Coming off a tough loss on the road against a divisional rival, the Seattle Seahawks looked to return to their winning ways against another tough NFC West opponent – the San Francisco 49ers. In a home game against the defending NFC Champions, this was expected to be a game with possible playoff implications. Let’s take a look at winners and losers in week eight.
Week eight winners
Winner #1: DK Metcalf
DK has arrived. The second-year standout from Ole Miss continues to prove scouting experts wrong by terrorizing NFL defenses weekly. His latest victim, the San Francisco 49ers secondary, had no answer for him. Even after having a below-average game last week, DK Metcalf responded with a monster game. He finished the game with twelve receptions on fifteen targets while catching two touchdowns to go along with 161 yards. Metcalf now has 36 receptions, 680 yards, and seven touchdowns in seven games. Russell Wilson may be enjoying an MVP caliber season, but it is clear he has the weapons to do it. Here are the season’s stat-line regarding Metcalf as well as the other starting receiver, Tyler Lockett:
DK Metcalf: 36 rec, 680 yds, 7 TDs
Tyler Lockett: 49 rec, 545 yds, 7 TDs
Both Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are in a 5-way tie for first in receiving touchdowns so far this season. All this despite playing one less game than many of the top tier receivers around the league.
Winner #2: Seahawks Defense
Last week, I fired shots at the Seattle front seven and the lack of pressure they have generated this season. So, it is a little surprising to have them on the winners’ list just a short week later. Although they did allow for 322 total passing yards on the day, most came in the fourth quarter. The problem with Seattle’s defense might be their offense, however. After all, scoring points at a historic rate will almost certainly force teams to throw more. This forces Seattle’s defense to have to defend against the pass more often. This past weekend something clicked, however, and the ‘Hawks defense got busy. Through the first three quarters, the Seahawks held the 49ers to 84 passing yards and 52 rushing yards. In the fourth quarter, Nick Mullens came off the bench to put up 20 points with Garoppolo on the bench, but it was too little, too late.
Winner #3: Bobby Wagner, the pass rusher
With so many stars on one roster, we tend to remember the new and overlook the old. Bobby Wagner reminded us why he is the only Seahawk on the roster to have received an NFL MVP vote. You read that right, not a defensive MVP vote, but an actual MVP vote. Not even Russell Wilson has received one. One week removed from a terrible defensive effort, Wagner took it upon himself to fix some of the issues. Wagner silenced any doubts about the pass rush by contributing two sacks with four quarterback hits. He also set a personal best with three tackles for loss. All this while also leading the team in tackles with 11. The defensive team captain showed his leadership through example. He is still a huge factor for this team.
Week eight losers
Loser #1: Greg Olsen
I will go on record and say that Greg Olsen is a great teammate and leader. He is also on the wrong side of 30 and his play reflects that. But what is an issue, this game being a prime example, is Olsen’s production. In the last three games, Olsen has caught three balls for 38 yards. For the season, Olsen has 17 receptions for 158 and his lone touchdown coming in the season opener almost two months ago. These are numbers for a starting tight end due to make seven million dollars in salary by year’s end. At some point, you must figure out that the production does not match the cost. If anything, again, he is a great leader. Maybe that alone that is worth something, but unless the Seahawks win the Super Bowl this year, I see his salary as more of a deficit.
Loser #2: Injuries
Week seven proved to be no different for the Seahawks in one aspect: they have injuries by the numbers. 2020 will be a year to remember or forget – depending on how you look at it. The lack of preparation coming into the season may play a part in why there have been so many significant injuries throughout the league almost weekly. The Seahawks are no exception. Look at the injury-report for those inactive this past Sunday:
S Jamal Adams
G Mike Iupati
CB Shaquill Griffin
RB Chris Carson
RB Carlos Hyde
DE Benson Mayowa
CB Ugo Amadi
Perhaps the most telling thing on this list are the roles each of these players have – all are starters, minus Carlos Hyde, who is a key rotational piece in Seattle’s run offense. Injuries have plagued this team and yet they sit atop the NFC West with a 6-1 record. This is a testament to Seattle’s depth and their “Next Man Up” mentality. It will be interesting to see how they fare when the starters make their comebacks.
The Seattle Seahawks (6-1) will have their plates full as they travel across the country to play in a tough morning game against the Buffalo Bills (5-2). Expect a shootout between two quality quarterbacks in Russell Wilson and Josh Allen.