Instant reaction: Seahawks waltz past Jaguars

September 22nd, 2013 | Written by Rob Staton

Marshawn Lynch didn't get much help up front

Before I comment on the Seahawks, how about the 49ers losing — no, collapsing — against the Colts?

Following Seattle’s demolition of San Francisco last week, I referred to Dallas’ week 2 defeat at Century Link last year. The Cowboys left Seattle a broken team — physically and mentally drained. They never recovered, and frequently talking about the impact of the game on their season.

I’m not about to write off the 49ers (that would be foolish). But they didn’t half look a lot like the 2012 Cowboys today.

Broken, soulless and beaten.

Colin Kaepernick hasn’t got anyone to throw to and continues to struggle to get beyond his first read. Patrick Willis left the game through injury. Reports suggest Aldon Smith cleared out his locker after the game (he’s heading to rehab, according to Peter King). They were already without Vernon Davis.

Next up is a trip to St. Louis to play a division rival who went 1-0-1 against the 49ers last year.

Tough times for Jim Harbaugh.

I suppose the fact we’re discussing San Francisco is in itself a review of the Jaguars game. We didn’t learn a great deal today.

All of the minor problems coming into week three pretty much still exist. The offense is still rusty. Russell Wilson — despite scoring four touchdowns — is still not playing at his absolute best. The run blocking was generally poor for Marshawn Lynch and the pass protection will get a lot of debate too.

Wilson had two turnovers on the day. The first was a fumble on a scramble after Jacksonville collapsed the pocket. I want to see him throw that away. It’s easy for me to say that from my sofa, but he’s holding on to the ball a lot in the first three weeks. Sometimes it’s better to punt.

On the pick, he again tried to do too much. It’s surprising given the way this team preaches to protect the ball. A punt out of the end zone is better than giving possession away on the one yard line.

I’m not sure he’s taking advantage of blitzes yet, which is one area I expected major improvement. We saw last week how he can use a blitz to his advantage (the Lynch touchdown) but today the Jaguars rushed their linebackers with a lot of success. Whether it’s play design or a learning situation, the Seahawks have to notice the blitz and have some calls that allow for quick hitters over the middle. The gaps will be there. Wilson has to call it and execute.

The offensive line didn’t have a great day. Lynch barely had any running room apart from a couple of big plays. It was surprising to see Jacksonville match up so well in short yardage situations. Max Unger has had a sloppy start to the year and that continued today (again, surprising).

On the Jason Babin sack, Breno Giacomini just got beat off the edge. Babin was stood in the neutral zone and should’ve been flagged. There was no flag. Even so, Wilson just hesitated enough to eat the sack. Maybe he expected more time with just a three man rush, but it kind of just encapsulated Seattle’s rustiness on offense. Wilson holding on to the ball to long, the offensive line getting caught.

On the plus side, Paul McQuistan didn’t appear to have too many problems at left tackle and the blowout nature of the game allowed Michael Bowie and Alvin Bailey to get some time on the field.

The next two weeks will be a big test for the offense. They have to sharpen up. Shutting down Houston and Indianapolis — both at 10am — won’t be easy. And the offense won’t be able to toil like it did in Carolina and still escape with a victory.

It wasn’t all bad, of course. It’s quite encouraging that even at 3-0 this team is still yet to peak.

The first team defense was superb (again). Michael Bennett already looks like a fantastic acquisition (how soon can we discuss an extension?). Clinton McDonald has been an underrated performer in the last two weeks. The secondary handled everything until the game was out of reach. Bobby Wagner had his best game of the year too.

It was a little disappointing, however, to see the backups allow Jacksonville to march up the field a couple of times. I kind of felt afterwards that this team shouldn’t be coughing up 17 points to the Jags — even if seven were a gift courtesy of the Wilson interception.

Walter Thurmond and Byron Maxwell both struggled to get a handle in coverage late on, but they weren’t helped by a middling pass rush. I still don’t see what all the fuss is about with John Lotulelei. On Jacksonville’s second touchdown he showed minimal athleticism to get off a block and it left a wide open lane for the running back to exploit.

