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Sports >  Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks finish home schedule with 51-29 rout of NFC-worst Lions

Jan. 2, 2022 Updated Sun., Jan. 2, 2022 at 8:28 p.m.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, left, reacts with wide receiver DK Metcalf (14) after he passed Metcalf for a touchdown against the Detroit Lions during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, in Seattle.   (Associated Press)
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, left, reacts with wide receiver DK Metcalf (14) after he passed Metcalf for a touchdown against the Detroit Lions during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, in Seattle.  (Associated Press)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

Finally, in the 16th game of the NFL’s first 17-game season, it all came together for the Seahawks the way Pete Carroll wants it.

“This is what we’re supposed to look like,” Carroll said following a 51-29 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday at Lumen Field. “This is how we’re supposed to play.”

And sure, that the opponent was a downtrodden Detroit team that has the second-worst record in the NFL at 2-13-1 can’t be ignored.

But what also can’t be ignored is that the Seahawks beat a bad team the way a good team should – something they couldn’t do a week ago against the Chicago Bears.

Seattle rushed for a season-high 265 yards behind a career-high 170 from Rashaad Penny which helped set up Russell Wilson for a season-high-tying four touchdown passes, while the defense forced a season-high three turnovers. Three of Wilson’s TD tosses went to DK Metcalf, which gave him a career-high 12 for the season.

“We’re supposed to get the football off our opponent,” Carroll said. “We’re supposed to run the football and own the line of scrimmage so that we can do all of the things that our offense is structured to do.”

For a game, it all worked – well, other than a few Detroit drives late in the game after Seattle had taken a 38-7 lead and against an increasingly injury-riddled Seahawks defense. In the one big blotch on an otherwise fun day, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner left with what Carroll called a sprained knee after the first defensive snap of the game. Carroll said Wagner was due to get an MRI after the game and didn’t know the severity of the injury.

The question that also can’t be ignored, though, is whether the Seahawks will be able to look like this again in the future.

The day began with yet another story on a national website Sunday morning – this time, ESPN – suggesting this could be Wilson’s last game in Seattle with the Seahawks.

If it was, Wilson made sure to soak it all in. He was the last one off the field, waving his arms to chants of “Russ-ell Wil-son” as he entered the tunnel, then stopping to sign some autographs.

Wilson largely evaded a few questions about his future afterward, reiterating what he said Thursday when asked if he thought he’d be a Seahawk next year, saying “I hope so. I hope that’s the case.”

Such a comment won’t stop the trade talk that is sure to linger until something definitive happens.

Wilson, though, did put a momentary halt to talk about his declining play this season, turning in what statistically was his best game since his return at midseason from a right middle finger injury.

After misfiring on his first two passes of the game, Wilson put a half-glove on his right hand, the first time he has worn anything protective on the hand on which he had surgery Oct. 8 to repair a dislocation and ruptured tendon.

Wilson completed 20 of 27 passes the rest of the way for 236 yards and the four scores. It was the 17th time in his career he has thrown four or more TDs in a game, tying him with Dan Marino and Peyton Manning for the most in the first 10 years of a career.

“It was raining pretty hard today,” Wilson said of donning a glove. “So I was like ‘OK, I’ve been practicing with it at practice, never really done it in the game, don’t think I needed it. But the first, second quarter it was raining pretty hard consistently.”

Wilson went from wearing just one glove last week – and on the first series – to two.

And maybe it was a coincidence that it worked so well. Or maybe it was just the Lions, who two weeks ago beat Arizona 30-12, but came to Seattle having to again go with backup Tim Boyle at quarterback.

What the Seahawks also had was a full and normal week of practice. Seattle’s past two weeks had been disrupted by the COVID-19-related delay of a game in Los Angeles to Tuesday, which then meant a short week before the Bears game.

Because of that – as well as having had a Monday night game at Washington at the end of November – Seattle has rarely worn helmets in practice on Thursday, typically the most intense practice day of the week.

But this week they did. Metcalf joked later that he thought that meant “they were cutting guys.”

The broader point was apparently to drill deep the message that there was to be no letup in preparation even with the playoffs having gone out the window with the loss to the Bears.

“But this week, turned up the intensity a little bit and I think it was good,” left tackle Duane Brown said. “Guys were able to move around fast, be able to see a lot of looks a little bit faster than we had over weeks past. And I think it really got us into gear for today.”

Brown said the goal for the day was that “whatever was called, we wanted to be physical.”

For a brief moment, in front of a crowd that was maybe two-thirds full, though, it was worth wondering if the Seahawks also hadn’t shown up.

After Seattle’s initial three-and-out, Detroit drove quickly to Seattle’s 30-yard line. But facing a third-and-2, the Lions only got 1 yard on two plays, stopped for no gain on fourth-and-1.

Wilson quickly led a nine-play, 66-yard drive for a TD – the first of nine straight scoring drives (six touchdowns and three field goals).

Penny was again the catalyst, ripping off runs of 37, 23, 20 and 15 in the first half on his way to 144 yards by halftime – in itself a career high and the most for any Seahawk running back in the first half in franchise history.

Seattle led 31-7 at the half, then got an interception on the first play of the second half from cornerback D.J. Reed – one of three forced turnovers in the second half – leading to another quick score and a 38-7 lead that pretty much put the game out of reach.

Asked what the team had to play for this week, Wilson said “we want to celebrate.”

That the Seahawks did, even if it was a result that will quickly be forgotten, music booming so loud out of the locker room that it almost overwhelmed Carroll’s session with the media afterward.

What the game also did is extinguish any questions about whether the Seahawks might tune out Carroll, with nothing tangible to play for and Carroll’s future also being debated after the team’s first 10-loss season since 2009.

Carroll said that after the loss to the Los Angeles Rams he told the team to approach the next two games as if they were playoff games “trying to get to the Super Bowl in Arizona (where Seattle ends the season next week).

“Used our imagination a little bit,” Carroll said. “I don’t know how serious they took it, but I was scrambling. But we had fun with it and they really met the challenge of the day and played like we should have played.”

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