Sprained knee and all, Russell Wilson throws 3 TDs to lead Seahawks past Jets 27-17
The week began with a question as to whether or not Russell Wilson would be able to play with a sprained MCL in his left knee.
It ended with an emphatic statement in the form of a 10-point road victory led by a hobbled quarterback who was nearly perfect. Wilson’s bad knee limited his escapability and mostly kept him in the pocket, where he picked apart the Jets’ defense while throwing for three touchdowns and no interceptions in the Seahawks’ 27-17 win at MetLife Stadium.
The Jets made things interesting with a late touchdown – and a fluky one at that – but by that point the Seahawks had built a comfortable lead thanks to Wilson’s arm and a big day from tight end Jimmy Graham. It was already over by the time cornerback Richard Sherman put the finishing touches on Seattle’s win with an interception in the final minute, his second of the day and the third for a Seahawks defense that entered the game with only one takeaway on the season.
Wilson, playing seven days after spraining his MCL, didn’t seem to have anything close to his usual burst, but he was able to move around just enough at times to escape pressure from the Jets’ star-studded defensive line.
That happened on Seattle’s second possession, when Wilson stepped up in the pocket and found wide receiver Doug Baldwin down the field for a 38-yard completion. Later on that drive, Wilson moved to his right and threaded the needle to find newly-signed running back C.J. Spiller in the end zone to give Seattle a 7-3 lead. His 43-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Tanner McEvoy later in the first quarter was another instance of Wilson stepping up in the pocket to deliver a perfect throw.
After that touchdown, Wilson was 10 of 11 for 191 yards and a perfect quarterback rating of 158.3. He hit running back Christine Michael out of the backfield in the fourth quarter for his third touchdown pass and finished 23 of 32 for 309 yards, completing passes to eight different players. He was sacked twice.
Seattle ran for only 66 yards, that total including 58 from Michael on 18 carries. But Wilson’s arm was more than enough to make up for that.
The Jets scored with 2:25 in the fourth quarter on an odd play. Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril forced a fumble with a strip sack of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Wide receiver Charone Peake picked it up ran 42 yards into the end zone to pull the Jets to within 10 points.
But that’s as close as they would come as Sherman picked off his second pass on the Jets’ final possession.
What it means: The Seahawks improve to 3-1 heading into a much-needed bye week, which is a position they probably would have taken had they been told before the season that Wilson would have sustained sprains in his ankle and then knee over the first four games. Wilson’s toughness and his ability to operate from the pocket have already been proven, but those credentials were reinforced with his performance Sunday..
Graham’s big day: This was the type of game the Seahawks had in mind when they made a blockbuster trade for Graham. He caught six passes for 113 yards on eight targets, topping the century mark for the second straight game. Some of his catches were spectacular, like the one-hander he made in the first quarter while falling out of bounds. And some were in tight coverage, a sign that Wilson is gaining the trust to throw to Graham even when’s not wide open.
Spiller’s debut: It wasn’t even a certainty that Spiller would play Sunday given that he just joined the team earlier this week. He filled in for C.J. Prosise as Seattle’s third-down back, carrying twice for 12 yards and also catching two passes for 5 yards, including a touchdown that gave the Seahawks a 7-3 lead on their second possession. General manager John Schneider said before the game that Thomas Rawls will likely be out for about another month with his fibula injury, so Spiller could be around for a while.
Sherman vs. Marshall: Sherman spent the day following Brandon Marshall, the first time this season he’s left his usual post at left cornerback to trail an opponent’s No. 1 receiver. Marshall won some of the early rounds, hauling in a 41-yard reception and then a 17-yard touchdown late in the first half. But Fitzpatrick went to the well a few too many times and Sherman made him pay, picking him off at the start of the fourth quarter and then again on the Jets’ final possession. Marshall finished with four catches for 89 yards and a touchdown on 12 targets. Sherman’s first interception came one play after he was flagged for pass interference against Marshall, who just as easily could have been flagged for pushing off.
McDaniel steps in. The Seahawks held the Jets to 58 rushing yards on 20 attempts (2.9 average). Tony McDaniel was a big part of that. He started at defensive tackle in place of rookie Jarran Reed, who didn’t play due to a hip injury. McDaniel was credited with four tackles.