The Seahawks didn't just put up big numbers on offense in Sunday's 26-15 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles; they played their style of offense.
There are a lot of ways to measure good football, but for Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, few things are more important on either side of the ball than turnovers and explosive plays. And in Sunday's game, the Seahawks had eight explosive plays (runs of 12 or more yards and passes of 16 or more yards), while not turning the ball over. The Seahawks offense now has 26 explosive plays over the past three games, the third most in the NFL over that span, without turning the ball over. For comparison, the two teams (San Francisco and Philadelphia) with more explosives over the past three games each have five turnovers in that span.
And while the previous two wins saw the Seahawks do most of their damage through the air, they found more balance on Sunday, rushing for a season-high 152 yards. The Seahawks finished Sunday's game with season highs in yards (439), yards per play (7.0), rushing yards and yards per carry (5.1), and did all of that while not committing a turnover for the sixth time in their past seven games. Seattle has turned the ball over only six times this season, tied for the fewest in the NFL.
That ability to be explosive while still taking care of the ball is exactly what Carroll is looking for from his offense.
"The explosive plays and the running game for a 150-something, that's really what felt right," Carroll after winning his 100th regular season game as an NFL head coach. "That's how we want to look, that's how we want to feel. There's nothing better than that, six out of the last seven games, we haven't turned the ball over. That's fantastic football, and it takes everybody to do that. It's not just the quarterback, it's the runners and the catchers and the guys protecting and special teams and all of that. If we keep doing that, we're hard to beat. That's a big goal for us to keep that rolling, but it is really indicative of good football, and hopefully we can keep that going."
As Carroll notes, it takes everyone involved in the offense to prevent turnovers, but no one player has more control over that stat than quarterback Russell Wilson, who is a huge part of why the Seahawks lead the NFL in turnover differential since his rookie season at plus-56. Wilson, who has never thrown more than 10 interceptions in a season—and that total came during his rookie year—has thrown just two interceptions this year, and has been putting up big numbers in the past three games as his health continues to improve.
"He's the best player in the league right now, by far," said receiver Doug Baldwin, who had four catches for 104 yards and also threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Wilson.
"We want to be aggressive always but still be smart, and we were able to do that today," said Wilson, who ranks fourth in the league with 8.1 yards per pass attempt. "We had some cool play actions, we had some big third-down pickups… We want to be as explosive as possible, take shots down the field, hit quick ones, hit our mid-range ones, and also be really smart with the football."
Yet as well as the Seahawks are playing on offense right now, they won't get complacent, not when they know there are still things to clean up. In particular, the Seahawks want to be better in the red zone after going 1-for-3 against the Eagles and 3-for-7 in New England last week.
"The biggest thing is us scoring touchdowns in the red zone," Baldwin said. "We've been inconsistent, at best, when it comes to that… It's kind of deflating at times. You want to punch it in the end zone."
But even with that flaw, Seattle's offense has found a pretty good rhythm ever since making the decision on the flight home from New Orleans that it was time to open up the downfield passing game.
"It's executing at a high level, simply put," Baldwin said. "It's the same thing, over and over again. We have good plays, we have good players, but it comes down to the mental preparation and being able to execute at a high level when you're in that moment, and we've able to do that more consistently than we have in the past, and you see that resulting in more yardage and bigger plays."
With Wilson healthy, the Seahawks offense is explosive, they're running the ball again, and they're doing all of that while still taking care of the football. In other words, Carroll is seeing some of his favorite things out of his team's offense.
"Everything has shifted," Carroll said. "You've seen us make shifts in the past; this is one of those big shifts for us. It's really exciting to see. We feel very aggressive… We're kind of liking what it feels like and we'll see if we can keep growing with it."
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Check out some actions photos from Week 11 vs the Eagles at CenturyLink Field.