RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Mapping out the Seattle Seahawks schedule before the season began, sitting at 3-1 heading into the bye week appeared the optimal outcome.
And that’s precisely where the Seahawks sit, even if the route wandered a bit getting to that mark.
“We’re finishing the first quarter of the schedule. So, with a lot of hope and looking toward the future, and developing the young guys, seeing them able to play a role for us just gives us the confidence that we’re going to keep getting better,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “So, we’re not a finished product, we’re just getting rolling.”
Seattle won its third straight game on Monday night with a 24-3 thumping of the New York Giants where the defense grabbed the spotlight, highlighting the different ways the Seahawks have reached their mark through four games.
It was Seattle’s offense that carried it to a 37-31 overtime win over Detroit in Week 2. Week 3 was a mix of strong special teams, solid run defense and a big second half offensively.
And Monday night was a showcase of what Seattle’s defense could be, taking advantage of a beleaguered New York offensive line to match a franchise record with 11 sacks and hold the Giants to three points.
Take away a dud performance in the season opener at home against the Los Angeles Rams and the Seahawks have flashed at times the qualities that made them a trendy preseason pick to contend with San Francisco in the NFC West.
“We screwed up the freaking second half of the first game and I haven’t forgiven myself for that,” Carroll said. “The Rams have done a nice job since then, they’ve played good football. But we just didn’t play the second half like all the rest of these halves. This is the way we are supposed to finish.”
Seattle offensive line coach Andy Dickerson deserves significant recognition for what he’s done piecing together a functioning group the past few weeks. At one point on Monday, Seattle was down four of its five starting offensive linemen from the season opener.
Tackles Charles Cross and Abe Lucas have been out since Week 1. And guards Phil Haynes and Damien Lewis both suffered injuries on Monday, meaning rookies Olu Oluwatimi and Anthony Bradford were called into action.
Using tight ends and running backs to help, the group did their job. Geno Smith was sacked twice, but the Giants had just three QB hits.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
Third downs still aren’t great on either side of the ball. The Seahawks are converting just 29% of their third downs and giving up 52% conversions on defense for the season. Seattle was just 3 of 12 converting its third down chances against the Giants, while New York hit on 6 of 16 attempts against the Seahawks.
There was plenty of debate about Seattle’s decision to take cornerback Devon Witherspoon with the fifth overall pick. Why would Seattle need another defensive back instead of addressing the interior of its defensive line?
All it took was a national stage for Witherspoon to show the talent that led the Seahawks to making that selection. Witherspoon was OK in coverage in Weeks 2 and 3, but facing the Giants allowed his physical nature to show. He hit in the run game. He blitzed off the edge and finished with two sacks. And he showed his natural speed taking an interception back 97 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.
“That was an incredible moment for me. First career pick was a pick-6 on ‘Monday Night Football.’ It doesn’t get any better,” Witherspoon said.
Jason Myers continues to be shaky in the kicking game. Myers was 1 of 2 on Monday, hitting from 34 yards but missed from 53 yards. Myers already has more misses this season (four) than he had last season when he went 34 of 37. Myers was 10 of 12 from 40 yards or beyond last season; he’s 2 of 5 this season.
Seattle has a rather long injury list coming out of Monday’s win, which makes the timing of the bye week important. But none of the injuries appears to be long term.
Jamal Adams left in the first quarter of his first game in more than a year with a concussion. Right guard Phil Haynes aggravated a calf injury, Jarran Reed injured his shin and left guard Damien Lewis sprained his ankle.
11 — Seattle’s 11 sacks matched the franchise record set on Dec. 8, 1986, in a 37-0 win over the Los Angeles Raiders. It was the most sacks for Seattle since having eight on Sept. 24, 2012, against Green Bay. That game was also on a Monday night and became known as the “Fail Mary” game.
Having an early bye week seemed like a hinderance initially for Seattle, but with the amount of injuries the Seahawks are facing the early bye is now a major benefit. After the week off, the Seahawks will be at Cincinnati in Week 6.
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Tim Booth, The Associated Press