NFL, Week 17 Analysis: Winners and Losers from Seahawks 23, Jets 6

That’s how you start the new year!

Perhaps this will all be for naught and the Green Bay Packers will get that last playoff spot, but the Seattle Seahawks guaranteed that they will have something to play for in Week 18 against the Los Angeles Rams. Win and some Detroit Lions help and you’ve got yourself a playoff team. At the very least, the Seahawks played spoiler by eliminating the New York Jets in a comfortable 23-6 victory.

Here’s the first Winners and Losers for 2023!


Winners

Darrell Taylor

It’s been a disappointing year for Taylor, having fallen out of favor for a waiver wire pickup in Darryl Johnson Jr. He balled out today by recording 2.5 sacks, including a strip of Mike White that led to a turnover to end the first half. Quietly he has 8.5 sacks on the season, but as a whole he hasn’t necessarily been impactful on a per snap basis. On this occasion, Taylor played his best ball and looked a lot more like what we saw from him in 2021.

Quinton Jefferson

Haven’t said too much about Q-Jeff this year but he deserves his props. Jefferson finished with 1.5 sacks and was in on some run stops. Believe it or not, Jefferson has 5.5 sacks on the season, which is a career high.

Tariq Woolen and Michael Jackson

Tight coverage just about all day and he got his first interception of the season, which put the game to bed. Tariq Woolen bailed him out on the return, as he fumbled and Woolen had to recover it. Meanwhile, Woolen almost had a pick of his own and he even teamed up with Boye Mafe for a good run stuff. Did you know Woolen has 4.26 speed in the 40?

Quandre Diggs

The deep middle was just straight up unchallenged, and Diggs picked up his third interception on the season. It’s not been Diggs’ best season but this felt like one of his best games, and that pick prevented the Jets from getting at least a field goal opportunity. A hat tip to Jonathan Abram for his assist on that INT, too.

Cody Barton

I thought Barton played very well, and frankly the fact that he turned a screen pass into a negative play will make him a winner in my book.

Kenneth Walker III

Nothing like starting the game with a 60-yard run to set up a touchdown! He finished with 133 yards rushing and a 9-yard first down grab, with some nifty tackle breaking to earn some tough yards. Walker now has over 1,000 offensive yards and is just 64 yards away from 1,000 rushing yards.

DeeJay Dallas

Yes, DeeJay Dallas! He was getting into some angry runs and finished with 98 scrimmage yards (55 receiving, 43 rushing). His improvised catch-and-run on the second drive of the game set up a Jason Myers field goal. It’s crazy watching Dallas run the way he does in normal offensive plays compared to his punt return duties.

Colby Parkinson

With Tyler Lockett in and out of the lineup, Will Dissly done for the year, and Marquise Goodwin similarly out on IR, Parkinson got a heavier workload than we’ve seen his entire career. Parkinson caught five passes for 36 yards and the game’s opening touchdown. Here’s to him having an even bigger role as a pass-catcher in this offense in 2023.

Tyler Mabry

First NFL catch, first NFL touchdown! Who had Tyler Mabry getting in the box score? Congratulations to him for a great moment in his career and essentially the early dagger considering the ineptitude of the Jets offense.

Geno Smith

The numbers don’t wow: 18/29 for 183 yards, and 2 TDs, but the Jets have an elite pass defense and Seattle was severely undermanned at wide receiver. Smith had a couple of nervous moments (including that ridiculous near-pick at 20-6 and the bizarre fumble that he was able to recover), but outside of that I believe he did as well as he could against a tough defense. In the end he not only gets the win, he knocks out the team that drafted him.

Offensive Line

Yes, Geno was sacked four times but I believe at least two of those were on Smith/coverage sacks. The Jets have a very good run defense and Seattle almost dropped 200 on them, which is the most any team has managed against Robert Saleh’s group. There were some quality run-blocking wins and Quinnen Williams was much quieter than expected (while still getting 4 QB hits). Stone Forsythe also generally held his own in the place of Abe Lucas.

Michael Dickson

Michael Dickson.

2nd Half Run Defense

The Jets were kinda pressed into passing with the score situation but they mustered up -1 yards after halftime. Slow start for the run D in the opening half but they have been really good in back to back weeks.

Losers

DK Metcalf

No doubt that DJ Reed and Sauce Gardner have developed into an elite cornerback tandem, but Metcalf really didn’t make any impact in the passing game. He had just a single catch (on five targets) for 3 yards and he had a drop on a deep 3rd down conversion when he had a step on Gardner. I’ve been vocal about the way Shane Waldron has used Metcalf almost more like a giant possession receiver than heavily spamming his biggest strengths as a gifted speedster, and this includes last season when Russell Wilson was the starter, but some of this is also on DK. There are little mistakes and untimely drops he’s prone to that prevent him from being up there as a Tier 1 elite receiver like Justin Jefferson or Davante Adams.

Maybe having greater wide receiver depth next season can alleviate some of these issues and the obvious attempts by defenses to limit DK. DK has to be better—and he’s already very good—but I think we’ve seen the limitations of Metcalf and the offense as a whole without other WRs worth respecting.

Jason Myers

A MISS?! A MISS?! What is going on? A 44-yard field goal goes wide right and his streak of kicks is now over. Blasphemous! Ridiculous! Unacceptable!

(Myers still made all of his other kicks, but I had to be playful here)

NFL television productions and their Pike Place Market fish tossing fixation

We get it. Seattle’s got a place where the fish get thrown. The city has other interesting landmarks and tourist attractions. At least use recent footage!

Final Notes

  • I don’t want to totally pour water on Seattle’s defensive performance because they had a hand in the destruction, but Mike White is almost certainly the worst quarterback the Seahawks have faced all season. Yes, even worse than John Wolford. That was pretty wretched and wearing that rib protector likely had an impact on some of his throws. He was wildly inaccurate for the entire afternoon.
  • Dareke Young looks like a promising blocker on running plays. No wonder he was used as a fullback last week on one snap! He also downed Michael Dickson’s end of half punt at the 1.
  • Shane Waldron did a reasonably good job getting the tight ends more involved in the offense again, and he really had no other choice. The Jets were really out of sorts to start the game and left them in a hole they never came close to digging themselves out of.
  • Pete Carroll’s punt on 4th and 1 at the Jets 40… not what I would have done. But in hindsight, the flow of the game might have justified that decision. He’s still been more aggressive than normal in 4th down situations and that’s a positive.
  • Shoutout to Xavier Crawford for rushing the Jets punter into a shanked punt that everyone thought was deflected. More strong play by the Seahawks special teams.
  • What a bummer for Jordyn Brooks. There’s a really good chance his knee injury is serious and that’s a blow to this defense, which isn’t deep at linebacker to begin with but now loses a team leader. Tanner Muse stepped up admirably but if this injury is worst case scenario there might be a worry for Brooks into next season.
  • It ain’t over ’til it’s over. The Seahawks have a guaranteed top-5 draft pick in their possession, all while they’re a win and a Lions win away from returning to the playoffs. We’ve had our frustrations in recent weeks, but there’s also been plenty of fun. Let’s hope the fun continues for at least one more week. And you know what’s fun? Getting to do Enemy Reaction again.

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