With Michael Bennett traded to the Philadelphia Eagles, Sheldon Richardson signing with the Minnesota Vikings, and Cliff Avril essentially not healthy enough to play anymore, there were more than legitimate concerns about how the Seattle Seahawks pass rush would operate in the 2018 NFL regular season. It’s early days, mind you, but the opening game was not encouraging in the slightest.
Denver Broncos QB Case Keenum was sacked only one time out of 40 dropbacks, and largely had all day to throw and exploit the coverage downfield.
According to NFL Matchup on ESPN, no team had a worse pressure rate in Week 1 than the Seahawks defense. (Denver was fourth-best, by the way!)
These teams have created the most pressure through week one of the regular season. #GoPats #HereWeGo #FightForEachOther #BroncosCountry #BeRedSeeRed pic.twitter.com/AfjdRNnjbn— NFL Matchup on ESPN (@NFLMatchup) September 12, 2018
There isn’t another play in the game that sums up Seattle’s (complete lack of a) pass rush than Keenum’s touchdown to Emmanuel Sanders. You want to watch Garrett Bolles literally block Jacob Martin five yards down the field like he’s a prime Walter Jones?
In case you’re wondering, and I say this with a hat tip to my fellow Field Gulls colleagues, this play isn’t illegal man downfield. Bolles initiated the block within one yard of the line of scrimmage, and... well... he stayed blocking Martin until Keenum found Sanders for the score.
I can only imagine how much worse that pressure rate would’ve been had the scope been limited to non-blitzes. Justin Coleman and Earl Thomas both managed to pressure Keenum off of the blitz, but those were one of the few moments of bother for Case.
This is of course just one game, admittedly in a difficult place to play under hot conditions. However, until they prove otherwise, the pass rush remains the biggest problem on the Seahawks defense.