After getting off to a slow start, the Seahawks warmed up and put the pedal to the metal. The Seahawks defeated the San Diego Chargers 31-10 in their preseason debut on Thursday night. Here are a few observations from last night’s game.
Starting Defense Looked Shaky: The Chargers started the game with the ball and Philip Rivers drove the ball 74 yards on 13 plays before settling for a field goal. Even without Chris Clemons, Bruce Irvin, and Cliff Avril, the Seahawks starting pass rush was virtually nonexistent in the first quarter. Third and fourth down defense was especially frustrating. The Seahawks were unable to stop the Chargers opening drive, allowing them to convert a fourth and short which ultimately led to the field goal. One highlight from the first quarter was Richard Sherman playing a pass that fell incomplete through the endzone. Nevertheless, the starting unit needs to show me more and next week at home is a perfect place to show improvement.
Advantage Jackson: When you throw for 128 yards and two touchdowns in one half and have a nearly perfect passer rating, you will earn my praise. That is what you did tonight Tarvaris Jackson. Jackson, tonight’s third string quarterback, had one of the more impressive nights of any Seahawk. His touchdown passes to Stephen Williams and Derrick Coleman were right on the money and, in my opinion, have earned him the chance to back-up Russell Wilson next week against Denver. Brady Quinn did throw a touchdown pass tonight, however his touchdown drive started inside the red zone. I was hoping to see Quinn put together a solid lengthy drive regardless of whether we scored or not. I think Quinn will need to show more in order to win the back-up quarterback job. For now, Jackson deserves the chance to play with the number two’s.
Names to Keep an Eye On: Three Seahawks caught my eye on Thursday night. Stephen Williams was Seattle’s leading receiver, catching two balls for 83 yards and a touchdown. His cuts were impressive as he was able to create separation with his defender to make the catches. Williams should be seriously considered to be the fifth or sixth receiver to make the team. On defense, two undrafted rookies really impressed me. Linebacker John Lotulelei made a pair of tackles and always seemed to be around the play. He showed great instincts and was not afraid to go after the ball carrier. One play stuck in my mind. Lotulelei had a chance to drive Chargers running back Fozzy Whittaker backward and strip the ball, but Lotulelei stayed low and made the wrap-around tackle. This was a perfect display of smart fundamental tackling. Benson Mayowa made up for Seattle’s weak first half pass rush by adding a sack of his own in the second half. Mayowa showed great speed and was very hard for the Chargers offensive line to contain. Definitely keep an eye on these three guys as the preseason continues.
Mathews vs. Whittaker: If I were a Chargers fan, I would think starting running back Ryan Mathews might be dangerously close to losing his job. Whittaker, the 2nd year running back from Texas, showed incredible quickness and was sneaky in getting through holes on his way to running for 38 yards on 14 carries tonight. His size and quickness reminded me of New Orleans running back Darren Sproles. If Whittaker performs like he did tonight Ryan Mathews, who ran for a measly 19 yards tonight, could start the season on the bench. Whittaker will definitely be a part of the San Diego offense come September.
Random Thoughts: Christine Michael reminds me of former Washington Husky running back Louis Rankin. Michael likes to stutter and shuffle his feet at the line of scrimmage and wait for holes to open up… One other note on Michael, his spins to attempt to break tackles have the potential for him to be scary dangerous this season… Okay one final note on Michael, it’s too bad he didn’t get the chance to run back a kickoff Thursday night. Hopefully he’ll get a chance to show what he can do next week… The Seahawks ran no zone-read option plays with Russell Wilson on the field. It will be interesting to see if we open up the playbook a little bit next week or if we’ll save it for closer to the regular season… The Seahawks wore blue pants with their white jerseys, a combination that was unsuccessful in both the preseason and regular season in 2012… When preseason games are on local television you see a lot of the same advertisements. The award for most annoying commercial goes to the “anything you can do I can do better” Bing commercial. If you watched the game you know what I am talking about… Malcolm Smith got called for a helmet-to-helmet hit on a defenseless receiver tonight. Smith’s helmet hit the receiver below the shoulder. Hopefully the referees are shaking the cobwebs off because those kinds of calls are going to tick a lot of people off if they are called once the regular season starts… One of the best sounds of the night was hearing the Seahawks fans in attendance chant “SEA!…. HAWKS!” in the background of the broadcast and hearing Chargers fans boo. I don’t think I’ve seen or heard more Seahawks fans at a road game in my life… Countdown to the first game at CenturyLink: 8 days!
I will be quite busy this week as I have some school work to finish up and I am heading to Eastern Washington in the middle of next week so I cannot guarantee I will hop on the blog during the week. If not, check back next Friday as I preview next week’s game against the Denver Broncos. Go Seahawks!