Before getting into the notes, a heads-up we’ll be doing a live stream at 3pm PT on Sunday discussing this game
— Boye Mafe has earned rave reviews during camp and has been touted by Pete Carroll as a player who’s taken a big jump in his second year. We saw further glimpses of that in this game. Mafe was incredibly active using a full range of skills to impress. I think the most satisfying play was a violent hand-jolt to contain the edge on a run play. We already know he has the explosive traits and quickness to rush, this was an example of a play that gets you on the field early and often.
— Jake Bobo just continues to be involved and active. He played with the starting offense and made a 28-yard chunk play with a fantastic double-move to destroy his opponent in coverage. He then coaxed a vital ‘unsportsmanlike conduct’ flag out of a Dallas defender on a subsequent drive, following a failed third down conversion. That flag, subtly earned by Bobo, was followed by Jaxon Smith-Njigba’s 48-yard completion and then a one-yard touchdown run. It was a great assist from Bobo who feels like a total lock to make the roster.
— We spent so much time on the blog discussing Bobo and Zach Charbonnet that it was good to see both combine on back-to-back plays to fire the offense. Charbonnet followed Bobo’s 28-yard completion with a dynamic, explosive run. He just looks so sharp, fierce and quick. How can you not be excited by the prospect of these running backs (health permitting, of course)?
— I thought Drew Lock was excellent in this game. He looked more relaxed than last week and on point. He appeared comfortable throwing on the run and looked like a proper player here. He’s needed to be more consistent and clean and there was real evidence of that today. His throw to Smith-Njigba was perfect for a big gain. His throw to Noah Fant with 4:44 left in the first half showed off what an athlete he is. Lock’s off-platform arm strength is genuinely great. This was an impressive display.
— I really like Tyreke Smith and think he should make the roster, even with a loaded EDGE group. He had a nice TFL with 7:48 left in the third quarter and he had the game ending sack with Will Grier scrambling for his life. He looks really agile and capable of skipping by blocks to penetrate. There’s definitely something to work with here. He ended the game leading the team for tackles and had two registered TFL’s.
— Several other players impacted the game positively. SaRodorick Thompson ran for a solid 50 yards on 11 carries including a touchdown. Tyjon Lindsey had 36 receiving yards and a nice 27-yard punt return. John Hall forced a safety with a wonderful shed to block a punt. Levi Bell finds ways to get involved and even got a block on the goal-line for a score when lining up at full-back. Tre Brown had a better game including an interception where he showed good recovery skills. Finally, it might’ve been against third and fourth stringers, but Derick Hall showed excellent power at the POA to strong-arm the tackle, disengage and finish for a sack.
— There were also some negatives. Firstly, the run defense continues to be suspect. At one point Michael Bennett on the broadcast stated: “More missed tackles. Attacking the interior. The Seahawks need a Red Bryant type of player. A big body who doesn’t care about making the play. He just wants to push a guy back. That’s what this defense needs.” Bennett was exasperated by the run defense for the second week in a row. Deuce Vaughan had a scoring run where Jerrick Reed and Coby Bryant whiffed opportunities to bring him down and the interior was pushed back too often, while gap-control was again a concern. The fundamentals of the defense are just off and as Bennett notes — without a bigger player content to just eat space and control, you wonder if this is going to be a serious problem when the real action starts.
— At times it felt like the defense was too easy to play against, another thing we’ve seen for several years. They gave up an 80-yard drive for Dallas’ first score which lasted 17 plays and took 7:48 minutes off the clock. This feels ominous because, whoever plays, this has been a characteristic of this team for too long.
— Charles Cross was dominated by Sam Williams for a sack. I had reservations about Cross in the 2021 draft and partly that was watching Ole Miss vs Mississippi State where Williams had him on toast. It’s not a great look that Cross was overpowered with a punch to the chest by a 261lbs rusher. You’ve got to be stronger there and be able to contain. I said a year ago he had to get stronger and be able to hold position better and this was an example of the same college problem rearing its head.