12th Man: Week 4 vs. NY Jets Recap
That was… something else. What I expected was an outstanding struggle to move the ball past the first down marker throughout the game, as Leonard Williams, Sheldon Richardson, and Muhammad Wilkerson would live in the backfield all day. The end result? Not quite. The run game struggled (Christine Michael only managed 58 yards on 18 carries), but Russell Wilson continually found chances to get the ball out for big plays, finishing with 309 yards and three touchdowns, completing 23 of his 32 passes. The Wilson-Graham connection thrived yet again, as Wilson would put the ball where only Jimmy Graham could find it, pulling in six catches for 113 yards. Richard Sherman had a dreadful first half covering Brandon Marshall, giving up three catches for 72 yards and a touchdown.
The Jets certainly tried, and I spent some time trying to figure out a word to describe the team. I would go with “vulnerable.” Both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball would be an issue for the entire afternoon. On offense, Matt Forte struggled to carry the ball, finishing with just 27 yards on 14 carries. Bilal Powell would have a better day both carrying and catching the ball, finishing with 80 yards on 10 total touches. But don’t be fooled. Aside from Marshall’s touchdown at the end of the first half, there was nothing to write home about from this offense. Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick would continue his charitable efforts, tossing three more interceptions. On defense, the Jets would continue to be a powerful defensive line, and nothing else. Various Jets defenders would struggle to contain Jimmy Graham, with rookie linebacker Darron Lee suffering the brunt of the abuse (don’t put linebackers on Jimmy Graham). There was an amazing blown coverage that allowed Seahawks receiver Tanner McEvoy to turn his first NFL catch into a 42-yard touchdown. Aside from Wilkerson batting a pass down, the Jets would not register a single pass defensed for the day.
Where Richard Sherman struggled in the first half, he shined in the second. After giving up three catches to Brandon Marshall, he would only allow one more catch for 17 yards, while picking Fitzpatrick off twice. The Seahawks defensive line did not struggle to bring pressure, harassing the quarterback regularly and forcing a “fumble” that would be returned by Jets receiver Charone Peake for a touchdown (his hand WAS going forward). I had some concerns about the Seahawks’ DL being able to disrupt, as Fitzpatrick had only been sacked twice on the season. I would be wrong. Seattle managed to sack the quarterback four times, and added nine hits. Despite Wilson still having limited mobility, he had great success working the pocket and exploiting his trust in receivers to make plays on the ball. The trust Wilson has developed in Jimmy Graham has especially benefitted from this, as Graham is, by nature, a receiver you can and should target while he appears covered (he must’ve played basketball or something). Running back CJ Spiller made his debut, catching a touchdown while displaying his impressive physical talents. Rookie Germain Ifedi would also make his first appearance on the day, holding his own capably against the Jets’ interior players while displaying a bit of the nasty streak that the coaching staff enjoys.
The best thing aside from the win? No new injuries. Seattle goes into their bye week with multiple offensive players on the mend. I look forward to seeing what this offense can do once finally firing on all cylinders. A real test will arrive in week six, when Seattle is set to face the Atlanta Falcons at home, but for now, 3-1. On to the couch.