Going back to the positives (it’s easy to nitpick), all the receivers played well and contributed. The chances are Seattle is going to lose a good receiver they would ideally keep in the next 18 months.

We had our first regular season glimpse of Christine Michael — and he again reminded us why he simply has to have a few touches every week. Luke Willson also took a major step forward and could be set for an increased role over the coming weeks.

And it was good to see Chris Clemons back on the field and looking sharp. It’ll be even better seeing Clemons, Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett and Bruce Irvin (after week 4) rushing the passer over the next few weeks.

At 3-0, the Seahawks have already accumulated a two-game lead over the rest of the NFC West. It was a miserable day for the NFC with defeats for San Francisco, Green Bay, Atlanta, Minnesota and Washington. The Seahawks were the only team from the 2012 NFC Playoffs to get a victory today. The combined record of the other five teams is 3-12.

The Seahawks need to use their good start as a platform. The next two weeks will be a real test.

And for your amusement, here’s the Tweet of the weekend:

57 Responses to “Instant reaction: Seahawks waltz past Jaguars”

  1. Patrick says:

    Rob,

    Great write up! I’m so glad to see I wasn’t the only one who saw issues on offense. It seemed wrong to be disappointed with such a lop-sided victory but this is the third week in a row Wilson left me underwhelmed. Where is the exciting player from last year?

    Here’s what really concerned me, Tavaris Jackson came in and we never missed a beat. Now, don’t misinterpret this as me saying we should go with Jackson, I’m just wondering when is it okay to start worrying about Wilson?

    • Rob Staton says:

      I don’t think there’s any reason to worry. Wilson is still playing very good football. It’s just that people are almost expecting perfection now and he’s made 2-3 errors this season that he avoided last year.

      I might be looking into his performance and finding some negatives, but it’s only because we know all the brilliant aspects of his game already.

      • Belgaron says:

        Next week would be a great one for the O-line to step up and make the offense successful. Wilson needs more time and less pressure/hits/sacks. The rest of the offense looks good to explode.

        • Rob Staton says:

          True it’s a good test for the offensive line. But Wilson also has to notice when the pressure is coming and either throw it away or make a quicker decision.

          • Belgaron says:

            I think the problem may be that he learned so much in the offseason, he is trying to apply it all in game but failing to adjust to having less seconds in the pocket. If they give him more time, he’ll work out his kinks and start to show his full repertoire and elusiveness again. I do believe they will accomplish this at some point this season, it would be nice if they do so in Houston and take their first three drives to the bank.

          • Phil says:

            Rob – I have to disagree with you on this one. I think one of RW’s strengths is his ability to stretch a play out, to buy time waiting for his receivers to get open. The move he made to spin and then hit Miller in the end zone was pure athleticism. And, his decision to lob a pass to Rice where Rice could use his size and jumping ability to beat two defenders was outstanding. Here’s a guy, RW, who throws 4 TDs in 3 qtrs. and we are criticizing his performance — talking about “is it okay to start worrying about Wilson?”. Get real folks. We are 3-0! Let’s celebrate success!

    • Morgan says:

      I’m not worried at all. Its still early and this is his first year with the entire playbook and a long leash. He’ll get better as the season goes on.

    • Brett says:

      Wow, really? Talk about nitpicking. Outside of the pick, Wilson was outstanding. That now makes two great performances out of three, and despite the poor game last week, he’s fifth in the league in passer rating. I’m all for honestly critiquing a player’s performance, but let’s not get spoiled as Seahawks fans. Wilson won’t be perfect, just like every other QB.

  2. Stuart says:

    Just read the 49ers site on SB, via Field Gulls. The sky is definitely falling for them. Kaep and Harbaugh are getting slammed unmercifully. Many of their fans want Alex Smith back!

    Even though Russell has not performed like we know he can, he still threw four touchdown passes. It’s fine with me if we are not peaking and hitting on all cylinders yet. We have a 2 game lead on Green Bay and San Francisco.

    It’s looking like the NFC will have to go through Seattle. We know that “nobody beats Seattle at home.”

    Go Hawks!

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      I’m sure absolutely none of them actually want Alex Smith back.

