Seahawks vs. Texans: Full Roster Report Card Grades for Seattle
The Seattle Seahawks pulled off an improbable come-from-behind 23-20 overtime victory over the Houston Texans. At one point in the third quarter, the Seahawks had less than a two percent chance of winning the game.
On a day when it seemed like nothing was working on either side of the football for the Seahawks, they were still celebrating the win when the game ended. So while it might have seemed like nothing was working, something clearly worked well enough for the Seahawks to pull out the victory.
Which players deserve the most credit for getting the Seahawks back into the game? It's time to find out with the team's weekly report card.
- A's are reserved for individual players who dominated the opposition.
- B's are for players who played well but didn't dominate.
- C grades are given to players who struggled for most of the game.
- D's are for players who truly struggled and were occasionally dominated by the opposition.
- F grades are rare and reserved only for players who were completely dominated by the other team on almost every play.
- + and - modifiers to bridge the gaps inside those definitions.
All stats are taken from NFL.com.
Russell Wilson: B+
Thanks in large part to the poor play of the offensive line, Russell Wilson didn't finish with particularly good stats in this game. He finished just 12-of-23 for 123 yards with zero TDs and one interception.
More importantly for Wilson and the Seahawks were Wilson's 10 rushes for 77 yards. Most of those came on the team's 98-yard fourth-quarter drive that got the Seahawks back into the game.
When the Seahawks absolutely had to get points, Wilson wouldn't be denied.
Lynch's 17-carry 98-yard performance looks good in the box score, but 43 of those yards came on one run. The rest of the game he ran for just 53 yards on 16 carries. That's still good but a lot less impressive than the box score suggests.
Lynch also had a bad fumble on the first play of a drive, giving the Texans the ball deep in Seahawks' territory.
Robert Turbin: C+
Turbin finished the game with just three carries for four yards, though Turbin rarely gets much in the way of rushing yards. His impact is usually felt in the passing game, but Turbin finished with no catches and didn't make a huge impact with his pass-blocking.
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Doug Baldwin: B+
Baldwin ended the game with three catches for 39 yards, including a circus catch on the sideline for a 24-yard gain to extend the offense's only touchdown drive. Baldwin has been making a case each week for more playing time. Perhaps it's time for Tate and Rice to each give up a few snaps to the one WR on the roster who can regularly get open.
Golden Tate: B
Tate had three catches in this game, but those totaled just 17 yards. The Seahawks need more yards after the catch from their dynamic playmaker. Tate needs to turn some of those short catches into big yards to justify his playing time over Baldwin in two-WR sets.
Sidney Rice: B-
It's time for the Seahawks to begin worrying about Sidney Rice's knee. Rice just hasn't been the same this season, struggling to get separation from defenders and to out-jump defenders on jump balls. That was the case today, as Rice contributed just one reception for seven yards.
Jermaine Kearse: C-
Kearse failed to get open throughout this game and turned his one opportunity to contribute into an offensive pass interference penalty. It is starting to feel like Kearse was a nice training camp story but not someone who's going to be able to contribute to this offense.
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Zach Miller: B
Miller had just one catch, but he also rarely had a chance to run routes. The Seahawks kept Miller in to block on almost every play. Miller was able to help with the outside pass-rushers, but it was the inside rushers that caused most of the problems for Seattle's passing game.
Luke Willson: B-
Willson continues to develop and improve, but his strengths aren't what the Seahawks needed in this game. Willson is more of a receiver than a blocker. That showed in this game when the Seahawks were struggling to block anyone long enough for Russell Wilson to get many passes downfield.
Kellen Davis: F
After the game that Davis had, he's going to be lucky if he's still on the roster by the time the Seahawks play next week. Three penalties for a player who gets as few snaps as Davis is unacceptable, and he failed to block adequately on the other plays when he was on the field.
It's tough to give out F-grades in a win, but these are well deserved. The offensive line for the Seahawks had one of the worst games you'll see in an NFL game. The line struggled in all aspects of blocking, and the Seahawks were unable to move the football for much of the game.
Outside of one big Marshawn Lynch run that had much more to do with him running people over than any blocking, there were few running lanes for any of Seattle's running backs.
Wilson was sacked five times, and hit or pressured on almost every other pass attempt. Had it not been for Wilson's scrambling ability, the offensive line certainly would have been responsible for the team's first loss of the season.
An exception to all of this needs to be made for rookie right tackle Michael Bowie who got his first start in this game. He wasn't perfect by any means, but he was still decent against the very good Houston defensive front seven.
While more tape study needs to be done before saying anything definitive, Bowie appeared to be the best offensive lineman on the field for the Seahawks. It is possible that the Seahawks have finally found the long-term solution at the position that they've been looking for since Pete Carroll was hired.
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Chris Clemons: B+
Clemons made his first start of 2013 after returning from his ACL injury suffered in the playoffs last year. He also recorded his first sack of the season and was in the backfield pressuring Texans quarterback Matt Schaub throughout this game.
