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Week 1 Game Recap: SEA @ IND

Sep 14, 2021, 7:17AM PDT

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After a long and tumultuous offseason, the Flock is back!

Wilson had an MVP caliber game, Carson ran over defenders, Lockett and Metcalf embarrassed defenders per usual. But while Seattle's new Shane Waldron coached offense put up impressive numbers and exciting plays, it was the Seahawks defense that shined in pivotal moments to start off the year 1-0.

Despite limiting the Colts to 10 points and getting consistent pressure on Wentz, the defense was only able to come away with one sack and one TFL for the entirety of the first half. Things turned around in the second half as the pressure finally got home and added another two sacks and 4 TFLS to nearly shut out the Colts in the second half, save for a garbage time touchdown. The defense finished the day with eight 3rd down stops and three 4th down stops.

Fans anxious to see if Poona Ford would have a true breakout season will have to wait. PFF graded Poona as Seattle’s worst defender with a grade of 41.8, including dismal grades in run defense (38.4) and tackling (26.3). However, Ford did notch 1 hit and 1 hurry on 28 pass rush snaps, good for a pressure rate of 7.1%, slightly higher than his 2020 average. After Ford went out with what seemed like a back injury, Mone stepped in and played fairly well. Mone was Seattle’s highest-graded DT with a 59.1 grade, including 66.3 in run defense, 71.5 in tackling, and 60.2 in pass rush, notching 2 hits on just 15 pass rushes for a 13.3% pressure rate.

KJ Wright's departure from the defense left 12s questioning if Brooks would be able to fill the gap of the former Pro Bowler. Brooks had a terrible day tackling, missing 3 tackles on 13 attempts for a missed tackle rate of 23.1%, but looked good in pass coverage, including sticking to Mo Allie-Cox to force an incompletion downfield and earning a team-best 76.0 coverage grade from PFF.

Tight ends Will Dissly and newly-acquired Gerald Everett had themselves a productive day finding themselves repeatedly involved in Waldrons new offensive scheming. Both players combined for a total of 5 receptions on 5 targets for 57 yards, a score and a NASTY stiff arm by Uncle Will on an unfortunate Colts linebacker. The TE team target share of 21.7% was a tad higher than last season, but was undoubtedly more effective and creative, including two TE screens to Everett (one of which was called back due to a penalty). Everett played 1 more snap than Dissly (39 to 38), but was in on 1 less pass play (18 to 19).

Chris Carson had himself quite the day. The bell cow back took the majority of Seattle's 22 overall handoffs with 16. He added 3 receptions on all 3 of his targets to total 117 yards overall. In his typical bruising fashion, Carson ranked 2nd among all RBs this week with 4.44 YAC (Yards After Contact) according to PFF. His longest run of the day, which was expected to go a mere 3 yards per NextGen stats, was turned into a 33 yard gain. The only stain on Carson’s day was a lost fumble on a fierce punch out by all-pro Darrius Leonard.

Kyle Fuller had been named the starting center in the off season in a surprising move beating out former starter Ethan Pocic. Fuller, who only took 78 snaps of offense in the 2020 season, out-snapped Pocic 40 to 14 and performed proficiently against All-Pro Deforest Buckner. According to PFF, Fuller was Seattle’s 2nd highest graded OL with an overall grade of 64.5, a poor pass blocking grade of 39.4, but a solid 68.6 grade in run blocking. When inserted into the game, Pocic was almost immediately bull rushed into Wilson for Buckner's only sack of the day, earning himself an abysmal 6.6 grade in pass blocking. Gabe Jackson added himself to the tough day category after allowing 4 pressures on 29 pass blocking plays (13.7% pressure rate), earning a palty 47.9 pass blocking grade.

In general, the pass protection wasn’t stellar giving up 3 sacks, 7 QB hits, and a 21.4% pressure rate but performed well enough to win the day. For reference, Wilson saw a pressure rate of 22.7% in 2020 and 28.9% in 2019. We can collectively agree there have been worse days for the O line. Thankfully, this wasn’t one of them.

Interesting Intel

The Seahawks basically employed a Nickel-by-committee approach, with Ugo Amadi playing 34 snaps and Marquise Blair playing 28 snaps. This is exceptionally interesting after hearing just how much better Blair was than Amadi all throughout camp. Perhaps we’ll see more snaps from Blair as he fully recovers from his injury last season.

Rasheem Green led all DL with 53 snaps and was a pass rusher on all 38 of Wentz’s pass attempts. Poona Ford had the 2nd most DL snaps with 52. Green, Hyder, Dunlap, and Mayowa were the DEs who saw the most playing time, with Green commanding by far the most snaps and a near-equal split between Dunlap and Hyder. Mayowa (32 snaps) saw a touch more snaps than Taylor (26 snaps).

Pocic was injured in the middle of this game, but still played 14 snaps and frequently rotated with Fuller (who started the game at C) prior to his injury. It’ll be interesting to see how this position battle unfolds once Pocic comes back healthy. As aforementioned, Fuller played much better than Pocic on Sunday.

Brandon Shell was Seattle’s 2nd highest-graded player and highest-graded OL with a 77.6 overall grade and a 71.7 pass blocking grade, which was second only to Duane Brown (87.8).

Freddie Swain led the WR3 battle with 23 total snaps, but it is unclear how many of those came after the injuries to Dee, who had 12 snaps, and Hart. Swain was virtually invisible, with just 1 target, while Dee made the most out of his 12 snaps, receiving 2 fly sweeps and securing 1 reception.

We didn’t hear Alton Robinson’s name much on Sunday, but Alton was Seattle’s highest-graded defender with a 92.9 overall grade and a 93.0 pass rush grade, albeit in only 12 snaps. His 3 hurries on just 5 pass rushing snaps equates to a 60% pressure rate - an absolutely elite performance in limited action.

The Seahawks recorded 3 PDs, one of which belonged to Bobby Wagner and the other two caused by Rasheem Green deflections. Perhaps it is concerning that no Seattle CBs got any PDs. To be fair, Wentz targeted his RBs 39.5% of the time which was more than his WRs.

Next on Deck: Testing Cornerbacks Against the Titans

The Cardinals absolutely clobbered the Titans in their season opener. Perhaps surprisingly, the Titans offense, which had been touted as a juggernaut this offseason, was a complete train wreck. Tennessee was only able to manage a meager 3.9 yards per play, the league worst for week 1, and allowed Chandler Jones to attain 5 sacks.

With the way the Seahawks offense and Titans defense played on Sunday, it’s safe to assume that Tennessee, who allowed 416 total yards of offense, will put up futile resistance to the Waldron and Wilson show. Where the game will likely be won or lost will be in the defenses ability to stop or slow down not just Henry on the ground, but also Jones and AJ Brown through the air. The Titans’ receiving duo is a HUGE test for our unproven cornerback room. Luckily, the 12s should show up in full force to christen Lumen field with low magnitude earthquakes to give the defense an encouraging boost.

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