SEATTLE—The Seahawks improved to 3-0 this preseason with a 26-13 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, a game that saw starters on both sides of the ball play into the second half—their longest tune-up of the preseason.
With that in mind, here are five rapid reactions to what took place, primarily in the first two-plus quarters when both teams had their starters in the game. Read
1. Russell Wilson Is Ready For The Regular Season.
It remains to be seen how much, if at all, Russell Wilson will play in Seattle’s final preseason game, but based on what Wilson has shown so far this preseason, it doesn’t appear that he needs much more work to get ready for the regular season.
Playing all of the first half and one series in the second half, Wilson completed 13 of 19 attempts for 200 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, giving him a passer rating of 120.5, and the offense scored on five of its six possessions during that span.
And it’s not just Wilson’s play in preseason games that has been impressive. A few days into camp, coaches changed things up a bit to give Wilson more reps, and ever since then he has been dialed in for the better part of August.
At the end of last season, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll noted that because of the position he plays, Wilson still had “tons of growth” ahead of him despite having played five seasons, and while the regular season has not yet begun, Wilson looks very good heading into his sixth season.
2. The Offense Was Balanced And Explosive.
Perhaps more than anything, Carroll wants to see two things from his offense—a good run-pass balance, and enough explosive plays to make a difference in a game. OK, let’s make it three things since Carroll also abhors turnovers, so taking care of the ball is another must for his teams.
Through two-plus quarters when Wilson and the rest of the starters were still playing, the Seahawks followed that formula very well. The Seahawks ran the ball 15 times for 64 yards, while Wilson attempted 14 passes in the first half, and on the one drive Wilson played in the second half, the Seahawks had three runs and five pass attempts.
“That is good balance,” Carroll said. “Everything comes off the running game. That’s how it always has been when we’re right. I think [offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell] is on track with that and we’re emphasizing that like we like to.”
The Seahawks were also getting big chunks of yards both on the ground and through the air. Seattle’s coaching staff defines explosive plays as runs of 12 or more yards and receptions of 16 or more, and there were plenty of those while the starters were in the game, including two 15-yard runs by Chris Carson, and completions of 39 yards to Jermaine Kearse, 37 yards to Carson, 30 yards to Jimmy Graham and 25 and 20 yards to Doug Baldwin.
“I thought the first group did a really nice job offensively in particular,” Carroll said. “We moved the ball well, made some big plays, continued to find explosive plays, guys coming through and making catches and stuff, so there’s a lot of good things that happened.”
3. The Pass Protection Held Up Well.
There has understandably been a lot of concern about the Seahawks’ offensive line following the knee injury sustained by starting left tackle George Fant a week ago, but facing a talented Chiefs defensive front, Seattle’s first-team line held up very well.
Rees Odhiambo, who started in place of Fant, looked more than capable in his first start, and while he’ll have to continue competing to keep that spot, his play Friday had to be encouraging to his coaches. And it wasn’t just Odhiambo playing well; other than a couple of costly penalties, there was a lot to like out of the line overall, both in opening holes in the running game and most notably, in protecting Wilson, who in the first half was not sacked and was hit only once—Wilson did get sacked on his one second-half possession.
4. The First Team Defense Was Its Usual Stingy Self.
For the third time in as many preseason games, the Seahawks allowed an opponent to score in its opening drive, but following that Chiefs field goal, Seattle’s No. 1 defense played very well the rest of the night. Until the starters had left the game, Kansas City’s only other score came on a 95-yard kick return by De’Anthony Thomas. After the opening field goal, the Alex Smith-led Chiefs offense punted on its next two possessions, missed a field goal attempt, then punted one more time before Seattle pulled its starters.
The Chiefs had some success running the ball, gaining 58 yards on 14 first-half carries (4.1 yards per carry), but Smith completed just 7 of 17 attempts for only 44 yards, giving him a 48.9 passer rating.
“Defense didn’t give up a touchdown tonight, and they were trying, so that’s good for those guys too. We can do better. We thought we saw a couple things fundamentally that we need to really go to work on and zero in on, so I’m anxious to see the film,” Carroll said before later elaborating, “I thought we did OK. I think we can do better than we did. The numbers supported that we played pretty well. They got a field goal or whatever, a couple of them, and not much rushing and that’s good and the third downs weren’t bad. But we have really high standards for the running game and I thought that we allowed them to move the football a little bit on the ground.”
While Seattle’s defense is made of several veteran starters, many of them Pro-Bowlers and All-Pros, two rookies were heavily involved in the action. Third-round pick Shaquill Griffin didn’t start at corner—Jeremy Lane got the nod at right cornerback—but Griffin was the third corner in when the Seahawks played nickel defense. Fellow third-round pick Nazair Jones got the start at defensive tackle next to Ahtyba Rubin, and recorded three tackles on the first three plays of the game.
If there was one complaint to be made about the play of Seattle’s starting offense, it would be the number of times the Seahawks settled for field goals instead of scoring touchdowns in the first half. The flip side of that, however, was another chance for kicker Blair Walsh to shine. Coming into the game, Walsh was 8 for 8 on extra points and 4 for 5 on field goals—the one miss being a 53-yarder that hit the upright—and on Friday he went 4 for 4 on field goals and made both extra point attempts.
“A really good game for Blair Walsh,” Carroll said. “He continues to kick the ball really well for us and I think he’s having a fantastic preseason as he comes on with us and we’re going to need him along the way. He continues to show really good consistency.”
6. No Injuries For The Seahawks
A week after losing left tackle George Fant to a season-ending knee injury against the Minnesota Vikings, the Seahawks came out of Friday’s game against the Chiefs without any injuries to report.
“We got out really clean,” Carroll said. “So we’re in really good shape coming out of this and we’re really fired up about that as much as anything.” Read