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Broncos 27 Seahawks 24: Winners and Losers from another opening day loss for Seattle

Seattle Seahawks v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Maybe it’s my low expectations — I predicted 8-8 prior to Earl Thomas ending his holdout, and think at best they’re 10-6 with a quick playoff loss — but I wasn’t that mad that the Seattle Seahawks lost to the Denver Broncos? Disappointed? Of course, they had a winnable game in a difficult place to play and squandered so many opportunities.

There were a few positive, hugely encouraging moments from this game, but the negatives stuck out like a sore thumb. Let’s roll through the winners and losers for the first time in the 2018 NFL regular season.


Will Dissly

Hot damn! Who saw that coming? Was that Will Dissly or a prime Jeremy Shockey? 3 catches for 105 yards and a touchdown for someone drafted primarily for his blocking abilities. Seattle has a new weapon on offense, and I doubt anyone saw that coming.

Brandon Marshall

He had one touchdown nullified due to OPI, but he got his touchdown later in the game. Three catches for 46 yards and a sign that he still has something left in the tank. With Doug Baldwin hobbling, the Seahawks may need to rely on Marshall a lot more than expected.

Earl Thomas

No camp? No practicing until game week? No problem. Earl Thomas shows up and easily picks off Case Keenum on the game’s second drive, leading to Dissly’s touchdown. Imagine how much worse this defense would’ve been without him this afternoon. Welcome back, Earl.

Bradley McDougald

Kam Chancellor’s successor balled out. Two interceptions and he let a third slip through his hands on the very first series of the game. His first INT denied the Broncos points right before halftime, and his second one was literally the play after Von Miller ripped the football away from Chris Carson with his freakish inhuman strength. Seattle would tie the game shortly thereafter. For all of the worries about the cornerback situation, let’s take some comfort in knowing that McDougald has been a brilliant addition to the secondary, capable of filling in at either FS or SS.

Michael Dickson

Look at this. LOOK AT THIS. Even in Denver, who does this? Michael Dickson, that’s who.


Shaquem Griffin

Shaquill Griffin’s rookie debut last year was a revelation. Shaquem’s was unfortunately a poor one. He was lost in coverage, repeatedly took bad angles, struggled to contain running plays, and the first touchdown of the game was a bust in coverage between him and Tre Flowers. Shaquem’s journey to the NFL is nothing short of inspirational, but game one was one to forget. Get healthy soon, K.J. Wright. He is more valuable than most of the NFL may think.

Tre Flowers

I feel bad putting Flowers here, to be honest. This was a “thrown to the wolves” moment essentially at the last-minute. He was a safety-to-corner project who was never meant to start on day one. It showed. Case Keenum picked on him at will, hence Shaquill Griffin was largely not even looked at (sound familiar?). Hopefully he continues to learn and improve, but the struggles on defense very much involved Flowers being victimized by Broncos receivers, particularly Emmanuel Sanders.

Defensive line (Pass rush)

It didn’t exist. Without blitzing, I counted three pressures on Case Keenum. Frank Clark got one sack. The rest of the afternoon was just a comfortable day at the office for Keenum. The concerns we saw in preseason continued into the regular season opener. They also got crushed with 146 yards on the ground, and had just two tackles for a loss. No good. And speaking of no good...

Sebastian Janikowski

Seabass has to have a short leash. He’s an old kicker who’s coming off injury and for the second game in a row (dating back to preseason) he’s pulling his kicks to the left. Janikowski missed two PATs in the preseason finale, then had two cracks at making a critical field goal before halftime against the Broncos, and pulled them both to the left. I’m in no mood to watch the kicking woes continue for another season. His failure to make that field goal combined with Brandon McManus making both of his FGs from 50+ yards was so crucial.


I fail to see how Demaryius Thomas’ touchdown, which proved to be the game-winner, was called a touchdown on the field. It was initially ruled incomplete, Thomas whined, the other officials conferred, and then Brad Allen signaled TD One of the problems with defaulting to a touchdown call for automatic review is that it more often than not hurts the defense in “not enough to overturn” cases. I thought for sure Thomas’ foot was out of bounds, but the replay officials disagreed.

Meanwhile, the refs also didn’t grant Pete Carroll his challenge on a Royce Freeman fumble (and possible Seahawks recovery) on Denver’s 1st quarter touchdown drive. They didn’t catch it in time, apparently. That’s terrible.

Germain Ifedi

False start and three sacks allowed. Von Miller is a beast, but Von also hasn’t had three sacks in a game since 2016. He is so easily bullied and planted on his ass that it’s just breathtaking. “Be patient” won’t apply much longer, because Khalil Mack, Chandler Jones, DeMarcus Lawrence, and a host of other monsters are coming his way.

J.R. Sweezy

Russell Wilson’s successful screen to Chris Carson in the 2nd quarter was nullified thanks to an asinine holding penalty by Sweezy that was so unnecessary. Carson gained 44 yards to Denver’s 31, so it was essentially a 54 yard swing. That’s potential points taken off the board. He was a liability throughout the game, but the penalty was by far his worst moment. Also bad was his getting bulldozed on a potential Dissly touchdown pass, as Wilson never stpped into his throw and overshot Will.

Rashard Perry Rashaad Penny

Dick Stockton kept calling Rashaad Penny “Rashard Perry.” He may as well have been someone not named Rashaad Penny. He only had 8 yards on 7 carries. Penny did manage 35 yards on 4 catches, but I saw no broken tackles and he looked like he had problems keeping his feet underneath him. Rashaad did miss most of preseason due to injury, so I should be fair here, but that was not a good showing by the first-round draft pick.

Final Notes

  • Russell Wilson was 19/33 for 242 net yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs, 2 fumbles (0 lost), and six sacks taken. He absolutely was culpable on half of those sacks incurred. It was an odd game from Russ that showcased his worst habits, and Denver’s pass rush is not one to try and play the spin-o-rama game. I don’t think Russ played well, but some credit has to go to the Broncos defense.
  • Brian Schottenheimer called 40 pass plays to 14 running plays. Seattle never trailed by more than 7. Without getting into “establish the run” talk, Chris Carson was really not utilized enough, and certainly they could’ve done with more shotgun runs.
  • Tyler Lockett getting free for the go-ahead score in the 4th quarter was sweet. Hopefully we see more of that from #16, seeing as the Seahawks gave him a three-year contract extension.
  • Are the Seahawks ever going to run a two-minute drill in which they throw to the sidelines and not “take what the defense gives you” as Wilson did in both halves? Short dumpoffs with no timeouts or one timeout in the middle of the field are useless. The time matters more than the minimal gains.
  • The 49ers and Cowboys lost. The day wasn’t all that bad.