The Seattle Seahawks went down to the wire again in a classic Sunday Night Football matchup at Century Link against the Minnesota Vikings. Coming in with a perfect 4-0 record, the Seahawks fought tooth and nail to preserve their unblemished record and now sit atop the NFC West. Let’s take a look at some of the winners and losers for the Seahawks in what turned out to be one of the more entertaining games of the weekend.
Week five winners
Winner#1: D.K. Metcalf
The rise of DeKaylin Zecharius “DK” Metcalf in twenty-one games of his short NFL career has been, in a word, meteoric. He is a model of consistency and production thus far in his career. Last night proved no different. In the waning seconds of a close game, he seemed to kick his game into another gear. He made clutch catches when it mattered the most. When the game seemed like it would come to an end on a fourth and ten on Seattle’s final drive, Russell Wilson was able to launch a jump-ball down the left sideline to DK for a 39-yard completion. The resulting first down kept the game alive, and a few plays later he caught the go-ahead game-winning touchdown from 6 yards out on another fourth-down play. DK Metcalf is making a case for himself as one of the most dynamic young receivers in the game.
Winner #2: Seattle special teams
Kudos to Larry Izzo and the phenomenal job he is doing with the special teams unit. Coming into week five, the Seahawks ranked in the top five in every major special team’s statistical category. Punter Michael Dickson has been great before entering this game, and that trend continued. He punted five times for a total of 226 net yards (45.2 yards per punt average) and ALL FIVE punts were downed inside the opposing team’s 15 yard-line. Twice, Dickson was able to down the Minnesota Vikings inside their three-yard line. This is a testament to both he and the coverage unit, who had multiple plays worthy of the highlight reels. See Damontre Moore’s hit on RB Ameer Abdullah. Also worth noting; K Jason Myers has been perfect on both FGs and XPs so far this entire season.
Winner #3: Seahawks linebacking unit
A lot has changed since the dismantling of the best defense of the last decade; the Legion of Boom. Something that has not changed however is the play of linebackers KJ Wright and Bobby Wagner and the affect their presences have in a game. Wagner, along with fellow starting weakside ‘backer Cody Barton, tallied 14 tackles, including a crucial stop at the SEA 6 that resulted in a turnover on downs. Wright was extremely active in the game as well. He tallied two passes defended, including the Seahawks only interception of the game – which directly resulted in seven points on the ‘Hawks ensuing drive.
These two are leaders from an experience standpoint, but also by their play on the field, which has remained superb through the years. If the Seahawks are looking to turn this historically bad defense around, the changes should revolve around these two.
Week five losers
Loser #1: Run defense
One of the early (and only) strengths for the Seahawk’s not-so-great defense this season has been defending the run. Through four weeks, they have, by every metric, been a top ten unit in rushing defense.
RB Dalvin Cook was leading the league in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns coming into the game. This was already going to be a tough matchup. Then Cook got hurt in the third quarter – good news for the Seahawks, right? Not exactly. Backup Alexander Mattison thrashed the Seahawks defense for the remainder of the game and finished the game with 112-yards on 20 carries. That is an average of 5.6 yards per carry, much higher than 3.4 yards per carry the Seahawks were allowing up to that point. Not exactly alarming, considering Minnesota is a top-five rushing unit, but it might be something the Seahawks address going into their bye week.
Loser #2: First-half offense
The Seahawks offense had been on fire leading into Sunday night’s matchup. So, when they went into halftime scoreless, it had a lot of people scratching their heads. That had not happened in the previous four games. In fact, it has only happened six times since Wilson first took the reins almost ten years ago.
It brings questions about the Seahawk’s ability to maintain the offensive pace they managed so far in the season. The offensive line struggled in pass protection, a lot of this due to the Vikings settling their two safeties deep, forcing Wilson to hold the ball longer than normal. In the first half Wilson was sacked four times and completed only seven passes. The offense netted only 45 total yards in the first half. Not what you would expect from one of the more prolific offenses in the league.
Week six bye
The Seahawks will enjoy some much-needed rest as they enter their bye in week six. The bye could not have come at a better time. With many players who have been missing in action the last couple weeks due to injuries and other reasons, expect the Seahawks to look a little different when returning in week eight at Arizona.
Jamal Adams, as well as others are slated to be back, and some time is needed to make some adjustments on defense. I hear Seahawk’s old DC Dan Quinn is available also. Just saying. Stay tuned for more winners and losers and some news over the bye week.