Seahawks improve to 5-0 at home, trounce Jets
From across the locker room, the shouts toward Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson were clearly heard.
"Golden is coming for your job!" Back on a roll heading into their bye week, Wilson isn't the only one throwing touchdowns for the Seahawks. Even receivers like Golden Tate are getting in on the fun.
Wilson tossed two TDs, before Tate's shot put TD pass to Sidney Rice late in the fourth quarter capped the Seahawks' 28-7 rout of the New York Jets on Sunday.
Tate's 23-yard TD toss to Rice was punctuated by the receiver taking a bow to three sides of CenturyLink Field. It might as well have been a collective bow by the entire Seahawks sideline after a dominant second half.
"We hung tough. We weren't playing very well early and some things happened and we hung tough and kept punching away at it," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "We finally put together a real good finish."
Marshawn Lynch added 124 yards rushing and a 1-yard TD plunge as the Seahawks (6-4) won their second straight, improved to 5-0 at home and sent the Jets to their worst start since 2007. Lynch also topped 1,000 yards for the season on an 18-yard run, bouncing off tacklers late in the fourth quarter. He has 1,005 for the season.
"It's hard to get 1,000 yards in this league. I'm happy for Marshawn. He congratulated me, and I'm like, 'No, congratulations to you.' That's just the kind of guy he is," Seattle fullback Michael Robinson said. "He understands it takes all 11 guys to run the ball in this league."
Wilson was harried for much of the day by the multiple looks from the Jets' defense. But the Seattle rookie responded with key throws, hitting Tate for a 38-yard TD on Seattle's opening drive, then connecting with Rice early in the fourth quarter to give Seattle a two-score advantage.
Then came Seattle's closing act. After a penalty wiped out another TD run from Lynch that left Antonio Cromartie buckled and grabbing at air, the Seahawks went into their bag of tricks. Facing first-and-goal at the 23, Wilson handed off to Tate. His windup was methodical and his heave wasn't the prettiest, but the spiral found Rice in the back of the end zone.
The Seahawks ran the play in their walkthrough Saturday, where Tate threw what was politely described as a "duck." It wasn't much prettier a day later, but the result was perfect.
"It was slow, he fumbled with it. He almost wanted to hand it to him, you could tell he was just guiding it to him," said Robinson, a former quarterback at Penn State. "But he did a great job."
Wilson finished 12 of 19 for 188 yards and still has not thrown an interception at home. His only mistake was holding the ball too long on a first-quarter sack that resulted in the Jets' only score on Muhammad Wilkerson's fumble return for a touchdown.
Rice had just two receptions, but both went for touchdowns. He also had a critique for his fellow receiver.
"After it left his hands it was beautiful," Rice said. "Before that it was suspect."
While the pass game provided many of Seattle's highlights, it was a recommitment to the run at halftime that was behind the Seahawks dominant second half. Lynch had 85 yards on 13 carries in the second half after assistant head coach Tom Cable told his offensive line at halftime they were going to pound the ball with the Seahawks bruising back.
"I don't think we did anything special. We just fit our blocks better and focused on the basics," Seattle offensive lineman John Moffitt said.
Mark Sanchez struggled in his meeting against Seattle coach Pete Carroll, his former coach at USC. Sanchez threw a costly interception at the goal line in the first half, then fumbled at the Seattle 32 on a blitz from Richard Sherman, and Seattle's Jason Jones recovered in the fourth quarter.
Sanchez finished 9 of 22 for 124 yards. Tim Tebow ran four times for 14 yards, and was 3-of-3 passing for 8 yards. But Tebow was of no help to the offense.
"I don't know how many more losses you can spot somebody before you think can make the playoffs," Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "It's about a two percent chance at making the playoffs with the record we have and we are going to take that shot."
The Jets finished with just 185 total yards and only 72 in the second half. It's the second time this season the Jets were held under 200 yards of offense.
"Just being mean. Bottom line, that's how we played today," Seattle defensive end Red Bryant said.
Wilkerson's fumble return for a touchdown was the first against the Seahawks since 2009. Seattle's problems keeping possession weren't done. Lynch fumbled on the first play of the second quarter at the New York 40, his first lost fumble in a year. Lynch sat on the bench with his headband pulled over his face in disgust.
Lynch's fumble nearly became the turning point for the Jets. Tebow converted third-down with a 3-yard keeper, then Sanchez found Jeremy Kerley for 43 yards to the Seattle 7 on a blown coverage.
But on third-and-goal Sherman baited Sanchez into throwing across the field, where the Seahawks cornerback stepped in to steal his fourth interception of the season.
Sherman's sack in the fourth quarter was the first of his career. The Seahawks also got a key turnover when Kerley muffed a punt that was recovered by Kam Chancellor. Seattle capitalized on the turnover and took a 14-7 lead at halftime on Lynch's 1-yard plunge.
And at 6-4 heading in to their bye, the Seahawks know they're in the middle of the NFC playoff chase.
"I think we have the ability to take off right now," Wilson said.
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