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Originally published September 22, 2013 at 4:50 PM | Page modified September 22, 2013 at 11:38 PM

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Seahawks pummel the Jaguars

Russell Wilson ties career best with four touchdown passes as Seattle rolls to two-game lead in NFC West and stays undefeated.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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A day that began with wind and rain at CenturyLink Field ended with clear skies and sunshine.

A good day, ultimately, to look around and enjoy the scenery.

Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, though, had trouble taking his eyes off the scoreboards, especially the ones showing the results of the other teams in the NFC West.

And what did Thomas see?

“L’s,’’ he said, meaning losses. “Trust me, I was looking. Especially after they took me out of the game, I started looking at the scores. I seen San Francisco lose. I was excited about that.’’

Indeed, Seattle’s expected, and at times perfunctory-feeling, 45-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, combined with defeats by the 49ers, Rams and Cardinals, left the Seahawks with an early commanding lead over the rest of the division.

Seattle is 3-0 while the other three teams are 1-2, giving the Seahawks a big early cushion in a division some predicted before the season might be the most hotly contested in the NFL.

“An exciting day for the NFC West,’’ said Seattle coach Pete Carroll. “Big day for us, the other teams struggled and all that. Glad we could take advantage of the opportunity to get this win.’’

And they did so with little real drama.

Seattle entered the game as the largest favorite in franchise history, as much as 20 points depending on the line, and played the role well from the start.

The defense held the Jaguars to three-and-outs on the first four possessions to set a tone of dominance, while the offense played its most efficient game of the season, scoring on four of its seven first-half drives to turn the game into an early rout.

Quarterback Russell Wilson led the way, tying a career high with four touchdown passes, two each to tight end Zach Miller and receiver Sidney Rice. Backup Tarvaris Jackson played much of the second half and threw one touchdown pass and ran for another score as the Seahawks piled up 479 yards while holding the Jags to 265.

“Across the board, we played cleaner and sharper,’’ Carroll said. “The way we wanted to.’’

Maybe most illustrating that point — Seattle had just four penalties after being called for 19 the first two games.

“We finally took care of an area that’s been a big problem for us,’’ Carroll said.

It added up to Seattle’s 10th consecutive victory at home and eighth in a row in the regular season while spoiling the return of Jacksonville head coach Gus Bradley, who the past four years was the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator.

After the success of the running game last week in the 29-3 victory over the 49ers, the Seahawks figured Bradley and the Jaguars might sell out to stop Marshawn Lynch.

“You could see them trying to focus on stopping him in the run game,’’ Miller said.

So the Seahawks time and again turned to play-action passes, where Wilson would fake handoffs to Lynch (or sometimes others) and then drop back or roll out and throw.

The plays were successful time and again, including each of the first two touchdowns to Miller.

On the first, a third-and-goal play from the 1, Miller was yards away from any Jacksonville defender as he caught the ball.

“It worked even better today than it did in practice,’’ Miller said.

The play-action success helped Wilson complete 13 of 17 passes for 179 yards in the first half, including 4 of 4 for 69 yards in a 79-yard drive in the final minute of the first half that put the Seahawks ahead 24-0.

That drive came after Wilson had been hit and fumbled, giving Jacksonville the ball in Seattle territory, a threat that ended when Bobby Wagner made an interception of a tipped Chad Henne pass.

Wilson then led another short touchdown drive after Seattle’s Brandon Mebane recovered a fumble on the first possession of the third quarter to make it 31-0, and the game essentially was over.

Wilson left shortly after that, having completed 14 of 21 passes for 202 yards with only one real mistake, an interception that led to Jacksonville’s first touchdown in the third quarter. The performance came a week after he had hit just 8 of 19 against the 49ers.

“We executed when we needed to, in the red zone (scoring four out of five times),’’ Wilson said. “That’s the way we need to play football. When we do that, and when we stay on schedule, we’re hard to stop.’’

It’s also hard to argue that assessment as Seattle’s 3-0 start matches the best in franchise history — it’s happened five other times, most recently in 2006 — and leaves the Seahawks as one of just seven undefeated teams in the NFL.

“This is where we want to be,’’ said center Max Unger. “We don’t really go into the season thinking we are going to win them all. That’s pretty hard, pretty stressful to think about that. But we are in the position that we wanted to be in at the start of the year.’’

Feeling right at home
Dating to last season, the Seahawks have won their past five home games by a 194-46 margin. Seattle, which went 8-0 at home last season, has won its past 10 home games.
Date and opponentScore
Dec. 9, 2012 vs. Cardinals58-0
Dec. 23, 2012 vs. 49ers42-13
Dec. 30, 2012 vs. Rams20-13
Sept. 15, 2013 vs. 49ers29-3
Sept. 22, 2013 vs. Jaguars45-17
Feeling right at home
Dating to last season, the Seahawks have won their past five home games by a 194-46 margin. Seattle, which went 8-0 at home last season, has won its past 10 home games.
Date and opponentScore
Dec. 9, 2012 vs. Cardinals58-0
Dec. 23, 2012 vs. 49ers42-13
Dec. 30, 2012 vs. Rams20-13
Sept. 15, 2013 vs. 49ers29-3
Sept. 22, 2013 vs. Jaguars45-17

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com.

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