By Danny O’Neil
The Seahawks had 31 points before the Jaguars scored.
Seattle had three players who gained more yards in the first half than Jacksonville’s entire team, and in fact, the Jaguars lost more yardage than they gained in the first quarter.
All of which added up to a game that was, well, predictable. The Seahawks were the largest favorite in the league this weekend, favored by more points than any game in franchise history, and they played up to the billing in a 45-17 victory over Jacksonville at CenturyLink Field.
Don’t let those 17 points for Jacksonville fool you, Seattle was dominant. The Jaguars’ offense didn’t cross midfield until the fourth quarter, and their first touchdown was the result of a Seahawks turnover that gave Jacksonville possession at the Seattle 2.
Zach Miller and Sidney Rice scored two touchdowns apiece and backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson had one scoring pass and one scoring run as Seattle scored more than 40 points for the fourth time in its last seven regular-season games.
The significance: Seattle starts 3-0 for the first time in seven years and only the sixth time in franchise history. The Seahawks have made the playoffs each of the past three times they started 3-0. The Seahawks have won 10 consecutive games at home. That matches the second-longest home winning streak in franchise history. The record is 12.
Play of the game: Doug Baldwin’s 35-yard touchdown catch wasn’t the most important play of Sunday’s game, only the most impressive. Baldwin lined up outside, faked a slant to get cornerback Will Blackmon turned the wrong way, and then turned on the jets. He extended fully, diving to catch the throw from Tarvaris Jackson for Seattle’s fifth passing touchdown of the game.
Turning point: It would be snide to say the coin toss, and not true as Seattle got the ball first, but went three-and-out. Seattle got the ball back 2 minutes later and promptly drove 71 yards on seven plays on a scoring drive that culminated with the first of tight end Zach Miller’s two touchdown catches. Seattle scored the first 31 points of the game.
Player of the game: Tough to pick one given the way Seattle shared the wealth. Golden Tate led the team with 88 yards receiving, but Sidney Rice’s pair of touchdown catches gave him the edge. His leaping grab for a 23-yard score in the third quarter showed the catch radius that is his most distinguishing trait. Rice caught three passes in the first two games combined, but finished with five receptions against Jacksonville, tied for a team-high.
The good: Russell Wilson passed for four touchdowns, matching his career-high. His 1-yard touchdown pass to Zach Miller with 8:04 left in the first quarter was not only the first touchdown Seattle scored in the first half this season, it was the first time Seattle scored in the opening period this year. Miller — who scored three touchdowns in his first 34 games as a Seahawk — scored twice in the first 15:34 of Sunday’s game. Seattle has not allowed a point in the first quarter yet this season.
The bad: Seattle failed to gain a first down on its opening possession for the third successive game this season. Wilson committed two turnovers, both as a result of scrambles and each giving the Jaguars possession of the ball on Seattle’s half of the field. The first turnover was a fumble in which he was chased down from behind by safety Johnathan Cyprien, who knocked the ball loose. The second turnover was even worse as Wilson threw across his body from his own end zone to Golden Tate, who tipped the pass up, allowing linebacker Paul Posluszny to intercept it.
The ugly: Jacksonville had minus-9 yards of total offense in the first quarter, one fewer than Idaho State managed in its first half against the Huskies on Saturday.
Go figure: 131 minutes, 48 seconds. That’s how long Seattle went without giving up a touchdown, going from Steve Smith’s 4-yard touchdown catch with 3:13 left in the first half of the season opener at Carolina to Maurice Jones-Drew’s 2-yard touchdown with 6:25 left in the third quarter of Week 3. Jones-Drew’s touchdown was the first rushing touchdown Seattle has allowed this season.
Seattle: S Jeron Johnson, FB Spencer Ware, LB Malcolm Smith, DT D’Anthony Smith, DE Benson Mayowa, DT Jordan Hill. Jacksonville: QB Blaine Gabbert, WR Mike Brown, S Winston Guy, CB Alan Ball, CB Dwayne Gratz, TE Marcedes Lewis, DT Abry Jones.
Seattle: DE Red Bryant left the game in the third quarter because of a back injury. Jacksonville: S Dwight Lowery suffered a head injury in the first half and did not return. CB Will Blackmon left the game with a head injury in the fourth quarter.