The Seattle Seahawks defended their home turf 20-13 on Sunday against the visiting Tennessee Titans. Overall it was a sloppy game in which the Seahawks fumbled the ball five times, and the two teams combined to commit four turnovers.
The Seahawks were able to overcome their mistakes by playing stifling defense and putting together some efficient drives when they needed them.
So just who was to blame for Seattle's early miscues, and who was responsible for helping the team pull out the victory? Let's find out with this week's 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 bridge the gaps inside those definitions.
Russell Wilson: A-
Russell Wilson had a great game for the Seahawks. He finished the game 23-of-31 for 257 yards. He also added 10 rushes for 61 yards in the ground game.
The only problem is that Wilson left some yards on the field in this game, which isn't like him. He repeatedly chose the short pass when he had open receivers downfield. Perhaps it was part of an abnormally conservative game plan, or perhaps the constant pressure is starting to cause bigger problems for Wilson.
It is tough to believe that there was some concern that Marshawn Lynch would not play much in this game because of his hip injury. Not only did he play, but he led the game in both receiving and rushing yards.
Lynch's stats are impressive: 21 rushes for 77 yards and two touchdowns in the running game to go along with four receptions and 78 yards in the passing game.
Lynch was huge for Seattle on Sunday.
Now the Seahawks have to hope that all of this work on an injured hip doesn't affect his availability for Thursday's game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Robert Turbin: B
Robert Turbin only had one run, but it was a big 13-yard first-down run in Seattle's final touchdown drive. Turbin's primary contribution came in the passing game, where he had two catches for 23 yards and did a good job picking up blitzing defenders.
Doug Baldwin: B+
Doug Baldwin led all Seattle receivers with 48 yards on four catches. Baldwin continues to make the most of his limited playing time. Perhaps it's time for the Seahawks to get him on the field more often.
Sidney Rice: B-
This was arguably the best performance for Rice this season. He only had two receptions for 35 yards, but he was open much more often than that. This is the first time this season that Rice has looked like the dynamic playmaker he has been in previous seasons.
Unfortunately, Rice also fumbled the ball after one of his catches.
Golden Tate: B
Golden Tate contributed a couple of big plays, and his five receptions included some great-looking runs after the catch.
Unfortunately, Seattle's first two third-down conversion attempts both hit Tate in the hands and ended up as incompletions. Tate has to find a way to bring bring those in and help the offense to extend some drives.
Jermaine Kearse: B
Kearse has been making his case for getting more snaps—and the coaches have noticed.
Kearse saw more snaps this week and responded with a season-high three catches. Kearse also chipped in some very solid blocking on the outside.
Luke Willson: B+
Rookie tight end Luke Wilson continues to improve each week. His two receptions for 17 yards were just a small part of his contribution. Willson contributed some key blocking in both the running game and passing game.
Kellen Davis: B
For there second straight week, there were no penalties called on Davis. For a player who's contribution is as a solid in-line blocker, that's a nice improvement over earlier in the season.
Pass Blocking: B-
Run Blocking: B+
The overall blocking of Seattle's offensive line continues to improve. Getting center Max Unger back from his triceps injury certainly helped, as did the continued development of rookie Michael Bowie at right tackle.
Unfortunately, the left side of the line surrendered pressure on Russell Wilson far too often, and both of the guards continue to get overpowered by opposing pass rushers. Until the Seahawks can find a way to fix these problems, the offense is going to continue to be disappointing overall.
Brandon Mebane: A
Brandon Mebane continues to quietly have a very good season. He only had one tackle, but he held his ground against double-teams all afternoon and was a big part of why the Tennessee running game was never able to get going.
Tony McDaniel: B
Tony McDaniel was solid but unspectacular once again for the Seahawks. He did a respectable job clogging running lanes and keeping blockers off of Seattle's linebackers. Seattle's scheme makes it so that McDaniel will never compile much in the way of stats, but he still managed to pick up three tackles on Sunday.
