Usually, preseason games are tough to play, but for some reason, the opening week of the shows was quite entertaining and scored high in the NFL. The Seattle Seahawks’ 32-25 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers was no exception. I don’t care about the win/loss outcome (and neither do you) as much as individual performance and hope no one gets hurt.
That ending sucked, but all I could muster was an almost chuckled “oh nooooooooo” for both the Drew Lock fumble and the touchdown allowed. There was a lot to like, some things that could be improved, and a whole lot of other stuff that doesn’t require a strong opinion.
This is the first pre-season edition of Winners and Losers.
While the focus was mostly on rookie cornerbacks, rookie passing thrower Mafe made an immediate impact on his debut. After a life-saving tackle on a punt return, Mafe sacked Mason Rudolph on a blind run. Then late in the game he sacked Kenny Pickett at 4th-and-1 as Pittsburgh drove for the winning runs. Yeah, I know the “next April Cliff” thing has been said a lot but… that first fired was Cliff-esque.
Specifically Charles Cross. I don’t think Cross allowed a single press in this one and if he did it might have been on those few occasions that Geno would start spinning like a much slower store brand version of Russell Wilson, even when the pocket was clean. Cross wasn’t going to face TJ Watt or Cameron Heyward, but he looked like an NFL starting left tackle. Pass protection was more than solid, but run blocking was outstanding, and everyone from DeeJay Dallas to Travis Homer, Kenneth Walker III and even Darwin Thompson took advantage of it. Abe Lucas, Phil Haynes, and Jake Curhan all caught my eye for their work in the racing game.
DeeJay Dallas had the best night with 90 total yards on 11 touches and a receiving touchdown, with Travis Homer arguing for a bigger role on 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 although he lacked “wow” plays, it was a good day at the office. The main thing was to see all these backs rushing and receiving threats.
He and Bo Melton had a dropped pass but Young had more chances and capitalized superbly. Young had four catches for 30 yards and a touchdown, with three of his receptions ending in a first down or score. There was some hype for Young as another kind of talent from Ricardo Lockette and he showed some of it on offense.
Michael Bennett and Michael Robinson
Get these two a podcast together, but at the very 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 if the broadcast looks like your typical regular season national game, it’s a Seahawks production and I was entertained.
Aye man something’s wrong with Mike B dawg
Mike, to Tyler: “Next question, what happened to your hair, man? It’s gone now, what happened?!” pic.twitter.com/PUu7uEWZp4
— Dugar, Michael Shawn (@MikeDugar) August 14, 2022
almost all defense
It’s only the first game of the preseason and we haven’t seen Quandre Diggs, Jordyn Brooks, Jamal Adams, etc., but it wasn’t exactly a backup unit that we saw. Poona Ford and Bryan Mone played the entire 1st half, Cody Barton was fine in the 2nd quarter, and we saw Darrell Taylor, Shelby Harris and Quinton Jefferson there for several sets. Too many missed tackles and blown away assignments. It was just very sloppy and Pete Carroll knew that was not acceptable. Unfortunately, a hidden fact of the defense last year 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 3rd down.
Justin Coleman was particularly bad in his brief appearance, linebacker depth is woefully slow, Josh Jones had a horrific interception drop followed by a missed overchase/tackle combo, and Josh Valentine-Turner unfortunately characterized the performance Seattle defense with a missed tackle and a win. hit allowed.
That punt return effort was ridiculous and earned him the hook of those duties for the rest of the night. You’re not trying to pick up the ball on a jump with defenders close by and no chance of a long comeback. It could have been a loose fumble, but he was lucky Justin Coleman was nearby.
Parkinson had just three targets, with a hold, an incomplete pass on what could have been pass interference, and a drop after making contact. Parkinson’s not fighting to make the roster or anything (at least I don’t think so), but you have to think the Fant trade and Will Dissly re-signing were driven in part by the early Parkinson’s wounds and don’t really show much. when he played.
The people responsible for designing and executing these atrocious screen passes
It doesn’t matter if it’s first string, second string, or third string, the execution is abysmal and has been going on for a decade. No more of these.
- There were no winners or losers in the Geno Smith-Drew Lock competition. Smith was fine, as was Lock, but we don’t learn much when the top four receivers didn’t even play. I thought Lock looked better, but he faced less competition than Geno. The only thing I will say about the fumble apparently on Lock for not acknowledging the blitz is that it’s the type of mistake Carroll wouldn’t care about even if Lock has the highest advantage and is the best athlete. Hopefully we’ll see Lock get some first-team shots on Thursday.
- It’s hard not to notice how many of Lock and Smith’s throws were offside. It was a heavy dose of PA we saw and a bit below center. It won’t necessarily be indicative of what Shane Waldron does in the regular season, but I’m expecting a lot of PA no matter who starts.
- Coby Bryant had better front-facing reps than Tariq Woolen, who wasn’t horrible but may have been guilty of the coverage touchdown against Gunnar Olszewski. Bryant’s TD awarded to George Pickens was just great play from Pickens and maybe helped by a push, but this guy is going to be a star. Bryant is a willing tackle and stayed true to his mission for much of the night.
- I wish Noah Fant had set foot on that throw from Geno, but in general he looked good both blocking and receiving and can still be a hugely important part of that offense.
- Darrell Taylor was dancing a storm on the sidelines, but I’m not going to lie, I was a little annoyed by the smell of Mitch Trubisky on what should have been a bag. 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 place on the list is on shaky ground. The defensive side of the 2019 class left people wondering.
- Pete Carroll forgot that you can’t dispute rating games, which are automatically reviewed. I’ll laugh about it during pre-season, but not when games count.
- Back Thursday! It is good to repeat this column.