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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Seahawks used a formula that has worked so well for them in the past, but had been missing so far this season on their way to a 27-17 victory over the New York Jets Sunday. Seattle didn’t dominate throughout the game, but they played well enough to build a lead, then when the Jets had to go to the air to try to erase the deficit, the Seahawks came up with two late interceptions that they turned into 10 points, putting the game out of reach.
Here are five rapid reactions to a victory that improves Seattle’s record to 3-1 ahead of a Week 5 bye:
1. Russell Wilson was dialed in
Following last week’s game in which he sprained his knee, then again during his press conference Thursday, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson insisted he was fine.
Apparently, he wasn’t kidding.
Despite that knee injury, as well as the ankle injury sustained in the season opener, Wilson enjoyed his best game of the season, picking the Jets apart with one big throw after another. Wilson finished the game 23 for 32 for 309 yards and three touchdowns, good for a passer rating of 133.5.
2. C.J. Spiller had a pretty significant role in his first game
As of Friday, there was some question as to whether C.J. Spiller would play in this game. After all, Spiller, who signed Wednesday, had practiced only twice with his new team, but not only did Spiller suit up for his first game with the Seahawks, he played a pretty significant role in the victory.
Spiller served as Seattle’s third-down running back, no small feat considering the pass-protection responsibilities that come with that job, and most notably he scored Seattle’s first touchdown of the game, an 8-yard pass from Wilson. Spiller also served as Seattle’s kick returner with Tyler Lockett still playing through a knee injury.
Spiller finished his first game with Seattle rushing for 12 yards on two carries and caught two passes for five yards. He also had a 22-yard kick return.
3. Jimmy Graham is all the way back
If there was any doubt that Jimmy Graham is back to being a dominant player after last year’s knee injury—and there probably shouldn’t have been after his performance last week—Seattle’s tight end erased it with a number of spectacular grabs and big plays against the Jets. By finishing with 113 yards on six catches, Graham went over 100 yards for the third time as a Seahawk, and for the second time in as many games.
And along those lines…
4. Seattle’s receivers made a lot of great catches.
Yes, Wilson was phenomenal, as mentioned above, but his receivers also helped him out with some very impressive catches. Graham had a great one-hander in the first half and a contested sideline grab in the second, Paul Richardson made a nice leaping catch to help set up a touchdown, and Doug Baldwin hung on for a big gain despite a huge hit that drew a flag, also helping set up a touchdown.
And if we’re talking about receivers, undrafted rookie Tanner McEvoy deserves a mention for making not just his first NFL catch, but also his first touchdown, a 42-yard score in the second quarter.
5. Richard Sherman and the rest of the defense responded in the second half.
Despite a dominant victory last week, several players on defense were unhappy after the game because they allowed two late touchdowns. The Seahawks didn’t play poorly in the first half Sunday, but they weren’t at their best either, allowing 10 points, including a late touchdown drive to end the half. Especially unusual was seeing the Jets go after Richard Sherman, who was shadowing Brandon Marshall for most the game, and actually having success doing so. Ryan Fitzpatrick made some nice throws and Marshall is a very good player, so they deserve plenty of credit, but it’s still rare to see teams have any success throwing Sherman’s way.
In the second half, Sherman and Seattle’s defense got the last laugh. With the Jets still within a score in the third quarter, the defense forced punts on the Jets’ first two possessions, then Sherman intercepted Fitzpatrick on their third possession to start the fourth quarter. That pick, Sherman’s first of the season, came one play after he was called for pass interference, a call he very strongly disagreed with. Sherman picked off Fitzpatrick for a second time later in the final frame.
The Seahawks turned that first turnover into seven points, then Earl Thomas intercepted Fitzpatrick to put the game on ice. The Jets did get a very strange touchdown late, but it’s hard to blame the defense too much for that considering it was the result of a Cliff Avril sack and forced fumble.