Winning by ten points on the road against a desperate opponent with quality talent at skill positions is almost always a good thing. Okay, it is a good thing. The Seahawks nearly found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in a game that had fans looking for what to call the opposite of a moral victory. A victorious defeat? Seattle penalties reached numerical values that eclipsed kindergarten counters abilities by the end of the first quarter. Their penalty yards more than doubled the Redskins offensive yardage for much of the first half. They tacked on uncharacteristic mistakes in coverage that allowed explosive plays, and had a hard time protecting their quarterback or getting to their opponents’ signal caller. All it added up to a team that was probably forty points better than their opponent needing a late field goal to win by ten.
Search for championship football continues
The Seahawks won a Super Bowl last year with two dominant units (defense, special teams) and one very good unit (offense) on their team. No unit has played a dominant sixty minutes of football yet this year.
The closest may have been the special teams against the Redskins, complete with a Jon Ryan sneak on a fake field goal that probably was the difference in the game. But the offense and defense have looked like Ferraris using cheap gas. The engine growls and intimidates, and then sputters and hiccups. Most teams are not talented enough to beat the Seahawks off the line even in their suboptimal state, but this team cannot measure itself by wins and losses.
They have to set their own standard for excellence that is independent of their opponent and outcome. The quality of play on defense and offense has flashed peak performance that proves they are capable of elite play. Inconsistency is their demon right now.
Washington has a stable of good pass rushers. Seattle was missing Zach Miller to help Justin Britt block. None of that explains the physical and mental breakdowns that happened mostly on the right side of the line. J.R. Sweezy had his worst pass protection game in recent memory. He was getting beat physically, and the quick inside pressure was making Russell Wilson’s life miserable.
Britt was surrendering edge pressure, but so was Russell Okung on the other side. The line had to be responsible for almost all the penalties, ranging from false starts (in a nearly silent stadium) to personal fouls.
The team rushed for 225 yards, and were productive even without the Wilson scrambles as Marshawn Lynch was over four yards per carry. And they did that against a very stout Redskins front seven that has been among the league’s best versus the run. Even Jon Ryan averaged five yards per carry.
It just looked like an undisciplined and inexperienced group. Tom Cable has a lot of work left to do in order to see this line reach their potential.
Russell Wilson defies logic and reason
Nobody does what Wilson did on Monday night. He ran for over 100 yards and a touchdown and threw for over 200 yards, a 127.3 passer rating, and a touchdown. He completed 75% of his throws. Washington had no answer for him. It was an MVP-level performance by the young man in a game it ended up being necessary. His pass, turn scramble, turn pass was so unbelievable Jay Gruden threw the challenge flag. His scramble on third down when he lofted a marshmellow to Lynch despite running full speed with heavy pressure was a fitting end to a great night for a guy many are finally realizing is one of the games most valuable players.
Rush defense was excellent
It is easy to harp on the big yardage Jackson piled up through the air, but the front seven deserves a ton of credit for how they played the run. Washington needed to run the ball, and simply could not.
The Seahawks front seven is outplaying the L.O.B. through four games
This is the best run defense in football right now, and that is going to be crucial when the team starts playing division opponents who are built to bully. This was a real question coming into the season, but the team has far outpaced expectations.
Bobby Wagner was amazing again, as was K.J. Wright. Bruce Irvin was not far behind as the linebacker corps is collectively doing great work.
Time to put together a complete game
Dallas comes to town next week with a 4-1 record and a terrific running game. It feels like the right time for the Seahawks to put all the pieces together. The mistakes in the secondary look to be correctable. The offensive line has an easier group to contend with. One quarter of the way through the season, it is time to stop sputtering and start racing ahead.