Initially, after Janikowski’s game-winner went through the uprights, I went blank; relieved, surely, but also in acute shock that the Seattle Seahawks had even been in a position to win in the first place. Hours after digestion, it slowly sunk in how important Sunday’s victory over the Carolina Panthers was in the big picture; not just for NFC Wild Card implications, but for a few reasons.
The Seahawks got a big monkey off of their backs in Charlotte, tallying their first quality victory versus a club with a record over .500. This had been the biggest unchecked box since Seattle reclaimed their offensive identify, making the Week 12 clash all the more interesting. Sunday was the first time all season in which Seattle rushed for under 100 yards as a team and won. Against quality opponents, Seattle has failed time and time again at closing the door in one score games. In this instance though, Russell Wilson would shut it forcefully, dropping his first 300 yard passing game all season.
Seattle’s defense had no answer for Christian McCaffrey, who logged his most productive game as a professional. Carolina’s gameplan was exactly as it had been all year, and, despite a week of preparation, it felt like the Seahawks were giving up chunk plays every other rep. They’d get no help in the luck department either. With seemingly a fumble on every defensive series, the ball would bounce or slip right back into the hands of a Panther. However, it’s not all negative marks for the defense, because the play of the game, in my opinion, was Bradley McDougald’s acrobatic interception.
Four of Seattle’s six wins have quietly come on the road. This team has proved to themselves that they can win unconventionally, beating a quality opponent even when they have to go “off-script” from the gameplan. There was much to be annoyed about and plenty that needs to clean up, but also a lot to enjoy.
Seattle has now logged back-to-back wins against NFC Wild Card contenders, giving them the edge in tie-breaker scenarios against both the Packers and Panthers. The Seahawks turn their sights toward finishing the season playing four of their last five games at home. The last road opponent? A battered 49ers team who has set their sights on offseason vacations.
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