Instant reaction: Seahawks beat the Patriots

Russell Wilson looked like a franchise quarterback today

This is the most significant Seahawks victory in a long time. Sure, there are other games you can throw into the mix. But this just seems more important, at least to me. Here’s why:

– Russell Wilson showed he can do what Tarvaris Jackson couldn’t – win a big game with a key drive. Wilson technically had a similar victory over Green Bay, but let’s not go there tonight. With the team trailing 23-10 and looking likely to go 3-3, Wilson scored a touchdown pass on fourth down before nailing the game winner deep down the middle to Sidney Rice. This is the kind of play you need from your quarterback to contend with the best teams in the NFL. In the last two games Wilson has shown incredible maturity and playmaking ability. A 46 yard touchdown pass to win the game doesn’t happen very often in the NFL. He’s starting to look like the teams quarterback of the future, as everyone hoped he would. And that’s exciting.

– The defense didn’t have everything its own way, but they enhanced their reputation today. Richard Sherman might be the best cornerback in the NFL. Earl Thomas was a whisker away from three interceptions. New England had some success running the ball, but it speaks volumes that Tom Brady threw more passes today (58) than any other game in his career – despite holding the lead until the final minute. To a man, every single player on that defense willed the team to victory. They gave up just six points in the second half, despite some offensive struggles in the third and fourth quarter. They were physical, energetic and kept the Seahawks in the game. They also have victories against Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo and Cam Newton this year. Elite? Confirmed.

– The receivers came to the party. Sidney Rice had the game winning 46 yard score and 81 total yards. Doug Baldwin had 74 and a touchdown, while Golden Tate also chipped in with some big plays and 47 yards. Zach Miller also had a couple of smart receptions but loses some kudos for a fumble which at the time appeared to kill any potential Seahawks comeback. As a quartet though, an underachieving group suddenly looks respectable. They’ll need to keep this up, but the last two weeks have been a major improvement.

– Seattle needed a big win to legitimise everything that’s happening with the team. They needed a dramatic victory against a proven winner with an elite quarterback. There are a lot of doubters out there, among the fan base and media. If it’s not Wilson it’s the coaches. I would argue only one team had a worse roster than Seattle’s when Pete Carroll took up the reins in 2010. That team is St. Louis. Carroll had nothing to build around – no young talent, no superstars, no core. He inherited a shambles. And in three years, the turnaround is incredible. If the Seahawks finish 8-8, it’ll be something to cheer about in the third year of this massive rebuild. After week six, they’re 50% there already at 4-2. And still people doubt and complain. The win today proves to the doubters there’s no need to be cynical. And while the team or coaches care little about that, some of the negativity around this team has been tough for humble observers to stomach. That cynicism should end tonight.

– I’ll save the most important important point to end. There’s still room for improvement. On offense, on defense. This team is only scratching the surface. It’s young, it’s hungry. Even if the Seahawks go and lose the next game in San Francisco, it won’t matter. There will be other games against the 49ers. The future is bright. That is the only thing that matters.

Tomorrow I’m going to do a piece on a receiver that hasn’t been on pretty much anyone’s radar so far, but was brought to my attention by somebody else today. I’ve since watched some tape and wondered why the player in question isn’t generating more hype. I’ll have three videos in the post and some accompanying thoughts. Stay tuned.


  1. AlaskaHawk

    It was a great come from behind win. Wilson is starting to look like a pro QB with some nice long passes. The pass to Rice dripped right into his arms.

    Defensively we played a little flat today. The ball just seemed to leave Bradys hand quickly and we often didn’t have tight coverage. Our pass rush wasn’t so good. And they ran on us better than I thought they should .

    So despite a flawed performance both offense and defense held strong at the end of the game.

    • Rob Staton

      I think some credit has to go to Tom Brady for the defense looking flat at times, but the guys stuck in there and finished strongly. Six points in the second half is testament to that.

      • Barry

        I think that might say something to the Pats trying to run so many plays and tire the D out. It seemed to have backfire. It worked to keep the D on its heals the first half, but the second half was a different story. You said it Rob, the D as a whole should get great credit.

    • Hawksince77

      Without being able to provide a whole lot of support for what I am going to say, I think the defense played really well today. Brady may be the best QB that has ever played the game (at least somewhere close to the top) and he has some very talented receivers. One of the reasons he is so good is because he dissects even the best defenses, like he did today. While he missed some throws today (every QB does) for the most part he was quick with his decisions and accurate with his throws. The defense didn’t play flat; Brady is simply the best QB they are likely to encounter – ever (unless they meet again in the SB).

      To just add on, run defense was solid, several passes were defensed and knocked down, and of course two interceptions. If I heard correctly, the Patriots were on a record setting pace for consecutive 30-point games. Seattle’s defense ended that streak today.

