Welcome back to THE T*STEFUL ROUNDUP.
Contributors, guest-posters, and all sorts of rascals from the BeastGlobe will write up a brief chunk of text discussing their thoughts from the previous night’s game. It will likely be a combination of humor, insight, knowledge, ineptitude, and everything in between.
Enjoy these words from all of these nerds.
Seattle opened its season with an incredibly difficult game. On the road, against one of the better defenses from last season, a mile in the air, where summer has not quite ended. Denver is nearly unbeatable in these situations.
The Seahawks entered this game with a brand new offensive coordinator, a fifth-round safety starting at corner, a fifth-round rookie starting at linebacker, and a hobbled Doug Baldwin.
They lost by three.
If you thought Seattle would win this game, you ignored a lot of evidence that said they would not. If you thought, or think, Seattle is going to win four games, you’re ignoring a lot of evidence about what this team is and what this team did.
It’s going to be a bumpy ride, and this team won’t reach the heights of some of its predecessors. But they showed they aren’t bottom dwellers, and I’m excited to see the growth of this team the rest of the year.
– Michael Dickson is unreal. That is likely the best punting performance in Seahawks history.
– Michael Dickson’s punts make Russell Wilson’s spins into a 10+ yard loss less aggravating.
– The Seahawks D was tired throughout the entire game, you could see them leaning on each other pre-snap.
– Will Dissly is good. His blocking was good and obviously his catches (and runs) were fantastic.
– Chris Carson outplayed Penny, and looked like a feature back out there.
– I thought Schottenheimer called a pretty good game (2:1 pass:run ratio, which probably surprised a lot of people).
– This was one of our toughest road games (in Denver in that heat and altitude) and it barely impacts our playoff odds.
– Speaking of which, the Seahawks are still going to make the playoffs.
Before the season started I broke the NFC into 4 groups.
Teams obviously better than Seattle: Vikings, Eagles, Rams
Teams as good as Seattle (or maybe slightly better): Panthers, Falcons, Saints, Packers
Teams Seattle is likely better than: 49ers, Redskins, Bears
Seattle is definitely better than: Giants, Cowboys, Cardinals, Lions, Buccaneers
After Week 1, I stand by these rankings. Seattle is somewhere between the 4th best and 9th best NFC team. Losing a road game in Denver in Week 1 doesn’t change any of that. I can’t wait to make the Bears 0-2, after their fans all thought they were going to win 10 games this year.
A three point loss is about as close as a game can get. And if Janikowski can hit a 45-yard field goal or whatever (do not @ me nerds), the game probably plays a bit different. But as Pode guest Ben Baldwin (and others!) has been saying for the last week plus, Denver does not lose at home in September. And yet they were on the ropes for the entirety of the game. Time for a quick Good, Bad, and Ugly.
The Good: Russell Wilson went 19/33 for 298 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT (plus a hail mary INT to end the game which I do not count). Chris Carson hurdled a dude. Michael Dickson punted for like a million yards.
The Bad: The run game was not good. Despite gaining 51 yards on 7 carries, almost half of Carson’s yardage came on a single carry. The other 6 he averaged a decent 4.5 YPC. He also had a fumble literally ripped out of his hands by Von Miller. Penny looked raw and didn’t seem to trust his reads from my viewing. Hopefully Fluker gets back in the lineup soon.
The Ugly: Russell Wilson. Despite his great passing line, he took 6 sacks and about 3 of them were entirely on him deciding to spin out of pressure and directly into an oncoming Bronco. You could set him up behind the greatest OL of all time and he would still occasionally run into sacks. And honestly, that’s ok, because he is so fucking good everywhere else. Overall, the Seahawks didn’t look great. But they didn’t look terrible!
Football is good and also bad. Mostly good though.
The Seattle Seahawks are good and also bad. Mostly good though.
It may not seem like this after an opening week loss to the Denver Broncos, but there were several positives to take away from the contest.
