Usually preseason games are slogs to sit through, but for some reason the opening week of exhibitions was pretty entertaining and high scoring across the NFL. The Seattle Seahawks‘ 32-25 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers was no exception. I don’t care about the win/loss result (and neither should you) as much as individual performances and hoping no one gets hurt.
That end sucked but all I could muster was almost chuckle “oh noooooooo” at both Drew Lock’s fumble and the touchdown allowed. There was a lot to like, some things that could be improved, and a bunch of other things that don’t require a strong opinion.
Here is the first preseason edition of Winners and Losers.
While the attention was mostly on the rookie cornerbacks, rookie pass rusher Mafe made an immediate impact in his debut. After a touchdown-saving tackle on a punt return, Mafe sacked Mason Rudolph on a blindside rush. Then towards the end of the game, he sacked Kenny Pickett on 4th and 1 when Pittsburgh was driving for the winning points. Yes, I know the “next Cliff Avril” thing has been said a lot but… that first one fired was Cliff-esque.
More specifically Charles Cross. I don’t think Cross allowed a single pressure in this one and if he did, it might have been on those few occasions, Geno would start off like a much slower, shop-brand version of Russell Wilson even when the pocket was clean. Cross didn’t go against TJ Watt or Cameron Heyward, but he looked the part of a starting NFL left tackle. Pass protection was more than solid but the run blocking was outstanding, and everyone from DeeJay Dallas to Travis Homer to Kenneth Walker III to even Darwin Thompson benefited. Abe Lucas, Phil Haynes, and Jake Curhan all caught my eye for their work in the run game.
DeeJay Dallas had the best night with 90 total yards on 11 carries and a receiving touchdown, with Travis Homer making his case for more of a role in the offense thanks to 41 rushing yards and 33 receiving yards on just six combined touches. Kenneth Walker III had 19 yards on 5 carries and a catch for 11 yards and while he lacked some “wow” plays, it was a good day at the office. The main thing was to see all these backs how to rush and receive threats.
A young tree
Both he and Bo Melton had a dropped pass but Young had more chances and capitalized great. Young had four catches for 30 yards and a touchdown, with three of his receptions resulting in a first down or a score. There was some hype for Young as another Ricardo Lockette type of talent and he flashed some of it on offense.
Michael Bennett and Michael Robinson
Put these two podcast together but at least I’m here for sideline reporter Michael Bennett. He remains as hilarious as ever and he and Robinson had great chemistry as commentators. It’s preseason so I don’t care about the broadcast looking like your typical regular season national game, this is a Seahawks production and I was entertained.
Yeah, something wrong with Mike B dawg
Mike, to Tyler: “Next question, what happened to your hair, man? It’s gone, what happened?!” pic.twitter.com/PUu7uEWZp4
– Dugar, Michael-Shawn (@MikeDugar) August 14, 2022
Almost the entire defense
It’s only the first preseason game and we haven’t seen Quandre Diggs, Jordyn Brooks, Jamal Adams, etc. but that wasn’t exactly an all-back-up unit we saw. Poona Ford and Bryan Mone played the entire first half, Cody Barton went well into the second quarter, and we saw Darrell Taylor, Shelby Harris and Quinton Jefferson there for multiple series. Too many missed tackles and blown gap assignments. It was just very sloppy all round and Pete Carroll knew it wasn’t acceptable. An unfortunately hidden fact of last year’s defense was that they were one of the worst in the NFL at broken tackles.
Too much of Pittsburgh’s offense was easy, and it was very apparent in the 409 yards they gave up and 7/13 allowed on third downs.
Justin Coleman was particularly bad in his brief appearance, the linebacker depth is awfully slow, Josh Jones had a terrible interception drop followed by an overpursued/missed tackle combo, and Josh Valentine-Turner unfortunately epitomized Seattle’s defensive showing with a missed tackle and gain. landing allowed.
That punitive comeback effort was ridiculous and got him off the hook for those duties for the rest of the evening. You don’t try to take the ball on a jump with defenders close by and no chance of a long return. That could have been lost on a fumble but he was lucky Justin Coleman was close.
Parkinson had just three targets, with one catch, an incomplete pass on what could have been pass interference, and a drop after he took contact. Parkinson’s not fighting to make the roster or anything (at least I don’t think so), but you have to think that the trade for Fant and re-signing of Will Dissly was driven in part by Parkinson’s early injuries and didn’t really show much. when he played
The people responsible for designing and executing these awesome screensavers
It doesn’t matter if it’s first-string, second-string, or third-string, the execution is abysmal and has been like a decade solid. No more of these.
- There were no winners or losers in the Geno Smith-Drew Lock rivalry. Smith was good and so was Lock, but we don’t really learn a ton when the top four receivers didn’t even play. I thought Lock looked better, but he went against less competition than Geno. The one thing I will say about the fumble apparently on Lock for not recognizing the blitz is that it’s the kind of mistake Carroll wouldn’t worry about even if Lock has the higher upside and is the better athlete. Hopefully we’ll see Lock get first-team snaps on Thursday.
- It’s hard not to notice how many of Lock and Smith’s throws were out of play. That was a heavy dose of PA we saw and quite a bit from under center. It won’t necessarily be indicative of what Shane Waldron will do in the regular season, but I expect a lot of PA regardless of who starts.
- Coby Bryant had better reps at first glance than Tariq Woolen, who wasn’t terrible but may have been guilty of the coverage bust landing to Gunnar Olszewski. Bryant’s TD allowed to George Pickens was just a great play by Pickens and maybe helped by a push, but that guy is going to be a star. Bryant is a willing handler and stuck to his task for much of the evening.
- I wish Noah Fant had suppressed that one throw from Geno, but overall he looked good both blocking and receiving and may still be a very important part of this offense.
- Darrell Taylor danced up a storm on the sidelines, but I won’t lie that I was a little upset at the smell on Mitch Trubisky of what should have been a sack. Alton Robinson was one of the few defensive bright spots, along with Myles Adams.
- It’s probably not an encouraging sign for Ugo Amadi that he played the 3rd quarter, or that Justin Coleman even started. His roster is on shaky ground. The defensive end of the 2019 class was perplexing.
- Pete Carroll forgot you can’t challenge scoring games that are automatically reviewed. I’ll laugh it off in preseason but not when the games count.
- Check back at it Thursday! It’s good to be doing this column again.