Some highs and lows of the first half of a Seahawks season distinguished by plenty of both.
Best moment: Quarterback Russell Wilson declining to spike the ball with 21 seconds remaining against Houston. Wilson took advantage of a fatigued Texans defense and found Jimmy Graham wide open for the 18-yard touchdown pass that capped a 41-38 comeback victory – and registered seismic activity near CenturyLink Field.
Worst moment: Wilson declining to spike the ball with 15 seconds remaining against Washington. Although absent a time out, the Hawks, inside the Skins 40 yard line, had a chance to execute at least one and possibly two sideline passes to put them into field goal range.
But amid confusion in the hurry-up mode, Wilson was sacked for the 8-yard loss that preceded a final, sloppily conceived deep pass as time expired.
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Best indication Hawks are destined to return to playoffs: Since 2012, the team has won 32 games in November and December, most in the NFL.
Worst obstacle impeding a sixth consecutive playoff appearance: Kicker Blair Walsh’s apparent difficulty adjusting to inclement conditions. Walsh was 0-for-3 on field goal attempts inside the 50 Sunday, and the weather in Seattle doesn’t figure to be much more forgiving when the Hawks face Atlanta (Nov. 20), Philadelphia (Dec. 3), the Los Angeles Rams (Dec. 17) and Arizona (Dec. 31).
Best acquisition: 37-year old defensive end Dwight Freeney already has contributed beyond expectations – he’s recorded 2.5 sacks in two games – but in terms of solving a more urgent need, no first-half roster move was as significant as trading for veteran offensive tackle Duane Brown.
Worst acquisition: Former Packers Pro Bowler Eddie Lacy has rushed for 128 yards in 48 attempts, posing a wager possibility: Will the 250-pound running back finish the season with more rushing yards than his weight?
Best recovery from an injury: A few hours after suffering a compound dislocation of his finger, wide receiver Paul Richardson made an acrobatic catch for the game-winning touchdown against the 49ers.
Worst fallout from an injury: Undrafted rookie Chris Carson earned the role of first-team running back in training camp, only to suffer a broken leg that ended his season on Oct. 1. With Carson sidelined, the ground game has stalled behind an offensive line still struggling to grasp ground-game principles.
Best example of durability: Wilson made his 100th consecutive NFL start Sunday. The Seahawks franchise record, held by punter Jon Ryan, is 151.
Worst example of durability: In theory, second-year running back C.J. Prosise is an all-purpose talent. In reality? Prosise has been available to play in only four of eight games. He’s touched the ball 14 times.
Best draft choice: Shaquill Griffin, acquired in the third round as the 90th overall pick, developed fast enough to hasten the sort-of-but-not-really departure of fellow cornerback Jeremy Lane.
Worst draft choice: Defensive tackle Malik McDowell, the third selection of the second-round. McDowell has yet to see action in the wake of the ATV accident that sent him to the the emergency room last summer, and while Carroll occasionally suggests the 2017 season might not be a lost cause for McDowell,
Best victory: It wasn’t as scintillating as the free-for-all win over the Texans, but the Hawks 16-10 road victory against the Rams, on Oct. 8, had much more relevance: Beating a division opponent – the same opponent that happens to be sitting in first place after Week 9 – could loom as a crucial playoff-seed tiebreaker.
Worst defeat: The barnyard mess against the Redskins last Sunday was such a lousy and sloppy performance that Carroll, typically a man of many words, needed only five of them to describe it: “That was a bad day.”
How bad did the bad day get?
Trailing 10-2 in the third quarter, on a second-and-seven play at midfield, Wilson delivered a short throw to his left intended for Doug Baldwin. Washington middle linebacker Will Compton read it all the way for an easy pick.
Best title for a documentary on the Seahawks worst defeat of 2017: “Straight at a Compton.”