There will be no grand conclusions drawn here from this Seahawks’ win, no matter how decisive, encouraging and galvanizing it might have appeared.
One must temper any excessive enthusiasm brought about by this 40-3 Seattle romp at Lumen Field by remembering it occurred against the now 0-13 Jets. They proved Sunday they aren’t as good as their record would indicate.
One of the downsides of playing a really bad team like the Jets — and they are breathtakingly bad — is that you get little credit for the good things, while the flaws tend to stand out glaringly.
Fortunately for the Seahawks, there wasn’t much to complain about in a game that prompted coach Pete Carroll to say afterward, “I’m just really fired up that at this time of year, we’re playing our best football.”
As a counterpoint, I would repeat two words, which are the linguistic equivalent of a cold shower: The Jets.
But with that disclaimer out of the way, dominating a game on both sides of the ball as Seattle did certainly beats the alternative.
Even if it’s achieved against the team pursuing the No. 1 draft pick with a single-minded purpose that is aided by a rare confluence of incompetent leadership, subpar talent and waning motivation.
“If you play a team that’s struggling, you should be able to win handily,’’ Carroll said. “We were able to do that today, and that’s a statement about everybody connected, everybody tuned in. I’m really pleased to get that done.”
Indeed, it was something they couldn’t do last week against another seemingly inferior team, though the 2020 Giants are the 1972 Dolphins compared to these Jets.
That Giants loss elicited some of the most bracing criticism of Russell Wilson’s career — deservedly so, after a performance that was jarring in how off-kilter he seemed.
Wilson responded Sunday with a clean, efficient, highly productive performance against the Jets. He completed 21 of 27 passes for 206 yards and four touchdowns (to four different receivers).
It’s the fifth time this year he’s had four TD passes in a game; according to ESPN Stats and Info, only 2013 Peyton Manning and 2018 Patrick Mahomes have had more such games in a single season in the past 10 years.
It brought Wilson’s season touchdown total to 36 — a career-high with three games to play.
He also established a career high in interceptions with his 12th, but that came on the sort of 50-50 ball downfield to DK Metcalf that is worth the risk.
Jets safety Marcus Maye simply made a great play in fending off Metcalf and tipping it to himself.
Far more times than not, Metcalf will come down with the ball, or at least make sure no one does.
Overall, this was a more assured, snappier version of Wilson, playing with tempo as he executed their game plan of short and intermediate passes to near-perfection. He wasn’t sacked for the first time all year (after getting brought down five times last week) and had a QB rating of 122.6.
At the risk of belaboring the Russell cooking metaphors (I know, way too late for that), this wasn’t an extravagant multicourse meal but rather some dainty but exquisitely crafted finger food.
“I don’t really worry about the scrutiny,” Wilson said. “It’s part of the job when you want to be the best in the world. If you don’t have the best day, people are going to say you’re not the best in the world that day. … If anyone is a critic, it’s me more than anything else because I always want to be the best.”
Said Carroll: “Russ is a great competitor; he’s a world-class competitor, and he’s going to bounce back, so I’m not surprised by it. I’m glad that he had a really great game today. We really are kicking into this fourth-quarter thing here and we want to play great football right now as we finish the season off. He needs to do his part just as everybody does. And so I’m really glad that he was able to have a day like that.”
What really animated Carroll, however, was the play of the Seattle defense, which held the Jets to just 185 yards overall. Just 20 of that came in the second half, a particularly noteworthy display of ineptitude when you consider the Seahawks pulled most of their starters late in the third quarter.
Take that with an Everest-sized mountain of salt; the Jets rank last in the NFL in total yards and points per game.
But considering that the Seahawks have been trending in the right direction on defense for a while now, Carroll’s enthusiasm won’t be softened (at least too much) by the level of opponent.
“There are a lot of guys (on defense) that are really playing like crazy together,’’ he said. “It’s going to make a difference if we’re going to have a chance to do something special this year. It’s going to be because the defense has really turned it around to put us in this kind of position.”
It was a game that restored a semblance of balance to the Seahawks’ world, which was thrown off its axis in last week’s loss.
Perhaps related, they also restored balance to their offensive attack, which featured 236 yards through the air and 174 on the ground.
Carroll got almost dreamy as he waxed lyrical over the fierce running of Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde.
“That’s exactly the message we want to send, the style we want to play with,’’ he said. “I’m in heaven. Man, I love it. This is the way we’d like to ball. … It’s Seahawk football.”
No, not even the Jets were going to cool his jets.