Seahawks Observations: John Clayton on 5-0 Hawks going into bye week
The Seahawks’ 27-26 victory over the Minnesota Vikings was one for the ages.
In the first half, the Seahawks’ offense was bottled up, and the Vikings kept pounding the Seattle defense with Dalvin Cook runs and screen passes.
Some halftime adjustments allowed the Seahawks to take the lead with three touchdown drives in the third quarter. Then the Vikings took control of the game again. Kirk Cousins took the Vikings inside the 10 with less than two minutes left, but Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer’s decision to go for a fourth-and-1 failed, giving Russell Wilson the chance to execute one of the greatest, most dramatic drives in team history. He went 94 yards and hit DK Metcalf with a game-winning touchdown pass.
So the Seahawks go into the bye week with a 5-0 record and the Seahawks could be heading to a 12- or 13-win season. Let’s look at a few thoughts about the team and what we saw Sunday.
• DK Metcalf is being the team’s No. 1 receiver. When Russell Wilson needs a big play, he dials up Metcalf. Tyler Lockett remains Wilson’s favorite receiver, but Metcalf is putting up incredible numbers. Compare his first 21 games to the first 21 of games of great receivers. Metcalf has 80 catches for 1,396 yards and 12 touchdowns so far. That’s better than Julio Jones (80 catches, 1,272 yards, 12 touchdowns), Calvin Johnson (71 catches, 1,133 yards, seven touchdowns) and Terrell Owens (47 catches, 734 yards, six touchdowns). Hall of Famer Randy Moss tops Metcalf, though – he had 93 catches, 1,678 yards and 20 touchdowns in his first 21 games.
• Seahawks fans were starting to think the team overpaid defensive tackle Jarran Reed when they gave him a two-year, $23 million contract. Reed proved them wrong with a great performance against the Vikings. Reed was so dominant at defensive tackle that Zimmer said they had to adjust their blocking scheme to handle him. It helps that Benson Mayowa continues to well rushing from the LEO position.
• What will be interesting to see is if the Seahawks’ upcoming opponents will try to copy what the Vikings’ defense did in the first half. The Vikings went into a Cover Two scheme and had five other defenders between the defensive line and the safeties in coverage. That took away Wilson’s deep passing in the first half and forced him to throw more checkdowns and underneath routes. In the first half, wide receivers were only targeted for three short completions. Tight ends Greg Olsen and Will Dissly do well against zone defenses. The Seahawks adjusted to that at the start of the second half and it opened up the passing offense.
• Russell Wilson was sacked four times, but I think three of the sacks were coverage sacks.
• The Seahawks’ pass blocking continues to do well despite the sacks. ESPN analytics have kept the Seahawks as the fifth-best team with their percentage of winning blocks in passing situations.
• I thought cornerback Shaquill Griffin has had back-to-back excellent games. He was the most picked upon cornerback in the first three weeks of the season.
• Linebacker K.J. Wright is playing at a Pro Bowl level the past two weeks. He worked with tennis balls to help his ability to catch. Last week he dropped three possible interceptions. Against the Vikings, he pulled down an interception with one hand. Plus, he’s been all over the place making plays on defense.
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