The Seahawks vs the Packers. An underrated rivalry.
Tonight, it provided another chapter.
The game ebbed and flowed throughout. Seattle started poorly, fumbling on the first offensive snap to set the tone for a sloppy opening quarter. Russell Wilson was off, Aaron Rodgers was on. Green Bay raced to a 14-3 lead.
The Seahawks roared back, scoring two touchdowns to take the lead before half time — only for Rodgers to again majestically lead Green Bay to a quick-fire score.
21-17 at half time.
Seattle needed some resistance on defense. They haven’t turned the ball over for three games. They weren’t getting close tonight.
Pressure and stops were needed to compensate. Wilson had to play better.
The Seahawks conceded only three points in the second half. Three — courtesy of a sublime Rodgers downfield bomb to Davante Adams for 57-yards on third down (the longest play Seattle has conceded all season). Green Bay still had to settle for a field goal.
This young defense gives up some plays. Yet despite major turnover in the off-season and the loss of several key players to injury (Earl Thomas, K.J. Wright, Dion Jordan) or suspension (Mychal Kendricks) — they continue to play their hearts out. Just as they did against the Rams and Chargers, they hung on just enough to give the offense a shot.
This time, they took it.
The Seahawks were 1-5 in one-score games going into tonight. Wilson and the offense stalled in the final quarter against Denver, Chicago, the Rams (twice) and the Chargers. Tonight, they had two vital drives to win the game.
Firstly — the long scoring drive ending in an Ed Dickson touchdown. Wilson detected the blitz, called for the snap early and executed. Seattle takes the lead 27-24 with four minutes to go.
Then the defense needed a stop. They forced a three-and-out (with a bit of help from Rodgers who picked a bad time for a sulk — at least that’s what his body language suggested).
Now it was time for the Seahawks to finish. Run to win. They did.
Run, run, run, run, run.
Two first downs, no resistance.
The Seahawks ended the game with 225 passing yards and 173 rushing yards. Green Bay had 332 passing yards and 48 rushing.
Seattle won featuring the run against a one-dimensional passing opponent.
Not every team can play this way. The Seahawks can. It’s their style. It suits them.
And it doesn’t half help mask some lingering issues.
Wilson hasn’t looked anywhere close to his best in the last three games. Yet statistically he has sensational numbers. Tonight he finished with a 110.3 passer rating. He scored twice and didn’t turn the ball over.
For me, this is the impact of the run. For the last couple of years Seattle’s offense was Russell Wilson. It was all on him. Now, they can live through some iffy stretches because they can always rely on the run.
The three-pronged attack of Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny and Mike Davis is perfectly enjoyable. Who cares about who was picked where? Let’s embrace the success they’re having. Seattle has the best running game in the league. Celebrate it. Enjoy it.
On defense, players continue to emerge and develop even if there are kinks to iron out. Frank Clark now has 10 sacks. Jarran Reed has 5.5. Both are due contract extensions in the off-season (possibly sooner in Clark’s case).
The rookie class continues to contribute — especially Jacob Martin, Rasheem Green and Michael Dickson this evening.
And overall this team is just becoming more enjoyable to watch. There are going to be some frustrating moments like the Chargers loss. It’s a reset year. But this 2018 campaign is a lot more palatable than last years. Or the year before.
They’re not the finished article. They need another off-season to reach an attainable higher level.
Despite all of this — they’re 5-5 and facing a stretch of games they can win.
Next stop, Carolina.
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