Dropping their first game of the preseason on Thursday night following a merciful Marcus Sherels pick-six with under two minutes to go, the Seattle Seahawks fell 18-11 to the Minnesota Vikings in a game that was to be remembered for very little, and then, a lot. A near repeat of last week’s game-winning drive, Blair Walsh hilariously (cruelly) missing a field goal wide left, and the emergence of Troymaine Pope as a potential 53-man roster surprise are just some of the talking points. Here’s some other quick hitters from Thursday’s loss.
Brandon Williams continued his quest to be apart of the final roster on Thursday. Williams again blocked well in the run game and chipped in with a tackle on the game’s opening kickoff. Special teams will be key if Seattle is to carry him as a fourth tight end, and he’s making strides towards that happening.
For the second straight week, Kelcie McCray started for Kam Chancellor at strong safety. McCray came out playing fast and aggressive, blowing up a blocker on a wide receiver screen and helping to make a tackle on the game’s opening drive. Between McCray and Tyvis Powell, the Seahawks seem to have quality backups at the safety spot for the first time in a couple of seasons.
Fullback Jonathan Amosa didn’t get as many snaps as he did in week one, but he did pitch in with a couple of nice blocks on Christine Michael runs in the first quarter. Amosa was also flagged for a crackback block on a wide receiver screen, but all in all I like the former Husky’s chances of being the team’s fullback in 2016.
Not much can be said about the awakened Christine Michael that hasn’t already, but wow. The past two weeks he has done such a good job of getting looooow running up the middle. Combining that with his pre-existing suddenness has been fun to watch.
I said it earlier this week following Tony McDaniel’s signing, but tonight confirmed it; Sealver Siliga, not Jordan Hill, is more than likely on the outs. McDaniel, like Siliga, is a pure run-stuffer. And while Hill has been unable to get on the field thus far in preseason, his ability to disrupt up the middle was sorely missed on Thursday night. The edge rushers were doing their job moving the quarterbacks off their spot, but there was nobody in the middle to reap the benefits. Jordan Hill can be, and has been, that guy for Seattle.
After a nondescript Seahawks debut a week ago, rookie running back Alex Collins got off to a shaky start in week two. His first half action included two runs blown up in the backfield, failing to pick up a blitzing linebacker leading to a sack of Russell Wilson, and a drop on a quick slant. His second half was better, where Collins showed the power and ability to setup defenders that made people - myself included - so excited about his potential heading into April’s draft. Thursday was a step in the right direction, but Collins has a fight ahead of him now, thanks to…
Troymaine Pope! Last week’s two-point conversion hero came up big again on Thursday night. Pope looked untouchable turning the corner time and time again in the second half, ending with 86 yards on just ten carries. He started the fourth quarter by punching in Seattle’s first touchdown of the night shortly after a 27-yard run brought them down inside the five. Thomas Rawls, Christine Michael and CJ Prosise are roster locks at this point, but it appears as though Pope is going to fight the fifth-round rookie Collins all the way to the finish line for that final running back spot.
Thursday night was a definite regression for the first-team offensive line after last week, but there are still positives to take from it. Mainly, Justin Britt is still yet to have a bad snap in the preseason and seems to really be making the starting center job his own. It was a bad night for Bradley Sowell, who had his lunch eaten by Everson Griffen, who then made Sowell make another lunch, which he proceeded to eat as well.
Kenny Lawler failed to make up ground on Kevin Smith and Kasen Williams last week in Kansas City, but he redeemed himself tonight. Three catches for 47 yards, Lawler started to look like the playmaker he can be for the Seahawks. It was a good night for him but he wasn’t alone, with Antwan Goodley making the most of his chances in the second half, ending the evening with 65 yards on five catches. Fun competitions to watch at both running back and wide receiver as we head into the preseason’s final two weeks.
It’s now three bad snaps in two games for rookie long snapper Nolan Frese, one of which contributed to Steven Hauschka missing a long field goal against the Vikings. Frese is set to count $450,000 against the cap this season, while a veteran minimum contract for former Seattle long snapper Clint Gresham would cost $745,000 against the cap. Hey, Gresh?
Cornerback Marcus Burley did a good job of keeping his roster hopes alive tonight, with a big play on punt coverage and coming up big in coverage a couple of times. The Seahawks have kept an average of 5.7 cornerbacks during Pete Carroll’s time in Seattle, and rounding up to six that group for 2016 currently would consist of: Richard Sherman, Jeremy Lane, DeShawn Shead, Tye Smith, Tharold Simon and potentially Burley. He’s right in the thick of things and needs another couple of games like Thursday’s if he is to remain in Seattle in 2016.
One thing we know for sure after Thursday’s game is this: Seahawks fans did something wrong to deserve three coach’s challenges in two preseason games. Make it stop!