Seahawks at Broncos
It was 2,890 miles and six months ago that the Seattle Seahawks embarrassed Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. I don’t care how much he denied being embarrassed, the reality remains that he was either embarrassed or stupid.
Since Manning is one of the smartest players in the NFL, my money is on embarrassed.
The first quarter of the preseason debut started out pretty bland as both Manning and Russell Wilson missed open receivers on third-down plays, resulting in punts on their opening drive. Denver’s second drive was much different, though. It came out throwing and moved the ball down the field with relative ease.
Seahawks cornerback Byron Maxwell struggled to cover 2nd team All-Pro wide receiver Damaryius Thomas on the drive. The Broncos scored the first points of the game with a one-yard touchdown run by Ronnie Hillman.
After the touchdown there was a scuffle that led to a person foul penalty on KJ Wright. Then Jeremy Lane put the Seahawks offense in a hole by picking up a taunting penalty on the kickoff following the touchdown.
Then came the thunder…and the lighting — literally. Both teams left the field for a 46-minute lightning delay.
After the delay, Russell Wilson led the Seahawks’ first team offense on a 90-yard touchdown drive aided by five Broncos penalties that led to first downs. Wilson took control of the game with his ability to extend plays with his legs and improvise in a way that very few can. The drive was capped off with a one-yard touchdown run by Christine Michael.
The Broncos offense took advantage of Jackson Jeffcoat’s inexperience as the game went on. Jeffcoat had a tendency to lose containment in the running game, which gave Denver yardage in chunks. Jackson will need to correct his mistakes if he hopes to make the Seahawks’ 53 man roster, and at this point, he’s looking like a practice squad possibility.
AJ Jefferson had a strong showing in his debut, breaking up two passes and intercepting another. Unfortunately, he was injured during the interception return and was carted into the locker room with an ankle injury.
Fellow cornerback Tharold Simon was ejected after punching an opposing player in the face after the Broncos’ second touchdown. You may remember that Simon missed the entire season lest year due to injury. Perhaps he’s just a bit frustrated and overexcited to be back on the field. No matter how you slice it, he needs to be smarter.
Fourth-round defensive lineman Cassius Marsh had a strong showing in his NFL debut. He looked like Cassius Clay using his quick hands to pick up a sack. Late in the game, he had a chance to pick up another sack, but slid off Brock Osweiler. That sack would have ended the drive, but instead the Broncos scored the game-winning touchdown.
The Seahawks most impressive offensive player was rookie wide receiver Paul Richardson. He showed a quickness to evade tacklers that was reminiscent of Golden Tate and a speed that forced the Broncos to account for. That opened things up underneath a bit. It is very early, but he definitely showed the potential to be a playmaker.
Wilson is the starting quarterback and Tarvaris Jackson is definitely the backup. Terrelle Pryor is attempting to persuade Pete Carroll to carry a third quarterback. He didn’t help his case on Thursday night. At times he did show glimpses of an NFL quarterback, but he is inconstant. He also runs the ball way too often. As soon as the pocket starts to break down, he pulls the ball down runs.
Both Wilson and Jackson continue to look for a receiver while avoiding pressure, Pryor usually doesn’t.
The injuries along the offensive line highlighted a lack of depth at the position group. Rookie Justin Britt looked decent working with the first unit at right tackle. He missed some blocks but also showed an ability to stone wall defenders.
The Seahawks lost their first preseason game since drafting Wilson. As with any game, there was good, bad and ugly. Plenty of film to build off of and correct. Both teams played sloppy football, but in the end, the Broncos picked off a Pryor pass in the end zone and sealed the Seahawks’ fate.
Time to get back to camp.