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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.



November 12, 2012 at 11:49 AM

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Three things: Lessons and riddles from Seattle's 28-7 victory over the Jets

I. Three things we learned

1. Russell Wilson needs to learn discretion can be the better part of valor.
Seattle's rookie quarterback has been praised for his ability to extend plays. On Sunday, he deserved to be criticized for it. The Jets had him thoroughly confused on where their pass pressure would be coming from in the first half, and he tried to run his way out of trouble. Instead, he ran into it, most notably when he was sacked on back-to-back plays in the first quarter, fumbling away the ball the second time. Part of playing quarterback is mitigating risk. That goes for conceding a sack in the face of overwhelming pressure, and for recognizing the situation in the game. The Jets were an offensive mess, and Wilson needed to know that above all else, he couldn't help New York with turnovers.

2. Reports of Seattle's defensive demise were greatly exaggerated.
Yes, the Seahawks had given up an alarming number of rushing yards in their previous three games heading into Week 10. They had also shown a surprising vulnerability, allowing Detroit to come back and take the lead twice in the fourth quarter. But anyone who questioned whether the defense was eroding is advised to look at Sunday's game when the Seahawks didn't allow the Jets to run for more than 9 yards on any play and allowed New York to drive inside the Seattle 40-yard line only once.

3. Golden Tate is coming into his own.
A Tate breakthrough has been predicted so often going back to his first season in town that was hard to take any forecasts at face value. Well, he's arrived. That playmaker's reputation that he had since the Seahawks chose him in the second round in 2010 has manifested itself through the first 10 games as Tate has caught six touchdown passes and now thrown for one. Whether he's the long-term starter at split end remains to be seen, but right now, he's the most versatile home-run threat on Seattle's team.

II. Three things we're still trying to figure out

1. Who's the best member of Seattle's secondary?
Cornerback Richard Sherman is playing at an incredibly high level, picking off his fourth pass of the season as well as recording the first sack of his career. Safety Earl Thomas is playing at an elite level, too, which would be more evident had he not dropped multiple interceptions this season, but don't think that Brandon Browner has done anything but get better. Yes, he got beat on a double move by Jets WR Jeremy Kerley in the first half of Sunday's game, but he broke up several passes by clobbering Jets' receivers.

2. What happens to Seattle's offense in the second and third quarters?
The Seahawks gained 59 yards on their first possession, scoring on their third play from scrimmage. Their next eight possessions produced a total of 83 yards, and the only score in that time was a touchdown set up by the Jets' special-teams turnover. Seattle's offense deserves credit for its evolution the past three weeks as the Seahawks averaged 16.6 points the first seven games to 27.3 the past three, but Seattle has to find a way to curtail the mid-game lull that has been so common this season.

3. Just how awful the 2009 draft really was.
Quarterback Mark Sanchez was the fifth player chosen that year, and his performance Sunday at CenturyLink Field was the kind of thing you don't want to step in. But he's hardly the biggest bust at the top of a draft that included the Rams' Jason Smith -- who was traded to the Jets for left turnstile -- err -- tackle Wayne Hunter -- and Seattle's Aaron Curry, who was shipped to Oakland last year. Throw in the fact that defensive lineman Aaron Maybin and running back Knowshon Moreno were also top-15 picks that year, and it was an inarguably awful first round.


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1. Russell Wilson needs to learn discretion can be the better part of valor. Seattle's... MORE
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