Last Saturday, the Seattle Seahawks beat the Denver Broncos 40-10 in their second preseason game. Watching them makes this fan excited about regular season play! There’s still much to improve on. For example, there were way too many penalties – six for 65 yards in the first half alone. But for the Hawks first preseason game at home, it was filled with energy from the players to the 12th Man that it felt like a regular season game (at least for the first half before the backups made appearances). In honor of the 33 points that the Hawks posted at the half, here were three keys to the game.
1) Quarterbacks Out of the Equation
The starting quarterbacks, Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson, played through the majority of the first half, extending their playing time from their respective previous preseason games (Wilson only played two series and completed two of six, passing for 23 yards with no touchdowns in the preseason game against the San Diego Chargers.) However, neither QB was a large factor in their teams’ offense. Manning was silenced by the Seahawks’ stellar defense, which limited him to only one touchdown despite completing 11 of 16 passes for 163 yards.
Similarly, Wilson wasn’t given a chance to establish much play action because of the defense – but it was due to his own defense and special teams. They put on a show, so much so that the offense had a 40+ minute break between appearances at one point. Near the end of the first quarter on a kickoff return, wide receiver Jermaine Kearse returned the ball for a 107 yard touchdown, and then cornerback Brandon Browner recovered a fumble for a 106 yard touchdown at the beginning of the second quarter. Wilson did have two TDs for good measure, but he was done for the night going into the half with the Hawks up decidedly 33-7.
2) Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better
One of the commentators called Brandon Browner “pterodactyl” because of his style of defense – no matter how secure the ball appeared, Browner found a way to claw the ball out of his opponent’s grasp. His moves, one which included stripping the ball to cause a fumble and a Seahawks recovery, reminded me of Houston Texans’ defensive end J.J Watt. Like Watt, Browner gave 100% with each play, denying even the simplest attempt for a first down.
Position: Return Man
As mentioned earlier, the second-year WR and ex-UW Husky Jermaine Kearse impressed with a touchdown from a 107-yard kickoff return. It’s poetic that it happened against Denver, since Kearse’s play is reminiscent of Broncos’ Trindon Holliday’s 104-yard kick return touchdown during the divisional playoff game last season against the Baltimore Ravens.
Position: Running Back
While Marshawn Lynch invented “Beast Mode” and has no question of job security, during the Hawks first possession, second year Robert Turbin channeled the Beast and helped move the ball down the field. During that series, he was instrumental in the Hawks’ first touchdown with four carries for 21 yards (a total of nine carries for 35 yards).
3) 12th Man Loud and Proud
The crowd at CenturyLink Field was into the entire preseason game – even though the game doesn’t count, even after superstars Manning and Wilson were taken out, and even after the Hawks were obviously walking away with the win. The players interviewed on the sidelines repeatedly complimented the Seattle fans. And while this is customary in any sport, football fans are particularly influential. Not just symbolically or on the players’ morale, but in the way the 12th Man forced the Broncos into penalties, causing numerous false starts, delays of game and offsides.
Seahawk fans have applied with the Guinness World Records to measure the decibel noise levels for the home opener against the San Francisco 49ers on September 15. If louder than 131.76 decibels, they would earn the distinction of loudest crowd in sports history. That’s just one of the many records I hope are broken with the Seahawks this season!