After a rough 2-4 start to the season, the Seattle Seahawks have clinched a playoff berth following a 30-13 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday at CenturyLink Field.
As expected, Seattle largely dominated Cleveland on both sides of the ball in the easy victory. The Browns were able to take the opening drive down the field for a touchdown, but Seattle’s defense tightened up afterwords and the offense could not be slowed down.
The Seahawks have now won five in a row and look very dangerous heading towards the postseason. If the Seahawks continue to play this well, they can challenge the Carolina Panthers or Arizona Cardinals in the NFC playoffs.
Doug Baldwin is poised to break franchise records
There are multiple reasons for Russell Wilson‘s incredible recent hot streak. Wilson himself is playing better, particularly as a pocket passer, while the offensive line has offered him some actual production.
However, Doug Baldwin’s emergence as a consistent No. 1 target has made a huge difference in Seattle’s offense. Baldwin is not only having the most productive season of his career, he’s matching totals put up only by the very best wide receivers in recent years.
Baldwin has caught 65 passes for 905 yards and 13 touchdowns during his incredible season. Ten of those touchdowns have come over the past four games, as Wilson and Baldwin have been on a historic run.
With one more touchdown catch, Baldwin will break the all-time Seahawks record with 14 in a single season. Given how he’s been playing in recent weeks, that should happen Sunday against the St. Louis Rams.
Christine Michael might yet get a chance in Seattle
Since being drafted in the second round in 2012, Michael has looked like an incredible, explosive athlete who struggled with consistency. After being cut from the Seahawks and two other teams earlier this year, it seemed Micheal’s career was in jeopardy.
With a desperate running back situation, the Seahawks decided to bring back Michael last week. Michael responded by carrying the ball 16 times for 84 yards on Sunday to set career highs in both.
Surprisingly, Michael got the most chances as the primary back over others like Bryce Brown and DuJuan Harris. There’s still plenty of upside here, so the Seahawks should give Michael a chance as a long as Marshawn Lynch is out.
Seattle’s recent hot streak has been fueled by third-down success
Earlier in the season, Seattle’s struggles were in part to having issues converting on third down. The Seahawks drew a ton of penalties and gave up far too many sacks, leading to Wilson having to deal with numerous third and long situations.
That has completely changed over the past four games. Seattle went 9-12 on third down against Cleveland, leading to an ultra-inefficient performance.
Third down is key to any offense, particularly for ball control teams like the Seahawks. Seattle put up 30 points on just eight drives on Sunday, thanks to their great conversion rate.
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