SEATTLE -- THAT's what everyone expected out of the Seattle Seahawks in 2021.
Granted, the Detroit Lions aren't the most formidable opponent this season. Nevertheless, the Seahawks offense racked up yards and points en route to their first 50-point game in nine years and just the fifth in franchise history in a 51-29 romp on Sunday. It was the first time Seattle had scored 50 points in a game since accomplishing the feat in consecutive games against the Arizona Cardinals and Buffalo Bills in 2012. A franchise record 58-0 win over Arizona at home was followed up by a 50-17 win in Toronto over the Bills.
"I saw a stat that said like nine different receivers caught the ball today. That’s how the offense should look," wide receiver DK Metcalf said. "Everybody positive, getting positive yards. The running backs are doing good, and the O-line are blocking their butt off. That’s how it’s supposed to look.
Rashaad Penny continued his breakout month of December with a career day, Russell Wilson looked, at times, the best he's been since injuring his finger in October, DK Metcalf had a three touchdown day, and the defense intercepted Tim Boyle three times.
It's the type of game Seattle had hoped to see well before Week 17 of the season.
"I'm really thrilled. Thrilled to see them respond like that," head coach Pete Carroll said. "But mostly because they had so much fun today. They really had a great time today. They were really jacked about it. They were going to go out and get it."
So many of the things that haven't gone right for the Seahawks this season bounced their way against the Lions. How much do you read into that? Probably not too much, but it's better than the alternative.
Here are the takeaways from the blowout win over the Lions:
-- Third down / Time of Possession / Offensive plays run finally a positive.
The Seahawks have had their backsides kicked all season on third downs, in the time of possession battle, and with the lack of offensive plays run each week.
Sunday's game against the Lions was only the second time all year Seattle converted greater than 50 percent of their third down chances, going 7-of-12 (7-of-13 at Houston in Week 14). It was the second time all season they won the time of possession battle over their opponent, having the ball for 33:33 against Detroit (33:12 vs. San Francisco in Week 13). And it was the first time all year Seattle ran over 70 plays in a game on offense as they ran 71 plays on Sunday. The previous high had been 68 against the 49ers.
The Seahawks had found themselves on the wrong end of all of these critical areas in nearly every game this season. When they got them to go their way, the production immediately followed.
"We had 71 plays today. We had another 25 plays than we've been getting. Seriously, we had so many more opportunities," Carroll said.
Seattle had three straight games where they possessed the ball for 20 minutes or less following Russell Wilson's return to action from finger surgery. They've had nine times this season where they've had fewer than 55 plays in a game. Twice they've run less than 50 plays.
The ability to convert on third down -- as well as being more explosive on first and second downs -- enabled Seattle's offense to stay on the field and get more chances to score points.
"When you're scrambling to stay on the field, you don't get to flowing the way you'd like to. The flow, you earn the opportunity to have that flow and opportunity by making first downs," Carroll said.
"That's what controlling the ball and getting first downs does for you. It's been really frustrating that you haven't been able to see it because it's there. And we're capable of being like this."
Wilson has been one of the league's worst quarterbacks on third down this season, entering Sunday's game with a completion percentage of just 48 percent on third down. But against the Lions, Wilson mostly looked back to form. Wilson completed 7-of-11 passes for 93 yards and a touchdown on third down and also ran for a conversion as well. Only one of the seven completions on third down failed to pick up the necessary yardage to stay on the field.
"We executed in every way today," Wilson said. "I don't think there's -- maybe one or two plays we could have done a little bit better. But then those one or two could have been touchdowns maybe. Just I think that we played a great football game. And that's what we needed today. And that's what we wanted to feel and that's what we've been talking about."
Wilson completed 20-of-29 passes in total for 236 yards with four touchdowns, three to DK Metcalf and one to Tyler Lockett.
-- Rashaad Penny finally breaking out for Seahawks.
Rashaad Penny rushed for a career-high 170 yards and two touchdowns for the Seahawks to help carry them to their blowout win over the Lions.
"Rashaad ran like crazy again," Carroll said. "He looked great again today. It's a big boost. You can see the rhythm it gives our offense, the balance that gives our offense to be able to be that explosive and he looked great again.
"I'm so fired up for him and for us. And, man, he's leaving no doubt. He's explosive. ... He's running through tackles, bouncing off guys. And then he uses his burst and the quick feet. The touchdown run, I mean, there's about three different carries in this game that were exquisite. So just fired up for us."
