All night long, Russell Wilson cooked. After throwing an interception on his first drive of the night, Wilson responded by throwing not one, not two, but five touchdown passes against the New England Patriots defense. He found Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, David Moore, Freddie Swain, and Chris Carson for end zone trips, continuing his lightning-hot start to the season.
For most of the evening, Cam Newton matched him shot for shot. A week after throwing only 19 times against the Dolphins, Newton unfurled 44 passes in this one. Like Wilson, he made just one mistake, an interception. He threw for 397 yards and a score, peppering Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, and Damiere Byrd with targets all night. He ran for two scores as well, and looked damn near unstoppable in short yardage.
Unstoppable, of course, except for two crucial plays. Newton was stopped on a quarterback power run on a two-point conversion attempt in the fourth quarter, and then again on the goal line with three seconds left. The Seahawks’ goal line stand allowed them to prevail on Sunday night, 35-30.
Why the Seahawks won
Have you seen their quarterback? Russell Wilson has been a premier passer for a long time, but he’s on a legitimate MVP pace to start this year, Sunday night included. The Patriots’ respected secondary was no match for No. 3’s perfectly placed deep ball, and guys like DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and David Moore stepped up with highlight-reel plays to help out — Metcalf putting on a clinic against Stephon Gilmore and Moore making an acrobatic adjustment on a beauty of a big-play score.
Seriously, there’s no bigger reason for Seattle’s prime-time victory: Wilson was everything he needed to be and then some. No one in the NFL is throwing the ball like him right now.
On the other side of things, Seattle was by no means perfect, but the tenacity was certainly there, with Jamal Adams and Co. bringing all kinds of energy to limit New England’s ground game outside of Cam Newton. That physicality was never more obvious than on the final play of the game, with Newton stuffed at the 1-yard line.
Why the Patriots lost
You can’t really fault them for bowing at the arm of Wilson, at least to some degree. But you can fault them for getting cute with offensive play calls down the stretch. Josh McDaniels deserves a lot of credit for utilizing Newton’s creatively in the red zone, deploying him as both a battering ram and decoy (see: Jakob Johnson’s surprise TD catch), but Newton also showed enough as a mid- to long-range passer on Sunday night not to be neutered by pitch plays on crucial late-game downs. It didn’t help that Newton was the only actual rushing threat for the entire night.
Does Cam deserve blame for his momentum-shifting interception? Sure. But he wasn’t even close to one of the top five issues against Seattle. On second thought, maybe New England really did lose because of its “vaunted” defensive backfield. Cam, after all, can’t be held responsible for the Pats giving up five TDs through the air despite a hot start on a Wilson pick-six.
The Patriots were only down 21-17 with just under five minutes left in the third quarter, and after four straight completions, the Seahawks completely reversed the momentum of New England’s drive by reading Newton from the snap and picking him off thanks to a great jump by Quinton Dunbar on Damiere Byrd’s route. After the interception, Seattle proceeded to go up 28-17 and carry its lead all the way to the finish line.
Play of the game
Newton had his fair share of dimes, and we already know Wilson did as well. But none of them were better than Russ’s 38-yard floater to David Moore, who somehow hauled in Wilson’s perfect arc of a pass while entering the end zone backwards:
The Seahawks (2-0) will host their second straight home game in Week 3 when they welcome the Dallas Cowboys (1-1), who are fresh off a wild shootout win over the Atlanta Falcons. The Patriots (1-1), meanwhile, will return home for a showdown with the Las Vegas Raiders (1-0), who will have a slightly shorter week following Monday night’s battle with the New Orleans Saints.