Cliff Avril: B
Avril's role was reduced to primarily being a situational pass-rusher due to the return of Clemons to the starting lineup. While he was able to get pressure on occasion and picked up a sack, Avril wasn't able to consistently get pressure on Schaub.
Red Bryant: B+
After a rough 2012 season, Bryant has rebounded with some nice games here early in 2013. He was slightly less effective in this game, likely because of the back injury suffered a week ago, but he still made a large number of impact plays against the run.
Michael Bennett: A
Bennett gets an A almost entirely for being relatively okay after what looked like a potentially gruesome injury. After having to be strapped to a board and sent by ambulance to the hospital, Bennett returned to the stadium to cheer on his teammates as they came back to win the game.
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Brandon Mebane: B+
Mebane might be the most dominant defensive lineman whose name rarely gets called out during games. He's become an immovable object in the middle of this defense and was a huge reason why the Seahawks were able to stop as many running plays as they did.
Tony McDaniel: B
McDaniel had a bit of an up-and-down game. He alternated between making plays to help stop the run and getting pushed well out of position giving the Houston RBs big holes to run though. The Seahawks need McDaniel to find more consistent success as this season progresses.
Clinton McDonald: A-
McDonald remains a liability against the run, but he's on this team to provide inside pass rush. McDonald was a key component in the Seahawks finally getting pressure on Schaub and forcing the mistakes Seattle needed to get back into this game.
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Bobby Wagner: B+
Wagner led all Seahawks in tackles with eight. He also recovered the fumble by the Texans' Ben Tate that was forced by Malcolm Smith. A few struggles in coverage prevents this from being a higher grade, but overall it was a solid effort by the second-year middle linebacker.
K.J. Wright: B-
Wright had an uncharacteristically rough outing. He ran himself out of position against the run and struggled in coverage at times. Just when it seemed that Wright was starting to turn things around, he injured his shoulder, though returned to the game after missing only a few plays.
Malcolm Smith: C-
Smith forced a key fumble inside the red zone; otherwise this grade would be lower. Smith struggled in playing against both the run and the pass. Coverage is usually the strongest part of Smith's game, but he just couldn't seem to run with anyone on the Texans. Luckily for the Seahawks, Bruce Irvin returns this week, so Smith should see a large decrease in his playing time on the strong side.
Richard Sherman: A-
Sherman wasn't at his best for much of this game. He dropped an easy interception and gave up more receptions and yards than everyone is accustomed to seeing.
He also took an interception back for the touchdown that tied the score, so there's no reason to grade him too harshly.
Brandon Browner: B
Browner struggled at times due to some matchup difficulties but played reasonably well overall. He still seems a bit rusty after missing time in the first two weeks with an injury.
Walter Thurmond: B
Thurmond played well overall but struggled slowing down Andre Johnson when he was on the inside. Given that every corner often struggles covering Johnson, that's not exactly a huge strike against Thurmond's play in this game.
Byron Maxwell: C+
Maxwell played well earlier in the season when he was on the outside, but the return of Browner has pushed Maxwell inside to the slot receivers. The move hasn't been a good one for Maxwell, who struggled in coverage when he didn't have a sideline to help him.
Earl Thomas: A
The Seahawks gave up a lot of yards in this game, but that had little to do with the play of Earl Thomas. Thomas was all over the field and was the primary reason that Schaub was forced to throw so many short passes. Thomas also chipped in with a crazy interception after the ball had been touched by at least four other players.
Kam Chancellor: B+
Chancellor gave up a few too many receptions for a higher grade, but he still played at a high level for much of this game. Chancellor's seven tackles were second on the team.
Steven Hauschka: A
Hauschka was perfect in this game, connecting on all three of his FG attempts and both PAT attempts. The Seahawks needed each of those points in this game in order to pull out the win. Hauschka also put all six of his kickoffs into the end zone, with four ending up as touchbacks.
Jon Ryan: A-
Seattle's offensive struggles meant that Jon Ryan saw the field more than he's used to this season. Ryan was able to drop four of his six punts inside the 20-yard line, with just one bouncing into the end zone for a touchback.
Return Teams: B-
Overall the return teams were as strong as they typically are for the Seahawks, but there were mistakes on two key returns. Jeremy Lane never should have brought the ball out from nine yards deep in the end zone, and fumbling the football only added to the trouble. Lane was lucky he was able to recover his own fumble or he might never get a chance to return kicks against this season.
The other mistake was Tate fielding a punt at the four-yard line and then stepping out of bounds. He needs to have better awareness of where he is on the field and avoid those types of mistakes.
Coverage Teams: A
Only one of Ryan's punts was returned, and the return was for all of one yard. The coverage units did a great job of getting downfield and either forcing the fair catch or downing the ball before it bounced into the end zone.