Want a hot take? That’s what everyone seems to be looking for these days, the hotter the better. But I’m old school with journalism and, besides, today’s hot take is the same darn take I’ve had for more than five years now so I guess you could call it a tired take or a tepid take. I prefer to just call it an accurate take, and it was hammered home Sunday when the Seahawks rallied to beat the Texans 41-38 in what many were calling the best game in the NFL this season.
Russell Wilson doesn’t need a solid defense or a good running game to win games for the Seahawks. He did it again, racking up a Seahawks record of 452 passing yards and bringing the Seahawks back after throwing an interception with less than three minutes to go. You saw it or you’ve heard about it by now – it only took him three plays to cover 80 yards, the final 18 on a touchdown pass to a strangely wide-open Jimmy Graham in the middle of the field. I’m not sure what happened to the Texans there – they said afterward that defensive signals were mixed up, and that’s the only good explanation for leaving a Pro Bowl-caliber tight end unattended with the game on the line.
I’m sure they’re complaining about that in Houston – if they’re even thinking about it since fans there are preoccupied with the World Series and that crazy Game 5 Sunday night. But even if the Texans had covered Graham, Wilson still would have had 21 seconds to work with, and if he didn’t find someone else in the end zone, he would have no doubt scampered through and around several defenders, scoring himself on a zig-zag of a game-winning play.
It’s easy to say you know something was going to happen after it does. But who among us did not think that Wilson would will the Seahawks to victory? Especially when he was given a second chance. It was unbelievable when he threw an interception on the first attempt at a game-winning drive. Surely if he got another chance, the Texans would pay. They should have known better. If they had, they wouldn’t have run a running play up the middle on third-and-4 and gained two yards, giving Wilson and the Seahawks another opportunity. I’m really surprised they didn’t call a play to give Deshaun Watson a pass-run option. It’s funny how teams play too conservatively and go into not-to-lose mode instead of being more aggressive and not giving the ball back to the opponent at all, just because they’re trying to milk the clock.
But the bigger point is this – after the jubilation dies down from a surprising and entertaining win that improved the Seahawks to 5-2, I’m guessing fans will return to being concerned about the running game (although maybe not as much as before with the addition of Duane Brown). And there might be new concerns about the Seahawks’ secondary after being torched by Watson and DeAndre Hopkins.
Doesn’t matter. The Seahawks still have Russell Wilson. As long as he’s here, he will give you a chance to win every game you’re in and give you a chance to go to the Super Bowl until his career is over. In that respect, you can compare him to Tom Brady. Maybe you can’t, but I will. Look at Brady’s numbers in the first five-plus years of his career and line them up next to Wilson’s. Wilson’s are in the same ballpark. They both have a great touchdown-to-interception ratio, and their teams have fantastic records, which means they’re always in the playoffs with a shot at the Super Bowl every year.
I know that Pete Carroll wants to run the ball. He believes it’s a key to long-term success, that games like Sunday’s are exceptions. Since he’s stubborn that way, and understandably so since it’s been a winning formula, I have a suggestion to spark his sputtering running game. Well, two suggestions actually.
Stop it already with trying to get Thomas Rawls and Eddie Lacy going. They lost yardage on 12 combined carries. Think about that for a minute. In 12 carries, they went backward. Lacy gained no yards on his six carries, and Rawls lost a yard on his six carries.
Time to elevate J.D. McKissic and see if a shiftier, faster tailback would spark the running game. I’ll vote for an elusive McKissic since there are so many guys to elude in almost every game, and Lacy and Rawls are ill-equipped to go through them like Marshawn Lynch once did. I’d also vote for C.J. Prosise if he ever returns from a sprained ankle, and yes, I am holding my breath waiting for that to happen – my face is dark blue and I’m about to pass out.
Suggestion No. 2 – Did you see what the Texans did with the read option, using Watson in their running game? The Seahawks need to go back to that, giving Wilson at least a handful of read-option plays to see if that would help. I mean, why not? OK, I know, you’re putting your QB at risk of an injury. But he’s getting hit in the pocket anyway. I’d rather see him get hit going forward, and it might give the defense something else to think about, allowing other parts of the running game to function more smoothly.
It was almost comical that the Seahawks tried play-action passes in the fourth quarter Sunday. As if the Texans were going to bite on those fakes with a team that can’t run the ball.
But back to that take on Russell Wilson. Even if the defense has more performances like it did against the Texans, with a guy like Wilson the Seahawks can win shootouts too. The nitpicking about the team’s flaws has already started this week, but keep this in mind – the Seahawks have the ability to compensate for their weaknesses thanks to the best quarterback in franchise history, one who will end up in the Hall of Fame.