Russell Wilson put in possibly his best pre-season performance. The Chargers couldn’t stop him. He scrambled to extend plays, he rushed for first downs. More importantly he struck up an early connection with Percy Harvin and made use of the two starting tight ends.
It might only be pre-season but it goes to show — Wilson could and probably would be a touchdown machine on another team. He’s a natural playmaker. It’s only Seattle’s determination to make the run such a focal point (especially in the red zone) that prevents him from stacking up the points.
Harvin showed why he’s such a valuable commodity. Everywhere he lined up he drew attention. A late motion helped set up Robert Turbin’s 47-yard gain. When he moves around a defense has to react. If he’s healthy in 2014 the Seahawks offense has a chance to go to another level — even when he’s not catching or running with the ball.
As for Turbin — he surely has the edge over Christine Michael after an excellent showing here. He took advantage on the big run (kudos to Justin Britt for a superb block too) and ran with greater authority overall. Too often in the past he’s gone down after initial contact or struggled to find that second gear to make the big play. Against the Chargers he looked menacing and if he can recapture this form next week he’ll likely get the #2 job behind Marshawn Lynch.
Christine Michael didn’t have a bad game with 45 yards on eight carries. He did have a clumsy fumble for the second week in a row. This two-way battle is about fine margins and with Turbin ascending after this game, Michael needs a statement performance in week three.
The pass protection and run blocking across the board saw a big improvement. The return of James Carpenter helped. Wilson had a few broken plays where he had to scramble — but that’ll always happen. This was a reassuring performance for those concerned about the state of the O-line, especially with Russell Okung and Max Unger still to return.
It was a quiet night for the receivers. Paul Richardson didn’t have a catch and I think only had one target. Doug Baldwin just missed out on a touchdown thanks to a good defensive play and also drew a flag in the end zone. Phil Bates and Chris Matthews had one catch each. Bryan Walters impressed as a kick returner with some nice plays — even though he got away with a poor decision to field the ball at the end of the first half. It’s difficult to judge the position battle here, especially with Kevin Norwood’s expected return.
Terrelle Pryor had the most explosive play of the night — a 44-yard touchdown run. How many people with his size can make a play like that? Kaepernick? I think that’s it. He didn’t have much opportunity to flash as a passer (1/4 for 10 yards). When you see a guy with his build running so fluidly you can’t help but feel like you want to stick with him. He’s not ready to usurp Tarvaris Jackson (who didn’t play vs San Diego) but they might just find a spot on the roster to stash Pryor.
B.J. Daniels also looked sharp on a good night for Seattle quarterbacks. He also added a rushing touchdown (Seattle QB’s scored four on the night).
Defensively there were some improvements, even if certain areas need more work. Michael Bennett didn’t play but Cliff Avril gave D.J. Fluker a torrid time. O’Brien Schofield was busy, lining up in multiple looks and getting a late sack.
The second string defense still had a couple of issues. Against the Broncos they struggled against the stretch play and misdirection. Denver broke off big run after big run and San Diego had similar success early on. As Pete Carroll mentioned during the week — it’s just about getting off blocks. After a slow start they seemed to rectify the problem and shut down the run as the second half progressed.
The pass rush was hit and miss. Benson Mayowa and Mike Morgan split a sack, while Gregg Scruggs also got on the stat sheet. Kellen Clemens is more mobile than he looks and he managed to escape the rush a few times and find receivers downfield. The secondary looked a little exposed at times. Seattle is still missing some key starters at linebacker so some of the backups are acting as starters. This has to be playing a part, because the second string defense isn’t quite as smothering as it has been the last two years.
Tharold Simon had a busy night. He probably should’ve ended a drive with a pick in the end zone but he dropped the ball. Shortly after, a +100-yard pick-six was called back on an unfortunate penalty call. The drive ended in a Chargers touchdown, but I sense Simon will receive credit for his contribution. He was, at least, there to make the plays. You can see the potential, he just needs polish.
Mayowa did a great job bending around the edge for his half-sack, but I sense if it comes down to a straight shoot-out with Schofield the more experienced man will win. Schofield’s versatility and ability to impact a play stands out. Mayowa had an improved game here, but he’s still yet to match last year’s promise.
Cassius Marsh had a quiet night. That was probably to be expected after he suffered a slight knee sprain this week.
For the second week in a row, the opponent avoided Richard Sherman like the plague. Teams were willing to chance their arm against Sherman last year. He’s going to be pretty frustrated in 2014 if this continues. Byron Maxwell is going to get a ton of opportunities to make plays in a contract year.