The newest edition of the Super Bowl XLVIII rematch was lacking in offensive firepower, but still had some exciting performances when all was said and done. The Seahawks may have come short on the scoreboard, but some of their key rookies showed that they have the potential to be huge pieces for the upcoming season. Tyler Lockett and Frank Clark in particular did all they could to repay the front office's faith in their abilities. The offensive line struggled, the defense showed off its depth and Pete Carroll even got in on the action. It wasn't perfect, but hey, football is back.
1. The first one is easy. Tyler Lockett was a stud at Kansas State, and we've been hearing about how phenomenal he's been in camp, for some time now. There's been plenty of talk about his prowess as a route runner and as an offensive weapon, but tonight, we saw what kind of difference he has the potential to make on special teams. First, there was his introductory NFL kick return. Then, he just started showing off.
The kid can flat out play.
2. Frank Clark stood out all game. Rather than one play of his that stood out to me, there was an entire series. On the first drive of the third quarter, Frank Clark showed why the Seahawks picked him in the second round of this year's draft. On first down, he teamed with T.Y. McGill for a sack. On second down, he swallowed up Montee Ball at the line of scrimmage for no gain. On third and 16, he recognized the screen, disengaged from his blocker and was able to make the tackle to keep Ball from gaining a first down. It was a beautiful glimpse at what Clark can do, showing that he succeed in all three phases of the game on defense.
Oh, and he caused a fumble on his first snap as a Seahawk. No big deal.
3. Russell to Jimmy. It didn't mean much in the grand scheme of things for the game (mostly because it's a preseason game), but it was still neat. Graham was able to get separation way too easily on the type of play that we'll likely see run a lot this year. The connection between the two is still being formed, which is likely part of the reason that we didn't see any attempts to Graham in the end zone, but it was nice to see them hook up officially, for the first time.
Frank Clark- 9 total tackles, 1 forced fumble
Clark was all over the field, from the second he stepped on it, to the final seconds ticking off the clock. He was in the backfield all night, he was all over the Denver running backs and he looked good in the process. Just thanks to tonight's quick preview, he looks like he could be a devastating addition to Seattle's third down defensive line.
Tyler Lockett- 4 kick returns, 46.5 yards per return (long of 103), 1 TD, 1 punt return for 18 yards
We talked plenty about Tyler above, but his numbers tonight just add to the fun. He was electric in the return game. Hopefully we get to see him a bit more in the passing game next week.
Anthony McCoy- 2 targets, 0 catches
It was hard to watch McCoy tonight. The guy has gone through so much over the past few years with injuries, and is now fighting to keep his spot on the roster. With Jimmy Graham and Luke Willson assured of their spots, he's already in a tough situation, but he didn't help his cause tonight. He let two very catchable balls slips away, and will need to make the most of every single ball that gets thrown his way from here on out, in both games and practices.
What it Means
It's the preseason, so obviously it doesn't mean anything standings-wise. However, there were plenty of takeaways to be taken.
-- The offensive line is a work in progress. The first unit didn't look good. The second unit didn't look good. The third unit looked decent, but they were also playing against a third unit on defense, so, you know. It's not secret that Justin Britt still has plenty of room to grow as a pass protector, but plays like these don't inspire much confidence, even if they did come against all-world pass rusher, Von Miller.
-- The main goal of every preseason is to make it though without any major injuries. Unfortunately, the Seahawks walk away from tonight's game with a pair of costly ones. First, Chris Matthews went down in the second quarter, apparently injuring his shoulder trying to recover a muffed punt. Later on, Tarvaris Jackson left the game due to injury, after a Denver lineman fell on his right ankle. Hopefully we'll learn more about each injury in the coming days.
-- I don't know exactly how many minutes Jesse Williams played tonight, but he played in a real-life football game, which is worth celebrating.
--I know Christine Michael fumbled, but he did so while carrying the ball in his left hand. At least he's trying. He also switched the ball from right to left, mid-run on a later carry. He's definitely aware of what he needs to do to earn more playing time, and it's nice to see him putting in a very conscious effort to do so - regardless of the initial results tonight.
-- I'm sure there is someone on the Seahawks' staff whose only job is to contain Pete Carroll on the sidelines. Whoever that someone is, they weren't able to do their job tonight.
-- Tyler Lockett, man. He gets everyone excited. I'd be worried about Pete, considering his age. But I'm sure the 10 year old boy in him bounced right up off the ground. Props to the referee for staying on his feet, though.
Football is back everyone. Go Hawks.