Penny's efforts were just the 14th time in franchise history that a Seattle running back has rushed for 170 yards in a game. Shaun Alexander, Curt Warner, Chris Warren, Ricky Watters, and Thomas Rawls have also accomplished the feat for Seattle.
Penny had set a career-high with the 144 yards he had in the first half alone. His previous high of 137 yards came three weeks ago against the Houston Texans. He followed that up with 135 yards last week against the Chicago Bears and a new high in the win over Detroit.
Penny now has rushed for 481 yards in the last four games for Seattle.
"Penny has been a force to be reckoned with over the last few weeks," left tackle Duane Brown said.
Penny has credited Adrian Peterson for helping him in a number of ways since he joined the team in December. Penny said he's talked to Peterson about his running approach and how he came back from a serious knee injury to get big in form.
"When you have a guy who has been running in this league for so long, and is on the verge of the Hall of Fame, it honestly gives you a boost and you want to mimic everything that you see him do," Penny said. "We kind of have the same type of injuries so I’ve torn his ear off with all of the questions I’ve asked."
Penny is set to be a free agent after this season. Given the injury history with Chris Carson and his neck injury that he's recovering from, it might be wise for Seattle to re-sign Penny too given just how explosive he's shown to be over the last month when healthy.
-- DK Metcalf reminding everyone the type of receiver he is.
After going six straight games without a touchdown, DK Metcalf has four in the last two weeks with three touchdowns coming in the win over the Lions.
Metcalf is up to 12 touchdowns for the season, which puts him behind Doug Baldwin's 14 in 2015 and Darryl Turner's 13 from 1985 for most ever in a season in franchise history. Metcalf now has 29 receiving touchdowns in his first three seasons, which surpasses Joey Galloway's 27 for the most in franchise history over the first three years of a career.
Metcalf had a fantastic start to the season with 39 catches for 580 yards and eight touchdowns in the team's first eight games of the season. That pace slowed drastically as Metcalf and Wilson struggled to have a consistent connection since Wilson's return from a finger surgery in November. Last week's touchdown against the Chicago Bears was his first since Halloween against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Metcalf had six catches for 63 yards and the three touchdowns against the Lions.
Metcalf himself has been slowed by a foot injury that has kept regularly from practicing. He said after Sunday's game that he won't know if it needs surgery until after the year is over.
But Metcalf is clearly still a dominant force and a big part of what Seattle's offense needs to utilize moving forward. He's had a brilliant start to his career in Seattle during his first three years with the team.
-- Bobby Wagner leaves with knee injury.
In what could potentially be his last game in Seattle, future Hall of Fame linebacker Bobby Wagner saw just one play before leaving with a knee injury.
Wagner was taking on a block at the point of attack on run play off right tackle when his plant leg, his left leg, slipped on the wet turf. His leg extended out awkwardly as he was blocked to the ground. Wagner immediately curled up on the ground and remained on the turf for a few minutes as he was attended to be the training staff.
Wagner was listed as questionable to return with a knee injury but did not return.
"Bobby sprained his knee. Has an MRI coming up this afternoon, this evening," head coach Pete Carroll said.
Wagner came off the field and walked to the sidelined on his own. After milling about the sideline for a few minutes -- and briefly running back into the defensive huddle before the next play after the stoppage -- Wagner was taken into the locker room and did not return.
"He was going to come back in the game. You saw him go back in," Carroll said. "Then took him back out to take him inside just to make sure. Just felt it was better to not go and make sure we know what's going on instead of just going back on the field."
Carroll said he wasn't sure if the injury would potentially keep Wagner out of next week's season finale against the Arizona Cardinals.
"I don't know that. We've got to get through tonight," Carroll said. "I didn't see it, but I understand that he got in the splits and it was really kind of, I'm sure, a most threatening feeling position. And he was unsure what happened and what took place there. And he sorted it out, came running off, like the stud that he is and ran back in. I'm really glad we took care of him, kept him out."
Wagner has one year left on his contract with the Seahawks and is set to make over $16 million next season with a cap charge of over $20 million. Depending on the direction the Seahawks choose to go this offseason, the team could elect to move on from Wagner and allocate those resources elsewhere.
Wagner is an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and a six-time first-team All-Pro. If that was the last time Wagner exited the field as a member of the Seahawks, that would be a very unfortunate end to a brilliant career in Seattle.
Photo Credit: SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JANUARY 02: Rashaad Penny #20 of the Seattle Seahawks runs the ball and is pushed out of bounds by Tracy Walker III #21 of the Detroit Lions during the second quarter at Lumen Field on January 02, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)