Russell Wilson’s MVP-Like Start Among Seahawks-Rams First Half Observations
The Seahawks took a 14-13 lead into halftime with Russell Wilson the star of the show, demonstrating the kind of brilliant (and timely) play that should earn him some All-Pro and perhaps even MVP buzz now that some of the mainstream media throughout the country are paying attention to what looks like a Seahawks squad potentially on the verge of a magical season.
Wilson's stellar first half - he was 10/13 for 190 yards and two touchdowns - was the obvious initial takeaway.
But here are a few more...
Seahawks take first punch on the chin but… remain standing
The Rams won the coin toss and elected to defer to the second half, giving Wilson and the Seahawks offense the first opportunity with the ball.
Disaster struck just 1:13 into the game, however, when Seahawks’ wide receiver Jaron Brown had the football ripped out of his arms by Rams’ defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman. Officials initially ruled that Brown had reached the sideline before the ball came free but replay proved otherwise with former University of Washington cornerback Marcus Peters recovering the fumble. Had the officials not called the play dead, Peters might have had a chance at returning the ball, though he was quickly swallowed up by his former UW teammate, Will Dissly.
Fortunately for Brown and the Seahawks offense, the defense was up to the challenge of the short field, holding the Rams to a three and out before Greg “The Leg” Zuerlein lived up to his nickname by easily converting a 47-yard field goal to give the Rams an early 3-0 lead before players really had a chance to break a sweat.
Russell Wilson to Tyler Lockett is pure magic
One of the prettiest throw-and-catch combinations you’ll ever see (assuming you are not a Rams fan) provided the Seahawks with a resounding answer to Zuerlein’s two field goals and gave the Seahawks a 7-6 lead as the first quarter ended.
Showing the remarkable spatial awareness and mobility which has characterized his eight-year career, Wilson bought time in a cloudy pocket while keeping his eyes downfield. Lockett was just as special on the play, refusing to give up and creating space where there appeared to be none.
With rain clouds gathering, Wilson provided the perfect rainbow, dropping a pearl into the left corner of the end zone where only his receiver – if he dragged his feet – could get it.
That is precisely what Lockett did, showing the footwork, soft hands and resiliency that would have made Hall of Famer Steve Largent proud. Largent, of course, attended the game, along with many of the other Seahawks legends on hand as the late Paul G. Allen was inducted into the Seahawks Ring of Honor.
How improbable was this connection. Take a look for yourself.
Jamarco Jones replaces D.J. Fluker (hamstring)… and pass protection improves?
It isn’t often that backups perform better than the starters but that was the case in the second quarter when top backup offensive tackle Jamarco Jones was pushed into duty with starting right guard D.J. Fluker suffering a hamstring strain.
For as effective (and inspirational) as Fluker has been for the Seahawks, the 6-5, 340+ pounder is much better using his girth and power in the running game than in pass protection. The 6-4, 293 pound Jones, on the other hand, is quicker and that switch-up actually appeared to help Seattle manage a Rams’ pass rush that had previously been dominating the game.
Jones slipped to the fifth round of the 2018 draft amid questions about his best fit in the NFL after standing out at offensive tackle for Ohio State, one of the elite producers of pro talent in college football. The Seahawks were very impressed with his play last year before he suffered an ankle injury during the preseason last year that put him on Injured Reserve.
Seahawks Defense Earns the Last Word
Wilson was magical in the first half, dazzling with his mobility and throwing strikes to Lockett and rookie D.K. Metcalf for highlight-reel worthy touchdowns but the true MVP of the first half would have to be the Seahawks defense, who bottled up the one of the league’s most explosive offenses to just one trip to the end zone.
Critics will, no doubt, point out that Jared Goff got hot late and Todd Gurley looked like his former All-Pro self, at times during the first 30 minutes but reliable tackling, timely pass breakups and frequent substitutions by defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr. helped Seattle carry a slim one-point 14-13 lead into halftime.