STACY ROST

Rost: What you can — and can’t — put stock into from Seahawks’ victory over 2-win Lions

Jan 2, 2022, 7:04 PM | Updated: 7:10 pm
Seahawks D.J. Reed...
D.J. Reed of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates his interception with teammates during the third quarter against the Detroit Lions at Lumen Field. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

A win is a win when it comes to the final record, but some wins inevitably mean more than others.

Instant Reaction: Seahawks win | 10 numbers that stand out

Win a Super Bowl? Nothing better. Beat a tough opponent for a division title? Validating. Beat a team in a back-and-forth battle to the end? Exhilarating. Beat a struggling two-win team? Consider it a really nice way to end the home schedule. But even then, beating a struggling two-win team feels just a bit better than normal in a season where just about everything that could go wrong, did.

That’s where the Seahawks found themselves Sunday after scoring 51 points against the 2-12-1 Detroit Lions in their Lumen Field finale. Here are a few numbers that stand out (and a few others that might not upon closer inspection):

170

Rashaad Penny finished with 170 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns, the former a single-game career high. The Lions are one of the league’s worst teams against the run, giving up just under 130 rushing yards per game. But even then, Seattle’s 265 net rushing yards were the most gained by any offense against Detroit this season and Penny’s 170 yards are the most by any Seahawks running back in a regular season game since Thomas Rawls rushed for 209 yards in against San Francisco in Week 10 of 2015. They’re also the most by any Seahawks running back against the Lions since 2016, when Rawls rushed for 161 yards in a Wild Card game. The Lions’ defense might be porous against the run, but all things considered, this was an objectively stellar performance.

Verdict: Read into it. At least for this one. It’s hard to tell whether Penny’s sudden surge (with three games of 130 or more yards in four weeks) signifies a larger turn for his career. But as far as this game goes, even a struggling opponent shouldn’t dull this single-game feat.

58%

The Seahawks were 7 of 12 (58%) on third down against the Lions.

It’s an area where they’ve struggled all year; they’re converting an average of 33.7% attempts all year, which is worst in the league. If you can believe it, that’s down from 2020 (38.4%).

The Seahawks had a great day offensively, but they’ll need to change course there for a few games – or a good chunk of next season — before it’ll feel like the problem has been fixed. Detroit is allowing opposing offenses to convert on third down 43% of the time this year, which is fifth-worst.

Verdict: It was a great day from the offense, but you’d be forgiven for continuing to be nervous about Seattle’s third-down struggles moving forward.

3 and 29

No, this was not another third-down situation. Rather, three and 29 were the number of interceptions recorded, and the number of points surrendered, by the Seahawks’ defense.

No Seahawks cornerbacks had interceptions this year prior to today’s game. That’s … less than ideal.

But D.J. Reed put a stop to that trend when he picked off Lions quarterback Tim Boyle in the third quarter. It was, as the NFL’s top analysts would undoubtedly describe it, a pretty cool play.

Reed wasn’t done, though. He picked off Boyle for a second time with less than five minutes remaining in regulation. Fellow corner Ugo Amadi managed another interception.

Despite those takeaways, Seattle’s defense still allowed 29 points from a Lions offense that has averaged just 17 points per game. Worrying the Lions might come back into this one probably felt like familiar territory for Seahawks fans – particularly in light of Chicago’s late comeback win last week – but I’d pause on panicking too much about that right now.

The Seahawks defense has holes to fill this offseason, but their secondary has been decimated by injury. At one point in the game, Seattle was starting Mike Jackson at cornerback, who was called up from the practice squad this week to back up John Reid, who was a backup to Bless Austin, who was a backup to Sidney Jones, who was playing behind Tre Brown. And while Ryan Neal has been a solid replacement at safety, Seattle is also missing Jamal Adams. Up front, the Seahawks lost middle linebacker Bobby Wagner on the first defensive play of the game (Seattle’s defensive captain will have an MRI to determine the extent of the damage).

Verdict: Press pause on both. D.J. Reed remains Seattle’s best cornerback, but both he and a few other corners will be free agents this spring. Only one other corner on the roster in 2022 – Amadi – has an interception this season. If Seattle brings Reed back, you’d feel encouraged from today. If not, you’re still looking at a few question marks for that position. Meanwhile, giving up nearly 30 points to the Lions isn’t good, but considering their injuries and their strange track record of giving up a ton of yards but also limiting points this season, there’s room for leniency here. Plus, this is the same Lions team that dropped 30 on the Arizona Cardinals two weeks ago.

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Rost: What you can — and can’t — put stock into from Seahawks’ victory over 2-win Lions