Closing Thoughts: Seahawks race past Lions in Motor City

The Seahawks looked every bit like a playoff contender, cooling off a hot Lions squad in a dominant 28-14 win.

Maintaining momentum out of their bye week, the Seattle Seahawks took care of business in all three phases of Sunday’s 28-14 win over the Detroit Lions.

Led by an ultra-efficient Russell Wilson and a productive run game, Seattle quickly erased an early 7-0 deficit and put the foot on the gas pedal, scoring 28 unanswered points to build a comfortable three-score lead and eventually move over .500 for the first time this season.

Some closing thoughts following Seattle’s fourth victory in five games:

  • In regard to Wilson, 2018 has an eerily similar feeling to the first three or four years of his NFL career, and that’s actually great news for Seattle’s offense. The franchise quarterback hasn’t thrown more than 26 passes in a game since Week 2, but he’s been masterful during the past five games. After throwing three more touchdowns against the Lions on Sunday, Wilson has thrown 11 touchdowns in comparison to only one interception during that span. Improvements in the ground game have created more opportunities for explosive play action pass plays, including a 42-yard strike to tight end Ed Dickson in this game. Even with only 14 completions on 17 attempts in Detroit, he averaged a remarkable 14.6 yards per attempt, the highest mark of his career by nearly two full yards.
  • In case there was still any doubt, Chris Carson is the heir apparent to Marshawn Lynch. The second-year running back eclipsed 100 yards rushing for the third time this season and paced Seattle’s offensive attack throughout the game. His most impressive play came on Seattle’s final score, as Carson put on his best “Beast Mode” impression, breaking through an arm tackle and trucking Lions safety Quandre Diggs to find his way into the end zone. Since coach Pete Carroll infamously said he was “gassed” in a loss to Chicago on Monday Night Football, he’s averaged nearly 100 rushing yards per game and been a catalyst in Seattle’s offensive resurgence.
  • One has to wonder if the Seahawks regret not using receiver David Moore more often during the team’s two season-opening losses in Denver and Chicago. Since he started seeing extended snaps in Week 4 at Arizona, the former Division II star has caught 10 of his 13 targets from Wilson and scored four touchdowns. In Sunday’s win at Ford Field, Wilson showed how much faith he now has in Moore, throwing several jump balls up for grabs to 215-pound receiver. He responded favorably, showing incredible concentration to haul in a touchdown that initially bounced off of his hands in the first half and later hauling in a tightly-defended fade route down the left sideline. With Moore, Doug Baldwin, and Tyler Lockett at his disposal, Wilson may have the best trio of receivers he’s had at any point in his NFL career.
  • It’s been a treasure watching the Seahawks utilize athletic reserve tackle George Fant, a former college basketball player at Western Kentucky, in a myriad of different ways offensively. While he’s played most of his snaps as an extra sixth offensive lineman and been very effective in that role, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer put Fant out wide as a receiver on a couple of occasions against the Lions. Under normal circumstances, placing an offensive lineman outside would be comical, but given his past experience on the hardwood, it wouldn’t be surprising if Seattle has a few plays in the bag for later in the year with him as a potential receiving target.
  • The pass rush for Seattle isn’t where it needs to be, at least not from a consistency standpoint. But as has been the case for the last few weeks, Ken Norton’s defense continues to make progress in this critical aspect of the game. The Lions entered Sunday’s game with one of the best offensive lines in all of football when it comes to pass protection, allowing pressure against quarterback Matthew Stafford less than 20 percent of his dropbacks. Seattle couldn’t finish Stafford off on the opening drive, as defensive end Frank Clark allowed him to escape and find Marvin Jones in the end zone to give Detroit an early lead. After that point, the Seahawks generated just enough pressure to fluster Stafford, sacking him three times and also forcing a pivotal fumble on a strip sack by Jarran Reed in the fourth quarter. Though he didn’t have one of Seattle’s sacks, Dion Jordan easily played his best game of the season, forcing Stafford to step up or leave the pocket on multiple occasions.
  • K.J. Wright played pretty well in his first game of the 2018 season, finishing with five tackles and a pass defensed while in coverage against Lions running back Kerryon Johnson. The Seahawks missed his leadership during the first six games, especially when it came to helping the secondary with coverage communications. It seemed apparent Wright was nursing an injury during the preseason, as he wasn’t running well and took poor pursuit angles on multiple occasions in limited exhibition snaps. But he looked much more fluid chasing down ball carriers and playing coverage in his first regular season action, a welcome sign as the Seahawks prepare for a brutal stretch against several high-powered offenses.
  • Carroll has to love the resolve Tedric Thompson continues to show at free safety filling in for Earl Thomas. The Lions drove right down the field on their opening series and the second-year defender made the mistake of letting Jones get behind him in the end zone. To compound the error, he mis-timed his jump trying to play the football as Stafford heaved it downfield, allowing the Lions to score first. Instead of letting that play define his performance, however, he came back with one of the biggest plays of the entire game moments later, putting his helmet on the football and forcing a fumble by returner Ameer Abdullah. Teammate Barkevious Mingo recovered and only a few plays later, Seattle struck on Wilson’s touchdown pass to Moore and took a 14-7 lead. Later in the game, though Thompson will be kicking himself for not intercepting the pass, he did an excellent job jumping a wheel route by Johnson out of the backfield to eventually set up a punt by the Lions.
  • Since being drafted in the fifth-round in April, Michael Dickson has developed quite the fan base in Seattle for his punting heroics. But as Carroll said after the game, the former Aussie football player possesses overlooked athleticism and put it on display during Seattle’s final offensive possession. Pinned inside their own five-yard line and facing a 4th and 8, the former Texas standout rolled out to his right and scanned the field. Noticing a large running lane in front of him, he made the gutsy decision to tuck the football and sprinted forward for a nine-yard gain, moving the chains and ultimately ending any hope of a Detroit comeback. If he wouldn’t have picked up the first down, we may be having a much different discussion, but Carroll loved the aggressiveness from his punter to secure the victory.
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