O’Neil’s What We Learned: Seahawks’ 2nd-best move was 1 they didn’t make

Dec 4, 2019, 11:45 AM | Updated: Dec 5, 2019, 11:50 am
Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny...
The Seahawks probably could have traded Rashaad Penny, but it's good they didn't. (Getty)

The Seahawks beat Minnesota 37-30 on Monday night. Here’s a list of three things we’ve learned from Seattle:

Related: Danny O’Neil’s what we’re still trying to figure out

1) The Seahawks found their big stick at free safety.

For all the resources that Seattle has poured into finding Earl Thomas’ successor, the best answer dropped right into the its lap: Quandre Diggs. Seattle used a second-round pick on safety Marquise Blair this year, and that came after using a third-round pick on Delano Hill and a fourth-rounder on Tedric Thompson two years ago.

Yet, after spending all that draft capital, it was Diggs who somewhat inexplicably became available for a fifth-round pick at the trade deadline. His introduction to the starting lineup appears to be a turning point in this season as the Seahawks have gone from allowing 25.6 points before Diggs played to 21 points since he has been in the starting lineup. Even that might undersell the impact, as two of the seven touchdowns Seattle has allowed since Diggs became the starter have come off turnovers by Seattle’s offense.

2) Seattle’s second-best deadline deal was one it DIDN’T make.

Landing Diggs was a coup. Keeping Rashaad Penny, though? That took some foresight, with reports from Detroit that the Lions were willing to offer a third-round pick in exchange for the running back that Seattle drafted in the first round just a year ago.

While some thought it was pride that prevented Seattle from getting what it could out of Penny after he was clearly behind Chris Carson on the depth chart, the past two games have provided proof of the talent the Seahawks saw in Penny. He has carried the ball 29 times over the past two games, scored two touchdowns and is now averaging better than 5 yards per carry this season, which gives Seattle an actual one-two punch at running back.

3) Josh Gordon can catch the hell out of a quick slant.

He has four catches in the three games that he has played for Seattle. Each of those has come on third down. Each has been on a quick slant. Each has resulted in a first down.

It’s hard to overstate the importance of that because for years there has been discussion about why Seattle hasn’t been better at using that in the offense, and much of the scrutiny came focused (once again) on Russell Wilson’s height. Well, don’t look know, but rookie D.K. Metcalf also caught a quick slant on Monday against Minnesota, helping set up a Seattle touchdown.

It appears that the Seahawks now have a pair of big-bodied receivers capable of effectively running the route that is capable of working against any defense.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny O’Neil on Twitter.

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