In what we’ll try to make a regular feature on the blog, here’s a day-after look at five things we learned in the Seahawks’ game last night:
1, Dan Quinn can coordinate. It was a somewhat lost subplot, but the 49er game was Quinn’s first real big test in his first year as an NFL coordinator. And he obviously gets an A-plus for devising a plan to shut down the 49ers despite being without starting cornerback Brandon Browner (and not to mention Chris Clemons and Bruce Irvin, each of whom he’s had yet to really use). A couple of key twists Sunday were playing more man-to-man in the secondary, and moving Richard Sherman around to get him more often on Anquan Boldin. Everything worked for a Seattle team that has allowed just 10 points, 21 less than anyone else in the NFC.
2, The defensive line issues may have been much ado about nothing. The line has been a popular topic of concern due to all the injuries (and Irvin’s suspension) making it something of a revolving door so far. But now that it is beginning to look like what the team always envisioned, it’s also beginning to become a real strength. Free agent signees Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett appear as advertised, Red Bryant also appears back in his 2011 form (as he had promised during the preseason) and the Seahawks seem to just keep finding bodies to help in the middle, whether it be D’Anthony Smith, who played some early, or the newly re-signed Clinton McDonald, who also had some quality moments. Adding Clemons and Irvin in the next few weeks will make it that much stronger.
3, The Seahawks can win even when Russell Wilson is a little off. It’s unfair to put all of the Seattle passing game struggles early solely on Wilson (above in a Dean Rutz photo). SF got some pressure, and it also appeared as if the receivers struggled at times to get open. Still, Wilson himself admitted that he just felt a little off early, when he was 2-10 passing at halftime. Wilson rallied to finish 8-of-19 for 142 yards and a touchdown. But that was still a quarterback rating of just 63.9, the fourth-lowest of his career. The three that were lower last season came in losses to Arizona, San Francisco and St. Louis. Sunday night, though, the Seahawks won going away, showing again that while Wilson is vital, they can win in lots of other ways, as well.
4, The Legion of Boom is good. Okay, no news there. Still, if there was anyone still wondering about the LOB, the shutdown of the San Francisco passing game should have quelled any doubters. The Seahawks are allowing a passer rating of just 52.1 through two games, by far the lowest in the NFL. And as noted earlier, that’s without Browner playing so far, showing that the depth the Seahawks’ crowed about at the cornerback spot is for real.
5, The Seahawks still can run the ball. There was much consternation after week one about Seattle’s running game. That was largely quelled with the performance against the 49ers as Seattle had 172 yards on 47 carries. Coach Pete Carroll, though, seemed oddly displeased with the running game afterward, saying “I think the numbers turned out well; I didn’t feel like we ran it nearly as good as we can.” Could just be a coach trying to make it clear the high expectations he has for the line and the running game, and the team itself. The highest of expectations seems reachable after Sunday night.