Here’s how the Seattle Seahawks grade out in their 33-13 victory against the Houston Texans on Sunday at NRG Stadium:
This may have been Seattle’s best offensive game of the season, certainly the best since quarterback Russell Wilson returned from his finger injury. Wilson was sharp, and his partnership with receiver Tyler Lockett (five catches for 142 yards and a touchdown) was at its most-exquisite best as the pair constantly connected on deep passes. It may have taken four years, but running back Rashaad Penny (16 carries for 137 yards and two TDs) finally produced the type of game one would expect from a former first-round draft pick. And the Seahawks, poor on third down all season, converted 7 of 13. The net results were season highs in both yards (453) and points (33).
It was a bit of a slow start as the Seahawks gave up an easy touchdown drive to start the game, and Houston quarterback Davis Mills was able to complete his first 14 passes. But it got a lot better for Seattle after that. The Seahawks held the Texans to field goals on the rare instances Houston was able to sustain drives, Seattle was good on third down (Houston was 3-for-13), and twice the Seahawks made stops on fourth down in the fourth quarter to prevent any thoughts of a comeback. Seattle was even able to generate something of a pass rush, and defensive tackle Al Woods had himself a game.
Punt returner Freddie Swain did some interesting things, fielding punts inside the 20 when Houston thought he was letting the ball bounce, then taking advantage of overrunning gunners to get some solid returns. However, Seattle was otherwise sloppy. Jason Myers missed two extra points as he continued his baffling struggles on those, poor tackling on a trick kickoff return allowed a big gain that resulted in the Texans getting a 61-yard field goal at the end of the first half, and there were way too many needless penalties. The Seahawks are fortunate this game wasn’t close.
The Seahawks had several questionable play calls on third down during the first half, and once again Seattle couldn’t get gamebreaking receiver DK Metcalf involved early (one target in the first half). But full credit to the coaches for their halftime adjustments. Offensively the Seahawks immediately got the ball to Metcalf several times in the third quarter, and defensively they improved both their coverage and pass rush as Seattle pitched a second-half shutout. The Seahawks still seem to get caught on screens too often.
Let’s be honest, a game against a 2-10 team that just handed the starting quarterback job over to a rookie doesn’t present the biggest obstacle. But after letting the Texans hang around for a while, the Seahawks won comfortably in a manner one would expect against an inferior opponent. This was the first time this season Seattle won back-to-back games, and somehow at 5-8 the Seahawks are still clinging to slight playoff hopes — it’s up to you to decide whether having that sliver of hope is a positive or negative development.
– Nick Patterson, Herald writer