In crunch time, the Seahawks turned to Rashaad Penny
Now in the past, the Hawks would have said “Whelp, the run game isn’t working, we better air it out.” Instead, they recognized that the Lions were moving to bottle up Penny, and took advantage of that. And they recognized that Penny would break free if they gave him enough opportunities. As Detroit adjust to try to cover Metcalf and Lockett, the running lanes opened up just enough.
Penny had one more carry in the first half as Ken Walker spelled him. The first-half stats for number 20 were less than stellar: five carries for eight yards. Not exactly MVP-worthy, right? But the Seahawks finally trusted the run game and their star running back. That trust paid off, as Penny absolutely destroyed the Lions in the second half. He started off with a 26-yard burst off-tackle. He closed out the Hawks scoring in the third quarter with a 36-yard run up the middle of the Detroit defense.
After the Lions torched the Seahawks defense yet again (and again), Seattle was clinging to a 41-38 lead. Yes, Geno went to work, with a pair of throws that moved the chains to the Detroit 46. A five-yard run by Penny was followed by a rare incompletion. Number 20 got the call again, and turned on the jets again for a 41-yard touchdown. Finally, with just over 2 minutes to go, the lead was safe. Right 12s? Right???
No, of course it wasn’t. The Hawks did their best to help Jared Goff pull off his best Joe Montana impersonation. With 1:04 in the game, Seattle needed to pick up a first down and protect the ball. Who did they turn to? Oh, you guessed it! Three straight plays, three straight Penny runs, a first down, and a hard-fought Seahawks win. Those three carries, while not Penny’s best, were certainly among the most important of the game.
Yes, Tariq Woolen made what could easily be called the play of the game. DK Metcalf was spectacular. Geno Smith proved he’s much more than a game manager. But in a game that looked more like a Madden simulation, the Seahawks needed Rashaad Penny to control the game. He did that and more, earning my week four game MVP.