Here’s how the Seattle Seahawks grade out in their 41-38 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday at CenturyLink Field:
This was probably the best possible game an offense could have without offering even the hint of a running game. Seattle’s four running backs managed just 5 yards on 16 carries as they were constantly hit in the backfield. But quarterback Russell Wilson produced arguably the best game of what’s an already storied career, breaking the franchise record for passing yards in a game with 452 and leading the Seahawks 80 yards on three plays for the game-winning touchdown, despite having just 1:39 remaining and no timeouts.
This was not the Seahawk defense’s finest day. Seattle allowed Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson to throw for 402 yards and four touchdowns. It was just the third time in the Pete Carroll era that the Seahawks allowed a 400-yard passer, and Seattle allowed nine plays of 20 yards or more. But the defense had its redeeming moments, producing three interceptions, including free safety Earl Thomas’ 78-yard pick-six. And when the Seahawks desperately needed to get a stop in the final two minutes in order to get the ball back, the defense came through.
It was another clean game for Seattle’s special teams. Kicker Blair Walsh made all his kicks, punter Jon Ryan had a solid outing, and the Seahawks’ kick coverage was good, particularly when Tanner McEvoy’s hit caused a fumble that Seattle almost recovered. However, the Seahawks continue to show little threat in the return game as Tyler Lockett struggles to regain the form that earned him a Pro Bowl nod as a returner in his rookie season in 2015.
It was a surprising moment to see a coach challenge a call because he thought an incomplete pass by his quarterback should be ruled a fumble. But that’s exactly what Carroll did, and the first down that resulted from the overturned call sustained a drive that ended with a touchdown. Credit also has to be given to offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, whose play calling got the Seahawks 34 points on offense, despite the run game being stuffed every time the ball was handed off.
The Seahawks flipped the usual script Sunday. Usually it’s Seattle’s defense that has to bail out the offense, but this time it was the other way around. Looking at the long run, it was better to see the offense come around because the Seahawks will have faith that their defense will rebound. The victory was Seattle’s fourth straight and improved the Seahawks’ record to 5-2, which pulled Seattle into a tie with the idle Los Angeles Rams at the top of the NFC West.