The Seattle Seahawks opened up their 2016 preseason on Saturday afternoon by defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 17-16, in a game that will be remembered for Tyvis Powell becoming the greatest player on earth, and Kam Chancellor looking like the baddest coach there ever was on the sideline in team issued gear. The game itself was a largely dull affair until a bizarre sequence leading up to the final play, a 37-yard touchdown pass from Trevone Boykin to Tanner McEvoy that was followed by the game winning two-point conversion. With 90 players vying for 53 spots, there were some interesting developments, which will be highlighted here.
Justin Britt looked steady as the starting center, both actually snapping the ball and blocking. What first seemed to be a team trying to find a spot for a disappointing high draft pick has turned into a legitimate competition, with Britt getting the nod as first team center over Patrick Lewis all through camp, and now in the first game of the preseason.
Tight end Brandon Williams’ chances of making the team got more difficult this week, when Jimmy Graham was activated off the PUP list. However, in training camp and now live games, Williams is doing his best to make John Schneider’s choice just as difficult. Williams blocked extremely well in the run game, contributing nicely to Christine Michael’s 6.3 yards per carry. He also added a reception and contributed on special teams, where he’ll see the majority of his snaps if he is still on the roster come week one.
The mature, awakened, Christine Michael we’ve heard about throughout training camp carried over into a game. Michael gashed the Chiefs defense, running for 44 yards on just seven carries and looking like a home run threat every time he got the ball. More importantly, Michael didn’t just carry the ball in his left hand; it was both hands covering the football when contact came, a welcome, needed change.
Eric Pinkins may not have done anything to further his chances of winning the SAM linebacker job on Saturday, but he definitely looks the part of a linebacker. The former cornerback is currently listed at 230 pounds by the Seahawks website, but I’m betting he’s closer to 245-250. He needed to get bigger if he was going to set the edge as an outside linebacker, and he seems to have done just that. Now, if improved play will follow, the Seahawks could have another exciting prospect on their hands.
Former Washington Husky Jonathan Amosa looked good at fullback in his Seahawks debut, both as a lead blocker and carrying the ball in short-yardage situations. After the season-ending injury to Brandon Cottom last week, the position was up in the air, but Amosa has done a good job of putting himself in a position to become the team’s fullback moving forward.
Rookie defensive tackle Brandin Bryant has had a sneaky good camp and it showed up today, with the freaky athlete getting a lot of snaps in different situations. On the Chiefs first offensive possession alone, Bryant was in on a 3rd and long and again with Kansas City on the goal line. Playing pretty much throughout the game, Bryant is going to have a ton of chances to make the team, even with all the bodies ahead of him.
With both Kevin Smith and Kasen Williams missing this game through injury, there was a big opportunity for Kenny Lawler and Douglas McNeil to make up ground on the two former Huskies. Neither grabbed that chance particularly firmly, however, with Lawler catching two balls for 14 yards and McNeil catching two for ten. Newcomer Uzoma Nwachukwu and Tanner McEvoy arguably did more for their chances to make the team, with the latter hauling in Trevone Boykin’s hail mary and the former making a couple of nice grabs.
George Fant looked every bit the incredibly raw prospect he is, the former basketball player getting beaten badly twice in quick succession towards the end of the first half. Fant’s athletic profile is incredibly intriguing, so perhaps a redshirt season similar to Garry Gilliam’s is in order if the team wants to keep him around while he develops.
Backup quarterback Trevone Boykin got a ton of snaps following Wilson’s departure, playing through to the halfway mark of the third quarter, then re-entering the game after just a couple of series’ for Jake Heaps. There were some good throws, as well as two “Oh right, he’s capable of that,” runs, but it wasn’t all good. A few sloppy throws, hindered by a leaky reserve offensive line. Making his NFL debut some nerves can be expected, but Boykin’s footwork goes out the window when he’s under duress, missing his receiver’s high and low often.
The team evidently would prefer Boykin to win the backup job over Heaps, evidenced by their playtime and attempts – Heaps throwing ten passes, to Boykin’s 26 – but I’m not so sure the backup competition is close to being done. Heaps’ first attempt of the game was the best throw either one of them made all afternoon, and he looks to be the more polished passer at this point in time.
Roster spots aren’t won and lost in the first week of the preseason, but yeah, Tyvis Powell won himself a roster spot today. A monster on special teams all game long, and an interception to boot. Former Seahawk Dion Bailey was one of the stars of last year’s preseason, but luckily for us Powell won’t have to fill in for Kam Chancellor* come week one.
*Knocks on all of the wood, ever.
From about week 13 on last season, defensive end Cassius Marsh was one of the Seahawks best special team players. He made huge tackles on multiple occasions and was flying down the field. That doesn’t appear to have changed in 2016, as Marsh once again was a big time player on both kickoffs and punts against the Chiefs. On the defensive side of the ball, he looked to be improved as a pass rusher, too; quick around the edge and good with his hands, it would be terrific if Marsh could contribute a few sacks this season.
One of the strangest story lines from Saturday’s game, besides Andy Reid using both his challenges, was the lack of Alex Collins. The rookie running back was expected to be featured heavily with both Zac Brooks and CJ Prosise out injured, but Collins got just three carries, less than half the amount of carries that George Farmer, who was a cornerback up until last week, received. To me, this means Collins is close to a lock to make the roster, but that seems strange for a fifth-round rookie, even one as talented as Collins.
All in all, Saturday’s win was a strange start to the preseason, but it wouldn’t be preseason without head scratching moments. 1-0 and onto the Vikings, did any players catch your eye today?