Winless preseason? Pfft. How about (through one week) an undefeated regular season?
The Seattle Seahawks were heavy home underdogs against Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos. It seemed like Wilson was on his way to adding to his deep portfolio of 4th quarter comebacks, and then uh... the Broncos just psyched themselves out in ways I have never seen before.
But it wasn’t all Denver’s self-destruction, it was also stingy Seahawks defense when needed most, and it was a wildly entertaining 1st half offense that established a slender lead that the Seahawks would maintain for the final 30+ minutes of game time.
It’s time for Winners and Losers after the Seahawks’ dramatic 17-16 win over Russ and the Broncos!
Yeah the Seahawks didn’t score in the 2nd half but that opening half by Smith was so damn good. You can’t argue against 17/18 for 164 yards and 2 touchdowns, all while making money 3rd down throws and just generally looking very accurate and sure of himself. In the post-game he spit out a hell of a bar that I gotta respect.
There are going to be games where Smith plays like he did in the 2nd half but for the whole afternoon. His struggles sensing pressure and being slow with his release aren’t going to go away, but you know what? This night meant so much to him to finally start again as QB1 and for at least the first couple of quarters he exceeded my expectations and was showered with “Geno!” chants for his efforts.
I tip my hat to Geno for what is undeniably one of the great nights of his career.
If you wanted Pete to be aggressive in his 4th down decision making, on the sample size of one he went for it inside Denver’s 10 and it didn’t convert. Good process, bad result. But more seriously, beyond his typical wasted challenge that looked like the type of plucky win the Seahawks have managed throughout the entirety of his run in Seattle, including pre-Wilson. At the very least, the team looked competent if at times aided by Denver’s own stupidity.
Happy birthday on Thursday, coach! These are the types of improbable, gutsy wins that, even through the frustrations of more recent seasons, are why he’s the best coach in franchise history.
You wanted more implementation of tight ends in the passing game? Well the Seahawks did that — for that matter, so did the Broncos — to the tune of 8 catches for 102 yards and both touchdowns. Will Dissly got the first score of the season and then Colby Parkinson, who’s struggled to stay healthy and hasn’t seen much playing time, picked up his first NFL touchdown for what was technically the game-winner. Noah Fant also chipped in with three catches but he wasn’t much of a factor in the passing game as much as he was as a blocker.
Still, there’s the TE involvement you craved!
He’s Jordyn Brooks’ partner at linebacker and he really showed out. That screen pass (finally!!!) to Javonte Williams in the 4th quarter was pivotal even as it seemingly cost Barton something physically. Barton also had a sack to comprise his two tackles for losses. I actually thought he outperformed Brooks, but smarter people may have the clearer answer.
Jackson took his lumps early getting bowled over by Broncos receivers and running backs, but he bounced back with a couple of clutch fumble recoveries and frankly it looked as if Wilson was not targeting him in coverage (he did have a pass defensed). I’ll see the tape later but he’s perhaps kept his starting spot in the long-term even when Artie Burns returns from his groin injury.
What a day for him! Nwosu picked up his first sack, recorded two QB hits, and also had the critical forced fumble on Javonte Williams to give the Seahawks the ball back. Impressive debut for Nwosu on an evening when other Seahawks pass rushers generally underwhelmed.
That second Broncos fumble doesn’t happen without Woods’ immediate blowing up of the right guard Graham Glasgow, such that Williams almost ran right into his own teammate. That’s what Big Al brings to the table on the interior.
That felt like a playoff atmosphere. I won’t get into the boo/don’t boo discourse re Wilson but I will praise the Seahawks fans for making Lumen Field sound like the peak Pete Carroll years, hell even the peak Mike Holmgren years. Denver false started three times and had two delay of game penalties. The crowd did its job brilliantly in ways that felt like a less extreme version of the 2005 Giants game. It was emotional, it was sensational, and the crowd made as big an impact as it has in years.
