By John Boyle
The Seahawks started the second half of the season with a much-needed win against the Vikings. Let’s take a look at what went well and what didn’t for Seattle, which now sits at 5-4.
—The passing game, especially early. Russell Wilson passed went 10 for 14 in the first half, and matched a career high with three touchdowns. With Seattle playing with a lead, he didn’t do as much in the second half, but was still efficient, continuing to build off of the improvement he has been showing over the past five games.
“Guys are stepping up, and as our quarterback gets better, we get better, and you can see him getting better every week,” said fullback Michael Robinson. “The great thing about it is, he has the demeanor to be great. He’s never too down, he’s never too high. Right now, you wouldn’t be able to tell if we won or lost by the way he talks. It’s good to have a guy like that leading us.”
—The run game, especially late. Lost in Adrian Peterson’s monstrous performance was another solid game by Marshawn Lynch. He rushed for 124 yards on 26 carries and added a touchdown, and was a big part of an impressive game-ending drive that saw Seattle run the final 5:27 off the clock.
The Seahawks finished the game with season-high 195 yards rushing.
—The second half D. The Vikings playcalling certainly had something to do with it, but the Seahawks defense, after a rough game-and-a-half stretch, stepped up in the second half, holding Minnesota to three points and 59 yards. The pass rush, which has been inconsistent of late, was good Sunday with four sacks of Christian Ponder.
—The first-half run D. Are we sure Adrian Peterson really tore his ACL last fall? Peterson says he isn’t 100 percent back from that injury, but whatever percentage he is is still really, really good. Peterson gashed the Seahawks for a 74-yard gain on Minnesota’s first possession, scored two first-half touchdowns and seemed poised to go well over 200 yards until Minnesota stopped giving him the ball in the second half (more on this in a second).
“It was kind of a nightmare in the first half, to tell you the truth,” said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.
Added defensive end Red Bryant, ““At half time we were like, ‘Look, we don’t need the coaches to tell us (Peterson’s) kicking our ass.’”
—Earl Thomas’ hands. The speedy safety has a real knack for getting himself into positions to make plays. Finishing those plays, however, has been an issue for Thomas, who had another potential interception bounce off of his hands, prompting him to joke to reporters, “I probably lead the league in drops on picks.”
What simply doesn’t make sense
Why oh why did Adrian Peterson only carry the ball five times in the second half? Yes, the Seahawks did take a 10-point lead fairly late in the third quarter, but if your options are, A. Keep feeding Peterson, who had 12 carries for 144 yards in first half and hope he can break a long run or two to get you back in the game, or B. Let Christian Ponder try to lead a comeback on the road, you have to choose option A, don’t you. It makes sense to abandon the run down two scores late in the fourth quarter, but not as early as Minnesota did.
Linebacker K.J. Wright left the game in the first quarter with a concussion and was unable to return. Wright will have to go through the usual league-mandated protocol and be cleared by doctors before he can return to action. Mike Morgan replaced Wright at strongside linebacker and finished with three tackles.
Center Max Unger was briefly replaced by Lemuel Jeanpierre and went to the locker room for X-rays on what Pete Carroll described as a dislocated finger. Unger returned quickly however, and downplayed the injury after the game.
The Seahawks were without left guard James Carpenter, who was ruled out Saturday with a concussion after being listed as questionable Friday because of an illness. Carroll explained that they weren’t sure if Carpenter’s concussion occurred against Detroit last week or in Wednesday’s practice. John Moffitt, who had missed the previous five games with a knee injury, started in Carpenter’s place. Moffitt started at right guard last season and in the first three game this year, but said he felt comfortable on the left side because that is where he played in college.