NASHVILLE—For the second straight week, the Seahawks needed some late-game heroics to get a win and keep their playoff hopes alive, and for the second straight game, the offense came through with a winning drive.
After Drew Lock led the comeback last week, it was Geno Smith, back from a two-game absence, leading the offense on the winning drive this time around, and in the end the Seahawks escaped with a 20-17 win over the Titans.
With the win, the Seahawks improved to 8-7, and thanks to Detroit's win over Minnesota, the Seahawks now control their own playoff destiny.
Here are five rapid reactions to the Seahawks' Christmas Eve victory over the Titans:
1. Geno Smith and the offense came alive in the second half.
Facing a tough Titans defense, the Seahawks couldn't get much going on offense early on, punting three times in the first half while getting one field goal. A promising drive to open the third quarter stalled out in the red zone, leading to another short field goal, but late in the game Geno Smith, back after a two-game absence, and the rest of the offense got going.
Late in the third quarter, the Seahawks were pinned at their own 4-yard line, but put together a season-best 96-yard touchdown drive to take the lead, hitting DK Metcalf for an 11-yard touchdown to finish. After the Titans answered with a touchdown of their own to back ahead, Smith led a 14-play 75-yard touchdown drive, capped by a 5-yard touchdown pass to Colby Parkinson.
On that final drive, Smith went 7 for 10 for 57 yards and a touchdown, including an 18-yard completion to Jaxon Smith-Njigba on third-and-14.
2. The receiver trio of DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and Jaxon Smith-Njigba all came through in big moments.
When the Seahawks drafted Jaxon Smith-Njigba in the first round, it gave the Seahawks one of the best receiving trios in the league, and the trio of DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and Smith-Njigba all had big moments to lead the Seahawks' offense late in the game.
Lockett led the way with eight catches for 81 yards, including three catches on the final drive, while Metcalf turned in a spectacular touchdown drive, as well as a hurdle to set up a field goal in the first half, and finished with 56 yards on six catches. Smith-Njigba, meanwhile, had 61 yards on six catches, including a 20-yarder to kick off the 96-yard drive, and the aforementioned 18-yard catch on third-and-14 on the game-winning drive.
3. DK Metcalf put on a show in front of some special guests.
DK Metcalf began taking online American Sign Language courses at the start of the season, then began taking those lessons to the field, signing celebrations after touchdowns. Metcalf's ASL teacher, Darrell Utley, lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, about a two-and-half-hour drive from Nashville, so Metcalf invited Utley and his family to the game, briefly meeting up with them before the game.
And with Utley and family in attendance, Metcalf came through with some big plays on a day where points and yards were tough to come by. Metcalf, who finished with four catches for 56 yards, helped set Seattle's first score, a Jason Myers field goal, with a 26-yard catch and run that featured him hurdling a defensive back to get extra yards. In the fourth quarter, Metcalf scored Seattle's first touchdown of the game, an 11-yard grab in the back of the end zone on which he initially bobbled the one-handed attempt, then gained control while getting two feet in to give the Seahawks their first lead of the game. Metcalf also drew the pass interference penalty on the final drive to set up the game winning score, and he may have scored the winner himself had he not been tackled on that play.
4. Boye Mafe and the pass rush showed up in a big way.
Second-year outside linebacker Boye Mafe had a franchise-record streak of seven games with a sack earlier this season, but with teams paying more attention to him with double team and extra blockers chipping him, his production cooled off, and Mafe went five games without a sack.
Mafe got back in the sack column on Sunday, recording two of Seattle's six sacks on a day where the pass rush was a big factor for the defense. Mafe's second sack came on the final drive of the game, causing the Titans to use their final timeout, then Dre'Mont Jones added a sack later in the drive to all but end the game.
5. Bobby Wagner had a big day.
More than a decade into his career, Bobby Wagner is still getting the job done at a high level, and he came through with another big day for the Seahawks on Sunday. In a physical matchup, Wagner led the way for Seattle's defense with 11 tackles, giving him 154 for the season. This is Wagner's fourth time in 12 seasons with 150 or more tackles. Wagner also added a sack and had a tackle for loss.
Check out some of the best action shots from Week 16 at the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on December 24, 2023. Game action photos are presented by Washington's Lottery.