Gallant: Seahawks’ win over Panthers a throwback to first half of this season

Dec 15, 2019, 10:31 PM
Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett...
Tyler Lockett had his first 100-yard game since Nov. 3 in the Seahawks' win Sunday. (Getty)

Sunday’s Seahawks victory was a throwback to the first half of this year. The offense did whatever it wanted. The defense gave up yards but got key takeaways.

Seahawks clinch playoffs, re-take NFC West lead after 49ers lose

And as usual, the final score didn’t accurately reflect the massive gap in quarterback talent between the two teams. I’m having a hard time accepting that last sentence, but I’m trying.

We’d wondered where the Seahawks’ passing attack had gone over the last four games. It’s back, as is Tyler Lockett. After a shin injury that required hospitalization in San Francisco a month ago, Lockett and Russell Wilson were back to playing backyard football, teaming up eight times for 120 yards and a touchdown.

Meanwhile, Wilson was back to slinging gorgeous throws down the field. He had a few to Lockett, threw a jump ball touchdown pass to DK Metcalf, and completed the pass of the day to Josh Gordon. I’m not sure what was more impressive on that highlight, Wilson’s ball placement or the strength of Gordon’s fingers.

Malik Turner and Jacob Hollister had some key drops against the Rams the week before. But they’ve still got Russell Wilson’s trust, and both delivered Sunday. The two combined for six catches and 49 yards on six targets.

I’m a little concerned that all these Chris Carson carries might affect him come playoff time. I blame load management in the NBA. But who cares about my concerns when Carson is running the ball 24 times for a career-high 133 yards and two TDs? He had an exceptionally easy time bouncing the ball to the outside, and showed impressive power, especially when he turned a fourth-and-inches situation into a 6-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

When I saw the box score after the game, I was surprised to see that Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey had only touched the ball 27 times:

• 19 carries for 87 yards and two TDs (4.6 yards per carry)
• Eight catches for 88 yards (11 yards per catch)

He was certainly productive. But in a game where the Hawks were missing Jadeveon Clowney, Ziggy Ansah, Mychal Kendricks and Shaquill Griffin at kickoff… and then lost Bobby Wagner and Quandre Diggs with ankle injuries during the game, things could have been worse.

Speaking of worse, Kyle Allen made things very easy on the Seahawks defense. Despite facing minimal pressure from an undermanned unit (one sack and three QB hits), the Panthers QB gifted the Hawks linebackers with three interceptions. Bobby Wagner stole one over the middle of the field and K.J. Wright swiped away two over a span of three plays. I’m skeptical of the Seahawks getting performances like that out of Wagner and Wright in the same game again. It may simply have been a result of Allen’s struggles, but it was certainly a step in the right direction for a group that’s struggled to make plays this season.

It was far from pretty. Jason Myers missed another extra point. The offensive line committed some costly penalties. And worst of all, a 30-10 fourth quarter lead became just a six-point lead in only four minutes. Pete Carroll is still looking for the the Seahawks’ first complete victory in 2019. But considering Seattle wrapped up its road schedule with a franchise-best 7-1 record (including 5-0 on the East Coast) on the same day as a 49ers loss, you take it and LIKE THAT.

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Hawks beat Panthers | Injuries | Reaction | O’Neil’s column | 3 stars

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