      But we should start Tjax. He rill.

  3. Belgaron says:

    After today, it makes you start to wonder if Chicago, Dallas, and New Orleans will push out last years playoff teams.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think that’s a pretty good bet after three weeks. Green Bay vs Chicago will be a nice battle. The Cowboys should win the NFC East fairly comfortably this year (although they’re always liable for a bad run). The Saints appear to be back in contention.

    • Aaron says:

      I agree with you. I was going to make a similar comment. However, I still think Atlanta is likely to be a very formidable opponent for us in the playoffs.

      Even though I agree Chicago and Dallas will be there come playoff time, I don’t ultimately believe in either team. Please, please give me a playoff game in the Clink against Tony Romo or Jay Cutler! Our secondary will eat them alive.

      For me it’s Green Bay and the Falcons who still scare me. I wouldn’t feel too comfortable playing either on the road.

      The Saints would be a very interesting matchup. (Wilson vs. his mentor). I’d like our chances overall.

      I’m rooting for the Broncos in the AFC. I want us to defeat an iconic team (and quarterback) for our first Superbowl Championship. Plus, I was at the pre-season game where we laid a woopin’ on them, so that’d be good for me.

      Oh…am I getting ahead of myself? Ya, lil’ bit.

      • Kenny Sloth says:

        You forgot about the 9ers. They’re still our biggest threat.

        • Aaron says:

          I didn’t forget about them. I chose not to mention them. Don’t be so sure they’re our biggest threat. They’ve got a quick turn around to this upcoming game on Thursday against a division rival that they don’t match up well against. If they lose that game, they may be in serious danger of a total collapse – perhaps even missing the playoffs. By the way, I think it’s fair to say we match up against them pretty well too.

          Every year in the NFL, the prognosticators pick all the teams that did well the previous year, and each and every year there is major turnover and huge surprises and disappointments that upset those prognostications.

          Also, don’t forget about the Superbowl hangover effect. This is not something like the Madden curse. It’s very real, and the numbers back it up. There have been many, many Superbowl losers who went on to miss the playoffs the following season.

          There’s a lot going on in SF, between Aldon Smith’s issues and absence, the black hole that is their receiving corps, Kap being exposed, and perhaps most notably the underwhelming line play on both sides of the ball.

          This division is going back to it’s rightful owners.

  4. Colin says:

    It’s hard to nitpick in this game when they did exactly what they were supposed to do: Dominate a bad team. The offensive line did a nice job as a whole even if they were lacking on some plays. There really isn’t much to be said besides get ready for Houston.

    Not sure what to think about Houston. Talented, but Cinci-esque. Schaub can be had and so can that secondary.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Got to get pressure on Schuab, because there’s a lot of external, non-football related pressure on him right now.

      He’s pressing, he looks nervous. People are asking if he’s ‘the guy’. Houston will be able to run I presume, it’s about limiting the big plays and being a little sharper on offense ourselves.

      • Alex says:

        Don’t know what’s the deal with Schaub. There were moments 2 years ago and last year when he played lights out. Then the second half of the season came along and he became a shell of his former self. He was making the wrong reads and his arm strength disappeared. Everything he threw started to wobble.

        • Colin says:

          I found it odd that they got destroyed at home by GB last year, got destroyed in NE and then went back to NE in January and got throttled. Again. They were also held in check by Minnesota (glug glug) and very nearly got popped by Tennessee in their home opener. I really think Seattle should go in and win that game, as the ceiling on Houston just doesn’t seem to be very high.

          • SunPathPaul says:

            I agree Colin. Houston doesn’t seem to have cohesion. They seem off, and we should, I believe, dominate them this weekend!

  5. James says:

    Re Lotulelei, that is one decision we can be sure PCJS wish they could turn back the clock and stop themselves from releasing Mike Person instead of Lotulelei just before Okung goes down, Brenno is struggling on a balky knee and Carpenter has yet to prove he can play a full season. Not that Person would add anything more than Bowie and Bailey, but depth has become a real issue, and no OTs are available on the free agent market….that’s why Person was snatched up instantly. With our depth down to the 2B’s and Jean-Pierre, knock wood that the OL stays healthy.

