While I was watching the Seattle Seahawks preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, I realized that right up until late in the third quarter, I had barely paid any attention to the offensive line. And then this play happened and I realized why: this was quite possibly the only real pressure that the unit allowed during an entire 60-minutes of play. And it wasn’t even that bad. And it was credited to a second-year guy playing out of position.
DeMarvin Leal gets what I believe was the only true Steelers' pressure all game long going up against an out of position Jake Curhan here. Not a bad showing at all for the Seahawks group. pic.twitter.com/K5zCyVVGFE— Stan "the Soy Boy" Taylor (@GoodGuyAtSports) August 15, 2022
The Seahawks offensive line had a forgettable performance in the best way possible: they were solid enough that they were often the least noticeable part of the game. Of course, they were playing a Pittsburgh Steelers team minus top pass rushers T.J. Watt and Cameron Heyward, as Mookie noted in the Winner’s and Loser’s column, so take this all for what it is worth. Still, this is the first chance that a lot of these guys are getting to play together, and for some like Charles Cross and Abe Lucas, their first time playing an NFL game entirely. This looked like a veteran performance, which is especially impressive for a team playing with rookie bookend tackles.
The stats back this up, too. According to Pro Football Focus, the Seattle Seahawks offensive line only allowed one pressure across 145 snaps. That is absolutely the kind of performance that I was not expecting to see on night one for a position group that has largely never started or even played together before. If you dig a bit deeper, PFF actually credits Lucas, Haynes, Curhan, and Fuller as all surrendering one pressure each in their positional statistics, but still none of these guys are charged with allowing a sack. The point stands that the line played well, and the sacks on both Geno Smith and Drew Lock can largely be credited to other factors. Now, this isn’t entirely without precedent; we have seen the team’s blocking look solid in the preseason, only to revert back to some of the same, troubling tendencies that we have seen in year’s past once the games actually start to count, so I am not getting ahead of myself... at least not yet.
But in the meantime, here is the player-by-player breakdown by snaps and position.
Seahawks line snap counts per PFF:— Stan "the Soy Boy" Taylor (@GoodGuyAtSports) August 15, 2022
Abe Lucas: 52 at RT
Phil Hayne: 49 (21 LG / 28 RG)
Jake Curhan: 40 (32 RG / 8 RT)
Charles Cross: 37 at LT
Kyle Fuller: 30 at C
Damien Lewis: 28 at LG
Austin Blythe: 28 at C
Stone Forsythe: 23 at LT
Greg Elland: 11 at LG
Dakoda Shepley: 2 at C
Worthy of note is that Jake Curhan played most of the game at Right Guard; his 32 snaps on the interior are nearly three times as many as he played there in all of 2022. It is the preseason, so the team is likely just trying out some moving pieces on this positional unit. Phil Haynes played a pretty even split on both sides, and Abe Lucas paced the whole unit with 52 snaps, all at Right Tackle. I’ll be watching closely to see how playing time shakes out when the Seahawks take on the Chicago Bears at Lumen Field on Thursday night!