It’s not as dramatic as a pilgrimage to Lourdes, or a dip into the Ganges River, but a trip to CenturyLink Field nonetheless seems to cure whatever ails the Seattle Seahawks.
After two consecutive road losses, the Seahawks opened the second half of the season with a 30-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
“I thought it was the kind of day that we needed to start the second half,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We put a lot of pressure on our guys to play well today and get things done and get things going.”
It was the first of five CenturyLink appearances in the second half of the season for the Seahawks, now 5-4.
But after all the customary comments about every win being a good win, several Seahawks made it clear they were far from satisfied with the performance.
“It’s a great win,” defensive end Red Bryant said. “We knew we had to win, and we’re always happy with a win, but that (243 rushing yards for the Vikings) ... that hurts.”
The Seahawks have held opponents to a rushing average of 85 yards a game. Sunday, Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson picked up 182 yards on 17 carries.
“Adrian Peterson is an animal, he’s a beast,” Bryant said. “But we weren’t gap sound, and every guy is going to have to be honest with himself and look at this tape critically, and we’ll make the necessary corrections.”
The 30 points was Seattle’s highest output of the season, and the totals of 195 rushing yards and 198 yards passing showed a near-perfect balance. But some offensive players also were left wanting.
“We are going to watch the film, and there is going to be a ton of yards we left out there,” center Max Unger said. “It’s a pretty frustrating game to watch.”
The Seahawks ticked some important boxes with this win, particularly topping a quality NFC opponent (the Vikings were 5-3 coming in with wins over NFC West foes San Francisco and Arizona). They also protected a late 10-point lead, and showed improved efficiency in the red zone (four touchdowns in six trips) and in third-down defense (holding the Vikings to 3-of-10 conversions).
A comforting point was mentioned to cornerback Richard Sherman: There are no Adrian Petersons on any of the teams remaining on the schedule.
“I don’t think there’s another Adrian Peterson on the planet,” Sherman said. “He’s an incredible, one-of-a-kind player who does a great job breaking tackles and exploding after he does, and that’s what he did today.”
No one benefits more from the curative powers of CenturyLink than rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, whose three touchdown passes on Sunday lifted his home stats to nine touchdowns and zero interceptions. He has four touchdowns and eight picks on the road.
“I think the biggest thing playing here at CenturyLink is that the fans are unbelievable,” Wilson said. “The energy that they bring ... really lifts us up and helps.”
Wilson continued his incremental growth, gaining confidence with his throws whether in the pocket or on the run. He also strengthened his rapport with receivers, as his 17 completions went to eight different Seahawks. His elusiveness also contributed to several productive scrambles.
“I think the main thing is to continue to grow,” Wilson said. “Continue to focus on the little details.”
There’s where continued improvement lies.
“We’re gonna go back to work Monday and be real focused,” Bryant assured. “We’ve got a lot of great opportunities in front of us, and we’re movin’ in the right direction.”
“But I can’t wait to watch this tape,” he added, still shaking his head at the Vikings’ rushing yardage.
Because satisfaction is at the root of competitive complacency, it’s probably a good thing that so many of the Seahawks came away from Sunday’s win bothered by some of the obvious shortcomings.
But most importantly, this home-body team will benefit from another return to CenturyLink next week to host the New York Jets, and after that, they have games here against all three of their division rivals.
Let the healing continue.Dave Boling: 253-597-8440 firstname.lastname@example.org @DaveBoling