The Seattle Seahawks snapped their two-game losing skid Sunday, overcoming a dismal offensive start to earn a pivotal 28-21 road win over the rival San Francisco 49ers.
Here’s the post-Week 4 edition of a weekly numbers-based look at notable trends and storylines surrounding the Seahawks:
100 — Career regular-season wins by Russell Wilson: With Sunday’s victory, Wilson became the fastest quarterback in NFL history to 100 career regular-season wins. He reached the century mark in the fourth game of his 10th season — six games faster than Peyton Manning, who was previously the quickest to accomplish the feat. And fittingly, Wilson highlighted his 100th victory with some vintage heroics. Seattle’s offense stumbled to an absolutely miserable start, going three-and-out on each of its first five possessions while backpedaling to minus-7 total yards through the first 25 minutes. But Wilson helped right the ship, leading the Seahawks to touchdowns on four of their next five non-end-of-half possessions. And ultimately, it was his two highlight-reel plays during a 56-second span in the third quarter that helped swing the game. First, the 32-year-old Wilson turned back the clock and showed he still has some speed left in the tank while scrambling for a 16-yard TD. Then, after Seattle recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, Wilson delivered one of the more spectacular plays of his decorated career. Wilson spun out of what seemed like a sure sack, raced away from more pressure, and then fired a pinpoint running strike off his back foot that traveled some 30 yards through the air for a sensational 13-yard TD pass. Wilson’s final stat line was relatively unremarkable. But in a game the Seahawks could ill-afford to lose, Wilson made the game-changing plays they needed.
7 — Consecutive scoreless possessions by Seattle’s defense: After its second-half collapse against Tennessee two weeks ago and its abysmal showing against Minnesota last week, the Seahawks’ defense initially looked headed toward another long afternoon when the 49ers marched with incredible ease to a touchdown on their opening possession. But after that, Seattle’s much-maligned defense flipped the script. The Seahawks held San Francisco scoreless on its next seven possessions, limiting the 49ers to one drive of 30-plus yards over that stretch. And aside from the opening-drive touchdown, the only other scores Seattle allowed were a long broken-coverage TD pass in the third quarter and an ultimately meaningless TD drive in the closing minutes. With the Seahawks’ offense nonexistent for nearly the entire first half, this game easily could’ve gotten away from Seattle. But in a massive plot twist, it was the Seahawks’ defense that ultimately saved the day, keeping the team within striking distance until the offense got going. The caveat, of course, is this defensive performance came against a pair of unspectacular quarterbacks in Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance. But even so, given how poorly Seattle’s defense had played in recent weeks, this certainly qualifies as a step in the right direction.
9 — Pass breakups by Seattle on Sunday: The Seahawks made two significant changes to their secondary Sunday. Most notably, they benched struggling cornerback Tre Flowers and replaced him with preseason acquisition and former University of Washington star Sidney Jones. That in turn moved cornerback D.J. Reed back to his more familiar spot on the right side of the field, where he found success toward the end of last season. The other major change was the use of more dime packages featuring an additional sixth defensive back, with Ryan Neal often serving that role. It’s hard to know just how much those changes contributed to Seattle’s improved defensive play, versus how much can be attributed to the 49ers and their quarterback situation. But that being said, the Seahawks’ secondary looked markedly better and appeared to provide considerably tighter coverage — especially compared to last week against Minnesota, when receivers were wide-open on seemingly almost every passing play. And the stats reflect that. Through the first three games, Seattle mustered just five pass breakups, including a grand total of only one pass breakup from a defensive back. On Sunday, the Seahawks had nine pass breakups, with six coming from defensive backs. And at long last, Seattle came up with its first interception of the season, thanks to Quandre Diggs’ first-quarter pick of Garoppolo.
3 — Sacks by Darrell Taylor this season: The Seahawks’ pass rush has been a bit of a disappointment so far, given that it was widely considered one of the team’s biggest strengths heading into the season. But one pass rusher who certainly hasn’t disappointed is Darrell Taylor. After missing all of his rookie season last year with a leg injury, the former second-round linebacker from Tennessee already has three sacks this season. According to Stathead, Taylor is just the third player in franchise history to post at least three sacks in his first four career regular-season games. And on top of that, his sacks have come in big moments. In the opener, he had a fourth-down sack of Carson Wentz that helped extinguish the Colts’ comeback hopes. Two weeks ago, he had a third-down strip-sack of Kirk Cousins that forced the Vikings to settle for a field goal. And in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game, he had a third-down sack of Lance that forced a punt. In addition, Taylor has three quarterback hits and two tackles for loss this season. He also has a Pro Football Focus pass rush grade of 81.1 out of 100, which is the 12th-highest of any edge defender in the league.
78 — Total yards by Alex Collins on Sunday: Collins made a strong case for more playing time with his performance Sunday. The fifth-year running back, who’s in his second stint with Seattle after being drafted by the franchise in 2016, received just three carries in the first three games. But he was a difference-maker against San Francisco, totaling 78 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown on 12 touches. He had 10 carries for 40 yards and a TD, along with two catches for 34 yards. His 28-yard swing-pass reception in the second quarter gave the Seahawks their first first down of the game and sparked their slumbering offense. And most impressive was his 14-yard TD run in the fourth, when he showed a nice combination of vision, lateral agility and explosiveness while zig-zagging his way through the defense and into the end zone. Collins provides a bit of a different skill-set than the more physical and punishing Chris Carson, which could make him an intriguing change-of-pace back. And after what he showed Sunday, Collins certainly seems in line for some more carries.
3-6 — Seattle’s record vs. Sean McVay’s Rams: It’s a quick turnaround for the Seahawks, who have another pivotal NFC West showdown on tap Thursday night against the visiting Rams. The Rams have long been a thorn in Seattle’s side, dating back to their days in St. Louis. But they’ve been an especially tough matchup in recent years, ever since Sean McVay took over as the franchise’s head coach in 2017. Since then, the Seahawks are just 3-6 against their rivals from Los Angeles. Seattle went 1-2 against the Rams last season, including the ugly 30-20 wild-card playoff loss, which was followed three days later by offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer being fired. The Seahawks then replaced Schottenheimer with former Rams passing game coordinator Shane Waldron, who spent the previous four seasons under McVay. So between these teams’ recent history and what should be a fascinating chess match between McVay and Waldron, there’s certainly no shortage of intriguing storylines heading into Thursday night’s key divisional clash.