Even in discouraging losses, we can usually find something encouraging to appreciate. While the Cincinnati Bengals walked away with the W, the Seattle Seahawks made it through a defensive struggle with some of their key players returning from injury and managing to stay returned from injury. While they didn’t escape the game unscathed, they were largely able to stay healthy during a road game that featured some big hits on both sides.
The starting offensive line unit played 100% of the snaps in this game, which is significant since this is literally the first time it has happened this season. Going back through the weekly snap counts, it is apparent that the team has had to sub in players for at least a portion of the game. In Week 1 against the LA Rams, it was Cross and Lucas. Then Evan Brown in Week 2 against the Detroit Lions, followed by Damien Lewis the next week against the Carolina Panthers. Preceding the Bye, the team lost both Damien Lewis (again) and Phil Haynes. While Damien Lewis didn’t return for this game, Phil Haynes did.
Also interesting, this didn’t seem to matter at all, as the offensive line (particularly Curhan) played like a peewee football blocking sled. Still, a bad performance is better than seeing more injuries to a position group that has struggled to remain healthy this year, and by extension build continuity.
Perhaps more encouraging is the noteworthy increasing presence of Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Prior to yesterday’s game, some ado had been made about JSN and Jake Bobo having nearly identical snap counts in the Panthers game. This was a largely unfounded concern, as many factors led to this, and Smith-Njigba has played 57% of the team’s offensive snaps to Jake Bobo’s 32%. This is not a knock on Bobo either, it is awesome that an undrafted free agent who has a slower 40-time than I do is playing significant snaps and making huge plays. But JSN had a mini-breakout yesterday, as well, and we should continue to look for him to make more and more out of the targets that go his way. His 53 total snaps are barely behind DK Metcalf (58), Tyler Locket (57), and Ken Walker III (56). After these guys, no offensive player topped 33 plays. Colby Parkinson was this player, as he led all tight ends, though both Fant and Dissly weren’t far behind.
The Defense was similarly fortunate to get to see a chance to have some position groups make it through the game largely unharmed. After a supremely disappointing early injury last week sent Jamal Adams into concussion protocol, he returned to the field this week and made it through the entire game, even on 85% of the snaps. His presence was felt. Woolen, Witherspoon, and Diggs never left the field. Boye Mafe played more than Darrell Taylor, which has been a bit of an alternating trend through recent weeks, and he continues to show growth as a pass rusher in addition to being a solid run defender. Derick Hall continues to be a major presence on Special Teams, but we have seen his defensive snaps reach their lowest total of the season, as he only was on the field for 12 of the team’s 54 snaps. With Tre Brown back in action, Mike Jackson saw his defensive snap count go from 63 (84%) in the week leading up the Bye, and back down to 5 snaps this week (9%). If Tre keeps it up, expect this to continue. Jackson reverted back to heavy involvement on Special Teams. Some of the snap counts were obviously influenced by the personnel that the Bengals were sending out, as well.
There were a few other shakeups on Special Teams beyond Mike Jackson. Following a week where Will Dissly out-snapped Colby Parkinson, the script flipped and Parkinson played twice as many special teams snaps as Will Dissly. Brady Russell stuck around through the Bye and is continuing to be among the leaders with 17 snaps, tied with Jon Rhattigan and only a few behind Nick Bellore.
There were some noteworthy inactives as well, beyond Damien Lewis who we weren’t expecting quite yet.
- Artie Burns missed his third straight game due to hamstring injury
- Both tackles McClendon Curtis and Raiqwon O’Neal were healthy scratches with Charles Cross back.
- Devin Bush was a healthy scratch and has only appeared in three games this season.
- Drew Lock ended up being active, but thankfully was not called upon despite Geno Smith taking a pounding in the pocket at times.
- Coby Bryant is on IR as of Saturday, meaning that he will be out at least a few more weeks.