There might have been one or two nervy moments in the 2nd half, but all things considered that was a comfortable opening day road win for the Seattle Seahawks. They took care of business against the Indianapolis Colts with a 28-16 victory in which they led by 10+ for the final 31 minutes of game time.
You know what time it is! No, Enemy Reaction is coming midweek. This is Winners and Losers, and I’m pleased that the Losers column is pretty light on names.
For me, he’s the biggest winner. Russell Wilson will get the next line in this column but Waldron is the one under the microscope the most. I saw increased use of pre-snap motion, dictating the tempo and when to speed up or slow the game down, heavy involvement of the tight ends and running backs in the passing game, and really just a well called and well designed offense. That was a hell of a debut for Waldron. The Seahawks did not look out of sync and while I’m sure there will be concern over how run-heavy the gameplan was — early down pass rate was 51% — I don’t care. The running game was effective and Wilson was remarkably efficient. It ain’t gonna be a 2018 redux and Seattle was in control for much of the 2nd half so I’m not bothered by the strategy.
For the second year in a row, a brilliant Week 1 performance: 18/23 for 254 yards and 4 TDs and no turnovers. He was magnificent and that second touchdown to Tyler Lockett was one of the most beautiful passes of his stellar career. Perhaps most astonishingly, he had a quarterback sneak. We saw one last year for a touchdown but Wilson has done this so infrequently (usually because it went poorly) that it was jarring to see that play actually unfold.
DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett
The 1st half was Tyler, the 2nd half was DK. That doesn’t seem fair to opposing defenses. Lockett had a couple of long ball touchdowns and Metcalf, who wasn’t targeted at all in the opening half, finished with a 4/60/1 statline, while Tyler had 4/100/2. Good luck stopping both of them in the same game.
Gerald Everett and Will Dissly
When I say Waldron got the tight ends involved, I mean it. Dissly had 3 catches for 37 yards and a disrespectful shove of Bobby Okereke that looked like he was trying to sway a mosquito. Everett had 2 catches for 20 yards and a touchdown, but he also had a successful screen pass called back due to illegal formation. Wilson only threw it 24 times so about 20% of those targets going to TEs feels significant.
Above all else, Chris Carson looked healthy. He looked like someone who could have 20 touches in a game. Carson finished with 91 yards on 16 carries and another 26 yards on 3 receptions while constantly falling forward and bruising defenders. I’ve dinged him in the past for fumbling and he did lose one today, but there ain’t a lot you can do when the Charles Tillman-style punchout happens. And it didn’t prove costly in the end.
I want to highlight Jackson specifically. He had a key block on Carson’s 33-yard run in the opening quarter. There was no hole and then suddenly there was one. Then look at his work on the Lockett 69-yard touchdown. I reckon this will be a great long-term investment.
Also ridiculous.— Dugar, Michael-Shawn (@MikeDugar) September 12, 2021
(Side note: this is why you trade for Gabe Jackson, the right guard in this highlight) pic.twitter.com/ElR1ZHwe9h
Rasheem Green (and the whole defensive line, come to think of it)
While L.J. Collier appears to be not favored in the rotation, Green could be in for a breakout year at the end of his rookie deal. He had a sack, a tackle for loss, and two passes defensed to go along with a couple of quarterback hits. Green was active, effective, and had his way with the Colts o-line.
The rest of the defensive line also did its part. Benson Mayowa had a sack, Carlos Dunlap had a few pressures and a two-point conversion sack, and both Poona Ford and Bryan Mone were absolute beasts defending the run.
The rookie — technically he isn’t, but he didn’t play last year so he’s a rookie to me — had a massive, arguably game-ending 4th down sack to deny the Colts any point on a 14-play drive. Taylor ran over Indy’s right tackle and finished off the play by getting to Wentz. That was excellent work at a time his team needed a stop.
There’s one play that I thought was underrated in terms of its important. After the Carson fumble, the Colts got a positive drive going and then Diggs came up from the secondary and popped Nyheim Hines a yard short of the marker on 3rd and 3. Wentz fumbled the snap on the next play, you know the rest from there. He got his deal reworked for this year, but please please please give Quandre his money ASAP.
I hope Pocic is alright and that his knee sprain isn’t serious, but when he was healthy he was not good. And frankly it’s because he’s frequently injured that I imagine the coaching staff wasn’t too keen on giving him anything other than a cheap one-year deal. Even then he still didn’t get the starting job over Kyle Fuller and his brief appearances did not inspire much confidence he’s getting his job back.
The refs for that ridiculous D.J. Reed pass interference penalty
That throw wasn’t catchable and Reed didn’t do anything to the Colts receiver to impact his route. All it did was help gift the Colts their consolation TD in a game that was long decided, but that was absurdly soft. I won’t fault them for Metcalf’s taunting penalty, I’ll fault the lame people who pushed for that rule to be emphasized.
- Tre Flowers got beaten for a touchdown in what was pretty much garbage time. I thought he played well overall but it is still rough watching him get beaten that cleanly.
- Really like that the coaching staff has used Ugo Amadi and Marquise Blair (but not together). Seattle is so deep at the nickel corner position and that’s saying something considering what a horror show 2019 was when Ugo was a rookie and Blair was at safety.
- Jamal Adams was hardly noticeable on the field, which I consider a good thing. They didn’t need him to repeatedly blitz — he did have an offsides penalty which negated his own sack — and he was scarcely targeted in coverage. And he had a couple of run stops. I’ll take that.
- Defense had some negative moments early but they really grew into the game and put the clamps on the Colts offense. We got a mixture of “bend but don’t break” and “break them” defense. The degree of difficulty will get tougher in the weeks ahead, so I’m not fully sold we’ll get this level of performance weekly. It was promising, though.
- It’s a real bummer and scary to see Dee Eskridge take that hit. He looked like a knocked out boxer when his head hit the turf. I thought even with just three touches he looked electric and ridiculously quick. Hopefully he’s alright because I can’t wait to see him more involved in the offense.
- Rashaad Penny can’t catch a break. I was genuinely curious to see how he’d fare in Waldron’s offense and he gets injured. Seattle drafted him for his durability and he has been injured pretty much his entire career.
- Michael Dickson turning a blocked punt into a tackle break and then an actual punt only further enhances his legacy as the king of punters.
- I hope the Tennessee Titans looking terrible today was more because of them and not the Arizona Cardinals being a potential playoff contender. Whatever the case they were awful at home and will have the misfortune of trying to get their first win next week in front of a packed Lumen Field.
- Football is back. The Seahawks are back. And I’m glad to be doing this again.