Dave Boling

Sloppy, struggling, inconsistent, the Seahawks somehow win again

Seattle’s Doug Baldwin makes a catch as the Bills’ Ronald Darby defends Monday in the first quarter. The catch helped set up Seattle's first touchdown.
Seattle’s Doug Baldwin makes a catch as the Bills’ Ronald Darby defends Monday in the first quarter. The catch helped set up Seattle's first touchdown. dperine@thenewstribune.com

Maybe the Seattle Seahawks will someday put together a complete game in all phases.

And while we’re at it, maybe they’ll become consistent, and efficient on both sides of the ball and on special teams in the course of one game.

And maybe they won’t alternate shortcomings so that every game is in doubt, and the end result leaves us sorting through evidence for hints that this team will, at some point, be as good as its talent seems to demand.

But until then, they’re somehow getting by with a few heroes rising to carry around their buddies. And there’s something to be said about that. You know, in the “he ain’t heavy, he’s my tackle” sense.

It’s made their games interesting and entertaining, if you’re not a stickler for polish or predictability.

And at this point, they may be the most erratic team in the league.

Their Monday Night Football win over the Buffalo Bills, by a 31-25 count, moved them to 5-2-1 at the halfway point of the season, giving them the second-best winning percentage in the NFC.

So, they’re not only in control of the NFC West Division, they’re on pace (at a very early stage) for a playoff bye and home-field advantage in the division round.

And they have been pretty ordinary in the process. Makes you wonder what they could accomplish if they ever really get it together.

They’ll need to show everybody next week as they have to saddle up again on Sunday night against the New England Patriots on a cross-country trip on a short week against one of the best teams in the NFL.

How did the Seahawks pull off that 31-25 win over Buffalo? Gregg Bell and Dave Boling discuss

These flawed, yet resilient Seahawks moved two games ahead of Arizona atop the NFC West, and into second in the conference behind Dallas at the halfway point of the regular season.

Gregg Bell gbell@thenewstribune.com

Oh, and the Pats have this week off as a bye to rest and prep for the Hawks.

The Seahawks like to say they enjoy challenges. So this will make them delighted.

The Monday night win was notable for the return of an offense that had been in hibernation. Tight end Jimmy Graham was brilliant with 103 yards on eight catches with a pair of one-handed touchdowns.

The Hawks were once again almost entirely without a rushing game, again, finishing with 33 ground yards. They’re well on pace to become the least imposing rushing club that coach Pete Carroll has ever had in Seattle.

But the revival of the offense has most to do with the obvious return to health of quarterback Russell Wilson.

From the first game, Wilson has dealt with successive ankle, knee and pectoral injuries.

Wilson hadn’t thrown a touchdown pass since Oct. 2, a span of three weeks, the longest drought in his NFL career.

Monday, he passed for 282 yards and two touchdowns for a season-high passer rating of 137.0.

If they’re not going to be able to run the ball, Wilson will have to continue this kind of output.

The defense, though, once again suffered from a recent chronic pathology, failing to stop opponents’ conversions on third downs.

After the Saints converted 9 of 15, the Bills got first downs on 12 of 17 third downs.

The biggest was in the final two minutes, when the Bills turned a third-and-21 into a first down with a long completion and a roughing-the-passer penalty against linebacker Bobby Wagner.

Without injured stars Michael Bennett and Kam Chancellor, the Seahawks defense looked nothing like one of the best defenses in NFL history — until the final few seconds of the game.

With third-and-8 at the Seahawks’ 8 with little over a minute left, Cliff Avril, who has been the defensive MVP in this strange season, raced in for a sack of quarterback Tyrod Taylor. And on fourth down, they again pressured Taylor and he threw incomplete into the end zone.

Game over. It had come down to the final 13 seconds.

And the numbers were ridiculous. Buffalo gained 425 yards with 30 first downs. They outrushed the Hawks 162-33, and possessed the ball for 40 minutes of the 60-minute game.

But in the end, the Seahawks won again.

Nothing came easily. And it’s only going to get tougher in New England.