  6. Bob Dole says:

    “Big Homeless” aka Michael Bennent looks like he is a force to be reckoned with in the middle and on the edge. This is what we were dreaming of when we signed Jason Jones and then some. He looks like he could get 3 sacks a game. McDonald had an quietly had an excellent game as well. D line and pass rush look like serious strengths so far.

    • Aaron says:

      I’m definitely down with the “Big Homeless” nickname. His brother looks like him quite a bit, but he just doesn’t have that special elusive “homeless” element to him. I think it’s the beard…maybe a bit of a lazy eye too.

      I’m lovin this guy. He’s becoming my favorite player.

  7. Belgaron says:

    I was not a fan of watching garbage time statistics being added to legitimate statistics.

    Looking forward to Houston. They run a ZBS, I wonder if our defense ever gets a chance to face that? =P

    I think the difference could be Wilson and ‘Hawks Receivers vs. Schaub -Johnson? Both teams have great defenses.

    This is two-week opportunity to show up the ‘Niners as they will face the Texans in two weeks when the ‘Hawks face the Colts.

    • Michael says:

      Might be Shaub to Hopkins we have to worry about. Johnson hasn’t finished either of his last two games.

    • Colin says:

      Stats are for losers.

      I think if Seattle can keep Foster and Ben Tate in check we’ll be fine. If not we could really be in for a long day. Schaub doesn’t scare me, but a balance offense and those WR with play action… oh boy.

  8. Michael says:

    That Raiders mascot is a joke right?

  9. Elijah says:

    I didn’t get to watch the second half of this game — How did Bailey and Bowie look? If any one has a little bit deeper insight it would be very much appreciated!

  10. A. Simmons says:

    I’m not sure why none of the bloggers or writers are bringing up what is probably a major reason Russell is playing like he is. That reason Pete Carroll has mentioned several times. Carroll stated he wanted to become the best scrambling offense in the league. What exactly does that mean? Well, it means Russell is expected to scramble, hanging on to the ball and waiting until his receivers get open. That is why Russell is playing like he is right now. I’m not sure Pete’s plan is a good one.

    Scrambling is a nice skill. I don’t think this plan to build an offense around it is too smart. Russell is holding the ball way too long. He should be using scrambling only when he has too, not as some aspect of the offense to be the best at. I hope Pete sees this before it causes more trouble. Russell needs to hit his checkdowns and keep the offense on schedule. You’re not on schedule if you’re scrambling all the time.

    • Chris F says:

      I agree 100%. What made the scrambling aspect of Wilson’s game effective in the first place was it’s spontaneous nature–it’s hard to defend against something that isn’t planned for. Now, because he’s trying to do it every play, defenses are scheming against it and he’s not helping the situation by holding the ball a tick or two longer than he should.

      As for the O-line, they certainly do have issues right now particularly in the run game. I was pleased to see that the penalty situation was better, but can’t tell without watching the game again if they truly were more efficient or if this officiating crew was more lax in the way they called the game.

    • Phil says:

      I don’t see how you can argue against success. RW threw for 4 TDs in 3 quarters and the team is off to a 3-0 start with 2 lopsided victories in a row behind one of the top-rated QBs in the league. And you say that “Russell needs to hit his checkdowns ….”

      • Chris F says:

        I know you’re responding to A. Simmons but since I agree with him, I thought you wouldn’t mind if I responded.

        You are correct, it is difficult to argue against success and make no mistake, I am happier than hell that Russell Wilson is our QB. That said, you can’t deny that his game has changed since last year and, even though the record and statistics say that he is playing well, he’s taking more hits than he should. I also think this is what made T-Jack look so efficient yesterday. He was trusting his reads and taking what the defense was giving him instead of trying for the kill-shot on every play. While Wilson’s yards per attempt is currently an astounding 9 yards, I think the offense as a whole would benefit from de-emphasizing his scrambling ability to produce “GAP” plays and go back to what was successful for them last year. If it’s not broke…

      • Steven says:

        Let’s be honest. It was 4 TDs against the Jaguars. It was a half-step above a preseason game.

