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Week 5 Game Recap: SEA vs. MIN

Let’s just get this out of the way. There seems to be quite some controversy surrounding the fumble at the end of the game. Even if it wasn't a fumble, would it have mattered? Nothing’s impossible, but it was highly IMPROBABLE that they would get into field goal range or score a touchdown with that little time remaining. Of course, that’s also what the Saints said right before the Minneapolis Miracle.

Moving on, I don’t think Seattle had any business winning this game, but they don’t have a lot of business winning a lot of games. Things just work out differently when Russell Carrington Wilson is your franchise quarterback.

Seattle was outgained in yards, yet again, 449 to 314. Minnesota also put up 201 yards rushing while averaging 4.9 yards per carry. Seattle’s run defense was only allowing 76 yards per game and 3.4 yards per carry entering Week 5. Wilson was under pressure (again) all game and Seattle wide receivers had little room to operate. Luckily, the defense generated turnovers on back to back possessions in the 3rd quarter to give the Seattle offense some life. Outside of that, the Seattle offense was anemic. Seattle’s time of possession was only 20.5 minutes vs. 39.5 for the Vikings and conservatively punted twice within Minnesota territory, once at the MIN 37 and again at the MIN 40. Luckily, both punts were downed within a couple yards of the end zone.

All this led up to what could have been a disappointing loss and a 4-1 record. Enter Russell Wilson. This man has ice in his veins. I’m not sure there’s another quarterback I’d rather have leading my team down the field losing by a score with less than 2 minutes remaining. DK freaking Metcalf bailed out Russ on both 4th downs and sealed the game on a ridiculously tough catch. He really should’ve had a TD on 2nd down, but I guess it worked out in our favor and more on that later.

The Seahawks continue their streak of never making a game easy on their fans. I’m sure my doctor would tell me being a Seahawks fan is bad for my health.

Key Plays and Other Tidbits

· KJ Wright had another impressive outing. I can’t believe he was on the potential cut list coming out of training camp – the 31-year old vet can still BALL. He started the game by batting down a pass from Kirk Cousins at the line of scrimmage. Wright also made the heads-up play of recovering the would-be-fumble caused by Damontre Moore even when it was initially ruled an incomplete pass – a savvy veteran move. Then, he made up for all his dropped interceptions against Miami with a BEAUTIFUL one-handed catch in the 3rd quarter, right after a Seahawks touchdown coming off of a strip sack by aforementioned Moore. Finally, he ended his stellar performance by teaming up with LJ Collier to stop a Kirk Cousins draw play on a 2-PT conversion. Seattle won by 1 point, by the way.

· Jarran Reed hasn’t exactly been the pass rushing force we expected after his 10.5 sack season two years ago, but he had a nice game defending the run today. He had a tackle for loss on Dalvin Cook’s first carry, followed by a stop for 1 yard immediately after. Later in the game, he had another stop for no gain on 3rd and 1 to give Seattle the ball back right before the half. We ended up going 3 and out, but that’s another story.

· Every game, the Seahawks frustratingly have a drive that just blows up and goes backwards. In fact, they had two this game.

The first one came on SEA’s first possession. After a nice scramble by Russ for 19 yards to the MIN 30 and a short pass to Carson, Lewis gets flagged for a false start. Then, Russell takes a coverage sack to set up 3rd and 22. Pete Carroll waves the white flag and calls a draw play to Travis Homer for 5 yards to the MIN 37, not gaining enough for a field goal. Seattle punts it away. Why not pass on 3rd and long to at least TRY to get inside field goal range? Did Pete really expect Homer to gain 8+ yards on the draw? There are so many frustrating things about this team. When things are going right, they’re great, but then you have sequences like this and it makes you want to pull your hair out.

The second drive was a 3 and out, losing 15 yards in the process. This was after the nice Reed stop mentioned earlier to give Seattle the ball back with 3 minutes left in the 1st half. Seattle then dials up a failed screen to Carson for -6 yards. Then a Wilson sack for -8 yards, and then ANOTHER sack for -1 yard. Seattle punts it away with just under 2 minutes to go. Vikings end up kicking a field goal to extend the lead to 13-0 just before halftime.

· I personally don’t think Cody Barton has played all that well during his time in Seattle. Maybe it’s because we’re so used to stellar linebacker play from Wagner and Wright, but he seems like “just a guy” to me. I think he had a mixed performance today and made a couple impact plays, but I’d like to see what Seattle has with Jordyn Brooks.

Barton tied with Wagner for a team-high combined 14 tackles, so he was in on a lot of action, but he also got bullied over by Cook for a 1st down on MIN’s 2nd possession when they were backed up on their own goal line.

Immediately after, Barton saved what would’ve been a long screen play by Alexander Mattison, holding him to just 7 yards. Barton was the only defender in the screen and Mattison had blockers in front of him.

Barton put a big shot on Cousins for no gain after he escaped a Reed sack, but the play was called back due to a holding penalty drawn by Reed.

Finally, on the most important defensive play, Barton drilled his blocker into the backfield, bumping into Mattison and slowing him down just enough to allow Wagner and Mayowa to stop Mattison short of the sticks for a turnover on downs.