      And the last couple of possessions in the 4th quarter – clutch for the defense.

      • Alex

        I didn’t like some of the zone stuff we were running on defense. Brady easily found holes in them. I thought we had the most success when we jammed them (several of Browner’s play come to mind) or when we pressured Brady (the last few plays). Otherwise, Brady for the most part handled the defense.

        That said, if we can get the running game going again and maintain the vertical strikes, the offense will be sufficient. The main concern for me is the offensive line. For the most part, the Patriots Front 7 owned the Seahawks OL. A lot of plays were broken before they even developed because someone missed a block. For run blocking, with the exception of one play in the 2nd half where the left side got tremendous push, Lynch hardly had any room to run.


        • Hawksince77

          Yeah, I don’t know enough to really evaluate a defense, only that Brady looked really sharp and got rid of the ball very quickly on most of his successful plays.

          As for the running game, my understanding is that NE has an excellent run defense (not so much of a passing defense) so I thought that if Seattle was going to win, it had to be by throwing the ball. They were never going to dominate running it, I don’t think.

    • Michael

      The pass rush really didn’t have much of a chance to get home with the ball coming out so quickly…

  2. John

    This was awesome and it’s been something we’ve all been hoping for for a long time. But to have a QB that can comeback and lead a comeback is something I’ve been dreaming of. Wilson did that today and I couldn’t be more happy. So so happy. He still has work to do but he’s starting to look more comfortable and I was loving his play today. Though it was kind of streaky.

    I am really looking forward to WTIII return because Tru was getting beat alot today.

    I’m going to complain about much today. I am just so stoked about this win.

  3. NickW

    Nice reaction piece Rob! What a win, and hopefully this will shut up all the QB controversy crap for a while. I am really quite sick of all the people who think the grass will be greener with a different QB. Today was a great (although stressful and nerve wracking) win and hopefully Wilson will continue to improve. Go Hawks!

  4. kevin mullen

    Great synopsis Rob and with you, am jacked up about this win, up there with BeastQuake game.

    Two things: I thought our OLine played great, even cut down their penalities from previous games, also the scramble from Wilson, if you watch Okung (1st Qtr), he actually runs into Wilson then recovers and blocks two guys out of the play. Love it.

    Lastly, Bevell should get a ton of credit of trusting his QB and rest of offense to execute his game plan. Couldn’t script it any better.

    If there’s any request for potential draft picks, I say we need a pass rushing LB to create more mismatches and havok from the second level. Thoughts?

    • Rob Staton

      They could use another linebacker, it’s becoming more evident. It’d still be a bit of a luxury though, it’d need to be the right guy. Alec Ogletree looks like he was born to be a Seahawk for this regime.

      • kevin mullen

        Understands its a luxury, couldn’t disagree more but with Irvin and Clemons known for just pass rushing, I’d love for someone in the linebacker core to rush the passer, similar to Wagner stuffing the run, just to create more mismatches and an element of surprise. Obviously with Hill probably in his last year, would like a replacement that can bum rush that OLine and drop either Irvin or Clemons in the flat or seven yards deep to cover. Just a thought.

        • Rob Staton

          Ogletree’s athleticism would suit that role very well. He’s an option next year in R1 for sure.

        • ben-jammin

          Ben Obomonu and Leroy Hill have probably been in their last year for years. Sure it is a position to upgrade but those guys are both energizer bunnies. If they improve this pass rush even more they would be scary. Qb’s would be coming down with odd illnesses before games.

    • Alex

      I disagree about the OL play. With the exception of a few plays, the run blocking was lacking. The pass protection is inconsistent. There are times when the right side just completely miss their assignment, which results in a broken up play. The main issue right now is the right side. Okung, Carpenter, and Unger (though Unger got overpowerd by Wilfork a few times) got the LT, LG, C position down, but out RG and RT is a serious weakness that’s affecting the rest of the team. Moffitt showed enough at RG that I’m ok with that position when he comes back, but I believe we need a RT in the incoming draft (3rd or 4th round).


      • ben-jammin

        I like Giacomini. I know, I know, think he’ll improve with penalties, even if never fully shakes it. Don’t underestimate Wilfork’s impact in this game. Was getting double and triple teamed on both plays where lb sliced through hole and tackled Lynch just after handoff. Big, strong, quick dude. Takes double team.

        • Alex

          I realize Wilfork is one of the best NT in the game, which is why I’m ok with Wilfork pushing Unger back (collapsing the pocket at times). What I have a problem with is the missed assignments on pass protection, the dumb penalties, and the lack of push on running plays (mostly the right side which is also the strong side).

          • kevin mullen

            Well compared to the last few weeks, I’ll take this effort over those. It looked like Wilson had more time in pocket than previous games.

