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Game at a glance: Seahawks 45, Jaguars 17
A recap of the Seahawks’ 45-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars at CenturyLink Field on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME: RUSSELL WILSON
The handwringing over Russell Wilson completing 1 of 12 passes for 1 yard in the first quarters of the Seahawks’ first two games had gotten out of hand.
In case you lost track, that’s four TD passes in less than three quarters to tie his career best. And as backup QB Tarvaris Jackson said after stepping in to fashion a near-perfect passer rating (158.3, on a 7-of-8, 129-yard, TD-pass performance), “Whenever you get four touchdown passes, that’s a good day.”
And Wilson and the offense had a breakthrough day on this day against an overmatched Jaguars defense that was playing without its starting cornerbacks.
“They’re a great team. That’s a Super Bowl-caliber team, and they showed it,” Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny said. “They have weapons at every position. It was challenge for us.”
“Russell played great,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He was all over the place making great plays and throws and he used a bunch of receivers. It was really exciting to see that.”
Wilson threw two TD passes each to tight end Zach Miller and wide receiver Sidney Rice. Jackson threw another TD pass, to wide receiver Doug Baldwin, and also scored on a 5-yard run.
“It’s Russell Wilson,” Baldwin said. “That guy is unbelievable. That one play he had in the red zone where he pump-faked, spun around and then threw the touchdown to Zach.”
That described Wilson’s second TD pass to Miller, a 4-yarder in the second quarter.
“That’s just the epitome of what Russell Wilson is,” Baldwin said. “We’re obviously glad to have him on our team.”
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: With apologies to each of the four TD passes thrown by Wilson and caught by Miller and Rice, Baldwin’s one-hander of a 35-yard pass from Jackson in the third quarter was, well, special. Oh, and Jaguars cornerback Will Blackmon wasn’t just on the coverage, he appeared to have had a better shot at catching the pass than Baldwin.
“I saw the coverage with Will Blackmon, so I just tried to put it out there outside and give him a shot to catch it,” Jackson said. “And he made a great catch. I saw we had press-man (coverage) with Doug Baldwin and Will Blackmon and I just wanted to give him a shot and let him make a play.”
Defense: Late in the second quarter, a Chad Henne pass kissed off the helmet of Jaguars center Brad Meester. Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner then tipped that deflection away from running back Maurice Jones-Drew and made a diving interception of his deflection off the tip.
“It was a good play and we needed it,” said Wagner, who also had a team-high nine tackles. “They were coming down and trying to score in the red zone. So the defense needed to come up and make a play and I got the ball.”
The offense then drove 79 yards in just 34 seconds to a touchdown pass that made it 24-0 at the half.
Special teams: Not a lot to choose from, so let’s go with Steven Hauschka’s resume on this day. He had touchbacks on six of his eight kickoffs in addition to kicking a 21-yard field goal.
Wide receiver Jermaine Kearse sprained an ankle while making his only reception of the game – a 17-yarder to open the second-quarter drive to Hauschka’s field goal. Defensive end Red Bryant left the game in the third quarter because of back spasms.
Other than that, Carroll offered, “I don’t know much more than that right now.”
After going up 38-7 in the third quarter, Carroll was able to display the depth on the roster. In addition to Jackson taking over for Wilson, rookie tackles Michael Bowie and Alvin Bailey and backup center Lemuel Jeanpierre also took over. Rookie running back Christine Michael got the first carries of his career and finished with 37 yards on nine attempts. On defense, linebackers John Lotulelei, Heath Farwell and Mike Morgan replaced the starters, while cornerbacks Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell and free safety Chris Maragos took over in the secondary.
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“We did a lot of good things today. Across the board, we played cleaner and sharper.”
“To have a chance to get Michael Bowie in the game and Alvin Bailey at the same time, it was really awesome,” Carroll said. “We got everybody to play today, and they got significant playtime. … We’ll benefit from that in the long run.”
During the pregame introduction of the defense, the members of the Legion of Boom secondary came out one by one. But cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner and safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor then waited as a group while the other defensive backs also emerged from the tunnel in a group.
“That’s something we came up with, because you’ve got to realize it’s not just us four,” Thomas said. “We’re all defensive backs and we all take something from each other. That’s what it’s all about. We’re one unit and we take pride in it.”
Defensive linemen Clinton McDonald and Michael Bennett had 1.5 sacks each. For McDonald, it was his first career full sack. Chris Clemons, making his 2013 debut following surgery in January to repair a torn ligament and meniscus in his left knee, almost had a sack.
Browner, who also was making his 2013 debut after missing the first two games with a hamstring injury, had two passes defensed.
The Seahawks ran for 156 yards – including 69 from leading rusher Marshawn Lynch, the 37 from Michael, 29 on a couple of runs by wide receiver Golden Tate and 14 on two runs by Wilson.
After being penalized 19 times for 183 yards in their first two games, the Seahawks had four penalties for 24 yards against the Jaguars.