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Seahawks-Vikings recap: The good, the bad, and the ugly

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Troymaine Pope gained ground for a roster spot, pass rushing became a problem, and the Seahawks showed their affinity for penalties.

NFL: Preseason-Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Seahawks second preseason game ended with a loss. The closing minutes in the game mirrored those of the first week. After throwing a pick-six to go down 18-11, Trevone Boykin had to tune out the last drive and focus on the next one. With the help of a 53-yard pass interference called against Minnesota on 3rd-down, Seattle was able to have the ball in their opponent’s territory. A 20-yard pass to Antwan Goodley moved the ball to the 5-yard line. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, Boykin was sacked for a loss and a last heave into the end zone proved futile as the Vikings grabbed their (revenge?) win against Seattle.

The Good

  • Christine Michael: For the second consecutive week Christine Michael gave a spectacular performance. His night ended with 55 yards on 10 carries, and an average of 5.5 yards per carry. Michael continued to show improved decision making as he would wait behind the line until the correct gap was created, then his athleticism would do the rest. Michael’s ball-switching illness, that plagued him for the past three years, seems to be cured. It’s shocking to think this Michael couldn’t stay on the team last year and now he looks to be an important cog in Seattle’s run game.
  • Jarran Reed & Frank Clark: Both of these lineman had great nights. In the second quarter, Reed demonstrated his run-stuffing ability as he threw aside the Vikings left guard and met Matt Asiata behind the line for loss of yardage. He continued to be a wall as a rush defender for the rest of the game. Clark had a monster of a game last night. At the end of the game his stat line read: one sack, one QB hit, three QB hurries, and a batted pass. This is the type of production that the Seahawks will need from him in the regular season. Clark’s presence along with Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril will be a headache for offensive lines this year.
  • Troymaine Pope: I think it is safe to say that before last night most analysts and Seahawks fans had Pope as a practice squad player at best. However, his performance last night was that of a player who should be on the 53-man roster. Pope logged 86 yards on 10 carries along with a touchdown. His 8.6 yards per carry average is pretty remarkable despite playing against backup defensive units. Pope exhibited his amazing burst last night as he came flying through several holes. His quickness and speed were also apparent as he was able to bounce outside after being clogged behind the line of scrimmage. His performance put him right in the conversation for a roster spot last night, and if Seattle decides not to keep him, he won’t be a free agent for very long.

The “Eh”

  • Trevone Boykin: Boykin had just an “eh” night, last night. He looked like a Russell Wilson clone in the 2nd half as he danced away from defensive lineman. I also felt that Boykin had improved his presence in the huddle and behind center last night, he just looked more confident. Many of his completions were accurate and placed perfectly. Boykin’s most impressive feat of the night was shaking off his pick-six and being able to lead the offense down the field (with a little help from pass interference). Boykin falls into the “eh” category, however, because of the pick-six and the closing moments of the game. On the interception, the defender read Boykin the entire way and must’ve been salivating when Boykin delivered the ball his way. A mistake like that should be beneficial for Boykin in the long run, but for now it is just an egregious mistake. In the closing minute of the game Seattle had the ball on the 5-yard line. On 2nd down, the play started to fall apart and instead of throwing the ball away, Boykin tried to scramble and escape. This resulted in 10 yard loss on a sack that pushed Seattle back to the 15-yard line and all but sealed the outcome of the game. Boykin showed some great things to be satisfied with in this game, but also demonstrated why he is only a backup.

The Bad

  • Alex Collins: A game that I’m sure he’d like to put behind him. He finished the game with only 13 yards on 6 carries. In the receiving game he finished with a single 8 yard catch and two drops. Collins wasn’t known for his catching ability at Arkansas, but you’d still like to see a player make those catches whenever they are open. They tried to get him involved in the running game, but it wasn’t happening. That can probably be attributed to the offensive line and not just Collins, but with that numbers Pope provided, I’m going to say it was more the latter than the former. As of today I still think Collins has a roster spot, but his play needs to pickup to completely justify it.
  • Pass Rush: A few individual players, like Clark, had nice games while pass rushing, but as a whole, the unit lacked. Clark got the lone sack on the night and the line produced just 5 QB hits over the course of the game. For several plays in the first half it felt as though the defensive ends would beat the offensive tackles but just keep running by and not turn to the quarterback. Shaun Hill was able to step up fairly easily and deliver throws to one of his receivers. The interior pass rush needs to step up as Reed, primarily a run defender, was the single interior lineman to produce a QB hit. Pressure on the quarterback is one of the key components to the Seahawks defense, so I expect that Carroll is going to fervently address this issue over the next week.

The Ugly

  • Penalties: Seattle’s penalty problem from last season carried over into last night’s contest. Seattle incurred 12 penalties for 111 yards. During Pete Carroll’s tenure in Seattle, the team has never been toward the league low in penalties. However, this many penalties in the preseason is better than this many penalties in the regular season. I would love to see the penalties go down across offense, defense, and special teams, but the Seahawks are usually sporadic in terms of penalties per game, so I’m not sure if much can be done besides telling players how to correct their mistakes, then hoping for the best.