a serious contending season in the NFC.
The pass rush needs help. Thankfully, Jarran Reed returns next week. This should benefit Jadeveon Clowney and Ziggy Ansah. In fairness to both — the game-plan was likely very run-D orientated this week to stop Chubb. Clowney had a couple of nice rushes and Ansah had the forced fumble and recovery.
The secondary had some moments today including Tre Flowers first interception. The three-headed rotation at safety in the first half, however, shows the Seahawks are still working out their best combination there. The poor moments in the first half shouldn’t be totally ignored simply because the Seahawks fought back to win. They will need to add to this unit in the off-season.
They need a solution at tight end going forward. It could be Ed Dickson but Pete Carroll has not talked positively about his health situation. Will Dissly’s achilles injury is heartbreaking. With Nick Vannett now in Pittsburgh, the Seahawks will need to see what’s out there. They could roll with Luke Willson and Jacob Hollister. Is there a deal to be made? Or can they wait for Dickson?
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