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September 22, 2014 at 5:17 AM

Seahawks Second Thoughts

A few more thoughts on the game that was as Seattle beat Denver 26-20 in overtime Sunday. …

1. If you follow me on Twitter, you saw me pass along some of this last night. But it’s worth repeating that Seattle opened the season with a pretty tough trio of games. Green Bay, San Diego and Denver are all on someone’s list of teams that could play in, if not win, the Super Bowl this season. They went a combined 31-16-1 last season, all advancing to the playoffs, the latter two each winning games (Denver beating San Diego 24-17 in Denver after the Chargers ousted the Bengals, and Green Bay losing to the 49ers). Green Bay, to be sure, looks a little disappointing after the loss to Detroit — and the Packers needed a big rally late to beat the Jets last week. So maybe Green Bay is not all that and Seattle’s big win on opening night will end up saying as much about the Packers as the Seahawks. Still, Seattle has traveled a tough road so far and done all right. The Seahawks are 2-1, have outgained their three opponents 5.9 to 4.8 per play and outscored them a combined 83-66. Maybe Seattle doesn’t seem as dominant as it did at this point a year ago when it had beaten Carolina, the 49ers and Jacksonville 86-27. But it’s also far from a bad start for a team in an uncommon place as a defending Super Bowl champ and all that goes with that. (And I hardly need to add the QBs Seattle has played so far, but I will just in case — Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning).

2. Jayson Jenks wrote for the Monday paper about Seattle’s run defense against Denver. And truth is it’s been good all year as the Seahawks are allowing just 2.8 yards per carry which I would imagine by the end of the weekend will be among the best in the NFL. Denver really, really, really wanted to run it early to the point of trying draws on two early third-and-longs that had even Seattle defensive players scratching their heads. “I was really surprised by that,” said Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright. “They was really conservative. But I guess that was their game plan to try not to force anything. We picked up on it.” Indeed they did.

3. Bryan Walters may be all right as the punt returner. Walters wasn’t necessarily spectacular, with no return longer than 11. But on eight attempts, he also was flawless. He fair caught three and then returned five others for an average of 7.2 per attempt. That means he never lost yards — no letting it bounce and then going 20 more yards downfield — and he also didn’t fumble. Seattle had the better field position throughout the game and Walters’ steady punt returning was a part of it. For now, he seems to have solidified that role as his.

4. I’ve gotten this far without writing about Russell Wilson. It almost feels like there’s nothing more to say about Wilson, and yet he means everything to the Seahawks. Seattle is 26-9 in the regular season under Wilson, and 4-1 in playoff games, making them 30-10 overall. Seattle is also 4-0 in overtime games under Wilson, and he has now won 11 games in which Seattle was tied or behind in the fourth quarter.

5. O’Brien Schofield, remember, was briefly a New York Giant, having agreed to a two-year deal worth $8 million before failing a physical due to his knee — he’s had issues since tearing an ACL prior to the Senior Bowl following his last year of college. He basically just landed back in Seattle’s lap and has turned into a Godsend. Schofield was as effective as any rusher Seattle had Sunday with three credited quarterback hurries and a sack (albeit, on the play where Peyton Manning tripped and fell down, but still, Schofield was there to make the play). We’ve all talked a lot about whether Seattle will be able to replicate the defensive line rotation it had last season. Sunday showed it seems to be coming together as Seattle used eight players regularly up front and while there were a few moments of anxiety, ultimately Seattle had enough to get it done.



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