The Seattle Seahawks knew this was going to be a rough season. The fans knew it, the media knew it, the players and coaches probably knew it. Quarterback Russell Wilson’s departure for Denver was written on the wall a long time ago. They had also lost key defensive members in linebacker Bobby Wagner, cornerback D.J. Reed and defensive ends Benson Mayowa and Carlos Dunlap. To top it all off, running back Chris Carson, who spent the last year dealing with a neck injury, decided it was his time to retire. Ken Norton Jr. departed from his role as the defensive coordinator, replaced by Clint Hurtt.
The new quarterback battle was between longtime Seahawks backup Geno Smith and Drew Lock, a middling quarterback who came over from Denver in the Wilson trade. Carson’s retirement left the backfield a timeshare between the oft-injured Rashaad Penny, Deejay Dallas, Travis Homer and the rookie Kenneth Walker Jr.
The obvious solution was to lose and lose a lot. It’s not something Seahawks fans or head coach Pete Carroll are used to, but it is necessary. With two extra draft picks next year from the Wilson trade, the best case scenario would be both the Seahawks and Broncos struggling this year, giving Seattle multiple high draft picks to use on a new quarterback and other valuable players.
The season started with the Denver Broncos coming to town, marking Wilson’s first game against his former team. Smith took up the role of starting quarterback for his first Week 1 start since he was the Jets quarterback in 2014. He put up an admirable performance, going 17/18 in the first half for 164 yards and two scores, both to different tight ends. The Seahawks led 17-13 at halftime, and would eventually translate that into a 17-16 win after the Broncos made a very questionable decision to kick a 64-yard field goal instead of going for it on fourth down. It was remarkable. It was gratifying. For all intents and purposes, this was Seattle’s Super Bowl. They took Wilson down a peg and looked like a surprisingly competent team, at least on the offensive side of the ball.
It wasn’t all sunshine for Seattle though, as safety Jamal Adams went down with a torn quad early in the game, resulting in a surgery that would sideline him for the year.
Interestingly enough, Week 2 would also feature a disastrous injury, though for the other team. Young quarterback Trey Lance went down early in the 49ers-Seahawks matchup with what turned out to be a broken ankle that would sideline him for the season. Still, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo came in and gave the Seahawks a beatdown to remember.
The offense accomplished nothing and the defense gave up 27 points to the 49ers, with the lone Seahawks score coming from a blocked field goal that cornerback Michael Jackson ran back for a touchdown. Smith was still accurate, going 24/30 with 197 yards and just one interception. Receiver Tyler Lockett managed 107 yards on nine receptions as well. But the run game was nonexistent and the offense as a whole failed to get into any semblance of a rhythm.
Seattle’s offense hadn’t scored the ball in six full quarters. At one point, the Seahawks fielded all four running backs in wildcat formation, only for one of them to throw an interception in the end zone. As a team, Seattle managed 36 rushing yards.
In two weeks, we saw both ends of the range of outcomes for the Seahawks. The losses could look disastrous. The wins might not be particularly impressive. That’s just how the pendulum swings. The Seahawks were blessed with a decade of consistent contention for the Super Bowl, snagging one trophy in two appearances. It’s rebuilding time, but this Seattle team has just enough talent to make them worth watching as they hopefully build their way back up.
Next up is the Atlanta Falcons, who have looked like surprisingly decent competition but are still very beatable.