By John Breech CBS Sports
Seahawks fans spent their entire offseason trying to convince Seattle’s coaching staff to “Let Russ Cook,” and based on Sunday’s opener in Atlanta, it appears that the team finally decided to let Russell Wilson in the kitchen.
The “Let Russ Cook” mantra started because Wilson and the Seattle fanbase wanted to see the quarterback throw more this year, and that’s exactly what happened against the Falcons during the Seahawks’ dominating 38-25 win.
Wilson had one of the most efficient games of his career, going 31 of 35 for 322 yards and four touchdowns. Since Wilson had the hot hand, the Seahawks did something they almost never do, basically giving up on the run as they finished the game with just 20 carries, which is notable because the Seahawks never give up on the run. The win over Atlanta marked just the fourth time in Wilson’s career that the Seahawks have run the ball 20 or fewer times in a game where he threw it 35 times or more.
Even though the Seahawks weren’t running the ball, they did still utilize their running backs by calling plenty of screen plays. As a matter of fact, running back Chris Carson actually caught two of Wilson’s four touchdown passes, including a 19-yarder late in the first quarter.
Overall, Carson caught six passes for 45 yards in a game where he also tacked on 21 rushing yards.
As for Wilson, the amazing thing about his performance is that if you don’t count his throws to DK Metcalf, he actually had a perfect game. Although he was just 4 of 8 while targeting Metcalf, he was 27 of 27 for 227 yards and three touchdowns while targeting everyone else. Of course, that doesn’t mean the Metcalf-Wilson connection wasn’t working. The Seahawks second-year receiver actually caught a 38-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter that put Seattle up 21-12.
For the past few years, the Seahawks have been running their offense like a power-running team that has a game manager for a quarterback, but the reality of the situation is that they have one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. If they let him spend more time in the kitchen this season so he can keep cooking, the Seahawks could quickly turn into the favorite to win the NFC West.
Seattle 38-25 Atlanta
|Russell Wilson will get most of the credit for this win — and he should — but the Seahawks also got a lot of help from their bend-but-don’t-break defense. The Seahawks didn’t do a great job of slowing down Matt Ryan — they surrendered 506 yards — but they did come up with several clutch plays when they had to have them. Not only did they stop the Falcons on four different fourth-down attempts, but they also forced two turnovers in the second half with a fumble recovery and an interception. The Seahawks have now somehow won four straight regular season games where they gave up 500 or more yards.|
|No team shoots themselves in the foot better than the Atlanta Falcons, and that’s exactly what they did in this game. Although the Falcons put up some impressive numbers on offense (506 total yards), they just couldn’t come through on any clutch plays. Not only did they go 0 for 4 on fourth-down conversions, they also fumbled the ball away on a fake punt that they would have converted if the fumble didn’t happen. Their defense also had no idea how to stop Russell Wilson.|
Baltimore 38-6 over Cleveland
|There were going to be miscues here and there for a team that is integrating a new coaching staff and scheme. However, the magnitude of those errors were both surprising and concerning. There are 22 starters on the field for any team; only two (David Njoku and Jarvis Landry) had even an “alright” game for the Browns. It will be a long season for Cleveland unless the team gets out of its own way. The Browns threw a pick, failed on a fake punt and missed an extra point in the first half, and things only got worse after that.|
|There is always room for improvement, but it is tough to find what to criticize about this Ravens team. Lamar Jackson was just as spectacular as ever whereas newly acquired Calais Campbell looked like he had been with the organization for several years. Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews took another step forward, and now J.K. Dobbins looks as though he will be a big contributor after a game where he scored two of Baltimore’s five touchdowns.|