But first, some negatives. The rookies (as expected), weren’t ready on defense. Shaquem Griffin was lost in coverage and Tre Flowers had a tough go of it despite a few nice plays. After a dominant preseason, we heard nothing from Rasheem Green, which was also to be expected. The pass rush was nearly nonexistent and this secondary isn’t good enough at this point to cover for extended periods of time.
It wasn’t all bad though! Some other rookies looked great. While Rashaad Penny looked a bit gassed and indecisive, he showed smooth cutting ability and a presence in the passing game. Will Dissly had over 100 yards and a touchdown. Tyler Lockett turned four targets into 59 yards and a touchdown. Michael Dickson is already literally the greatest punter of all time. I already wrote about the positives swirling around Brandon Marshall on the Bloge earlier today.
The most exciting part: the safeties. Earl Thomas is Earl Thomas, intercepting Case Keenum on Denver’s second drive. Pay the man. Bradley McDougald proved to indeed be Bradley McDougood, nabbing two picks of his own after egregiously dropping a third. Offenses are going to attack this secondary more than what we’ve seen in the past several years so, while the group will likely hemorrhage yards and (unfortunately) points, opportunities for turnovers will be abundant.
Because there’s nothing I like more than the Seahawks’ defense picking three passes off and still losing.
Arizona game from 2013: “Hold my beer.”
All in all, this game confirmed my suspicion that Seattle is indeed underrated by most. Russell Wilson needs to be better, but there’s not a whole lot around him and the line’s ability to protect was pretty lacking. He will be and the Seahawks as a whole will be.
The easy takeaway from Week 1’s mile-high misstep is that the takeaways didn’t matter as much as they should. The next easiest? All those precious points capriciously taken away from the Seahawks, when added to those granted to the Broncos, ended up decisive. Hometown calls, missed opportunities, et ceterhawk, et ceterhawk.
It was a tantalizing, exciting, infuriating, terrifyingly typical football game. Like usual, a couple more breaks would’ve made the difference; a couple more calls and Seattle exits Denver with a rare September win for the visitors. (And quite frankly, a rare road win for the early-season Pete Carroll Seahawks, notorious Week 1 underachievers.)
But if you watched the game, you already felt all of that. Let’s talk about what happened when the people who’re supposed to make plays on Sunday spent the afternoon on the bench instead.
K.J. Wright was out altogether, felled by knee surgery. Doug Baldwin lasted a couple series. Presumptive starting corners Byron Maxwell, then Dontae Johnson left the team or hit IR between the last preseason game and the first one that counted. Jimmy Graham went to the dark side, because he’s a big fan of the tundra. Kam Chancellor was spotted at Storm games last week but he’ll never wear a Seahawks uni again.
BUT IF YOU WATCHED THE GAME, YOU ALREADY NOTICED ALL OF THAT.
You already saw Shaquem Griffin in coverage, alternately sticking right with his man and losing him in the crossing chaos.
You already saw Brandon Marshall seize the WR1 mantle, with two touchdown catches, including one that actually counted.
You most definitely saw Tre Flowers learning a new position, and being in position enough to matter, then being out of position, which mattered.
All three are new Seahawks. They aren’t going to get worse. Week 1 is their first live interaction with their teammates at regular-season speed, their first time in the fire with Russell Wilson and Earl Thomas and Bobby Wagner. The newcomers, young and old, will improve. That’s what new arrivals usually do. Especially rookies. Their floor is high, if Sunday is any indication.
And one of the MAIN things you saw was the Broncos refuse to acknowledge Will Dissly — their very own father! — for the first half of football. They know who he is now. Hell, everyone knows who he is now. Probably went from 1.8 percent owned in FF to 88.8 percent. That is a lot of eights.
Finally, you cheered for a playmaker who would have been one of the heroes of Sunday’s win, had it been a… win. Of course you’re thinking of Brad McDougald. Got his hands on three passes and intercepted two. Took a bad angle in between them on that ugly Emanuel Sanders touchdown. But Mac cemented his place as the indispensable, reliable safety yin to Earl Thomas’ outlandish yang. He’s going to be a big part of this winning season. This playoff season. And if it all comes together, this special season.