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John Blanchette: #LetRussCook has worked wonders, so maybe Seahawks should go all-in on #HashtagHysteria

UPDATED: Mon., Sept. 28, 2020

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf celebrates with Jordan Simmons, left, and Travis Homer, right, after Metcalf scored a touchdown during the second half Sunday in Seattle.  (Associated Press)
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf celebrates with Jordan Simmons, left, and Travis Homer, right, after Metcalf scored a touchdown during the second half Sunday in Seattle. (Associated Press)
By John Blanchette For The Spokesman-Review

So the public has spoken, and won.

The #LetRussCook campaign has been the most successful social media force in history not involving Russian bots.

Hyperbole? Prove it.

Look at what unleashing Russell Wilson has wrought for the Seattle Seahawks: 14 touchdown passes in the season’s first three games, including back-to-back games of five, both NFL records.

And on Sunday, yet another fourth-quarter comeback drive – his 33rd, the most in the league going back to 2012 – that produced another run on stents and bypasses in Northwest ORs, as well as a 38-31 escape against the Dallas Cowboys.

And a 3-0 start – Seattle’s first since you-know-when.

Yes, it also took an improbable stand in the closing seconds by a defense that hadn’t managed to stand up much all afternoon — featuring game-saving plays by Alton Robinson and Ryan Neal, two more mystery guests fresh off the inactive list and practice squad, respectively.

Nonetheless, the quarterback is cooking and the Seahawks are getting fat.

The point is, all this hashtagging hysteria seems to be the power of suggestion run amok. And it works.

So expand on it with:

#LetTylerGetOpen – This can be directed at the Seahawks’ opponents, like the Cowboys, who didn’t seem to have a notion that Tyler Lockett was even on the field.

On the first of his three touchdown receptions, the little sixth-year receiver ran by not one but two different Dallas safeties. On another, down on the goal line, the Cowboys figured if they didn’t notice him running across the end zone from one sideline to the other, maybe Wilson wouldn’t either.

“There’s a lot of people right there, everything’s condensed,” Lockett said of operating in the shadow of the goal posts. “You got to try to just wiggle through everything – it’s like a little maze, everybody’s running around – and try not to run into people. It’s just staying alive and staying open. We have a quarterback who can run around and keep the play alive and you never know when he’s going to be able to get it to you.”

#LoseTheCoolDK – The latest inductee into the Leon Lett Hall of Shame, DK Metcalf. The Seahawks receiver torched Trevon Diggs on a deep route in the first quarter, then geared down and let the football rest lightly in his right hand before reaching the end zone. Diggs recovered to punch the ball through the end zone. It was understated showboating, in keeping with Metcalf’s understated style, but showboating nonetheless. That he found redemption in snagging Wilson’s game-winner seemed to be more in character.

“That was a fluke play,” insisted Wilson, “but I told him never to do it again.”

#SimmerOnThirdDownRuss – The Cowboys’ comeback from a two-score deficit in the second half was aided by a certain Seattle fecklessness on third down. Twice Wilson took sacks he probably didn’t need to while looking long, and then decided tofling it deep to Metcalf rather than work something short to move the chains. Face it, as beat up and beatable as the Seattle defense is, keeping it off the field once the Seahawks have established a lead would seem to be job one – and being 25th in the league in third-down conversions won’t get the job done.

#ComeBackClowney – OK, maybe he wasn’t a world-beater in his one season as a Seahawk, but it’s clear that a Jadeveon Clowney – or any warm body, really – is needed to put some heat into the Seattle pass rush. Sure, the Seahawks’ rushers can come up with timely plays – Robinson’s sack, Jarran Reed’s strip of Dak Prescott right after halftime and Benson Mayowa’s pressure on the deciding play. But Prescott, blessed with all sorts of time, threw for 461 yards Sunday – even more than Matt Ryan and Cam Newton did the first two weeks.

By the end of the first quarter, the rush-desperate Seahawks had already sent Jamal Adams on safety blitzes seven times.

“It’s not something I’m accustomed to. It’s not something I’m going to become accustomed to,” said linebacker Bobby Wagner. “We just need to get off the field and make our plays. We’re hurting ourselves in a lot of facets.”

#SetTheAlarmShaq – Of course, a coverage sack now and then would help. But Seattle’s secondary is in a shambles.

Neal was a necessary stopgap because Adams left the game late with a groin strain.

Starting cornerback Quinton Dunbar and backup safety Lano Hill came down with late-week injuries and didn’t dress, nor did backup cornerback Neiko Thorpe.

Shaquill Griffin had a pretty interception to set up a first-half touchdown, but he’s been toasted plenty.

“We’ll go through a whole quarter where I’m not getting any targets and I get to the point where I feel like I’m falling asleep on that backside,” said Griffin. “I’ve got to do a lot better.”

#FastForwardToTheEnd – Their fan base can’t stand the stress of these white-knucklers, and it’s when the Seahawks seem to do their best work, anyway.

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