· Mayowa had another decent game. He shot into the backfield and flushed Cousins up the pocket to force an LJ Collier sack. He was also in on the critical 4th down stop and was credited with the sack-fumble-but-not-really-a-fumble that ended the game.

· I think Shaq Griffin played well again. He gave up a couple crucial catches to Adam Thielen when Seattle was blitzing, but kept everything in front of him. He also got juked out of his shoes by Thielen for a touchdown, but he had a crucial pass breakup in the end zone on a target to Thielen right before the half to force a field goal. A touchdown there would’ve put Seattle down three scores instead of two. Griffin finished with two PBUs.

· I think David Moore’s ability as a punt returner is so underrated. He’s been doing well thus far and more importantly, it relieves Tyler Lockett of his return duties. I think that alone should keep him on a roster, provided he’s signed at a reasonable price. Anything else he adds as Seattle’s third receiver is a bonus. Coming into Week 5, David Moore was 10th in the league averaging 11.7 yards per punt return. Moore only returned one punt in this game, but it was a 15 yard return where he had to turn around and catch the punt like it was a deep bomb from Russell Wilson. I was disappointed to see him drop the tough catch in the end zone today on a moon shot from Wilson. It seems like Moore has been making a highlight-worthy catch every game this season and it felt like he was just about to come through and save the day in a game where neither Lockett nor DK were particularly involved (up to this point).

· Shout out to Damontre Moore for having his best game so far as a Seahawk. He was responsible for that oh so pivotal sack fumble on Cousins in the third quarter and right after Seattle scored following the turnover, he absolutely LIT UP Ameer Abdullah on a kick return. Props to the big man for hustling downfield to lay that hit.

· Carson is SO dynamic as a runner. He’s shown his ability to flash as a receiver as well, despite the dropped 2-PT conversion, but his ability to stay balanced through contact is admirable. On his long touchdown run, he was wrapped up by Harrison Smith, but was able to wiggle free after spinning out like a ballerina.

· The only time I notice Tre Flowers is when he produces a negative play. After giving up a 25 yard pass to Irv Smith, he gets flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit and adds 15 yards. Later on, he gives up a catch to Thielen on a 3rd and 5 when MIN was backed up near their own end zone. I hope Dunbar gets healthier after the bye.

· Can we take a minute to appreciate how good Dickson has been after a relative down year for him last year? He landed two punts inside the 5 today. One of them hung in the air for so long that Ugo Amadi had enough time to run down, turn around, and catch the ball like he was the punt returner. On another punt, Dickson sailed a 60 yard punt over the Vikings return man and had the ball dribble out of bounds at the 17 yard line. The 2013 version of Pete Carroll playing for field position would’ve salivated over this man.

· I’m sad to see that Ryan Neal didn’t have an interception today – he’s just set the bar too high. I think he played well again today and had a couple impact plays. He was in Cousins’ face on a safety blitz that resulted in an incomplete pass to Thielen and another good pressure on the play right after, but this time it was completed. He also used his head, literally, to make a nice pass breakup in the end zone intended for CJ Ham, the Vikings fullback. Finally, Neal came crashing down into the backfield to blow up a toss play for a loss of 2. He needs more snaps even when Adams comes back.

· I don’t really want to say anything about DK Metcalf after he bailed out Russell Wilson twice on the last touchdown drive – the man is a BEAST, but I’ve mentioned this before so I’ll bring it up again. DK NEEDS TO HAND ONTO THE BALL. He should’ve had a touchdown on 2nd and goal, but got the ball punched out of his hands by Mike Hughes AFTER he had landed in the end zone with two feet. It was a great play by Hughes, no doubt, but DK is a monster and needs to learn how to secure the ball better. For those of you who didn’t read last week’s recap, he couldn’t hang onto the ball last week after taking a big hit. I saw Hopkins earlier today juggle a ball in the end zone and hang on after a huge shot and immediately thought of how DK couldn’t hang onto the ball against Miami. DK is great, but to be truly special he’s got to hang onto the ball for those tough catches. What are all those muscles for?

· As I touched on earlier, the run defense today was atrocious. I think it was a poor tackling performance. Watching the game, I continuously saw Seattle defenders get a hand or a body on Vikings runningbacks in the backfield or at the line of scrimmage, just to see them slip away. I’ll cut them some slack, seeing how Seattle defenders were on the field for almost 40 minutes, but this CANNOT be a regular occurrence. I’m ready for Snacks Harrison.

· Somewhat related was our poor performance on screen plays today. I mentioned how Cody Barton saved a long play by stopping Mattison for 7 yards, but it was inexcusable that no other Seattle defender was remotely near him. There were at least 4 screen plays that went for 7+ yards and none of them were stopped for minimal gain. As well as KJ played today, I would’ve liked to see some of that KJ screen whisperer magic today (I’m not sure if he was responsible for those screen plays today, probably not).

· Wilson looked off all game. I will always appreciate his heroics and the drama he brings to every game, but who the heck was he throwing to on that interception?? He clearly could see Carson was already out of bounds and even if he wasn’t, Eric Wilson was clearly in front of Carson and ready to make a play on the ball. I know it was rainy and wet conditions aren’t typically Russell Wilson’s favorite, but he also threw 2 passes into the dirt to David Moore on Seattle’s game-winning drive.

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