Surprising 3-0 start has been costly, too

We thought the Seahawks would be 1-2 at this point (on the way to 11-5), so 3-0 is a nice surprise – especially as they give up 400 passing yards and 28+ points per game.

It has been costly though:

The margin of error is so small for this defense-poor team. For the second straight week, a HUGE offensive mistake made the game closer than it should have been. DK Metcalf showboated on what should have been a 63-yard TD catch, and cornerback Trevon Diggs punched the ball through the end zone from the 1.  

That mistake was similar to Greg Olsen’s dropped pass against New England that led to a pick-six and kept the Patriots in it until the end – just as the Cowboys stayed in it all the way this week thanks to Metcalf’s gaffe.

Pete Carroll called Metcalf’s premature celebration “a terrible play. … Fortunately it didn’t wreck the game for us.”

Metcalf, who also dropped a couple more passes, made up for his stupid mistake late in the game, scoring the go-ahead TD.

Meanwhile, Tyler Lockett had a stellar game – scoring three touchdowns on nine catches for 100 yards. He has caught 24 of 29 passes thrown his way this season.

Russell Wilson continued his hot start, throwing five TD passes even on a day in which he was hit a lot and became a bit skittish and off target from the second quarter on. With 14 TD passes, he’s off to the hottest start by a QB in NFL history. Lots of “I told you sos” to Brian Schottenheimer from goofy culinary fans.  

It certainly helped that Dallas could not get out of its own way at times. The Cowboys’ secondary was a mess, just like Seattle’s; its defensive backs committed three big penalties on Seattle’s second TD drive. Their special teams set up a safety for Seattle and failed on two PATs.

Wilson and company struggled on four of the first five drives, going three-and-out (that included the Metcalf touchback). Wilson finished the first half with two TD passes to Lockett though, and then a quick takeaway at the 5 to start the third quarter set up an easy TD pass to Jacob Hollister.

They had three more troubled possessions as the defense allowed the Cowboys to erase a 15-point deficit and take a 31-30 lead and put this game right where we thought it would end up: Down to the wire. But Wilson answered with a 75-yard drive, and Metcalf redeemed himself with the 29-yard score from Wilson in the final two minutes.

The Seattle defense, already a mess, keeps losing players. Jamal Adams (groin) and Jordyn Brooks (knee) both left the game. With Marquise Blair out for the season and Lano Hill (back) a late scratch, we all were left wondering who No. 35 was next to Quandre Diggs in the secondary. It turned out to be a guy named Ryan Neal, who finished the game off with an end zone pick (and now heads back to the practice squad).  

This remade secondary may not play a full game together this season. We’ll see how long Adams and Quinton Dunbar (knee) are out. It hurts their synchronicity to not play together, so expect the troubles to continue as long as there is no continuity back there.

The corners had another rough day. Shaquill Griffin had a pick but got burned several times, as did Tre Flowers. You can see why the Hawks have not paid Griffin big money — though it would be nice if John Schneider had brought in some pass rush help so the corners are not hung out to dry every game.

With the pass rush still not nearly good enough, Dak Prescott (472 yards, three TDs) joined Matt Ryan (450, 2) and Cam Newton (397, 1) in picking apart Seattle’s guys. The Seahawks had never given up 350 passing yards in three games until last season, and now they have started with three straight.

“We’ve got areas all over the place we’ve got to get better at,” Pete Carroll said, in a major understatement. “We’ve got a lot of work to do on a pass defense that continues to be a problem. The third-down thing is not good enough and we’ve got to finish our sacks.”

It doesn’t seem likely to change, so get used to shootouts – if the offensive line can hold up.

Duane Brown, playing on a bad knee and foot, had trouble against Aldon Smith, who beat him for two of his three sacks. Then Damien Lewis (ankle) and Mike Iupati (knee) both left – Iupati later returned. And Ethan Pocic played through a knee problem, too, Carroll said. Jordan Simmons and Jamarco Jones saw a lot of action, and $3.5 million backup B.J. Finney is available if Pocic has to miss time. But this unit is getting thin.

“It seems like it’s a real challenge for the players to make it through these early weeks of the season,” Carroll said.

With so many guys injured, a few young players stepped up at times. Ugo Amadi (the new nickel with Blair gone) was the best of the replacements. He was third on the team with seven tackles, including a big stop on a two-point try and another on third down, and he had a big third-down pass breakup to hold Dallas to a field goal.

“Ugo continues to make things happen,” Carroll said. “We’re really excited about what he’s doing.”

Rookie Alton Robinson – our favorite Seattle draft pick this year – had a solid debut. He had three tackles — two for loss — plus a QB hit and a big sack late in the game.

Shaquem Griffin came up big in the fourth quarter, with a hit on Prescott and some good plays in the passing game.

Hollister, Seattle’s best receiving tight end, finally got involved – scoring a TD and a 2-pointer. He should play more, but it was nice to see the tight ends involved again — 10 total targets for Hollister, Greg Olsen (5-61) and Will Dissly.

2 thoughts on “Surprising 3-0 start has been costly, too”

  1. They *did* win the game! Some plusses to go with Robinson’s debut:

    * The OL appears to have stabilized. It hung in there even with lineman going in and out
    * While LJ Collier may never make a Pro Bowl, he has contributed to three straight games now and may be a competent NFL defensive lineman
    * Greg Olsen had some timely catches. RW may finally have a reliable 3rd receiver
    * Freddie Swain may be on the verge of passing David Moore on the depth chart

    The Seahawks internet is in a self-congratulatory mode over the advent of “Let Russ Cook,” as if Pete Carroll actually paid attention to them. It helps that RW is throwing to his best receiving corps since 2013 (arguably in his career) is finally getting decent protection. Even the greatest chef needs quality ingredients.

    The argument for the 2020 receivers as the best RW has had:

    * Lockett is better now than either Baldwin or Tate were in 2013 — i.e., their best years were ahead of them, while Lockett is in his prime
    * Metcalf is the most physically gifted receiver SEA has had since Joey Galloway. If he keeps improving (and avoids the premature showboating), he and RW will be Greatest-Show-On-Turf dangerous
    * Olsen, as long as he holds up, is a better receiver than Zach Miller, even if he doesn’t have Miller’s overall game

    I’d take Kearse over Moore as the #3 wideout, although by the end of the season, we may be talking about Freddie Swain.

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  2. I agree Swain has been a nice find. I think what makes this entire group Wilson’s best is the quality at tight end: Dissly and Hollister are both very good, as we have seen. I am not a big Metcalf fan — he drops too many balls. But he is a solid No. 2 to Lockett.

    As for the OL, a few issues early had Wilson a bit jittery and throwing some off-targets from Q2 on. But he also had some plays where he had tons of time. Expected interior depth to be good, and it has been. Now, OT is another story, esp. with Ogbuehi continually out.

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