In the Seahawks’ 2019 regular season opener, they managed to outlast the Bengals in an occasionally-ugly affair, 21-20. Week 1 is always interesting; on one hand, we finally see preseason theories either proven or disproven; on the other hand, a fair number of takeaways from the first game will be entirely useless by November. That being said, there are some interesting talking points from Seattle’s snap counts against Cincinnati:
- Perhaps the most noteworthy—and weird—takeaway is the lack of nickel the Seahawks played. Despite coming against an offense guided by Zac Taylor, who comes from a Rams team that ran 11 personnel on 77 percent of plays in 2018, Seattle kept three linebackers on the field the majority of the time. Mychal Kendricks and K.J. Wright played the same amount, at 90 percent, while Ugo Amadi played just 27 percent.
- Jaron Brown, re-signed ahead of Week 1, and D.K. Metcalf, inducted into the Hall of Fame ahead of Week 1, played an equal amount as the team’s second and third receivers, with 41 snaps. Metcalf was the best receiver on the day for the Seahawks, and one could imagine he’ll stick in two receiver formations as the season progresses.
- Rashaad Penny, now in his sophomore season, saw a workload typical for him during the second half of last season (26 percent). His snaps should go up and down as they try to keep Chris Carson fresh, but in Week 1, he had a minimal impact.
- Nick Bellore returning to the team after being released was predictable, and I was interested to see how he’s used compared to Tre Madden. It was nearly identical: In 2018, Madden was a core special teamer while playing eight percent of the offense’s snaps. On Sunday, Bellore played six percent of the offense’s snaps, and 74 percent of special teams reps.
- In his Seahawks debut, Jadeveon Clowney played more than planned—likely due in part to Ezekiel Ansah’s absence—coming in at 62 percent. He made quite the impact, with a sack and a pass breakup. In addition to those numbers, he constantly changed the math up front and forced the Bengals to commit an extra blocker to him.
- Finally, Rasheem Green, who the team needs to step up in year two, played well in Ansah’s place (and featuring in 65 percent of the defense’s snaps). His biggest contribution, of course, being the sack-fumble which ended the game.
Seattle’s snap counts should change up quite a bit in Week 2, with Mike Iupati and Ansah possibly coming into the lineup, and Tedric Thompson possibly headed for the bench. That will all happen in Pittsburgh, against the reeling Steelers in their home opener.