After Russell Wilson and his receivers lit up the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1, surely the offense would come back to earth a bit against the New England Patriots, right?
After all, New England led the NFL in total defense in 2019, scoring defense, interceptions, touchdown passes allowed and opponent passer rating, and were No. 2 in passing yards allowed. And yes, the Patriots did lose some key pieces to their defense in the offseason, but they still are led by arguably the greatest coach of al time, and have a playmaking secondary that recorded three interceptions last week, a unit led by reigning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore.
Even if the Seahawks were going to have success on offense, they'd have to do a lot more damage on the ground, right?
Well, the Seahawks did run the ball with more success on Sunday, gaining 154 yards on 30 carries, but even against an elite secondary, Wilson and his weapons were nearly unstoppable in Sunday night's 35-30 win over the Patriots.
Wilson had his second pass of the game bounce off the hands of Greg Olsen and right to Devin McCourty for a pick-6, but was nearly flawless after that, finishing the day 21 for 28 for 288 yards, a career-high tying five touchdowns and a 132.1 passer rating. Wilson, who had four touchdowns last week, threw four or more touchdown passes in consecutive games for the first time in his career, and all five touchdowns Sunday were scored by different players: Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, David Moore, Freddie Swain and Chris Carson.
"Against a really, really difficult defense to deal with—they have historically been really a problem—Russ had a terrific night again," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "And the pass protection was excellent for us all night long, handling all of the stunts and the pressures and the different things that they do, the variety of things they do. So a really big night for us to handle those kinds of problems. Russ threw five touchdown passes tonight. You can just see that he is really in command of what we're doing, and his receivers came through beautifully. There were so many big plays and great catches—DK's bomb, the one to David Moore, the great catch that David Moore made on a third down play, where he took the ball off the top of the grass. So many guys—Tyler had a good game, we got Chris again in the end zone on a big play, on a great throw and catch and route and all of that. The throwing game was really alive."
Particularly impressive was the game had by Metcalf, who was shadowed by Gilmore for most of the game. Gilmore did not allow a touchdown reception on 104 targets last season according to NFL Next Gen Stats, but Metcalf got a step on him in the second quarter, Wilson lofted a perfect deep ball, and the result was a 54-yard touchdown that was part of a four-catch, 92-yard game for Metcalf.
"It was a good opportunity for me," Metcalf said. "He made the matchup difficult in my opinion. He's a great defender, my hat's off to him. He made us go into some play calls where we had to really look at what they had. Hat's off to the game he played tonight. Really a physical DB and I'm blessed to have the opportunity to go against him."
Said Carroll, "I thought it was a really fun matchup to watch. They were battling right from the get-go, almost duking it out right off the bat. They were so hyped to go at one another. DK played a great game; made some great plays. The touchdown pass that he and Russ hooked up on, it was maybe as perfect as the one they hit last week. A fantastic play and a great night. I thought DK really competed."
Metcalf and Gilmore consistently were going at it up to and at times after the snap, but Metcalf had nothing but respect after the game for the challenges the All-Pro cornerback presented.
"That was probably the most physical I've been with any DB in my whole career," Metcalf said. "Even counting last year. I would say that was probably the toughest matchup, not just him, but the McCourty twins, J.C. Jackson, they all brought it tonight."
The Patriots are known for the difficult man coverage, and both Metcalf and Carroll said Seattle's defense did a great job in practice this week getting the offense ready for that challenge.
"We played man-for-man the whole time (in practice) and really called on the matchups to be physical, and use the style and the way that they play with, and the things about their play," Carroll said. "We really did, we made a concerted effort to try to get them ready for the mentality of it and our guys answered the call. They did great."
The best photos from Week 2's Seahawks-Patriots matchup on Sunday Night Football at CenturyLink Field. Presented by Nesquik.