Pre-Season Analysis 2012: Seahawks vs. Titans

The Seahawks beat the Titans 27-17.  Since that’s not important, let’s get that out of the way at the top.

The thing on everyone’s mind is:  how did Matt Flynn look?  On the surface, I think you’d look at his numbers and say they look okay:  11 for 13, 71 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT.  But, I mean, come on.  Look at the yardage.  The INT was a tough one because the linebacker kind of came out of nowhere to drop back and snatch a slightly under-thrown ball he was trying to get to an open receiver.  His best completed pass of the night was a 14-yarder to Zach Miller.  Unfortunately, while the pass was zipped in there pretty good, Flynn led Miller right into a hit that left him with a concussion and will likely cost him some practice time this week.  All the other passes were of the short, check-down variety.

Now, there are things we don’t know, obviously.  How vanilla was the offensive gameplan, for instance?  Flynn noted in his in-game interview with Curt Menefee and Warren Moon that he was just taking what the defense gave him.  If that’s the case, then I guess the defense was in a cover-2 zone all first half.  You’ll note, if you watched, that the offense seemed to really open up in the second half.  I’m thinking adjustments were made as they wanted to see what the rookie could handle.

I’m sure the local beat writers are going to play up the quarterback competition battle as being fierce right now, but I’m here to tell you all Russell Wilson’s play showed us yesterday is that we might be one step closer to Tarvar’s release.  After that, I mean, come on, let’s get real here.  He was largely playing against the Titans’ third string defensive unit.  Of COURSE he was going to go 12 for 16 with 124 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT (with another rushing TD at the end to clinch it).

The TD pass was a thing of beauty.  On the first possession of the second half, with 2nd & 5 at the Titans’ 39 yard line, Wilson launched the ball high and a couple yards short of the endzone.  Braylon Edwards had to stop, come back a little bit, get around the defender playing him one-on-one, and jump high in the air.  He caught the ball flawlessly and fell down into the endzone for the touch.  To be truthful, it wasn’t a reckless decision by Wilson as he did have one-on-one coverage and his target was an athletic Braylon Edwards.  But, really, this was a feat of sheer beauty by the receiver.  One, as I’ve mentioned before, that will get your hopes sky-high only to be dashed during a big moment of a big game in the regular season.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

After that, not a whole lot of great work by Wilson, short of a couple of really nice scrambles.  Wilson ran for 59 yards on the night, 32 of which came on a naked bootleg against the perfect defense (or lack thereof) for our final TD.  When you combine the wheels, the smarts, and the arm strength, you can see why a lot of people really like this kid.  But, let’s not start sucking each other’s dicks quite yet.  He’s still a rookie playing against a third string defense.

That all having been said, I’m not ready to name a starter just yet either.  It’ll be interesting to see how the Seahawks go next week.  Will they give Tarvar a shot to show what he can do?  Or, will they give Flynn the nod to see how he bounces back?  Will we actually get to see Flynn attempt a pass longer than 20 yards?  Will they put even MORE on Wilson’s plate by giving him the start and see what he can do against a very fearsome starting defensive unit in Denver?  I honestly couldn’t be more intrigued.

As for other players, I guess the … Turbinator (*sigh*) had an all right debut.  Nothing special about his 24 yards on 10 attempts.  It was interesting to note that Leon Washington was given some carries on that first drive; he looked damned impressive averaging over 5 yards per carry.  Hopefully Guns will get more of a chance to run behind the starting line before he gets eaten alive next week.

As far as the receivers are concerned, the only guy who really helped his cause was Braylon Edwards.  He caught just the 2 balls, but he was easily our best receiver of the night.  Granted, I don’t remember him playing much (if at all) in the first half, so take from that what you will.  Golden Tate had 2 grabs for 13 yards, Deon Butler had 1 for 10.  Obomanu and Kris Durham both had 0 catches and only 1 target apiece.  But, like I noted, not a whole lot of receiving yards period in this game.

On the defensive side of the ball, you saw a WHOLE lot of vanilla.  Of course, that vanilla was still good enough to shut down their running game for most of the first half.  It looked like our starters were in there for the entire first quarter, which was nice.  On the first play of the game, you saw a very opportunistic interception by Browner returned for a touchdown thanks to a crazy bobble by the receiver as he was falling to the ground.  At first, it was tough to tell if the ball hit the ground or not, but replays made it look obvious.  Seek that play out online, it’s worth your time.

Not a lot of sacks or pressure, but as I said before, this was a vanilla gameplan.  There weren’t a whole lot of blitzes or weird schemes being thrown the Titans’ way.  I thought rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner looked really good, active, and around the play at all times.  I thought Irvin had a so-so effort.  He’s got some get-off, he just didn’t have a whole lot of opportunities to make any plays.  Still, you could see him a few times getting in the QB’s face, causing him to get rid of the ball before he was ready.  He should be a menace for QBs for years to come.

As for the Titans, Hasselbeck didn’t look great.  He played just into the 2nd quarter and had 45 yards passing with 2 interceptions.  One, on the opening play, and one on his very final play, which served as a defacto punt deep in Seahawks’ territory.

Jake Locker looked much better, but then again he didn’t have to deal so much with the rabidness of the fans (who got progressively quieter as the game went on), nor the Seahawks’ number 1 defense.  Still, I was shocked to find out he wasn’t still playing in the 3rd quarter.  Made the second half of this game much less enjoyable.

If I had to guess, I’d say that Locker ends up winning this job by the time the season starts.  He was strong, decisive, and looked to throw first rather than tuck and run.  He was bitten by some drops, but I don’t think they’ll hold that against him.

As for the Seahawks, more questions than answers.  None of the receivers on the bubble really helped their cause.  None of the QBs really hurt their cause.  We’ll see what happens next week.

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