BRANDON GUSTAFSON

Seahawks Takeaways: Seattle leans on star WRs in much-needed win

Oct 31, 2021, 5:18 PM
Seahawks Tyler Lockett...
Tyler Lockett had 142 receiving yards in the Seahawks' 31-7 win over the Jaguars. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

The Seahawks needed to get back in the win column before heading into their bye week, and they did so for the first time since Week 4 against the San Francisco 49ers with a decisive 31-7 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday afternoon.

Seahawks beat Jaguars: Instant Reaction | Fast Facts

After playing some slow and sometimes sloppy games the last few weeks, the Seahawks were very efficient on both sides of the ball against the Jaguars to get to 3-5 this season.

Let’s take a closer look at what went right for Seattle in Week 8.

Star WRs shine

The Seahawks desperately needed a win heading into the bye to keep hopes of a playoff berth alive.

Well, they got that win, and that was because they fed their two best playmakers on offense.

With Geno Smith starting for Russell Wilson, the Seahawks naturally have regressed offensively. That’s fine, but what was concerning during Smith’s two previous starts was that Seattle leaned too heavily on the running game while not getting star receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett involved enough.

In Smith’s last two starts, Lockett caught just four of 10 targets for 47 yards. Metcalf did better, nabbing eight of 12 targets for 154 yards and a touchdown, but that touchdown catch accounted for 84 of those 154 yards, so if you take it out Metcalf caught seven of 11 for 70 yards.

That changed on Sunday against the Jaguars in a big way.

Lockett set season-highs in targets (13) and receptions (12), and he had 142 yards through the air.

Metcalf had just 43 yards – a season-low – on six catches, but he scored twice, giving him eight touchdowns this season. His career-high is 10.

What was especially interesting is that while the Seahawks tried to get others involved in the passing game over the last two weeks, such as third receiver Freddie Swain, the tight ends and the running backs, Metcalf and Lockett had nearly every target for the Seahawks this game.

Lockett and Metcalf combined for 18 catches on 19 targets for 185 yards, and Smith finished the Week 8 game with 20 completions on 24 attempts.

The Seahawks needed that win in a bad way, and they used their superstars to make sure they got it done, even with a backup quarterback in. Quite the concept, huh?

Metcalf bests former Pro Bowl teammate

One storyline with the Seahawks facing the Jaguars was that Jacksonville has a number of former Seattle players and coaches on the staff.

One of those players is cornerback Shaquill Griffin, a 2019 Pro Bowler who started for the Seahawks from 2017 to 2020 before signing a lucrative three-year deal with the Jaguars in free agency to be their No. 1 corner and a captain on defense.

Well, as Jacksonville’s No. 1 corner, Griffin had the unenviable task of shadowing Metcalf all across the field. And while Metcalf had just the 43 receiving yards, he caught six passes and two touchdowns.

Both scores came with Griffin in coverage.

After the game, Metcalf made sure to praise his former teammate.

“I don’t think it’s something where I got the better of him … I had two opportunities to score and the ball just landed in my hands,” Metcalf said. “It’s always great to go against Shaq and a former teammate.”

Metcalf also said he wasn’t surprised that Griffin shadowed him around the field.

“He’s one of the best corners in the league, so I would expect him to shadow me or Tyler,” he said.

Defense riding high before bye

The Seahawks’ defense did something Sunday it has historically done under head coach Pete Carroll, which is take care of rookie quarterbacks in Seattle.

Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence, the 2021 No. 1 overall draft pick, was off his game all day long, completing 32 of 53 passes for 238 yards and a “garbage time” touchdown. He also had an interception on an errant and ill-advised throw, which safety Quandre Diggs was more than happy to pick off.

That interception makes Diggs the only player in the NFL to have three or more interceptions in each of the last five seasons.

“He’s a fantastic football player and he’s a great teammate,” Carroll said of Diggs.

Carroll said that Diggs is someone who is “just an interceptor.”

“He’s truly one of those guys,” Carroll said.

Overall, the Seahawks played a sound game defensively against a lesser opponent. Some of that was aided by Jacksonville running back James Robinson going out early due to injury, but Seattle allowed just one player to have over 40 yards receiving while limiting the Jaguars to just 82 yards on the ground. Overall, the Jaguars had 309 total yards on offense.

The pass rush, despite getting just one sack, was in the face of Lawrence throughout the game and finished with seven quarterback hits.

One player who stood out in that regard was defensive end Darrell Taylor, who had two quarterback hits after missing last week with a neck injury.

“He was really active. Gosh, he had a ton of great rushes to move the quarterback,” Carroll said. “He didn’t get a sack but I thought he had some tremendous rushes today. I thought he was a big factor.”

Overall, it was another performance where the defense showed improvement after it allowed over 450 yards four games in a row from Week 2 to Week 5.

Carroll is excited with the way that unit is playing heading into the bye.

“We continue to get better, we feel it and we need to keep counting on those guys in the second half,” Carroll said.

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Seahawks Takeaways: Seattle leans on star WRs in much-needed win