Clayton’s Seahawks Observations: If Russell Wilson is going to be MVP, Week 1 was a great start

Sep 14, 2020, 3:26 PM | Updated: 3:38 pm
Seahawks Russell Wilson Pete Carroll...
Russell Wilson tied the record for best completion rate in a game with at least 35 attempts. (AP)

The Seahawks let Russell Wilson cook. On defense, Jamal Adams sizzled.

Pete Carroll Show: Wilson ‘almost perfect’ | How rookies, new starters did

Those are two of the key observations from the Seahawks’ 38-25 victory over Atlanta in the opener. Fans and critics have been calling for head coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to let Wilson take more control of the offense and let him try to win the game instead of depending on defensive turnovers and running the football.

Wilson dropped back to pass 38 times Sunday. The Seahawks ran only 20 running plays. The result was one of the most accurate games in NFL history. Wilson completed 31 of 35 passes for 322 yards and four touchdowns. The 88.6 completion percentage puts Wilson tied for the best in NFL history for a quarterback who threw a minimum of 35 passes.

Wilson and the Seahawks’ offense did all the things fans and critics wanted them to do. He was more active in the first three quarters. Schottenheimer mixed it up well on first downs. The Seahawks ran the ball 12 times on first down and averaged 4.42 yards a run. They had 13 passing plays on first down and averaged 7.08 yards per pass play.

People keep wondering why Wilson hasn’t won an MVP award in his eight years in the league. He hasn’t had a vote because there is no second, third and fourth place votes posted by the Associated Press. To win, an offensive player either had to put up ridiculous numbers or be on a No. 1 seed.

Wilson’s start puts him in position to do both.

Heading into the season, the debate was whether the Seahawks had caught or passed the San Francisco 49ers for being the most talented team in the NFC West. One week is too small of a sample to be definitive but it sure looks as though the Seahawks have the edge.

The Niners lost to the Arizona Cardinals 24-20 in a game in which the 49ers showed two flaws. Injuries have destroyed the 49ers’ pass offense. They have placed five receivers on the injured reserve list. First-round pick Brandon Aiyuk was inactive in Week 1 because of a hamstring injury.

San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan hopes to get by with Dante Pettis and Kendall Bourne but that didn’t work. Jimmy Garappolo couldn’t get them the ball Sunday. They were targeted a combined seven times. Bourne caught two passes for 34 yards. Pettis had none.

All of a sudden a talented 49ers team is at the bottom of the best division in football. Arizona, Seattle and the Los Angeles Rams won. The 49ers are 0-1. Of course, remember, it’s early.

On defense, the Seahawks gave up a lot of yards, but a lot of those yards were meaningless because the Seahawks had a big enough lead late. In Seattle, Pete Carroll is 8-0 when an opposing quarterback throws for more than 400 yards. That’s how much control the Seahawks had in this game.

The star for Seattle was Adams. He was everywhere. Fans didn’t get to see him in training camp, but Adams did the same thing in the game that he has done all summer. He makes plays.

Adams had 12 tackles, a sack, two quarterback hurries and two tackles for losses. It’s no wonder the NFL players voted him as the league’s best safety in an NFL Network poll.

The Seahawks haven’t been a blitzing team. They blitzed more last year than in the past. On Sunday with Adams in the mix, they blitzed 30 times on pass plays and got decent pressure on Matt Ryan.

Overall, it was a good start.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s John Clayton on Twitter.

More on the Seahawks’ Week 1 win

Huard: Hawks showed ‘pure and utter violence’ for first time in years
Moore: Time to tip my cap to the ‘cooking people’?
Rost: Did the Seahawks actually let Russell Wilson cook?
‘Thrilled he’s on our team’: Seahawks, Jamal Adams beaming after his debut
O’Neil: New season, new Seahawks? Win over Falcons sure felt that way
Seahawks Instant Reaction: 710 ESPN Seattle on 38-25 win over Falcons

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