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Week 4 Game Recap: Seattle Seahawks 27, New York Jets 17


What you need to know

Seattle Seahawks

This was a great test for the Seahawks, against a strong defense, and they passed with flying colours. Russell Wilson was nearly perfect. Between working the ball to Jimmy Graham, who made a number of game-breaking catches, feeding it down low to Christine Michael, and spreading it out to four very capable wide receivers, this offense is on fire. Michael looked great on the ground, too, and is gaining more confidence from the team every week. And heading into the bye week, the Seahawks have reason to be confident: Their running and passing games are firing on all cylinders. A few players nursing injuries (Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett) will get a chance to heal. The questions in the air are good ones to have. Will Jimmy Graham continue to be a focal point? And if so, will that continue to impact the production of Doug Baldwin? Will the newly signed C.J. Spiller take on a bigger role, eating into Michael's workload? And on that note, with Spiller could history possibly repeat itself? It wasn't that long ago that the Seahawks took on a forgotten running back, also drafted by the Buffalo Bills, named Marshawn Lynch. And we all know how that one turned out.

New York Jets

* The New York Jets were out-classed in all three phases by the Seattle Seahawks. On offense, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brandon Marshall found some early success against Richard Sherman, but as the game progressed, Sherman capitalized on two poorly timed back shoulder throws and came away with interceptions. New York's offensive line simply could not block Seattle's defensive front seven, relegating Matt Forte to an afterthought. Seattle definitely game planned to take Forte out of the game - and it was successful. * On defense, Bowles chose not to put pressure on a limited Russell Wilson and Wilson made New York pay. New York's pass defense, namely its safeties, were exposed throughout the game for big plays. Jimmy Graham turned in a throwback performance, CJ Spiller was able to score on an option route, and unheralded Tanner McEvoy scored on deep corner route. Darrelle Revis and Calvin Pryor left with injuries in the second half, but Pryor's presence was not missed. New York's special teams units did a nice job of containing Tyler Lockett, but were unable to create any big plays of their own. * Charone Peake scored a fluky 4th quarter touchdown on a Ryan Fitzpatrick fumble. The ball squirted out of Fizpatrick's hand, skipped 10 yards downfield, and Peake scooped it up and scored. Seattle's defense gave up on the play, thinking it was a dead play. If this fluky play is not made, the final score looks even worse for the Jets.

Seattle Seahawks

QB Russell Wilson, 60 offensive snaps, Pass: 23 - 32 - 309 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - -5 - 0
Wilson was still recovering from his ankle injury, but you'd hardly know it from the results. Despite consistent pressure and excellent coverage from the Jets secondary, he was nearly flawless. Part of Wilson's success can be attributed to the fact that he did not tempt fate by scrambling out of the pocket - just didn't - if he was in trouble and had no receiver to throw to, he would go down or throw the ball away. That sounds timid, but the other part of his success was a perfect balance of taking the chance and throwing into coverage and dumping it off to a checkdown option, usually RB Christine Michael. In particular, Jimmy Graham came up with a number of spectacular catches. Partway through the third quarter, Wilson was 17-for-19 in passing attempts, at which point he became a little more cautious when under pressure, throwing the ball away more often. Not only that, but with the extra pressure, he took advantage and threw a dump off pass to Michael for a score.

RB Christine Michael, 44 offensive snaps, Rush: 18 - 58 - 0, Rec: 5 - 32 - 1 (6 targets)
Michael looking extremely confident and the Seahawks are showing their confidence in him by getting him the ball in all situations. His longest run was only for ten yards, but he consistently broke through the first level of blocks with great quickness, which got him a lot of 5+ yard rushes. Michael was also used frequently as a receiver, even lining up wide on occasion. His touchdown reception was a swing pass in the red zone. He may not be your typical short yardage back, but they are still finding ways to get him the ball in those situations.

RB C.J. Spiller, 9 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 12 - 0, Rec: 2 - 5 - 1 (3 targets)
Spiller had a touchdown catch in his first game with the team, and handled kickoff returns. With his couple of rushes and couple of catches, it's clear that he has a similar skill set as Christine Michael, so if he continues to have success, potentially this could cut into Michael's touches.

WR Doug Baldwin, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 54 - 0 (4 targets)
Baldwin looked great early on, adding yards after the catch with quickness and a schoolyard deceptive move (the old I'm gonna step out of bounds no, I'm not!). Usually Wilson's favorite receiver, Baldwin took a backseat to Jimmy Graham's heroics today. The play calling showed an effort to get him the ball on a couple of plays in the second half, but with the Seahawks ahead and Graham manhandling the Jets D, there was no need to force it.

WR Jermaine Kearse, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 23 - 0 (3 targets)
Kearse is talented and is technically a starter, but he is essentially sharing the claim of 4th WR with two others, which is not good for his fantasy value, in any way you look at it. He is being targeted primarily on short, quick throws, so he is not even a boom/bust option these days.

WR Tyler Lockett, 14 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 13 - 0 (3 targets)
Lockett is still nursing an injury, and in fact is still wearing a fairly large brace on his knee. The extent to which the Seahawks are protecting him is unclear. On one hand, it appears that he's slipped down the list as a favorite target, behind Graham, Baldwin, and even Michael. But the fact that those three are having so much success may also mean that there is simply no need to go his way right now. Lockett is a big question mark right now, and now we'll have to wait until after the bye week to see if there are any answers. On another note, he is still taking punt returns, but the addition of C.J. Spiller may have bumped him off kickoff return duties. That's a significant downgrade in leagues that count return yardage.

WR Paul Richardson, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 27 - 0 (1 targets)
Richardson only made one catch, but it was a beauty. He was in tight coverage near the sideline, and came up with a spectacular catch, which put the Seahawks in position for a short score. For now he is option 4b (or c) in this offense, but continues to show that he belongs and is capable of more with a larger opportunity.