            • Michael

              I think the biggest difference was that Wilson seemed to trust the protection more in this game than he ever has before. It was a beautiful thing…

              • Barry

                Although I agree the run blocking was lacking, Most of the pressures were Wilson’s fault when he couldn’t see the first reads on short sets. I’d love one of the big bad boys coming out in this draft at guard. But they will most likely be gone with us (hopefully) picking late.

              • Rugby Lock

                Excellent point. IMO RW is making progress from game to game and is really looking like the QBOTF.

  5. Hawksince77

    As a long-time supporter of Wilson, his performance today didn’t surprise me – he plays best when the game is on the line, and outside of the Dallas game, as orchestrated last minute come-back drives every time. It helps that New England has one of the weaker defenses they have faced, but even so: near-perfect win for the young man.

    Having said that, that 3rd and 3 pass out of bounds on their penultimate possession just about killed me. I would have to rank that as his worst, or near worst, play of his young career. The play call, the read, the actual throw – all poor to terrible.

    • ben-jammin

      I’d say pick 6 worst pass of career. You’re dead on that nearly every game wilson has been in game-winning scenario drives in nearly every game and has looked mostly good. Haven’t understood heavy criticism seemingly oblivious to likely growth for him and offense as year goes on. Even games they lost he gave team multiple chances (balls on hands of receivers) in almost every game (except @ St Louis). Wilson is shaping up to be a clutch player, anti-romo.

      • Hawksince77

        The pick-six was the worst in terms of results, but it was the right read and simply a poor throw a couple of feet behind McCoy. That’s something that happens often, but doesn’t always turn out so bad.

        For example, Wilson threw a pass behind Lynch that got popped up and caught by Rice for a first down. Could have been a pick. Another time he threw behind his receiver (just like the pick-six) and it was picked off by GB, but called back on a ticky-tack roughing the passer call.

        The point is, a slightly mis-thrown ball is one thing. What I hold a QB responsible for is their decision making along with accuracy. For instance, I heard today that Romo (to your point) has more ints on 3rd down than anyone. The game he had 5 picks, I watched each of them, and he was completely responsible for 2 of them (the other 3 were off his WRs, or fluke plays, or whatever). Wilson has done a fine job not making stupid throws, not forcing things, and for the most part (the present example excepted) given his receivers a chance to make a play.

        And as for the Rams game, he was driving down the field when McCoy slipped on the last interception. The Rams couldn’t stop Seattle from moving the ball, and Seattle had a great opportunity to win that game late as well.

        So five out of six games (the other a dominant win over the Cowboys) Wilson and the offense have been in a position to drive the field and score a winning TD.

  6. HawkMax

    I was at the game – and I think during the final Pats possession it got louder than I’ve ever heard it at CenturyLink!!! I’m so happy for Russell Wilson – hearing the Seattle Sports Radio community call for his job the last couple weeks has been pretty annoying and hopefully this will quiet them. And on that note, yes Hugh Millen, I realize you’re frustrated that you bought a Matt Flynn jersey over the summer, but Russell is here to stay!!

  7. Colin

    I don’t think the D was flat today- I think the Pats are THAT good.

    They refused to abide by the hand the offense gave them. Turnover at midfield, Jon Ryan missed punt- who cares? They still go out and handle business.

    They gave the offense every chance to win it, and they finally came away and did it.

    And with a 1:18 to go, the Defense refused to give Brady and company any shot at all. It was game over.

    • Michael

      How awesome is it that with 1:18 left and the hands in the ball of Tom Brady, Hawks fans didn’t really have to worry too much? I love this defense…

    • Barry

      Agreed Colin, really was played so great by the D. Sherman is something else

  8. adog

    To see how Welker and Hernandez were able to settle and sit in the holes of the defense, made me consider who in fact on the Seahawks roster is closest to a possession type of reciever. I think a possession receiver is a guy who is almost always open by the time the qb progresses through his reads. In most cases, certainly with Seattle’s offense, the possession receiver is usually the third option on majority of pass plays. All signs point to Doug Baldwin as being our “possession” guy. While it was nice to see him make a couple of nice catches today down the field, i would be more excited with him making some catches where he’s sitting in the zone. This should be a efficient part of the Seattle’s passing offense due to all the extra time Wilson buys with his poise and scrambling. Yet so far this season, i’ve been disappointed that a possession type of receiver has yet to emerge. I know that the Seattle passing offense has been stymied by conservative game plans, but a guy who can run eight yard hooks and curls, and drift his route with the qb’s pocket, is not that complex. Did the poor qb play by Tavaris Jackson ruin Baldwin?…as in he thinks he is a number one type of receiver because Jackson constantly threw him the ball? He is\should be a number three type possession guy. Ineffective qb’s make their slot guys their first progression. Effective qb’s make the slot guy the last progression.

