Despite entering the game 2-0, the offense struggled in the first half of both games with careless penalties and problems in the passing game overall.
Not this time. Russell Wilson threw for four touchdowns, including three in the first half. Backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson had one touchdown throwing and one running. Together they combined for 331 yards and five touchdown passes, completing 21 of 29 throws for a 135.2 quarterback rating between them.
“I thought Russell played great,” said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. “He was all over the place making great plays and throws. And I thought T-Jack played lights out. He did everything just right. He handled himself beautifully.”
Tight end Zach Miller and wide receiver Sidney Rice had two touchdowns each. Both Miller touchdowns came off play-action fakes that left him open in the end zone.
One Rice score came when it appeared Wilson threw the ball up for grabs, but that’s what Rice wanted him to do on the 23-yard play.
“I rolled out and Sidney pointed to me to throw it up,’’ Wilson said. “So I thought, ‘You know what? Here ya go.’ You have to trust your guys.”
Rice made a leaping catch in front of two Jacksonville defenders.
“I saw the ball thrown so I went to attack it,” Rice said. “We take advantage of the opportunities that come our way.”
Doug Baldwin did the same thing on his 35-yard touchdown grab down the sideline when he got a signal from Jackson.
“T-Jack came to the line and gave me a little smile,” Baldwin said. “I knew the ball was coming my way.”
Part of the improvement Sunday was the fact that the Seahawks did not stop themselves with penalties, a big problem in the first two games. Seattle had only four penalties for 24 yards.
“That’s a big move up for us,” Carroll said. “I’m glad we could make that such an emphasis this week [at practice] and see a real change.”
And there was no letdown coming off the emotional 29-3 victory over the San Francisco 49ers last week.
“We talked about that early in the week,” Baldwin said. “We addressed it by saying we were not going to waste this opportunity [to be 3-0]. For us, every game is a championship opportunity. We weren’t going to let it slip away.”
The Seahawks also didn’t fall into the so-called “trap game.” Seattle was a 19½-point favorite over the Jaguars. It would have been easy to look ahead to the game next week in Houston against the Texans.
“Those guys on the other sideline are an NFL team just like us,” said cornerback Brandon Browner, who played for the first time this season after being out with a hamstring injury. “We talk about never overlooking any team. We looked at them just like we did San Francisco.”
Seattle checked everything off the list and won the game they were supposed to win against an overmatched opponent. But it’s the way they did it that mattered the most to the players.
‘‘That’s the way we need to play football,” Wilson said. “We didn’t have crazy penalties and we executed when we needed to. When we do that, we’re hard to stop.”