The Seahawks cruised Friday night against the Kansas City Chiefs and Russell Wilson led the offense to points on their first six possessions. Their seventh possession, Wilson's final, midway through the third quarter, was a missed 51-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka. Wilson finished 13-19 for 185 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions and ran for 58 yards on only two attempts. Stats during the preseason, ultimately, aren't all that important but what was encouraging was the way that Russell Wilson played. He threw from the pocket on both of his touchdown passes, seemingly refused to leave unless necessary, and the Seahawks, just going off of memory, didn't really run many designed rollouts or bootlegs. There were two or three times that he sort of strafed out of the pocket but then abruptly stopped himself to make a throw, almost as if he was making it a point to stay at all costs. In his two scramble attempts, Wilson picked up big yardage and avoided several tackles along the way.
Russell's pass to Kellen Winslow was a broken defensive play by Kansas City so it was less Wilson's brilliance and more just a competent throw, but his dart to Charly Martin later in the 2nd quarter for a score was everything you could hope for from the rookie quarterback. He stood calmly in the pocket and threw into traffic, placing the football where only Martin could go up and get the ball. Wilson also had a couple of nice throws to Braylon Edwards and Terrell Owens down the sideline that were brought down, and another just out of Edwards' reach that looked fairly similar to their connection for a touchdown against Tennessee. He made a nice throw down the seam that was caught by Anthony McCoy and even got Sidney Rice in on the action with the first play from scrimmage, hitting Rice for 8 yards on the sideline.
Wilson did pretty much everything you could have asked for in his first start, against Kansas City's first team defense - made throws into tight windows from the pocket, led the offense on efficient, point-scoring drives, didn't turn the ball over, extended plays that had broken down, and spread the football around the field and to his different playmakers - his first five passes went to five separate receivers, and 12 Seahawk players caught passes. In terms of the little things - on first glance it's tough to tell if he did a good job of going through progressions and all that, but I did think he worked his cadence well and used the play clock intelligently, and he checked out of a couple of different calls for audibles. Overall, it was certainly a positive performance by Wilson and he's really putting the heat on for this coaching staff to name him the starter. With Matt Flynn out with a sore elbow tonight, he was unable to counter with an answer of his own. Time will tell.
As for the rest of the team, there were certainly a few nice spots as well. Earl Thomas returned an interception 70+ yards for a touchdown and on a separate play knocked Steve Breaston so hard that he dropped a pass on a slant route. Golden Tate returned a punt 92 yards for a touchdown. Richard Sherman had himself a hell of a game - he stripped what was going to be a sure catch on a back shoulder throw to the opposing receiver with an upward swipe (video here and here), and deflected or batted down a couple of other passes that went his way. He was called for a pass interference that I thought was pretty close to being a clean play on another batted pass.
Mike Morgan had a pretty decent game and was in on a couple of nice plays, and coordinated with Chris Clemons for a sack in the first quarter. I saw nice interior penetration on several occasions by Brandon Mebane and I thought that Jaye Howard did a nice job with this as well - slicing into the backfield and blowing up run plays before they could start. Greg Scruggs also had a sack early in the game, so the Seahawks defensive line is something to really watch.
I thought that Robert Turbin ran the ball very well - he broke arm tackles, high-stepped his way through others, and was decisive and explosive in his cuts downhill. He was able to find and exploit a couple of nice seams and picked up positive yardage on almost all his runs. Turbin rushed for 93 yards on 14 carries, a 6.6 ypc, and had a nice 25-yard touchdown scamper. As a team, the Seahawks ran for 189 yards on 6.8 ypc. The first-team offensive line unit looked pretty sharp, especially considering one J.R. Sweezy started at right guard. I will have to watch a little more closely this week, but I do remember on play where Sweezy helped out with Breno Giacomini in blocking a defensive end in pass rush, and straight just knocked the Chief on his butt. Overall though, the Seahawks ran the ball well behind the first-team, and this was a great test, as my friend just pointed out to me via text, in that the Seahawks will be facing two 3-4 teams to start the season in Arizona and Dallas. This should give these guys a good look at blocking against that front, after practicing and playing mostly over the last few months against a four-man look.
Anthony McCoy had a strong game again to encore his play last week, and led the Seahawks with two catches for 47 yards. Zach Miller returned to action and was fairly quiet, and Kellen Winslow had two catches, including that 21 yard touchdown grab.
Jon Ryan wasn't called upon to punt until a little ways into the fourth quarter, but when he did, he made the most of it - booming a 69 yarder that bounced straight up probably ten or fifteen feet on what had to be the one yard line before it settled on the 2. The play was called back because Philip Adams went out of bounds and was the first to touch it once he was in, but got-damn, it was a thing of beauty. Ryan followed up with a 61 yard punt that was returned for 10 yards and finished out his night with a 50 yard punt that was downed at the 3 yard line. Not a bad day's work.
As for injuries, thankfully nothing major, I don't believe. Brandon Browner left with leg cramps, Chris Maragos dinged up a shoulder, and Greg Scruggs left with a hamstring injury. No word on severity. There are so many little nuggets of information to digest right now but we'll do what we do here this week and try and break down some of the good things and some of the bad. Stay tuned...