Seahawks score early and often in routing Jaguars

Posted Sep 22, 2013

The Seahawks were 2-0 entering Sunday’s game against the Jaguars in large part because of their top-ranked defense. But in the 45-17 victory at CenturyLink Field, the offense scored six touchdowns and rolled up 479 yards.

Tarvaris Jackson went the entire 2012 NFL season without throwing a pass.

Not throwing a single pass? Jackson never even got on the field for the Bills last season after the quarterback was traded by the Seahawks to Buffalo last August.

But after Jackson had completed 7 of 8 passes for 129 yards and a 35-yard touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin and run for another score in the Seahawks’ 45-17 romp over the Jacksonville Jaguars at CenturyLink Field on Sunday afternoon, Baldwin offered with an incredulous look, “You can’t say enough about that guy. First and foremost, I don’t know what Buffalo was thinking.”

The Bills didn’t just allow Jackson to languish on the sideline last season; they re-signed him during the offseason only to release him. The reason Jackson ended up back with the Seahawks as their backup after being the starter in 2011 was underlined on Sunday afternoon, when he had a near-perfect passer rating of 158.3.

Russell Wilson tied his career high with four touchdown passes in just over two quarters, which allowed coach Pete Carroll to unleash the depth on this roster early in the third quarter.

“Whenever you get four touchdown passes, that’s a good day,” Jackson said of Wilson’s partial day, when the second-year QB was also 14 of 21 for 202 yards.

Before all was said and run – and passed and caught – the Seahawks had compiled 479 offensive yards and scored six touchdowns. They scored on four of their first five possessions, and again after getting the ball with only 44 seconds left in the half. They scored on three in their four trips into the red zone. They had only four penalties for 24 yards, after compiling 19 for 183 yards in their first two games.

“That’s the way we need to play football,” said Wilson, whose four TD passes tied his career-best total from a 42-13 victory over the San Francisco 49ers last December when he completed only 15 passes.

“When we do that, when we stay on schedule, we’re hard to stop.”

As happy as the offense was to shake the problems that had stymied them in their season-opening victories over the Carolina Panthers and 49ers, the defensive players were not happy after allowing a winless Jaguars team that scored 11 points and averaged 213 yards in its first two games to put up 17 points and 265 yards.

“I don’t like people scoring on our defense,” middle linebacker and leading tackler Bobby Wagner said. “We wanted the shutout, but it didn’t happen. They shouldn’t have even gotten the yards they got.”

The defense did hold the Jaguars to three-and-outs on their first four possessions. Wagner made an acrobatic interception of a pass he tipped to set up the TD just before the half and strong safety Kam Chancellor had another late in the fourth quarter after the Jaguars had reached the Seahawks’ 14-yard line and were threatening to become the first team to score more than 20 points against them in the regular season since a 24-21 loss at Miami in Week 12 last season.

“I don’t feel that happy right now,” Chancellor said. “Interception, yeah, alright. But I still think we gave them too many yards. We hold ourselves to a higher standard than that. You ask anybody and they’ll say the same thing – 'too many yards'.”

Regardless, the Seahawks not only are 3-0 for the first time since 2006, they have a two-game lead in the NFC West because the other three teams in the division lost Sunday – including the two-time defending champion 49ers, who fell at home to the Indianapolis Colts 27-7.

“An exciting day for the NFC West,” coach Pete Carroll said. “Big day for us; the other teams struggled and all that. Glad we could take advantage of the opportunity to get this win.”

After posting back-to-back victories at home, to extend their regular-season streak to 10 in a row, the Seahawks take their suddenly explosive offense and disgruntled defense on the road the next two weeks. First up, the 2-1 Texans in Houston next Sunday. Then come the Colts in Indianapolis on Oct. 6.

“When we have these back to back games at home, we have to come through and play great if we’re going to be really substantial at home. And we did that,” Carroll said. “First shot that we got, we got two games and it puts us in a good spot right now.

“I’m looking forward to next week already.”

Not so fast. There was too much about Sunday’s game to relish, and rehash.

Like Wilson’s first TD pass. It went to tight end Zach Miller, who was ridiculously wide open in the right side of the south end zone. Miller was all by himself because the Jaguars’ defense so completely sold out on Wilson’s play-action fake to Marshawn Lynch.

“That was a full sell on that one,” Miller said. “I go down and fake the cut (block) and everything and then came out. They bit about as hard as you could. It worked even better than we thought it would.”

Then there was Wilson’s second TD pass to wide receiver Sidney Rice, the fourth of Wilson’s scoring throws.

“We came off play-action,” Wilson said. “They did a good job of covering everything up. We had two guys running the over and Sidney kind of running the end zone. Right before I was about to throw it to the over, I saw Sidney (motion), ‘Hey, throw it up.’ I kind of looked at the safety and I was like, “Alright, here ya go.’ You give a guy a shot and he made a tremendous catch.”

Even though the ball was thrown right were a couple of Jaguars defensive backs were, as Rice was making his way across the north end zone.

“It’s one of those things where you try to give your guy a shot, and he made a tremendous catch,” Wilson said. “To have a guy that has that mentality of attacking the football, that’s awesome. When you have a guy that can go get the football like that, it’s pretty special.”

So was the five-play, 79-yard touchdown drive that took only 34 seconds near the close of the half, and included Wilson’s 30-yard pass to Golden Tate, a 23-yarder to Rice and Wilson’s 10-yard scramble.

“Sidney and I were talking after that drive, and that’s the biggest drive we’ve had so far,” Wilson said. “I think it’s the most important thing that we did today. To have the ball … and to have only 44 seconds left on the clock before half. Obviously our goal is to get a field goal, or end with the ball. But we also want to take shots and move the ball and get another touchdown.

“So that was awesome.”

And of course there was Baldwin’s one-handed grab of a 35-yard pass from Jackson.

“Honestly, I didn’t think it was that difficult,” Baldwin said. “We practice those every day. So it’s just something you get used to.”

In a game that left the defense kicking itself, the offense came out kicking. And even got Jackson some long awaited snaps.

“That’s one of the good guys,” Baldwin said. “You always want to see the good guys excel. I can’t say enough about Tarvaris. The type of person he is. The type of player he is. It’s heartwarming to see him do well.”