Here’s how the Seattle Seahawks grade out in their 38-31 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday at CenturyLink Field:
Check off all the boxes on this one. Seattle gained a season-high 464 yards. The Seahawks’ vaunted run game rushed for 210 yards, including 116 and two touchdowns by the ever-impressive Chris Carson, who surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the season. Quarterback Russell Wilson was throwing precision darts, especially late in the game when Seattle was looking to close out the game. Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett made a series of acrobatic catches. And it all happened behind a makeshift offensive line. Sure, it was against the 31st-ranked defense in the league, but the Seahawks still got everything right.
The raw numbers may not look good: 419 yards and 31 points allowed. But Kansas City has the No. 1 offense in the NFL, and Seattle made the Chiefs earn every single yard and point. The Seahawks managed to get good pressure on quarterback Patrick Mahomes, forced two turnovers at important junctures, and held Kansas City to field goals when it was most critical. Seattle’s defensive effort was such that the Chiefs had to execute perfectly to accomplish anything, it’s just that Kansas City is good enough to be perfect much of the time.
Seattle had its struggles in this one. Kicker Sebastian Janikowski doinked a 36-yard field goal off the upright. Punter Michael Dickson, even though he clearly was trying to kick away from the dangerous Tyreek Hill, showed he was human with some pedestrian punts. And the Seahawks allowed a 61-yard kickoff return to give Kansas City a glimmer of hope in the final three minutes. They weren’t lethal mistakes, but special teams didn’t help Seattle win this one.
Credit Seattle for pressing all the right buttons on offense and getting a good mix of run and pass. Even the aggressive pass calls with the Seahawks leading 31-28 with less than 5 minutes remaining worked out. Seattle also was effective picking on Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward to great effect. On defense, Seattle did an excellent job of taking away Kansas City’s two most dangerous weapons, as the only times Hill and Travis Kelce made their presences felt was when Mahomes made ridiculous throws into tiny windows.
This one couldn’t have gone much better for Seattle. The Seahawks were looking to secure a place in the playoffs, and they needed to wash out the bad taste from last week’s unexpected loss at San Francisco. Mission accomplished on both fronts, and Seattle once again looks like the team no one wants to face in the postseason.
– Nick Patterson, Herald writer