SEATTLE — Pete Carroll doesn’t give out game balls after victories, preferring to recognize individual performances or accomplishments in other ways.
But with Jamal Adams making NFL history against the team that traded him to the Seattle Seahawks, Carroll had to make an exception. The All-Pro strong safety got a game ball after setting the single-season record for sacks by a defensive back with 8.5, one of several bright moments for the Seahawks on Sunday as they hammered the New York Jets 40-3 at Lumen Field for their second-largest margin of victory in 11 seasons under Carroll.
That kept the Jets (0-13) winless and got the Seahawks (9-4) back on track following their upset loss last week to the New York Giants.
Adams called the gesture “pretty cool” and a sign of how much the organization supports him.
“It’s a pretty cool feeling when you put your mind to something, because I told myself and I told everybody last year when I did fail with 6.5 sacks and I got hurt, I told everybody that I was going to break the record,” he said. “Some people thought I was crazy, some people believed in me. But the only thing that mattered is that I believed in myself. I knew that I was going to break the record.”
Seattle got four touchdown passes from Russell Wilson, who now has 36 this season. That establishes a career high and breaks the franchise record of 35 he set in 2018. He was 21-for-27 for 206 yards and an interception before being replaced by Geno Smith late in the third quarter, a rarity for a Seahawks team used to playing in close games. Wilson’s interception was his 12th of the season, also a career high.
One of Wilson’s touchdown passes was to DK Metcalf, who finished with 61 yards on six catches to break Joey Galloway’s club record (2,026) for most receiving yards through a player’s first two seasons. Wilson’s other TD passes were to Freddie Swain, Will Dissly and David Moore.
According to the Seahawks, Wilson is the only quarterback in NFL history with a winning record in each of his first nine seasons.
“I think it means everything,” Wilson said of the feat. “I think the whole purpose of why we play, why I wake up and play this game, is to win.”
The Seahawks rushed for 174 yards, including a combined 142 from Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde as they achieved the offensive balance Carroll desires. Their defense sacked Sam Darnold three times, forced a fumble and held New York to 185 total yards, continuing its turnaround from a historically bad start.
The Seahawks would have had four takeaways if not for three dropped interceptions, including one that bounced off Adams’ chest. He broke on an over-the-middle throw from Darnold and had room to run but couldn’t hang on to what would have been his first pick of the season and only the third of his career.
“Golly, I suck,” he said. “That was horrible. You have to capitalize on the opportunities when they come.”
Adams will have to settle for a place in the NFL record books, even if he didn’t get to properly celebrate it in the moment.
He was credited with a sack on a play in which he forced Darnold out of bounds for a 1-yard loss in the second quarter. Adams had planned on doing Warren Sapp’s sack dance once he set the record, but he didn’t realize that forcing Darnold out of bounds counted as a sack until he heard a coach on Seattle’s sideline yelling that it does.
The Arizona Cardinals‘ Adrian Wilson previously held the record for defensive backs with eight sacks in 2005, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. He reached that total in 16 games, while Adams topped it in his ninth game, having missed four with a groin injury.
Adams finished with five tackles, one sack and a tackle for loss. He received congratulatory hugs and handshakes from teammates and coaches on the sideline once he was pulled early in the fourth quarter along with several Seahawks starters with the game well out of reach. He was greeted warmly by some former Jets teammates on the field postgame, as well as coach Adam Gase, who, according to Adams, offered his congratulations and told him to go win a Super Bowl.
Adams on Friday downplayed the idea of Sunday’s game being about personal revenge and said he has no ill feelings toward Gase, whom he publicly criticized right before the Jets sent him to Seattle in a blockbuster July trade.
Adams now has 20.5 sacks in his NFL career. According to Elias Sports Bureau data, that’s tied with Rodney Harrison for the most sacks by a defensive back before his 30th birthday since sacks became an official statistic in 1982. Adams turned 25 in October.
Adams passed Charles Woodson for the seventh-most sacks by a DB since 1982, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. He’s the only DB to reach 20-plus career sacks without playing 100 career games (Sunday was his 55th career game).
Adams has a spot picked out in his Dallas home for the game ball from Sunday.
“I kept my cleats, I kept my jersey, I kept my pants, all of that,” he said. “I’m excited. It really hasn’t hit me yet that I broke the record, but really, I’m trying to shatter it to be real with you. This is just a start. It’s not the finish. The marathon continues.”