With the first two weeks of the 2020 NFL season behind them, the undefeated Seattle Seahawks stand toe to toe with just about any team in the league. Not just because of the two wins, but also the high-octane passing way the Hawks have earned those victories. It’s been transcendent.
We Seahawks fans have been fortunate (and appropriately grateful) to have quarterback Russell Wilson leading our team for eight spectacular seasons. But we’ve also always wished to see his ceiling season. How good is he really?
Well, after yet another offseason filled with fans calling for a more pass-heavy offense, it appears our wishes have been granted. Again, it’s only two games, but this is what it looks like when the Hawks #LetRussCook in earnest.
It started in Atlanta against the Falcons. The Seahawks unleashed their new attack with Wilson completing 31/35 passes for 322 yards (3/29 rushing) and 4 touchdowns in the 38-25 win. The offense was ferocious in its efficiency, taking advantage of Wilson’s well-tested down-field accuracy for unrelenting success. And yet, some questioned the value of the win over a med-level opponent.
As if any win in the NFL isn’t earned on every snap by 11 players giving maximum effort… But okay.
Week two found the Seahawks in Seattle on Sunday Night Football, aka, Sports Church. Under those bright CenturyLink Field lights America witnessed our Hawks battle the New England Patriots and won an epic goal-line stand 35-30 victory.
Wilson was astonishing yet again, completing 21/28 throws for 288 yards (5/39 rushing), 5 touchdowns and 1 inter-Olsen. Even more exciting, it was a more balanced offense, with running back Chris Carson getting 17 carries for 72 yards, plus 3/26 and a touchdown through the air. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer called a great game, pushing the New England defense all over the field and attacking the weak points.
Actually, they attacked the strong points too!
Second-year superstar-in-the-making wide receiver D.K. Metcalf was matched up against reigning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore for most of the game, but the youngster showed off his talent by hauling in 4 passes for 92 yards and a highlight-reel-worthy 54-yard touchdown. Before the game Gilmore led the NFL in targets (104) without allowing a TD since the start of 2019. Not after he played the Seahawks.
The game was a rollercoaster ride all night; starting from a low opening-drive pick-6 to a slowly rising 14-point first half that builds to a monster 21-point second half that finally peaks with a Patriots comeback drive… But then, for what felt like an eternity, sports fans everywhere were caught in a simultaneous moment of suspension before plunging down towards a Pats one-yard-line attempt as time expired, to an ultimately successful Seahawks stand to finish the ride.
It was a cosmic twist of fate to hang the game on the one-yard-line, as that’s where Super Bowl XLIX was lost five years ago, to head coach Bill Belichick and his Patriots. Raising the stakes even higher, new Patriots quarterback Cam Newton is known as one of the best short-yardage runners (particularly on the goal-line) in the NFL. He had already rushed in that exact same situation twice in the game, scoring on both plays. So, it was the expected play, but it was also their most effective.
But when gifted a third and final opportunity to defend the oncoming 6’5” and 245lb Newton, the Seahawks defense stood up to the challenge and truly earned their triumph.
If this had been a normal season with 72,000 fans screaming their lungs out before, during, and somehow even more afterward, it would’ve challenged for a spot on the Mt. Rushmore of ‘best defensive moments to witness’ from the head coach Pete Carroll era. Richard Sherman’s end zone deflection and Kam Chancellor’s sideline hit on Vernon Davis are on there for me. Maybe Bobby Wagner’s leaping field-goal deflection or Earl Thomas’s karate chop to save a touchdown are there too.
But SNF’s goal-line-stand-against-the-Patriots joins the Marshawn-Lynch-2019-goal-line-leaping-touchdown as two parts of the three-part Super Bowl redemption trifecta.
That provides amends to Beast Mode for not running it and proper justice to the Patriots who beat us. All that remains now is a second Super Bowl victory for Wilson on the Seahawks. Which brings us to…
This coming Sunday, the Seahawks will host the 1-1 Dallas Cowboys for an almost assured barnburner. In week one, America’s team lost to the Los Angeles Rams, and in week two, they pulled off a shocking and narrow comeback win over the previously mentioned mid-level Falcons.
Coming into the season, the Cowboys were named among those teams likely to win the NFC and make a Super Bowl appearance. However, with a new head coach, some quarterback contract issues, a few injuries, and a limited preseason to get everyone on the same page, the boys from Dallas haven’t looked all that formattable thus far.
We’ll see what happens on Sunday, but I’m expecting Wilson to shred the Dallas defense through the air while leaning on Carson to run them into the ground. Maybe something like a 33-24 final score, pushing the Hawks to 3-0 on the 2020 campaign.
The Cowboys have a decent offense, and they will put up points, but if we can contain running back Ezekiel Elliot and force quarterback Dak Prescott to throw, I believe our secondary is mostly up to the task. The Hawks had two key defensive injuries last week, but they have also seen improvement from others. Maybe this week we’ll get to see a pick-6 of our own from strong safety Jamal Adams, proving the tremendous value the Seahawks received when they traded for him.
For a moment, let’s assume a Seahawks win against the Cowboys. The following two weeks will see the Hawks fly east to face the Miami Dolphins and then return home for another sermon at Sports Church on SNF against the Minnesota Vikings. Both of those should be wins.
The Seahawks should be 5-0 before they face a divisional opponent, but even an immaculate record won’t protect you in the NFC West.
Beyond the “Russell Wilson – MVP” storyline, it’s the Seahawks quest to win the NFC West that will define this season. By far the toughest conference in the league, each of the NFC West teams packs its own powerful punch that must be taken seriously.
Without a conventional preseason, it was difficult to predict what each of the team would bring to bear, but now that we have two weeks in the books, we know a few things for certain.
The Los Angeles Rams have been better than expected through two weeks. The continuity of head coach Sean McVay, quarterback Jarod Goff, and pass-catching options Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and Tyler Higbee has clearly given the offense a solid foundation that can score. And their defense isn’t bad either, a few dynamic superstars, but mostly average players. The Rams are undefeated so far, but this week they go on the road to face the Buffalo Bills, and I think that winning streak is coming to an end.
The Arizona Cardinals have been excellent so far in 2020, primarily because of second-year quarterback, Kyler Murray. In the offseason, the Cardinals traded for superstar wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, but there were some questions about how well head coach Kliff Kingsbury could use him, given the young man behind center. Murray had a fine rookie season, but not all QBs take a leap forward in their second season. So far, though, as he’s been slicing and dicing defenses through the air and on the ground, showing an elite scrambling ability, it appears that he has. I view the Cardinals as the biggest threat to the Seahawks season.
The San Francisco 49ers have suffered tremendous misfortune this year, with a host of injuries sidelining key players for weeks if not the rest of the season. After appearing in the Super Bowl last year, many picked the 49ers as the likely team to win the NFC West and likely compete again for the Championship. But after so many catastrophic injuries, it’s hard to imagine the team finding any level of success this year. Don’t count them out just yet, but I think we can set the Seahawks vs 49ers rivalry—the best rivalry in sports—down until next year.
We’re only two weeks into the season, but so far, we’ve seen some incredible feats of football from the Seattle Seahawks.
Wilson and the offense look locked-in and dange-russ and the defense looks fast and promising, but maybe most importantly, Pete Carroll and Brian Schottenheimer are having success with this pass-heavy attack. In the National Football League, wins are hard to come by and if you’re smart, talented, and lucky-enough to find it, you hold on as long as possible. So, if Wilson dominates, the Hawks will pass more, so Wilson can dominate again, and so on.
But, first things first… Get a win this Sunday. This is our season to #LetRussCook. Go Hawks.