SEATTLE -- Sunday's game was more than just a win for the Seattle Seahawks and more than just another loss for the New York Jets.
The Seahawks' 28-7 thumping of the Jets on Sunday at CenturyLink Field was a showcase of two teams headed in different directions.
Seattle (6-4) won its second consecutive game and improved to 5-0 at home. With the continuing maturation of rookie quarterback Russell Wilson and the hard running of Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks' postseason goals seem very real and very attainable.
"We hung tough," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "We weren't playing very well early, and some things happened, but we hung together and kept kind of punching away at it."
Meanwhile, the Jets fell to 3-6 thanks once again to an inept offense that was hampered by poor to pathetic quarterback play from both Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow. Coach Rex Ryan certainly wasn't expecting that type of performance coming out of a bye week.
"Obviously, that's a brutal loss right there," an emotional Ryan said. "We had some opportunities, especially early in the game. We made some critical errors which we still thought we would be able to overcome ... but that obviously wasn't the case."
Though it's not much of a compliment, Wilson was the best quarterback on the field. The rookie completed 12 of 19 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns.
Wilson hit Golden Tate for a 38-yard touchdown early in the first half to give Seattle a 7-0 lead. The ball was underthrown, and Tate made a tough leaping grab over Jets cornerback Kyle Wilson.
Russell Wilson gave those points right back two series later. Trying to scramble to buy time, he was hit by Mike DeVito and fumbled the ball. Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson picked it up and raced 21 yards for the touchdown.
Lynch scored on a 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to put Seattle back on top, 14-7.
The Seahawks put the game away in the fourth quarter.
Wilson hit Sidney Rice on pretty 31-yard touchdown pass to push the lead to 21-7. Seattle got the ball back immediately when Sanchez had the ball knocked loose by Richard Sherman and the Seahawks recovered.
Seattle wasted no time scoring, using a trick play. Tate took a lateral from Wilson, sprinted to his left and then fired a wobbly left-handed pass to a wide-open Rice for a 23-yard touchdown.
"My mindset is any I time I get the ball I can make something special happen, a touchdown, a big first down in a crucial moment, a big game," Tate said. "That's just how I am."
Lynch rushed for 124 yards, going over 1,000 yards for the season. It was the fourth straight 100-yard game for Lynch, tying a franchise record set by Shaun Alexander in 2005. Lynch's best run of the day came postgame when he dressed and left before speaking to the media -- continuing a season-long streak.
"That just doesn't happen," said fullback Michael Robinson of Lynch's accomplishment. "We force the run. That's what we do. It's hard to get a 1,000 yards in this league. I'm happy for Marshawn. He congratulated me, and I'm like, 'No, congratulations to you.' That's just the kind of guy he is. He understands it takes all 11 guys to run the ball in this league."
The Jets' offense never got going, managing just 185 yards of total offense.
Sanchez completed nine of 22 passes for 124 yards. He was intercepted once and sacked three times. He finished with a 40.7 passer rating.
"I know I can make better decisions than that because I've done it in the past," Sanchez said. "I have played at a high level for this team. It's not whether I have the ability to do that, it's just a matter of making it happen come game day."
Tebow completed all three of his passes for 8 yards. He also rushed four times for 14 yards but was largely ineffective.
Ryan remained adamant that Sanchez would be his starter next week.
"I believe we can win with Mark, and I believe that we can win with Tebow, but I'm not going to let you or anyone else convince me otherwise," Ryan said. "This is how I feel. It gives us the best opportunity to win games, and that's the only reason I make any move."
NOTES: Jets defensive back Isaiah Trufant suffered a knee injury making a tackle on a punt return in the first quarter and never returned to the game. ... Linebacker K.J. Wright and left guard James Carpenter -- both starters -- did not suit up for the Seahawks because of concussions. ... After completing just five of 14 passes for 67 yards and an interception, Sanchez had a passer rating of 22 in the first half. ... Wilson's total of 15 touchdown passes leads the league's rookies. ... Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman had an interception and a forced fumble to go along with three tackles and three passes defensed.