A look at the week that was and the week that will be for the Seahawks:
Anatomy of 20-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday
The right legs of Olindo Mare and Jon Ryan: In a game where field position was vital, these two kept the Seahawks in the game. Mare, the veteran kicker, booted the game-winner as time expired to run his club record to 18 consecutive field goals. But Ryan, the fourth-year punter, put six of his nine punts inside the 20-yard line – a season high – while averaging 46.1 yards with a net of 45.0. The average was his second-best in the past eight games and the net the best in the past nine games. Mare also punted once, and downed by John Carlson at the 2-yard line.
Jordan Babineaux’s eyes: The Seahawks’ free safety/nickel back is simply seeing things better than he did earlier in the season. That’s simplistic, but also the best way to describe how he has made 33 of his team-leading 87 tackles in the past three games. Against the 49ers, he also shared a sack with defensive tackle Brandon Mebane and forced a fumble that was recovered by cornerback Josh Wilson.
Matt Hasselbeck’s sore body: The Seahawks’ QB was sacked five times, tying his season high, and also took a knee to the shoulder while scrambling. He had to be iced down after the game, but he also iced the 49ers during the game. Before throwing a textbook pass to rookie wide receiver Deon Butler for 32-yard gain that setup Mare’s game-winner, Hasselbeck also turned in the day’s longest run (23 yards) and completed 24 other passes to eight receivers.
Nick Reed’s fleet feet: The rookie defensive end, all 247 pounds of him, was a force on special teams. When the 49ers botched a reverse on a punt return, Reed was there to recover the fumble that setup the Seahawks’ first touchdown. He also had three tackles covering punts and kickoffs.
The week ahead
Another chance to win on the road, and win three games in a row for the first time since Weeks 10-14 in 2007 – when the Seahawks ripped off a five-game winning streak, including victories at St. Louis and Philadelphia.
The obstacle: The Texans in Houston.
The Texans are 5-7 – just like the Seahawks. They’re also struggling to gain some consistency – just like the Seahawks. They have lost four in a row, after winning three in a row. But two of the losses have come against the unbeaten Indianapolis Colts, by three points in Indy and eight points at home.
Priority One will be dealing with Andre Johnson, who has 70 receptions for 1,044 yards – a 14.9-yard average that is second in the league among the 13 receivers with at least 65 catches – and six touchdowns. But there’s also Steve Slaton, who has run for 437 yards and three scores and caught 44 passes for 417 yards and four more scores despite not playing in Sunday’s loss to the Jaguars in Jacksonville because of a neck injury that has been causing numbness in his arms.
On defense, the Texans have yielded 20 or fewer points in four of their past seven games and generated 21 take-aways – only eight teams have more. On special teams, Jacoby Jones is averaging 27.6 yards on kickoff returns.
The Texans have been especially effective in the red zone, scoring 25 touchdowns on possessions inside the oppositions’ 20-yard line (fifth most in the league).
That should keep the coaches and players busy as they prepare to head out on the road again.