    • Swamp_fox

      Listen to PC’s post-game interview. He talked about this week practicing sending receivers (Baldwin in particular) downfield when Wilson is able to extend the play. They game planned those deep shots given the Pats secondary issues, and it worked beautifully(!)

      I agree with your interest in possession receiver options (of last resort) and I pin that as much on Wilson right now as the receivers. He’s more likely to scramble and get anxious then default to an outlet receiver. That skill of Brady’s is elite and will take time IMO.

      Cam we talk about Wilson’s deep ball for a minute? At some point this season we’re going to see a stat on his completion percentage when the ball travels more than 25-30 yards and group hug each other. Dude is money when he looks downfield, something we haven’t had since what, Warren Moon?

      • AlaskaHawk

        Wilson has a great deep ball. I was so happy that are receivers were catching it and no big penalties on the offensive line to call the play back. I think we should steal some of new England’s routes as they were throwing very quickly at wide open receivers. I’m not sure what Welkef was doing other than driving me crazy – but it would be great if the hawks could add the quick passes to their long ball. My gut feeling is we need more routes in the middle instead of to the sidelines.

  9. John_s

    Can’t wait to see who the receiver is. Hopefully its the kid at Rutgers

    • Rob Staton

      Good guess… article on Brandon Coleman now on the blog and live…

  10. Turp

    I have to temper the excitement a little bit. NE played 8 in the box and left a single high safety all game. It was basically the perfect setup to launch deep balls on single coverage. If you noticed, there was never any bracket coverage on any of those balls. The bomb to Rice was in cover 2 but the other safety was never in the play. NE was daring RW to beat them by committing to stopping Lynch and it almost worked. I don’t expect RW to be able to go downfield so easily most of the time unless teams continue to try out a cover 1.

    • Johnny Slick

      I agree with this but the flip side is that if teams don’t bring 8 men in the box, they won’t shut down the running game like the Pats did tonight. I’m completely fine with teams sending lots of cover-2 formations to defend against Wilson’s deep ball in the future if it means the Seahawks can run at will.

      To exacerbate this, I think it really highlights one of Wilson’s best qualities, which is his ability to sell the play-action. IIRC he said he learned this skill with Wisconsin last year and I have to think that it’s a huge part of why PC/JS wanted him so badly despite already having a QB of the present in Flynn. It’s not just what he does on actual PA plays, it’s the way he’ll drop back and pretend to go through his progressions even when he actually hands the ball off to Lynch. That seems like such a simple thing but there aren’t a lot of QBs in the league who can consistently sell it the way Wilson does (Favre used to be one of them).

    • A. Simmons

      That’s how the game works. You stack the box, you beat them deep. They cover deep, you run over them. Were you really expecting a rookie to immediately come in and exploit these matchup issues? And now you’re trying to lessen what a rookie QB just accomplished? Weak sauce.

      Bottom line truth: This is the best start for a Seattle rookie QB in our history. Best start for a first year starter in Seattle in our history. And some Seattle fans are complaining.

      Russell Wilson is on par with any of the other rookies including Andrew Luck. Only RG3 is playing superior ball, he is getting more TDs with his legs.

      Wake up and smell the coffee. You have a special candidate playing QB for your chosen team and you’re finding every reason to be down on the guy rather than enjoying seeing a Seattle rookie QB play some amazing ball in the first six games of his career. Wilson’s best football is most likely ahead of him and he’s already had three game winning drives.

      Get out of the haze of being down and let the sun in. Best rookie QB Seattle has ever had. I’d be real surprised if he doesn’t become the best Seattle QB in our history. His work ethic is up there with the best. He talks, plays, and works like a professional.

      Enjoy what is happening. It has never happened in Seattle before. Savor every moment. This guy Russell Wilson is something special. It’s undeniable at this point.

  11. Clayton

    Rob, so far I’ve seen a bunch of 2013 mock draft sites that have Seattle drafting a WR with their first round pick. After watching the Seahawks receivers come up with some huge plays against the Pats (Rice, Tate, Baldwin, Edwards) I don’t think the team needs to burn its first pick with a WR. Do you agree with this? If so, what position should Seattle draft with its first pick? I’m assuming that Coleman isn’t a first rounder.

    • Rob Staton

      I think it’s still a need, after all – we’re talking about one game here. The Seahawks still need – IMO – a reliable playmaker on the outside. Receiver is the most underrated position in the league for me and if you can get a good one, you should take that opportunity. Seattle has to keep it’s options open at the position, particularly if a guy like Brandon Coleman declares.

    • A. Simmons

      Let’s follow the San Francisco model. Let’s win a Super Bowl with these receivers. Then let’s draft a Jerry Rice-type receiver to go with our Joe Montana-like QB and get even better. I can dream.

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