DETROIT—The Seahawks and Lions traded scores all afternoon, but in the end Seattle had just a little more firepower, and was also capitalize on two big defensive plays by rookies, and it all added up to a thrilling 48-45 win over the Lions at Ford Field.
In improving to 2-2, the Seahawks once again showed that their Geno Smith offense can put up some big numbers and a lot of points, but they also showed that they still have a lot to clean up on defense, as both teams eclipsed 500 yards of offense.
Here are six rapid reactions to a wild Seahawks victory, which for those who care about such things, was also a scorigami, meaning 48-45 is a score that had never before happened in an NFL game:
1. Geno Smith just keeps getting the job done.
Geno Smith’s play through three games has been one of the bright spots of this season so far, and on Sunday he turned in his best performance yet. As was the case in two of Seattle’s first three games, Smith and the offense got off to a quick start, scoring touchdowns on both of their first two possessions, and he stayed hot throughout the game.
Leading an offensive attack that gained 555 yards, averaged 8.8 yards per play, and didn’t punt all day, Smith completed 23 of 30 pass attempts for 320 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions, giving him a passer rating of 132.6. Smith, who had 325 yards last week, posted back-to-back 300-yard games for the first time in his career.
And Smith wasn’t just effective as a passer, he also made big plays with his legs, rushing for 49 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. Smith’s runs came in big moments too, with one being a 17-yard scramble on third-and-7, one being a touchdown run, one being a run on second-and-long that got Seattle into field goal range, and one a 10-yard gain on second-and-9 on to help extend a drive that ended with a Jason Myers field goal.
2. DK Metcalf had a huge day.
Coming into the game, there was a lot of talk about the matchup between DK Metcalf and Lions cornerback Jeff Okudah, who is off to a strong start this season.
And while Okudah made some plays, including a pass breakup on a ball to Metcalf, it was Metcalf who had a huge day, catching seven passes for a season-high 49 yards, a day that included two long catches down the sideline with Okudah in coverage, including a 55-yard catch-and-run that set up a touchdown
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3. Tariq Woolen keeps making bit plays.
Tariq Woolen has played in only four NFL games, yet he already has three pretty big plays on his resume, with the biggest one coming on Sunday.
With the Lions opening the second half with the ball, Woolen made an outstanding play on the first play of the half, intercepting a Jared Goff pass and returning it 40 yards for a score. It was the type of play Woolen has made in practice that Pete Carroll has raved about with discussing the rookie, one that very few players can make, using his speed to come from the back side of the play to intercept a ball that quarterbacks aren’t expecting him to be able to get to.
4. Fellow rookie CB Coby Bryant also forced a big turnover.
While Woolen’s play was one of the biggest highlights of the game, it wasn’t the only big play made by a rookie defensive back that led to a Seahawks score. Prior to Woolen’s pick, fellow rookie corner Coby Bryant came up with a forced fumble—one that earned praise on Twitter from none other than Seahawks Legend Kam Chancellor—that was recovered by linebacker Jordyn Brooks.
That play, along with he aforementioned 55-yard Metcalf catch, set up a Smith-to-Noah Fant touchdown.
5. Rashaad Penny went off in the second half.
When the Seahawks beat the Lions late last season, Rashaad Penny had a monster game, rushing for 170 yards on 25 carries. Halfway through Sunday’s game, it didn’t look like Penny was in for another big game—he gained eight yards on five carries—but in the second half Penny looked every bit as good as he did late last season when he was putting up huge numbers on a weekly basis.
Despite that quiet first half, Penny finished the game with 151 yards on 17 carries, including two long touchdown runs on third down, a 36-yard score on third-and-16 late in the third quarter, and a 41-yarder on third-and-5 late in the fourth quarter to give the Seahawks a much-needed cushion against a Lions offense that kept responding to Seattle scores. Penny also put the game away with a 7-yard run on third-and-5, forcing Detroit to use its final timeout and allowing the Seahawks to run down the clock.
6. Seattle’s defense started better, but big plays are still an issue.
A Seahawks defense that struggled in last week’s loss was looking to show signs of improvement in Week 4, and sure enough, that unit forced and three-and-out the first time it was on the field. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, Tyler Lockett fumbled the ensuing punt, and the Lions immediately scored on a 32-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Hockinson. That big play was a sign of things to come for a defense that, despite showing some signs of improvement, continued to give up far too many big plays.
Most notable were two second-half plays that allowed the Lions to stay in the game despite all the Seahawks were doing on offense. First, Jamaal Williams broke multiple tackles on is way to a 51-yard touchdown run, then on Detroit’s next possession, Hockinson went 81 yards, with more missed tackles, to set up another Lions touchdown.
Other than that run, the Seahawks did a pretty good job containing Williams, but then again, a 51-yard touchdown run is a pretty big “other than” when evaluating the defense’s performance.
The Seahawks had a particularly hard time with Hockenson, who had eight catches for 179 yards and two scores on a day the Lions were missing some of their top offensive players.