We may have to wait until their week five showdown with the Rams to see what the Seattle Seahawks really have going for them this season. They looked shaky in their home win over a Cincinnati Bengals team breaking in new schemes as well as a new head coach, then they had trouble putting away the Steelers, who had lost their starting QB and RB during the game.
Another offense missing their starting QB visits CenturyLink this Sunday, and then the Seahawks travel to Arizona to close out their first month against a rookie head coach and rookie QB.
If the Seahawks are not 4-0 at the end of September, something went wrong. The decked is extremely stacked in their favor to get off to a red-hot start.
None of this is to undermine Seattle’s 2-0 record, but what is most concerning is whether Seattle will have been truly tested by a complete team before they host the Rams on Thursday Night Football in their first game of October. After vigorously shaking our magic eight ball, the only answer we can get out of the thing is “ask again later.”
Free agent defensive end Ezekial Ansah has missed the first two games while he makes his way back from shoulder surgery and is expected to make his debut this week against the Saints. Rookie defensive end LJ Collier missed week one rehabbing from an ankle injury but was available for week two at Pittsburgh, so this could be the first time we see Seattle’s rebuilt defensive line in full working order.
Ansah and Collier will join new edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney and will look to bring extra heat to opposing quarterbacks. Clowney has been heavily involved, but with limited talent on the rest of the defensive line, he has had his work cut out for him trying to be a leader on a new team. It’s not a cause for alarm, as he is the primary pass rusher in Seattle and has already exceeded what he was able to do in his first two games for Houston last season as the secondary rusher opposite JJ Watt. And with two fresh teammates working in to the rotation this week, he should have a lot more help and talent to work with, which is good news for Seattle and bad news for everyone else.
Russell Wilson is coming off a very solid performance, completing more than 80% of his passes en route to 300 yards and three TDs with no turnovers. The Seahawks held Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger to 75 yards on 8 of 15 passing before he left the game with an elbow injury that would turn out to require season-ending surgery. Seattle trailed by three at halftime before exploding for 21 second half points and an exciting 28-26 road victory despite the Steelers playing with backup QB Mason Rudolph (who had no prior NFL experience) and backup RB Jaylen Samuels filling in for starter James Conner (who left the game in the fourth quarter). The common argument when reserve players perform better than the starters is that the team did not prepare for them.
The Seahawks have had a week to prepare this time, so let’s hope they’re ready.
Week 3 Lookahead
This Sunday, the Seahawks play host to the New Orleans Saints in what was expected to be a great test of Seattle’s standing in the NFC. While the game could still be a good test, it won’t be on the same scale after Saints QB Drew Brees exited last week’s game against the Rams with a torn ligament in his thumb. He is expected to miss at least a month, and his replacement Teddy Bridgewater left much to be desired in more than three quarters of work as the Saints fell 27-9.
Bridgewater was only able to rack up 165 yards on 30 attempts, and he led the Saints’ high-powered offense to just three field goals in nearly perfect conditions. Head coach Sean Payton is one of the league’s most celebrated offensive minds, but he has always had Brees to partner with during their time together in New Orleans, so this could be interesting. We’ll give Bridgewater a pass for now on his first chance to lead the first-string offense in a game situation, but he’ll need to make quick progress in his second game if he’s going to keep third-string QB and wildcard Taysom Hill on the sidelines.
It’s worth mentioning that Payton has not officially named the Saints’ starting QB this week, but that is most likely a ploy that serves two purposes: lighting a competitive fire under Bridgewater while also keeping the Seahawks on their toes as they form a defensive gameplan. Expect to see Bridgewater out there on Sunday until you hear otherwise.
I don’t expect this trend to continue once Seattle’s offensive line gets to form, but RB Chris Carson is currently on pace to rush for less than 900 yards and 8 or fewer touchdowns. It’s not a huge cause for concern as Carson had 75 yards combined and no rushing touchdowns at the same point last year before racking up 1076 yards and 9 touchdowns over his next 12 games.
What is concerning is he has two fumbles so far this season, the same total he had all of last year. Let’s hope they get on track in week three, which is the same week Carson rushed for 102 yards and a score in their first victory last year.
At 2-0 they aren’t under pressure to get a win, so they just need to keep game flow in their favor so they can establish and stick with the running game. This offense is at its best when balanced, and back-to-back games against reserve or rookie QBs is the right time to get that sorted out.
Given the Seahawks’ up-and-down start to the season, I would be concerned if they were facing an opponent at full strength. But they’re not, so I’m not worried about them in this game. The Saints might have some first-half success, but unless they make a QB change in the second half, this one should be owned by the home team by the final whistle.
If they can take care of the Saints this week and then dispatch the Cardinals next week, they’ll end September with an unbeaten record for the first time since the 2013 season.
Imagine just how super would that be.