What a dominating performance. The Seahawks annihilated the Chiefs tonight in Kansas City by a final score of 44-14. The Seahawks improve to 3-0 in the preseason for the first time since 2009 and for only the third time since 1990. It is hard to critique this game in any way because of how well all three units played. Here are a few of the many thoughts I noted during Friday’s game.
Russell Wilson will start soon: Russell Wilson is my player of the game without a doubt. Wilson played an amazing three quarters of football on Friday night. Wilson ended 13/19 for 185 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 58 yards on the ground. After the game, Coach Carroll said that he expects the quarterback competition to stretch into next week with a starter named most likely a day or two after we play Oakland and for good reason. In my eyes this quarterback competition is as close to a photo finish as possible. Wilson proved that he was prepared and ready to handle a game situation with the starters on the field. “If you are prepared, there is no reason to be nervous” Wilson said after the game. Wilson’s preparation and execution this entire preseason has been an impressive strength that I believe could earn him the starting job. It will be interesting to see what kind of playing time the quarterbacks will get next week. If Wilson has another strong outing next week whether he is the starter or the backup, I am predicting he will be the starting quarterback against the Arizona Cardinals on September 9th.
No wide receivers went over the top this week: I think this is a good thing though. 5 wide receivers made catches this week. None were more impressive than Terrell Owens’s over-the-shoulder catch for a 40 yard gain. I am interested to see which (if any) wide receivers are cut during the first wave of roster cuts on Monday. If the coaching staff decides to part ways with a couple of receivers on Monday, I think it will be easier to predict which wideouts will make the 53-man roster. Last season in the last preseason game against Oakland, many believed that Golden Tate was fighting for a roster spot and needed to have a good game. He had a good game and kept his spot. Next week I believe all eyes will be on Terrell Owens. If he gets a good amount of playing time, and makes a few good catches I think Owens has a good chance to make the regular season roster. It was nice to see Sidney Rice back and his one catch for 8 yards was superb. Wilson looked Rice’s way immediately and if Rice can stay healthy and Wilson is the starter, expect that connection to pay dividends during the regular season. I noted that Ricardo Lockette did not see any playing time in the first half with the starting unit. To my memory he only had one target in the entire game; a streak down the near sideline in the fourth quarter on a pass thrown by Tarvaris Jackson. I am starting to wonder whether Lockette’s roster spot is in jeopardy. After Lockette has been praised by the coaching staff, you have to wonder why he would not get any looks with the starters.
Dominating Defense: In the first four Kansas City offensive possessions the Seahawks forced 3 three-and-outs. In addition, Earl Thomas returned an interception 75 yards for a touchdown and Cordarro Law forced a fumble deep in Chiefs territory. Back during our NFC West dynasty years when the opponent was facing third and long it was almost a sure thing that the Seahawks would stop them and force a change in possession. Watching this game I feel the same way I did a few years back. I have full confidence in our defense to make sure we do not allow significant yardage on third down.
A fulfilled desire: In my preview yesterday, it was my hope to see the Seahawks amp up their pass rush. I called for a minimum of two sacks in the first half. Thanks to Greg Scruggs and Mike Morgan, the Seahawks were able to sack Matt Cassel twice in the first 13:42. Unfortunately we could not get to the quarterback after the first quarter but the defense as a whole made enough big plays to make sure the Chiefs did not come relatively close to touching our lead. My hope was satisfied but I want to see more pressure but the pass rush specialists next week.
Special special teams: The Seahawks special teams looked great Friday night. Three big points coming from special teams. First, I only counted two kickoffs that were returned past the 20-yard-line. We did a great job tackling and closing running lanes on kickoff coverage. Secondly, Golden Tate may have earned the punt return job this season. Tate returned a punt 92 yards for a touchdown. Third, Jon Ryan did not have his first punt until the 13:20 mark in the fourth quarter. Ryan only had two punts total Friday night which speaks volumes to the efficiency of both the offense and the defense.
Kansas City outlook: If Friday night is any indication, the Chiefs may struggle mightily this season. Although the weapons are there, it didn’t seem like Matt Cassel clicked with any of them consistently. I realize the AFC West has been deemed wide open by a lot of people but with terrible play like on Friday night, the Chiefs may be heading towards the cellar and a high draft pick in 2013. The best player for Kansas City Friday night was Dexter McCluster. McCluster, who apparently has been converted into a slot receiver, led the Chiefs with 7 catches for 61 yards and a touchdown. If Cassel’s reads are all unavailable, expect a lot of checkdowns to McCluster this season. Even for a secondary option, Cassel seemed most comfortable when throwing McCluster’s way.
Random Thoughts: I spent a lot of time talking about the “faithful” Chiefs fans and the atmosphere of Arrowhead Stadium this week. I understand it is the preseason but it was pathetic to see well over half the seats empty. The Chiefs are the hottest ticket in Kansas City and even for a preseason game they should be able to draw more fans than what showed up Friday… Golden Tate wins the award for most entertaining player this week. Tate was shown stumbling around like a sloppy drunk after his punt return due to shortness of breath. He was struggling to find an oxygen mask. Later in the broadcast Tate was shown picking his nose. I wonder if he found some buried treasure… It is safe to assume the white jersey/gray pants combination will stick around. The combo actually looked pretty good on the field… The Seahawks escaped in great health once again. The only injury of note was cramps in the calf of cornerback Brandon Browner. He will be fine… Penalties really hurt Kansas City. Tamba Hali was called for consecutive roughing the passer penalties and multiple pass interference penalties. The Seahawks surrendered only 37 yards worth of penalties tonight. A great improvement compared to the Denver game… The Twitter hashtag #RussellMania was trending in Seattle during the first half. It is good to see the 12th Man getting excited for this kid whether he is our starting quarterback or not. Had two pints of Mac & Jack’s tonight. Delicious. Need I say more?
Upcoming: Look for a brief Seahawks fantasy outlook this weekend and I will also post my predictions for the first round of roster cuts. I will choose and explain my choices for which 15 players will be cut on Monday. Expect the fantasy outlook post on Saturday and the roster cuts prediction post on Sunday. Thanks for reading everybody. Go Seahawks!