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Seahawks Instant Reaction: 710 ESPN Seattle on 35-30 win over Pats

Seahawks rookie Freddie Swain caught one of five Russell Wilson TD passes. (AP)

The Seahawks are 2-0 after holding off the New England Patriots 35-30 in an instant classic on Sunday Night Football.

Hawks beat Pats | Unlikely duo saves the day | Another goal-line finish

As we do after each Seahawks game, we have the instant reactions to Seattle’s victory from the voices of 710 ESPN Seattle. Remember, this is just a preview of the coverage you’ll hear all week beginning Monday on the station, starting at 7 a.m. with Danny and Gallant and The Pete Carroll Show at 9:30.

Here’s what they have to say:

Jim Moore – Bob, Dave and Moore

This time they made a play from the 1-yard line to beat the Patriots, and it came from two of the most unlikely players: Lano Hill, who blew up fullback Rex Burkhead’s block, and L.J. Collier, who stuffed Cam Newton as time expired.

When the smoke clears – and I guess it really did – there will be lingering concern about the defense even if it did stop the Patriots when it counted most. And as much as everyone loved it when the Seahawks hit on an explosive play from Russell Wilson to D.K. Metcalf on fourth down against the Falcons last week, they didn’t connect this time around.

They would have been second- and third-guessed for throwing deep and misfiring deep on third-and-1 with a chance to close out the game with less than two minutes to go, clinging to a five-point lead. They had rushed for 154 yards and could have spared themselves the late save by Hill and Collier if they’d rushed for one more yard and not given the Patriots one last chance to come from behind.

Offensively, the Seahawks look Super Bowl-caliber, but for the second straight week, the Seahawks’ defense nearly allowed another QB to throw for 400 yards – Newton finished with 397 passing yards.

Maybe you could chalk up some of the Seahawks’ vulnerability to the loss of free safety Quandre Diggs in the first quarter to an ejection for a helmet-to-helmet hit on N’Keal Harry.

The Seahawks’ pass rush remains an issue with only one sack on Sunday by Jamal Adams, his second of the season, and third for the defense in two games. This could be an even bigger problem if Bruce Irvin, who left the game with an apparent knee injury, is lost for a considerable amount of time.

Paul Gallant – Danny and Gallant

The Seahawks aggressively tried to improve their defense this offseason. They traded two first-round picks for safety Jamal Adams and a fifth for cornerback Quinton Dunbar. They drafted linebacker Jordyn Brooks in the first round and defensive end Darrell Taylor in the second. They signed Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa to their pass rush rotation and were really excited about what Marquise Blair could do as nickelback.

But two weeks into 2020, the defense looks a lot like it did last season. Meaning the Seahawks still go as Russell Wilson goes. And like last year, they’re going to need the NFL’s MVP front-runner (through two weeks) to consistently deliver performances like he did Sunday night.

The good news? If Russ can light up the NFL’s best secondary, a unit featuring reigning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore, he can light up anyone. Five touchdown passes. Five different receivers. And two of them – DK Metcalf’s 54-yard TD reception over Gilmore and David Moore’s nifty footwork on a 38-yard TD snag – were SportsCenter Top 10-caliber.

Before we get to the bad, Seattle’s special teams and run defense deserve credit. The Hawks’ third unit contributed a 44-yard Travis Homer kickoff return, a 20-yard Moore punt return, some big hits in kick coverage, and downed four punts inside the 20, including one at the 2. And after being pushed around a bit by Atlanta on the ground, the Hawks held New England to just 67 yards on the ground on 25 carries, stopping Cam Newton at the 1 on the game’s final play.

Unfortunately, Seattle’s pass defense has its work cut out for it. The pass rush was non-existent when Jamal Adams wasn’t blitzing. And when pressure WAS there, it just bounced off Cam’s massive frame. Cam’s shoulder looked MORE than fine, shredding the Hawks’ secondary for nearly 400 yards. Julian Edelman was particularly unstoppable, racking up 179 yards, especially when Adams was covering him. The unit sorely missed Quandre Diggs after he was ejected in the first quarter for targeting N’Keal Harry. And it could be without Marquise Blair for a while after a serious looking knee injury.

The lone bright spot in the secondary? Quinton Dunbar. He nearly had a pick six, made an aggressive interception later, and even added a tackle for a loss. After keeping everything in front of him against Atlanta, he looked like a real playmaker, something Seattle’s been lacking at corner since Richard Sherman.

Bob Stelton – Bob, Dave and Moore

This game was about as “Seahawks” as you get.

Let us start with the good:

• Russell Wilson is just flat out special! He was 21 for 28, 288 yards, five TDs and one interception. That interception was on Greg Olsen. It was a touch behind him, but he definitely should have come up with that ball.

• Chris Carson was really good! He had 17 carries for 72 yards, and three receptions for 36 yards and a third TD catch in two games.

• DK Metcalf, going up against the defending Defensive Player of the Year: four catches for 92 yards and a TD. He used his size and strength so well!

• Tyler Lockett is about as consistent and reliable as it gets. Seven catches on eight targets and a TD.

• Jamal Adams credited with 10 tackles and another sack. While he did have a few plays in coverage that didn’t work out well, he is clearly their best defensive player, in my opinion.

• L.J. Collier and Lano Hill, whom I’ve been very critical of, saved the game on the final play, stopping Cam Newton short of the end zone.

• The offensive line through two games has been pretty darn solid. While they haven’t been without a few hiccups, they have played very well.

Now for the bad:

• The defensive line just hasn’t given anybody any reason to think that they’ll be better than last year. And they were bad last year! Newton had all day to throw the ball.

• Once again, they gave up way too many big plays throughout the game. The fact that it came down to the final play when the Seahawks looked to be in command, up by 12 points with 4:32 left, is very concerning to say the least.

• Third-and-1! With under two minutes to go, the Hawks throw the ball deep and incomplete. I like being aggressive but that seemed unnecessary in that situation, especially considering how the defense had been playing in this game.

The bottom line is, they won. And right now, that’s all that matters. Looking down the road, though, this team better figure out how to get this defense up to snuff.

The Groz – 710 ESPN Seattle host emeritus

Never underestimate the Seahawks’ ability to make things more challenging for themselves.

On a night when Russell Wilson, after an early mistake, stamped himself as the really early leader in the MVP race, they nearly lost another double-digit, second half lead to the Patriots in part because of same strange decisions.

The game lived up to the hype despite the personal tragedy, despite the hard hits, despite the cheap shots and despite the injuries. Cam Newton looks pretty comfortable after just two weeks and, thanks to some highly debatable coaching moves by Seattle, nearly pulled off a spectacular comeback.

But not even the most ridiculous “Let Russ Cook” fan can think throwing long on third-and-1 with 1:55 to go protecting a five-point lead was anything but a head-scratcher. Fortunately, the defense had a stop to end a game that could have been comfortable but came down to the last play.

Boy, you sure felt the absence of the 12s, though. I can only imagine the noise during that wildly entertaining fourth quarter. The injury report will be a part of the story as well but bottom line is you are 2-0 and it’s always special to beat another NFL elite. At the end of the day, it’s exactly what the Seahawks did.

Brock Huard – Brock and Salk