    • cade says:

      Disagree

      PC said they inspire to be the best scramble team in the NFL because it is a fundamental part of Wilsons game. Its not a coaching thing. Its about playing to the strengths of the players you have.

      Being on schedule is the no2 thing behind turnovers that I hear out of Wilsons and PC’s mouths. They use scrambling as a tool and inspire to be great by using that tool. They want to make game changing explosive plays. Scrambling allows them to do that.

      One thing I hate is getting sacked at the 37. The coaches need to make playcalls that will get us into fieldgoal range. This must be the most common area of the field we get sacked at. Its so frustrating.

      • Miles says:

        “I think the 30-yard line is where defensive coordinators like to dial up the most blitzes, because it’s really that threshold between scoring and not scoring. If the defense can get a sack it turns a field goal into a punt, which is huge. It wasn’t huge in this game though. (Ha).

        I think having Russell scramble is a good idea. It’s not so much the idea of “scrambling” per se that is beneficial to the offense; in fact it is often times detrimental, like when Wilson runs back 25 yards in the pocket and all of the sudden it’s 3rd and 25. I’m talking about rolling Wilson out away from the line of scrimmage toward the sideline. If the Seahawks are able to do this successfully, they are effectively taking out any pass rush the defense has to offer. So, against Houston, I believe Russell will be rolling out of the pocket a lot because JJ Watt is going to get his pressures. It’s just going to happen. But if the Seahawks take the defensive line out of the play by rolling out, JJ Watt can more often than not be an obsolete factor on their defense. If you are able to remove the effectiveness of a pass rush simply by rolling out your mobile quarterback from the pocket, why wouldn’t you do it? I think Wilson’s escapability is a tremendous asset in that way.

      • A. Simmons says:

        Then we can’t complain about Russell holding the ball too long or getting sacked like he is. If you’re going to focus on becoming a great scrambling offense, then holding onto the ball longer than any other team and taking more sacks and QB hits is going to happen. Nature of a scrambling offense is high risk-high reward when you’re good at it. I hope the fanbase acknowledges this when discussing Russell’s performance. Pete has decided that is how we’re going to play. Russell will be expected to hold onto the ball and scramble to make something happen. It is part of the offense, not a mistake on his part or a bad call by Bevell.

  11. kigenzun says:

    re: Lotu: I believe the upcoming game in Houston will be Lotulelei’s last with the team. After extensive tape review of his major flaws in today’s game PCJS will finally be over their Preseason mancrush with his hairdo, and cut him loose for good. I mean if he can’t hang with the Jags… what can he do? Luckily, its only a matter of time now, because we will for sure be bringing Bruce Irvin back Week 5. After all, I cannot see them hanging on to the extra LB again and cutting somebody else… can you?

    re:OL depth hindsight being 20/20: I was really into Jordan Mills from La Tech before the draft; man O man I wish we had selected him now, instead of Harper &/or Williams. He played really well today for the Bears at Pittsburgh; both in the running game and picking up zoneblitzes. In retrospect, we could have conceivably had a ‘line of the future’ in Mills, Bailey, & Bowie for a 5th, a 7th, and a UDFA.

    • Miles says:

      I remember hearing rumors that the Seahawks had a keen eye on Mills and I was surprised not to see them draft him when teams started to have their eye on him in the mid-rounds. Then again the Seahawks may have been trying to balloon his draft stock so they could nab somebody else. Apparently that plan didn’t materialize. Honestly I’m okay with how our offensive line played. If you average out this week with how they played last week you’re looking at a solid B grade going into a tough challenge @ Houston.

      Stoked.

  12. austin says:

    I do think its ok to critique Wilson and any Seahawks player. But to be worrying about Wilson is crazy. He threw 4 td’s and is 5th in the NFL in QB rating with a bad game factored in. He isn’t perfect and he’s still in his second year. He played a great game. I do think at times he needs to get rid of the ball quicker but its tough because his game is so good when he does hold on to the ball and lets a play develop. He will get better though as the season goes on. Bank on it.