Clinton McDonald: B-
Whether it is because of the recent drop in his playing time or simply due to individual matchups, but McDonald has been less effective over the last couple of weeks. McDonald was disruptive on a few plays, but it was mostly a quiet game by the inside pass rusher.
Jordan Hill: B+
Hill followed up a solid performance in his debut a week ago with another one this week. Hill picked up three tackles in limited playing time and was able to get pressure on Tennessee quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick fairly regularly when he was in the game.
Chris Clemons: A-
Chris Clemons was Seattle's most consistent pass-rusher in this game. He was only able to pick up a half-sack, but he was close on many plays and forced some hurried Fitzpatrick passes. The big concern with Clemons is the hyper-extended elbow injury that could keep him out against the Cardinals this Thursday.
Cliff Avril: B
Avril continued the trend of being less effective in games in which Clemons is playing. Whether it is the decrease in playing time or the shift to the other side of the formation, Avril just hasn't been able to get consistent pressure in the past couple of games.
Red Bryant: A
Red Bryant might be the most under-appreciated defensive end in the NFL. What Bryant lacks in pass-rushing skills he makes up for by being absolutely dominant against the run. Bryant was key in helping the Seattle defense bottle up Tennessee running back Chris Johnson.
Michael Bennett: B+
Michael Bennett hasn't been quite as dominant since he injured his back two weeks ago against Houston, but he still had a major impact on this game. Bennett had a big sack to knock the Titans out of field-goal range and was able to provide occasional pressure on Fitzpatrick.
K.J. Wright: A
This was exactly the performance the Seahawks needed out of K.J. Wright.
With starting middle linebacker Bobby Wagner out of the game with an ankle injury, Wright slid inside and played extremely well. Wright led all Seahawks with seven tackles and was very good against both the run and the pass.
Malcolm Smith: A-
This game may have been Malcolm Smith's best game as a pro. He was fundamentally sound against the run and displayed some very good coverage skills in the passing game.
Bruce Irvin: C+
After looking like a dynamic player a week ago in his first game of the season, Irvin was invisible for much of Sunday's game against the Titans. He added just two tackles and just never seemed to be around the ball in this game.
Richard Sherman: A
After a rough week against the Colts a week ago, Richard Sherman rebounded back to his usual dominant self. Sherman had an interception and didn't appear to give up a reception until Tennessee's final drive.
Brandon Browner: B-
Brandon Browner started out playing poorly and was benched in the first half. He was back out there in the second half and played much better after the break.
Walter Thurmond: A-
Walter Thurmond had a solid game as the team's nickel-corner. When Browner was benched, Thurmond was the one to picked up the extra snaps in the base defense, and he responded by playing very well in coverage.
Earl Thomas: A-
Earl Thomas had a huge game for the Seahawks.
He was all over the field, and his six tackles were second on the team. Thomas also added an interception. This would have been a solid A grade except for a silly late-hit penalty late in the game.
Kam Chancellor: B
Chancellor had a quiet day with just three tackles. He played more in coverage and less in the box than we're used to seeing and did a solid job. Pete Carroll said after the game that Chancellor sprained his ankle, so his status for Thursday is known.
Steven Hauschka: A-
Hauschka was perfect on both of his field-goal attempts and consistently put the ball deep in the end zone on kickoffs. Hauschka does need to work on his tackling though. He was completely run over in a way that wasn't pretty, which led to him being taken to the locker room for concussion tests.
Jon Ryan: A
As long as Jon Ryan sticks to punting and avoids lining up as a place-kicker, good things happen for the Seahawks. Ryan averaged 48.7 yards on his three punts, including dropping yet another punt inside the 20-yard line.
Return Teams: B+
Even though he didn't break out a big return, Tate still looked dangerous with the ball. Tate always seems to be one block away from returning a punt for a touchdown.
Coverage Teams: B-
For the second straight week, there was costly lapse that led to the opposing team scoring a touchdown. Having the backup holder in the game is no excuse. Those types of errors are avoidable, and the Seahawks need to clean up those mistakes.