Welcome to the NFL, rookie. I don’t think he saw the field again after getting toasted by Jerry Jeudy. No doubt that Jeudy is fast but that was a bad rep from Bryant and back came Justin Coleman. Oh well, learning experience for him and a lot of others who were playing their first NFL game.
That was a really rough showing from Taylor either running himself out of plays or just getting bullied in the run game. There was at least one instance where he busted his assignment on a play-action bootleg. He’s supposed to be the top pass rusher (or one of them) and he really struggled.
I gotta put him in the losers column for the lost fumble, even though he had a couple of great hands catches in tight windows. Ball security for Metcalf was a problem for him in his rookie year and while it’s gotten better since then, sometimes it’s better to just accept a play is dead and go down. Hopefully a 7-catch, 36-yard statline is not commonplace because he needs to be targeted further down the field than that.
Just stop. Stop running them. STOP. I don’t want to see them called by Shane Waldron or any OC until they get this shit right.
- Really a bummer to see Jamal Adams suffer yet another serious injury, and of all things it’s his only blitz of the game and he just about had a sack on Wilson. He only missed two games with the New York Jets but he’s been so injury prone in Seattle and for whatever I think of the trade of him, it’s gotta be frustrating to have your season potentially in jeopardy after just one game.
- Seriously, how did Quandre Diggs drop that interception? At least in Adams’ case it bonked him off the face mask but Quandre has made a living off of those picks. But he did impact the game in other ways.
- Tariq Woolen was neither a winner nor a loser, in fact I’d argue his second DPI saved a touchdown and it was a good penalty. He looks the part of a starting corner and he was really active against the run.
- DeeJay Dallas was a beast on special teams and could’ve easily had a blocked punt in addition to a heavy hit he delivered in the 2nd half opening kickoff. Special Teams in general had a very good day.
- No huge game from Rashaad Penny (12 carries for 60 yards) but he looks fast, he looks decisive, and I forecast better performances ahead for him as long as he stays healthy.
- Shane Waldron’s 2nd half playcalling I thought was a little too keyed in on quick game and he pretty much gave up on the run. But the opening half I felt was a masterpiece and it created a lot of easy offense.
- Charles Cross gave up two sacks but I thought he held up well against Bradley Chubb. The offensive line had solid pass protection and Geno was kept clean up until the 4th quarter, which is very impressive given the two rookie tackles and Phil Haynes replacing the injured Damien Lewis. Shoutout to Austin Blythe too for recovering Rashaad Penny’s fumble on the eventual field goal drive.
- Dee Eskridge a non-factor yet again. It might be hard for him to get snaps over Marquise Goodwin at this point.
- It was crazy to see so many Seahawks names from yesteryear at this game: Marshawn Lynch, Thomas Rawls, K.J. Wright, Richard Sherman, Walter Thurmond III, Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin, Mike Morgan, they were all there! I’m probably missing a few names but it was awesome to see.
- The red zone defense was fantastic but I’m not as high on the overall defensive performance as others might be. That felt a lot like 2021 with the conceding of underneath routes to running backs, an inconsistent pass rush, busted zones, missed tackles, and the type of “bend but don’t break” that I reckon would get punished by better offenses. But they stepped up when it mattered most and that’s crucial for Clint Hurtt and the rest of this coaching staff.
- Penalties aplenty on Denver but the Seahawks had their share with five accepted for 77 yards. The Broncos were sloppy and for my money didn’t get penalized enough, as their OL was allowed to go for arm-triangle chokes and tackle people without a flag.
- Whether that’s on Wilson or Nathaniel Hackett, the final minute of that game was a giant screw-up. The slowness to get plays out and bleeding the clock down throughout the evening perhaps suggests that’s more on Wilson than it ever was on the Seahawks coaching staff. But still, 4th and 5 is when you trust Wilson over a kicker who’s never made one from 64. Hackett got that wrong and the Seahawks benefited.
- This is going to be one of the greatest Enemy Reactions of all-time. Look for it no later than Wednesday! I’m pushing for Tuesday!