    The defense is going to be scary when Irvin comes back. excited to see what they do with a full stable of players. I also think Bennett might be the best player on defense outside of Sherman so far. He has been a monster and exactly what they’ve been missing.

    • Phil says:

      Austin – some of the negative comments about RW remind me of the old saying, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” Too often we think we can tweek an already good situation to make it perfect and in the process, we make it worse. Let’s wait awhile before we decide that it is time to tweek RW’s QB play. Maybe when we are 6 and 0 the worriers will decide that things really are OK afterall.

      • Colin says:

        It seems to me that there are a number of fans who are confined to thinking a Super Bowl winning QB has to look and play a certain way and that Russell’s style of play doesn’t abide by that thinking. Yes, I’d like him to take less hits, and I’d like him to develop his passing ability from the pocket a bit better, but you cannot argue with the results: A 15-6 record since we named him our opening day starter.

      • austin says:

        I agree Phil-I think the fact he is top #3 in passer rating while not playing his best is a good sign.

  13. Madmark says:

    1st off I like to say I’m so glad we played the Panthers the 1st game of the year. They’re defense we know was tough but it looks like Cam is getting it together on the offense. I believe this team will be a surprise this year and will make the playoffs.
    Last year I was saying that the 49er’s had talent but that they were an older team than us. I thought that eventually our youth movement would eventually take over the division. What I didn’t expect was it would start showing so soon.
    Getting down to the Seahawk game. The bad was the interception at the 2 yard line. That pass should have been thrown away. The good was the last drive we had in the 1st half it was perfection.
    Talking about extension for Bennett, I seriously think Tarvaris Jackson should get an extension and that would set my mind at ease. Our backup defense may have given up 10 points but our backup offense scored 14 points and that has me smiling. We don’t even have to change the playbook.
    Getting the depth of this team some game time under there belts never hurts. In the next 5 games we will play 4 on the road. I think if we can pull off the road wins here the playoffs will be going thru Seattle. My hopes are high and I got my fingers crossed.

    • Miles says:

      I think it’s too early to be talking extensions. But if Bennett keeps playing like this, he’ll yes we should keep him. I’m sure we’ll let T-Jack test the market as he’ll be looking for another opportunity to start somewhere. Only if he doesn’t find that, could we get him back at a reasonable price.

      I mean, I bet Gus would love to have had t-jack this year in retrospect.

  14. Phil says:

    No one is commenting about how good it was to have a chance to get some regular-season playing time for some of our new players. Sure, Lotulelei didn’t shine, but Luke Willson had a nice game and so did Christine Michael. Their experience in this game will prove valuable if they are called on later in the season. And, it was great to see Clemons on the field again.

  15. austin says:

    I am really excited about Wilson. He potentially adds a huge element to our offense. Should help the running game as well if they have to slide coverage on Wilson. I also think we need Michael to get touches every game. Until Harvin comes back he is the one explosive weapon in our offense. He’s the one guy who can take it to the house on any given play. Would love to see him get 5-7 carries every game.

  16. James says:

    In an idle moment, I was wondering who the Seahawks would release next week to make room for Bruce Irvin…. Lotulelei, Mayowa, etc? When Smith was released today, it could be him, if they don’t fill that spot before the Houston game, just go with 52 until next week?

    • Miles says:

      If there’s an open roster spot, I believe the Seahawks should fill it for depth. Even if you are only getting a player for one game, you can never have enough depth on any given Sunday. Pick up a guard on a one-week contract and let him go when Bruce Irvin comes back next week.

      I must admit, I see that Richard Seymour is still out there and I keep thinking it would be nice to sign him to a minimum deal just to see what he can do as an inside rusher these days. It won’t happen, it’s merely a thought.

    • Rob Staton says:

      That’s a strong possibility.

      • Miles says:

        Seems like the Seahawks might just leave that roster spot open this week and then bring Irvin back next week. Now that I think about it there’s really no use for filling that roster spot when the player is likely going to be an inactive this week anyway. Plus the NFL mandates that a player has to stay on the roster for three weeks after being picked up. Therefore filling that roster spot at all is not really worth it nor does it make sense when we got a top pass rusher coming back next week.