The Seattle Seahawks wrapped up week two in dramatic fashion in their home-opener against the New England Patriots. Let us look at some of the key moments against the 2019 season’s top defense, led by defending Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore and company. We have some winning moments and key players, as well some issues in need of some cleaning up.
Week two winners
Winner #1: Russell Wilson and the deep ball
Russell Wilson is on an entirely different planet. However, Russ seemed to hit a bump early in the game. On the Seahawk’s very first drive, Wilson threw an on-target ball that was mishandled by TE Greg Olsen. New England capitalized on this mistake as the tipped pass fell into the waiting hands of DB Devin McCourty, who took it back 43-yards for an easy pick-six.
That, however, did not stop Russell Wilson from completing 21/28 passes for 288 yards and five touchdown passes, all of which were caught by different receivers. Through the first two weeks of the NFL 2020 season, Wilson has thrown for 610 yards with a nine to one TD-to-INT ratio. This was while completing an absurd 82.5% of his passes.
To put it into perspective: Wilson has thrown for nine TDs and with only 11 total incompletions. Let that sink in.
Winner #2: Seahawks wide receivers
It was tempting to put Seattle’s goal-line defense in this spot based on the final play of the game alone. Unfortunately, QB Cam Newton was able to score twice from inside the one-yard line. Instead, this win goes to the Seahawks receiving core for collectively playing an almost perfect game.
In fact according to NFL.com stats the ‘Hawks receiving core as a unit caught 21/25 catchable passes. This includes the tipped ball from Olsen that went the other way for a score.
D.K Metcalf had another great outing, catching four balls for 95 yards and a score, including a beautiful catch over Gilmore. Metcalf was not alone though in making nice grabs. Each of the Seahawks receivers, numbers one through four on the depth chart, all contributed to the touchdown count. Also, RB Chris Carson was able to make a beautiful over the shoulder catch-and-score from 18 yards out.
Winner #3: OC Brian Schottenheimer (eye in the sky)
Going up against one of the greatest defensive minds in Bill Belichick, let alone one of the greatest coaches ever, is no easy task. But give offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer some well-deserved credit. “Schotty” schemed up one hell of a game. Just last week the Seahawks carried the ball a paltry 18 times, but this time around, the plan had changed.
In week two, Schotty dialled up a game plan that emphasized a little more focus on running the ball. As a result, the Seahawks rushed for 157 yards on 30 carries for an average of 5.1 yards. It was somewhat a concerted effort to go back to the run and display a more balanced offense.
Also, a good indicator of things to come: Schotty is now 2-0 when calling plays from the press box. Coincidence – definitely not. Probably.
Week two losers
Loser #1: Seattle’s pass rush (again)
If, when two weeks into the season, your sack leader is a defensive back, you have got issues that need some addressing. For the second week in a row, Seattle was not able to generate a steady pass rush. There were a few good pressures and a couple plays in the backfield on early passing downs. However, when the pass rush was needed it , it rarely materialized.
So far the ‘Hawks have been outstanding defensively against the run. However, they have allowed the opposing quarterbacks to throw for a combined 847 yards in the last two games. If the Seahawks are looking at making a deep run in the playoffs this year, they need a pass rush. Hopefully, DC Ken Norton Jr. can scheme something up in the coming weeks.
Loser #2: Injuries and illegal hits
With the game tied early in the first quarter at 7-7, FS Quandre Diggs was ejected from the game after a helmet to helmet collision with WR N’Keal Harry. He led with his helmet, a dangerous move that the NFL has been paying close attention to lately. Keeping serious injuries at a low rate of occurrence has been a major emphasis by officiating crews around the league.
Unfortunately, injuries happen anyway. LB Bruce Irvin and DB Marquise Blair both look to have suffered serious injuries during the game. Head coach Pete Carroll sounded genuinely upset, particularly with Blair’s injury, as is apparent in the Seahawks post-game press conference. Nothing is confirmed for either player in terms of significance of injury or the time that they will miss. This is something to keep an eye on in the next coming days.
* Update: Both Marquise Blair and Bruce Irvin both suffered torn ACLs and have been placed on IR, essentially ending their seasons.
So what’s next?
This Sunday the Seattle Seahawks face off with Dallas Cowboys at Century Link for a second consecutive home game. These two teams certainly have a history, providing some interesting matchups in the last decade. The Seahawks were on the losing end of their last, a 2019 NFC Wildcard matchup, with the final score being 24-22. The Seahawks will have their hands full with Dak, Zeke and the rest of the gang in week three. Expect a high scoring affair.