Here’s how the Seattle Seahawks grade out in their 35-30 victory over the New England Patriots on Sunday night at CenturyLink Field:
A- Another immaculate game from quarterback Russell Wilson, who threw five touchdown passes and was nearly perfect for a second straight week? Check. Receivers like DK Metcalf and David Moore making improbable catches on deep balls for touchdowns? Check. Balance achieved with the running game gaining 154 yards on 30 carries? Check. Yes, there were a couple hiccups, like Greg Olsen having the ball go through his hands for a pick six, as well as being unable to convert third-and-1 in the last two minutes with a chance to put the game away. But a team can’t do a whole lot better than that, especially against a heralded defense like New England’s.
B- The defense had its issues, most notably struggling to stop the Patriots on third and fourth downs (New England was 8-for-13), then coming a yard away from having the Patriots score two TDs in the final three minutes to steal the game away. But credit the Seahawks for coming with stops at the most important moments, including on the game’s final play as Lano Hill and L.J. Collier combined to stop Cam Newton on the quarterback keeper at the goal line. And the secondary held up, despite losing safety Quandre Diggs to ejection and nickelback Marquise Blair to injury in the first half.
B+ It was low key, but it was a sneaky good game by Seattle’s special teams. Michael Dickson’s 64-yard punt with Seattle leading 28-23 in the fourth quarter was an underrated important play. Seattle got some good returns from Travis Homer on kickoffs and David Moore in punts. Jason Myers made all his kicks. And the kickoff coverage was good. There were no big-time game-changing plays, but the special teams did everything it was supposed to do.
A- For most of the game it was a coaching masterclass by Pete Carroll and company. The Seahawks switched things up from their Week 1 victory at Atlanta, getting the run established to good effect. There’s recognition that the pass rush needs help, and the coaches are giving help with the blitz, with Jamal Adams being particularly effective. And credit the coaches for keeping the sidelines amped up, despite the lack of fans in the stands. One can second-guess some of the coaching decisions in the game’s final two possessions, including the incomplete deep pass on third-and-one that gave the Patriots the ball back with a chance to win it. But for the most part those decisions at least played to win, rather than playing not to lose.
A– Wow, what a great game. These two franchises have been the NFL’s best over the past decade, and every time they meet it’s a classic. Seattle is now 3-1 in games between the teams during that span, with the only loss being a certain goal-line play in a certain Super Bowl. Sure, this was a Patriots team that no longer has Tom Brady at quarterback, but any victory over a Bill Belichick-coached team is one to savor. The Seahawks are now 2-0 and keeping pace in an NFC West (three teams 2-0) that’s shaping up to be an absolute beast.