Remember last season how the Seahawks had trouble scoring early? How’s six points in first quarter work for you in 2018?
Despite deploying QB Russell Wilson for all six possessions of the first half Saturday night in Carson, CA., his teammates on the first unit made just enough key mistakes to evoke a bit of the bad old days in a 24-14 loss (box) to the Los Angeles Chargers that kept the Seahawks winless in the preseason.
The Seahawks had some some trouble scoring in the fake-season opener at home against the Colts last week too.
“Both games have been similar,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We got the ball down there. We needed those touchdowns. We need to get better there.”
The ballyhooed return to the run game produced the game’s biggest gaffe by the best rusher. From the 1-yard line in the first quarter, RB Chris Carson fumbled the ball into the end zone, where it was recovered for a touchback by ex-Seahawk Brandon Mebane.
Nothing in The Book of First Carrollians is a a greater sin.
“We moved the ball right down the field and give up the ball inside the one, which is a horrible thing to do for him,” Carroll said. “They wind up with the ball at the 20 — couldn’t be worse.
“Chris ran the ball really well, but it gets clouded because he gave up the ball inside the one.”
Carson should have had more, but had a 23-yard touchdown run — breaking two tackles — nullified by penalty. The culprit was rookie TE Will Dissly, who was called for a block in the back when it was more like a gentle shove, and was distant from the action.
“Wasn’t near the play, unfortunately,” Carroll said. “That killed us.”
The Seahawks recovered for a field goal, but produced only two of them for a 14-6 intermission deficit. Perhaps that was why the play-calling was unexpectedly lopsided toward passing — 36 throws and 16 runs, in an attempt to catch up.
Wilson, under the tutelage of new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenhemer, flashed his cannon several times — he hit WRs Jaron Brown for 45 yards, David Moore for 52 and Cyril Grayson Jr. for 39 yards.
Moore’s catch was particularly impressive, splitting two defenders who were on him tightly. On the next play, Moore pulled down a jump ball for 19 yards to the one.
“Russell is really good at putting the (deep) ball on guys,” Carroll said. “He’s not hesitant to do that. David is giving him all the reason.
“He’s stronger than you think — stronger, thicker maybe more explosive. He sure shows it tonight. It was a great sign for us.”
The effort may have clinched a roster spot for the second-year pro from East Central Oklahoma, a seventh-round pick. In the temporary absence of Doug Baldwin (knee) and Tyler Lockett (toe), Moore in practice and games has made himself noticed.
Another guy on offense was noticed, for mostly the wrong reasons. RT Germain Ifedi committed no penalties, but he (choose one) fell down, was bowled over, was blown by, or all of the above.
D is the correct answer. He was often against the Chargers’ premier rusher, Melvin Ingram, but he’s going be up against a lot of top-tier guys.
Carroll deferred to the need to study video before evaluating Ifedi, but was generally pleased with the pass protection.
“We got bull-rushed one time, but all in all, Russ was composed and moved when he needed to,” he said. “It was the same both weeks. That’s a good statement for us. We’re much more solid than we’ve been in the last couple of years at this point. We’re feeling the continuity.”
The right side of the line was further compromised by the early departure of RG D,J. Fluker, who dislocated a finger. Had it been a real game, he probably would have kept playing, and is not expected to miss much, if any, playing time.
Except for the opening touchdown drive, a 75-yard masterwork by Chargers QB Philip Rivers, the first-team defense held up decently. For the second game in a row, rookie DE Rasheem Green was large. He had a sack and two tackles for loss.
“Three and a half sacks in two games jumps off the stat sheet,” Carroll said. “He looks aggressive and very skilled in his rushing. His sack are technique-oriented. He’s great with his hands, and got them free. That’s a real positive — it’s hard to do that at any time (in a career) for anybody.”
But the Chargers managed to flip the game relative to the Seahawks — 37 rushes and 19 passes, including 176 yards on the ground. The Seahawks’ first team subbed out quickly in the second quarter, but that is a lot of ground regardless of the names on the jerseys.
Perhaps Seattle’s most surprising play was in the fourth quarter when third-string rookie QB Alex McGough lofted a teardrop, 12-yard fade into the back of the end zone to rookie WR Malik Turner for Seattle’s second touchdown. He followed it with a two-point PAT pass to Grayson.
“That was beautiful,” Carroll said. “It was a difficult time (behind and late), and we needed to take some shots. He was aggressive and seemed like he hit everything (9 for 12 for 97 yards), It was a great sign for him. He was under pressure and had to express his ability.”
Heading into Minnesota Friday for the traditional dress-rehearsal game, the rest of the Seahawks might be under a tad more pressure to express some ability too.