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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

John Blanchette: Payback proves sweet for Jamal Adams, rejuvenated Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks’ Jamal Adams and D.J. Reed (29) celebrate a missed field goal by the New York Jets during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Seattle.  (Associated Press)
By John Blanchette For The Spokesman-Review

The best revenge is living well and winning by 37 points, even if it’s over the New York Jets.

Now that’s vindication.

Who? For Jamal Adams? Who said anything about Jamal Adams?

This was Geno Smith’s payback game.

Remember, it was the Jets who jettisoned the man who’s now Seattle’s backup quarterback for, ugh, Ryan Fitzpatrick a few years back. So for Smith to get snaps – beginning in the third quarter, no less – now that’s living well. If only the Seahawks hadn’t gone all vanilla in the red zone and settled for a field goal when he was in there.

How about a meme to get the momentum going: Let Geno Cook.

And Pete Carroll – remember how the Jets done him wrong oh-so-many years ago? Sure, the owner that axed him is long deceased, and the New York radio hack who eviscerated him was chased into retirement after falling asleep on-air, but any get-back moment is special.

“It’s fun to beat your old team,” the Seahawks coach conceded. “That’s just the facts.”

And, OK, it was pretty good for Adams, too – though on Sunday the rancor that ran through the All-Pro safety’s off-season divorce from the Jets and eventual landing in Seattle was buried under bouquets.

That’s what winning 40-3 will bring out – everything from mirth to magnanimity.

How much meaning to draw from it, well, that’s another matter.

The victims were the LOL Jets – just the facts. They’re now 0-13 and likely as not to finish the season as the fifth winless NFL team in the Super Bowl era. Just a week earlier, they blew their best chance at victory when megalomaniacal (and now ex-) defensive coordinator Gregg Williams ordered up a full-on blitz in a prevent situation that resulted in a comically easy touchdown pass. On Sunday, their kicker missed three field goals in a fashion that suggested Charles Barkley off the tee.

So Russell Wilson rebounding from a week of rare criticism with a four-touchdown performance tied to a quicker short-passing game doesn’t deserve an asterisk, but maybe measured huzzahs. Same for the pop from Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde in the run game.

In some ways, flattening the Jets only underscores how emotionally ill-prepared Seattle was for the Giants a week ago.

Still, some things deserve a wider context than just this game.

The defense, for instance.

It should not be dismissed that the Jets managed a puny 20 yards of offense after halftime, including a fourth quarter when Carroll emptied his bench. In the past six games, the Seahawks have sacked the quarterback 24 times – after a measly 12 in the first seven. Opponents are averaging just 16 points over the past five games.

“If we’re going to have a chance to do something special this year,” Carroll said, “it’s going to be because the defense has really turned us around.”

And not under ideal circumstances. Injuries still dog the secondary and Carlos Dunlap, the pass rusher acquired mid-season, couldn’t go. But the jump from the first month has been undeniable.

“We hadn’t settled in with our players,” Carroll explained, noting especially “unique new guys that bring special skills we had to figure out. And they were in and out of the lineup. There just wasn’t the continuity we needed.

“We kept seeing the potential – we told you about it. We just needed time. And look – scores are down around the league. There’s a turn happening around the league. It took all of us time.”

Central to this is Adams, possibly Carroll’s most unique talent, whose incorporation was delayed further by a groin injury which cost him four games. World class on the blitz, he also adds an edge to Seattle’s defensive personality. Now all he has to do is not muff passes that hit him in the numbers.

“Dropping a pick,” he said. “Gol-lee, I suck.”

Midway through the second quarter, Adams chased Jets quarterback Sam Darnold out of bounds for a short loss, giving him 8½ sacks on the season – an NFL record for defensive backs, in a mere nine games. Carroll broke with a Seahawks tradition – no game balls – to mark the occasion.

“Pretty cool,” Adams allowed. “That just shows the class of the organization.”

This is not a feeling he seemed to share months ago about the Jets, nor did it seemed to be returned. Williams sniffed how his departed star would be “bored” in Seattle’s scheme.

Nonetheless, Adams gushed about reuniting with old teammates and shared a warm moment with Jets coach Adam Gase postgame.

“He just told me ‘Go get you one,’ talking about a Super Bowl,” Adams revealed. “In the end, I don’t have any hate towards, not even just Gase but the organization. Everybody just had different views and we had to move different. I’m happy to be here, man. I wish those guys the best. I really mean that. I know Jets fans don’t think I’m coming from the heart, but I am.”

Of course, the Seahawks are 9-4 and living well – always the best revenge.