If the Seahawks are going to return to the playoffs this season, wins like Sunday's against the Detroit Lions will have to be a part of the resume.
Russell Wilson posted a perfect 158.3 passer rating, Chris Carson rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown, and the defense/special teams forced three Detroit turnovers as the Seahawks earned a 28-14 victory to move over .500 for the first time this season.
With the Los Angeles Rams running away with the NFC West so far, the Seahawks will likely need to crack the playoffs as a Wild Card team. The Lions could very easily be a team they may need to beat out for one of those two playoff spots. Seattle now has the win, which is valuable in its own right, and the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Lions for a playoff spot.
It's the fourth time in five games Seattle has produced a 100-yard game for a running back and the Seahawks are 4-1 in those five games with a two-point loss to the Rams being the only blemish. The offense has been increasingly more and more productive, which in turn is taking some pressure off a defense that is beginning to find its football as well.
Sunday's win in Detroit could be a turning point in the season for the Seahawks. Only time will tell for sure. Here are the takeaways from the 28-14 win over the Lions:
1. This is the offense the Seahawks envisioned all along.
Pete Carroll has been kicking himself for weeks over the way the Seahawks started the season offensively.
They didn't run the ball as often as they said they wanted to. Wilson was frequently under siege and took six sacks in each of Seattle's first two games, both winnable game that resulted in close losses to the Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears.
Consider the script flipped since then.
"We really were able to play right within the framework of how we want to do it," Carroll said. "We want to get the football. We don't want to give it up, no turnovers today and take advantage of that and ran the heck out of the football.
"We ran it 42 times today. I couldn't be more fired up about a stat than that. That's just commitment and it's attitude and it's what we're trying to do."
Carson posted his third 100-yard rushing game of the season and notched his second touchdown as well. The Seahawks are averaging 161 yards rushing per game over their last five games played. Wilson has been sacked just nine times over that stretch as well after being sacked 12 times in the first two games alone.
"I'm always going to regret the fact that we started lousy," Carroll said after the game of their 0-2 start and offensive issues early in the year. "It's a 14-game season for us to try to do something with it after screwing up the first two games. It's a nice team. I like our team. I like what's going on."
This version of the Seahawks offense is formidable. It's the one the team envisioned all along and that vision is proving to be successful in it's implementation as well.
2. Russell Wilson back to being his super-efficient self.
When it comes to passer rating, Sunday's performance was the best of Russell Wilson's career.
He completed 14 of 17 passes for 248 yards with three touchdowns and was sacked just twice by a Lions team that entered the game tied for fourth in the league in sacks. Wilson tossed touchdowns Tyler Lockett, David Moore and Ed Dickson, who was playing his first game with Seattle after being activated off the non-football injury list.
Wilson's previous career-high in passer rating came in a 41-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings in 2013. He posted a 151.4 rating, completed 13 of 18 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns.
"He played a great football game today," Carroll said. "... It's really hard to beat you when you play like that. I was really fired up for him."
The improvement from the running game has taken some weight off Wilson's shoulders. He doesn't have to try to manufacture everything himself and it's been a plus for the offense as a whole. The ability to run the ball consistently has seemed to make their play-action game more effective, in addition to the team simply using play-action more regularly.
After throwing the ball 33 and 36 times, respectively, in their first two games, Wilson hasn't had to throw more than 26 passes in a game since then. He's been intercepted just once in the last five games and Seattle is 4-1 over that span.
Wilson's effectiveness has waned dating back to last season as he consistently had to try to make everything happen offensively. Mistakes became a regular occurrence. He took bad sacks, turned the ball over more frequently and was less productive than he'd been in past seasons.
With the balance of the offense restored, Wilson is now back to being the productive quarterback he's shown himself to be for most of his career.
3. Tyler Lockett, David Moore find the end zone yet again.
Tyler Lockett has been a major touchdown producer for the Seahawks this season. David Moore is starting to become one as well.
Lockett beat Lions cornerback Nevin Lawson in man coverage and held him off for a 24-yard touchdown in the back left corner of the end zone for Seattle's first touchdown of the day. It was his sixth touchdown in seven games played this season.
Lockett got a contract extension for the Seahawks this summer and is rewarding the team at every opportunity. He's on pace for 900 receiving yards this season and 14 touchdowns, which would match the number put up by Doug Baldwin in 2015, which stands as the most in a season in franchise history.
Meanwhile, Moore added his fourth touchdown in the last three games on a 15-yard pass from Wilson in the second quarter.
Moore caught four passes for 97 yards as he's clearly cemented himself as Seattle's third receiving option along with Lockett and Doug Baldwin.
4, Tedric Thompson giveth, Tedric Thompson taketh.
Free safety Tedric Thompson has had some big shoes to fill in taking over full-time for the injured Earl Thomas.
While Thompson was never even challenged two weeks ago against the Raiders due to their complete lack of a functioning offense, the Lions managed to take advantage of Thompson for an early touchdown.
The Seahawks were playing Tampa 2 coverage which left Thompson covering the deep half of the field as Marvin Jones ran a go up the sideline. Thompson misjudged the ball in the air and allowed Jones to get behind him for a 39-yard touchdown.
"I think he misjudged the ball," Carroll said. "He was there and mistimed it just a hair, you know. Usually he would make that play nine out of 10 times. He was there he just didn't quite get it."
However, Thompson responded from the error with a forced fumble on Ameer Abdullah on a Lions kickoff return that was recovered by Barkevious Mingo. It set up Seattle's second touchdown that gave the team a 14-7 lead.
"He answered it with a great tackle on kickoff coverage," Carroll said. "That was probably my favorite play of the day except for (Michael) Dickson's play.
Thompson also made a fantastic break on a pass from Stafford to running back Kerryon Johnson in the second half that was nearly intercepted.
Thompson is still getting settled in as a full-time starter, but he managed to atone for his one glaring error by creating an immediate scoring opportunity for the offense.
5. Michael Dickson's impromptu sprint for a first down was risky as hell and awesome.
Punter Michael Dickson was supposed to run to the back corner of the end zone and then step out of bounds to take a safety with 2:18 left to play in the game and Seattle holding a 28-14 lead.
The thinking at that point being that two points doesn't change the scope of the game much and it would enable Seattle to kick it deep instead of trying to punt it from the very back of their end zone maybe as far as midfield.
But when Dickson cleared out from behind his line and saw no one in front of him, he decided to take off for the first down., which he managed to convert by a single yard.
"That was us taking a safety. That was a really terrific competitor seeing the moment and seizing it," Carroll said.
"He knew he could make the first down and he knew he was going to have to take a hit and so he was thinking about taking care of the football. It was incredibly beautiful play in the game. Sometimes you've got to improvise and really good players seem to do it at the right time."
If Dickson hadn't made the first down, the Seahawks could have been in a real pickle. The Lions would have taken over possession inside Seattle's 10-yard line with the chance to get a quick touchdown on the board to make it a one-score game.
"There were a couple superlatives or whatever you call them that came out," Carroll said of when Dickson took off running. "I thought it was awesome. I can't love a play more than that. He went against all traditional thinking and everything but he saw a situation and took advantage of it. I think that's what great players do and they surprise you sometimes. That was truly a surprise but it was a great moment and I'm really fired up for him."
DIckson's first down sealed the game for Seattle as they managed to run out the remainder of the clock to notch the win.
Photo Credit: DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 28: Chris Carson #32 of the Seattle Seahawks bowls over Quandre Diggs #28 of the Detroit Lions for a touchdown during the fourth quarter at Ford Field on October 28, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)