Here’s how the Seattle Seahawks grade out in their 51-29 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday at Lumen Field:
This was hands-down Seattle’s best offensive performance of the season, as the Seahawks tallied season bests in both points and yards (497), and Seattle was tremendous on third down (7-for-12) and in the red zone (6-for-8). Running back Rashaad Penny ran wild, and his late-season surge will give Seattle something to think about when it comes to the impending free agent. But the most important thing for the Seahawks in these last few games is finding out whether quarterback Russell Wilson is broken, or whether he just needed more time to recover from his finger injury. Wilson’s gradual improvement in accuracy suggests it’s the latter.
The defense suffered a major blow on Seattle’s first defensive possession when linebacker Bobby Wagner went out with a knee injury. The D held up well through the first possession of the second half, when D.J. Reed’s interception set up the touchdown that gave the Seahawks a 38-7 lead. However, the defense did not handle prosperity particularly well as it struggled to stop Detroit receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, gave the Lions extra shots in the red zone courtesy of Jordyn Brooks’ facemask penalty, and allowed a TD reception to an offensive lineman. At least late picks by Ugoi Amadi and Reed finally halted the Lions’ resurgence.
It wasn’t a good day for Seattle’s special teams. Kicker Jason Myers provided the highlight when he drilled a 51-yard field goal in the first quarter, and he made all three of his attempts. But it’s not a good thing when Myers is required to make a tackle on a kickoff return to prevent a touchdown. The Seahawks also had a long punt return nullified by a holding penalty, and had the Lions somehow mounted a second-half comeback it would have been because Seattle botched coverage on a third-quarter onside kick that was recovered by Detroit (and nearly botched another one in the fourth quarter).
Running the ball may not be en vogue in the NFL these days, but credit the Seahawks for riding the run game when they were experiencing so much success. There were some creative moments in offensive play calling, highlighted by pass plays near the goal line that resulted in scores. Questions need to be asked about the way the defense was picked apart after halftime. But more than anything, credit the coaches for taking a team that’s only known meaningful games late in the season, and motivating it to play at a high level in one that was inconsequential.
There are those who will dismiss this performance and result because it came against a two-win Detroit team forced to use its backup quarterback. Others will dismiss it because it came in a meaningless game — Seattle doesn’t even have draft position to play for since the New York Jets own the Seahawks’ first rounder. But in a season that’s had so little to cheer about, this was one that Seattle supporters can smile about. And kudos to the Seahawks for choosing not to phone in the remainder of the season.
– Nick Patterson, Herald writer