The Morning After: Seattle finds their identity on offense against the Texans
Sundays game was a highlight reel extravaganza, with Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson facing off in an American-West style shootout, with Wilson ultimately drawing his gun quicker to take down Watson and the Texans in a heart-attack style match that saw 6 lead-changes, nearly 1000 yards of combined offense and life-insurance premiums rocketing in the Seattle area.
The Seahawks faced a potent and pissed-off Houston offense who capatalized early after both Shaquill Griffin and Earl Thomas bit on a Watson play-action which resulted in a 59-yard bomb to Will Fuller for the first of 10 total touchdowns of the game, taking the Texans 7-0 up in under 5 minutes. This was the first touchdown the Seahawks defense have given up in the first quarter all season, quite impressive given teams desire to come out fast to build momentum.
The Seahawks first offensive drive stalled early after a couple of drops by Doug Baldwin, resulting in a punt from the 25-yard line to give Watson and the offense the ball back. The Texans looked dominant on offense early, marching the ball with relative ease on the highly acclaimed Legion of Boom. The Texans made it to just before the redzone before Earl Thomas picked the ball off and took it to the house for an majestic pick-6, more than making up for his earlier mistake on the Will Fuller TD. He’s lucky he didn’t put his wife, who was at the CLink, into labour!
There was action-a-plenty as the game progressed with a touchdown run by Lamar Miller (his second on the season) followed by a 20-yard touchdown grab by Paul Richardson on a beautiful Russell Wilson scramble. This season, Russell Wilson is second in the league in yards outside of the pocket with 346, this continues to be where he earns his pay check and it’s working without a doubt. Given he has been pressured on 99 total plays this season (3rd most in the league) I dread to think where the team would be without the elusiveness of Russ.
Going into the game, the Seahawks had a red zone efficiency of 47% so it’s great to see them converting trips to points moving forwards. With just 13 minutes of football played, a total of 28 points were scored. Further proof this isn’t a typical Seahawks game and certainly putting to bed the notion that this team consistently starts slow and only gets-going in the second half.
It was apparent early on that Houston had a plan. They knew they couldn’t simply line up man to man and beat the Seahawks defense, they’re way too good for that, they did, however, find a lot of success using exotic formations and calculated and premeditated mis-direction plays.
One thing that didn’t get going, though, was the Seahawks run-game. As a team, they rushed for 3 yards total with 30 minutes of football played, Eddie Lacy was on -3 for 3 carries. Abysmal. The Texans had 75 yards total on 19 carries.
Not to be too negative given the impressive (albeit, heart attack inducing) win, but heading into the game Seattle led the league in penalties per game with 9.3 and yesterday’s showing wasn’t showing signs of improvement. RT Germain Ifedi stalled Seattle’s final drive of the first half with almost back-to-back penalties for holding and unnecessary roughness respectively.
Going into the half, the QB stats looked like this –
Deshaun Watson Russell Wilson
11/18 Comp/Att 10/15
216 Pass Yards 160
2 TD 2
1 INT 0
The second half proved as electric as the first with a high-scoring affair. Tre Madden continued Seattle’s reinvigorated offense with a 66-yard catch on the second drive of the second half created from the highly-acclaimed Richard Sherman who picked off Deshaun Watson at the Houston 35-yard line. Ultimately, though, the play resulted in a Blair Walsh field goal to take the lead for the first time in the game 24-21 following a drop in the end zone by Thomas Rawls.
With a total of 4 lead changes in the game and 8.26 to go, third-year WR Tyler Lockett caught a 55-yard throw off play-action to once again put Seattle in the Houston red zone.
The drive didn’t go as planned with Russell Wilson throwing his first interception in 103 attempts to Marcus Williams (his first INT of the season) on the 8-yard line.
This gave Houston the chance to seal the game, they had the lead 38-34 with 99 seconds to go on the game however the Hawks D did their thing and gave Russell Wilson a chance to win the game after a Houston three-and-out.
It’s at this point in the game where there is no other QB I’d rather have than Russ. Less than 2 minutes to go, no timeouts and a TD needed to seal the game.
The stadium was absolutely electric, you could feel the energy and what was about to happen. These moments don’t happen all that often in the NFL and the feeling is somewhat odd, my heart was absolutely racing, I felt sick with anxiety yet powerfully confident we were winning this game. A combination of a Paul Richardson 47-yard completion, a Tyler Lockett 19-yard completion set the Seahawks at the 18-yard line with 29 seconds to go. The line was set, Russ in the shotgun, the ball was set and Graham goes into the end zone uncovered to take the lead with a mere 22 seconds on the clock. That feeling was similar to the GB playoff game where Jermaine Kearse caught the game winner in OT. It doesn’t happen very often and it’s quite hard to describe. Sheer joy and raw emotion took over, it’s an addictive feeling, I tell you!
Richard Sherman clinched the game with his second INT on the day, taking the Seahawks to the 3rd seed in the NFC, atop the NFC West with a record of 5-2.
This game is one to keep on the DVR. Eerily similar to the 2015 Stealers (sic) game and one that will go down in Seahawks history as truly electric, a whole different vibe and one that certainly took several years off my life expectancy. And I wouldn’t have it any other way!
After a victory like this it’s hard to not feel incredibly confident about this year’s chances, the team faces some tough opponents in the second half of the season but today proved that they can beat anyone, anywhere. It’s games like this that must be won in order to get a stride into a deep playoff run and I’m feeling optimistic about the Seahawks future!