TE Jimmy Graham, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 113 - 0 (8 targets)
Wow, is there anything Graham can't do? This game was like a flashback to the Brees-Graham connection in New Orleans. He started with a brilliant one-handed sideline grab, then an over the shoulder catch and made it look easy all the while. He led the team in catches and yards and nearly every catch belonged on the highlight reel. The only thing missing was a score. It's official, folks. The Wilson-to-Graham connection is now open.

TE Luke Willson, 40 offensive snaps (3 targets)
Willson did his best Jimmy Graham impression making a fingertips catch low on the turf, but it touched the ground, incomplete. Which is to say, his best impression wasn't good enough. With Graham on fire, Willson gets leftovers. Nothing to see here, folks.


New York Jets

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, 71 offensive snaps, Pass: 23 - 41 - 261 - 1 TD / 3 INT, Rush: 2 - 5 - 0
Another week, another dreadful second half performance by Ryan Fitzpatrick. Playing without Eric Decker, Fitzpatrick opted to force-feed Brandon Marshall. Given New York's lack of depth at wide receiver, Seattle chose to shadow Marshall with Richard Sherman. The Fitzpatrick-Marshall connection was strong in the first half, frustrating Sherman with precisely timed back shoulder throws. Of note, Fitzpatrick and Marshall hooked up for a 17-yard touchdown on a back shoulder throw right before halftime. Credit Marshall for creation separation against Sherman and credit Fitzpatrick for fitting the ball into a tight window. Sherman was defenseless on the play. Sherman would get the last laugh, though, as Fitzpatrick continued to throw his way. In the second half, Sherman intercepted Fitzpatrick twice as communication between Marshall and Fitzpatrick broke down. Earl Thomas also intercepted a pass on a poorly thrown post route. Three second half interceptions spelled doom for New York's offense. Outside of Marshall, New York's secondary options made a few plays, but were largely contained. Quincy Enunwa stepped up and made plays over the middle of the field, but not having Decker on the field drew extra attention his way. When Marshall and Enunwa weren't open, Fitzpatrick would check down to Bilal Powell. Powell found success catching short dump off passes against Seattle's zone coverage to move the chains.

Given the lack of options, Fitzpatrick hung onto the ball for too long and took too many sacks. Fitzpatrick was sacked four times and was repeatedly pressured throughout the game. Some of blame lays at the feet of the offensive line, but when playing teams as talented as Seattle, the ball has to come out more quickly. With road games at Pittsburgh and at Arizona on tap, Fitzpatrick must play better before this season starts to spin out of control.

RB Matt Forte, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 27 - 0, Rec: 2 - 16 - 0 (3 targets)
Matt Forte was completely shut down by Seattle's front seven. Seattle's game plan revolved around taking Forte out of the game and forcing Fitzpatrick to beat them. That game plan was executed successfully as Forte failed to rip off any big runs and did not find any running room. Bilal Powell was given more pass catching opportunities on third downs, which was expected after Forte's first few weeks of massive utilization.

RB Bilal Powell, 37 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 26 - 0, Rec: 6 - 54 - 0 (9 targets)
Taking advantage of Seattle's zone coverage on third downs, Bilal Powell found success on short dump-off passes out of the backfield. New York's offensive found itself in a lot of 3rd and long situations, which backed up Seattle's linebackers and gave Powell run after the catch opportunities. Powell's final stat line looks better than Forte's, but he was able to take advantage of relaxed defensive fronts as Seattle did not view him as a dynamic play-making threat.

WR Quincy Enunwa, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 60 - 0 (7 targets)
Operating as New York's de-facto second option, Quincy Enunwa had a really good game. With Richard Sherman focused on Brandon Marshall, Enunwa battled Jeremy Lane throughout the game and was successful. Enunwa was physical with the smaller corner and caught six of his seven targets. Enunwa was able to box out the smaller defender for inside position on quick slant and drag routes. When deployed, Seattle's deep zone kept all of New York's receivers in check, but Enunwa was able to make plays over the middle of the field.

WR Brandon Marshall, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 89 - 1 (12 targets)
Playing without Eric Decker for the first time this season, Marshall was Fitzpatrick's first read on most pass plays. Marshall was shadowed by Richard Sherman - and the two Pro Bowlers engaged in a highly entertaining battle. Both players were physical at the line of scrimmage and took turns getting the best of each other. In the second quarter, Marshall and Fitzpatrick executed a perfectly timed back shoulder throw for a 17-yard touchdown. Marshall was able to get enough separation at the catch point and Fitzpatrick delivered a perfectly thrown ball to finish the scoring play. In the second half, Sherman would take advantage of - and ultimately win - this highly entertaining match-up. Communication breakdowns, and errant passes, resulted in two interceptions by Sherman. Without Decker, Marshall did not have a lot of help on the outside, which will likely be an issue going forward.

WR Charone Peake, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 30 - 0 (3 targets)
Seeing his first regular game action of his career, rookie wide receiver, Charone Peake made a few plays and benefitted from some good fortune. In the fourth quarter, Ryan Fitzpatrick fumbled, the ball squirted about 10 yards downfield, Peake alertly scooped it up and return it 40 yards for a touchdown. Seattle's defense gave up on the play, thinking it was a dead play, so Peake benefitted from a bit of good fortune. When he wasn't scooping up fumbles, Peake primarily operated in the short-to-intermediate area of the field and made plays after the catch. His route running was a bit raw, but he flashed some play making ability.

WR Robby Anderson, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 12 - 0 (6 targets)
New York's other rookie wide receiver, Robby Anderson, played limited snaps and only caught two passes for short gains.