The Seattle Seahawks ended the first half of the “meaningful” preseason game against the Los Angeles Chargers up 13-3. Here’s a breakdown of the offensive plays run by the starters and what we can learn from Saturday night.
DRIVE # 1
The first offensive play run by Seattle in the closest thing to a real football game for the next three weeks: 5 yard run by Chris Carson.
That’s about as expected, telling and comforting as it gets for a first play. The Offensive Line moved the Chargers defense well, and Carson once again only needed three carries to show that he’s ready for a big year, as he finished the night with an averag of 7.7 yards per carry.
Second play was a zone read kept by Russell Wilson on a run to the left for a few yards.
The next play was another five yard run by Carson, between the tackles until he bounced outside Germain Ifedi.
On the fourth play TE Jacob Hollister butchered a beautiful throw from Russ on the left side. He basically secured the catch for a step and a half until letting the ground cause him to drop the ball. Hollister was a camp darling almost immediately when they acquired him from the New England Patriots, but has been noticeably quiet recently. Obviously not how he hoped to turn things around.
The fifth play was a Carson 11 yard run. He absolutely embarrassed LB Jatavis Brown on a move to his left. Carson left the game after this, looking a little shaken up but no news has come on any injury as of yet.
Rashaad Penny got to see the field with the starters this game, taking one carry and one screen pass for a total of 5 yards.
On third down a wide open Malik Turner was overthrown by Wilson. It was definitely an overthrown ball, but it didn’t look like Turner was going full speed as he noticeably accelerated after locating the ball.
Run / Pass ratio: 5-2. Russell Wilson 1-3.
What we learned: Um, they still like to run? The offensive line will definitively not be the weakest link on this team. Chris Carson can take a two-week vacation for all I care.
Let’s also throw this into the mix to consider – on the eyeball test Russell seems to need a little bit to warm up from time to time. Specifically, overthrows. Hollister’s ball was catchable but definitely in front. Turner’s was also beyond him. That being said, Wilson didn’t target his primary receivers once during the drive so it’s more like something to keep an eye on than an actual concern.
DRIVE # 2
Rashaad Penny up the middle for 5 yards. For a brief, incredibly sweet moment I thought running backs were truly interchangeable.
Tyler Locket followed with an end around for the 1st down.
On the third play Wilson’s deep pass was blocked on a really nice jump from the corner that Lockett was clearly not expecting. Russell is now 1-4 at this point.
On second down Penny ran between the tackles towards the right side for 7 yards. Feel-good fairies were dancing on my chest as I thought all of my optimism would come through for me as Rashaad ran behind actual linemen for the first time this preseason.
Russ scrambled left on the next play for 11 yards and a 1st down. He’s now 2-2 on running for a first down at this point.
This next one’s a bit confusing. Official box score lists this as a -7 yard pass, but JD McKissic got absolutely destroyed on a fly sweep. It looked like Will Dissly was supposed to get a shoulder on the lineman directly in front of him first, but he ignored him completely on his way to go play pattycake with a corner off to his left.
Russ followed up by throwing up the right hash for a 20 yard gain to Tyler Lockett. The ball came out of Wilson’s hand incredibly fast at the end of a five step drop and he hit Lockett perfectly in stride.
Seattle followed up with a play action deep left to Tyler Lockett – once again. This ended up being the bread and butter of Seattle’s passing game last year. They sent the entire line to the left, while Russell was left alone in space on the right side…and Lockett was seemingly uncovered. Russ is now 3-6 on actual pass plays and Lockett gained 50 yards on his two receptions.
This is football! Here comes the tempo! Here comes the play action! We’ve got an O-Line doing pass things and run things! We’ve got two running backs with running ability!
Next play – Rashaad Penny 3 yard run.
Next play – Rashaad Penny 2 yard loss.
I’m confused. On both plays Penny looked unbelievably Trent Richardson-esque as he found the path of most resistance and took it with determination. To be fair, on the negative play defensive end Isaac Rochell was firmly in the backfield, on what looked like another missed blocking assignment by Will Dissly.
Next play – Rashaad Penny screen pass to the right made three guys miss and got 8 yards.
Still confused. Does he just want to be a receiver?
More importantly is where that play ended. Seattle found themselves in a 4th and 1 on the LA three yard line.
PETE CARROLL ONCE AGAIN CANNOT GET A PLAY CALLED IN A SITUATION WHICH WOULD BE DIFFICULT TO ANTICIPATE, FOURTH AND ONE IN THE RED ZONE. This is a topic I hope to visit throughout the season as we look at coaching decisions. Granted you want to get these situations right, but it sure looks like there’s a fair bit of milling around, players trickling onto the field, Pete smacking gum furious while he looks like he just realized he’s the one who’s supposed to make a decision.
At this point, we can chalk it up to being preseason for the coaches as well. If it happens in the regular season, then we can make a bigger deal about it.
Meanwhile, Penny comes out of the timeout by securing the touchdown on some good second effort to the left through Duane Brown. Not like, behind or off the shoulder of Duane Brown. He actually tried to run through 320 lb Duane Brown. Fortunately for Penny, Brown took two defenders for a TD of his own so it worked out well.
Run / Pass ratio: 8-4. Russell Wilson 4-7 through first two drives.
What we learned: Tyler Lockett can join Carson wherever they go for the next two weeks, hopefully somewhere warm with no stairs. He’s ready. Russ does warm up well.
Will Dissly…I really, really hope Dissly is not now gun-shy because of lingering effects in his knee, but he did not block well on some key plays. Looking at the replays he very well could be missing his assignment. Alternatively, the coverage is not set up well, and at least both those options are correctable. But Dissly still has zero receptions, and if he’s struggling to block, this TE group could be a big problem.
This coverage ends here because Seattle started pulling various starters at this point, but Penny continued to decline, though he did end the night averaging more yards per carry than Travis Homer or Xavier Turner. If I’m looking at a list tonight, with how (spoiler) CJ Prosise ran, Penny is the third or fourth most trustworthy back in that room, rather than as half of a strong one-two combo.
Wilson was not sacked during the game, and Geno Smith took the only sack of the night during the second half. The negative plays for Penny and McKissic both appeared to be the fault of the TE, most likely Dissly, and not the offensive line. Wilson had both a pocket and time within it during his time on the field. Most noticeably, Germain Ifedi did not commit any
drive/game/Russell ending blunders. Very solid performance by this group, although it must be noted the Chargers were not playing their starters.
The non-Lockett receivers both didn’t do anything in the first two drives and were literally untargeted. The lone exception was Malik Turner after some creative pocket maneuvering from Wilson that Turner was not expecting. It’s not necessarily a problem, if run-run-Lockett deep left is working, but at some point Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is probably going to want something else to click.