By Brady Henderson
Saturday night’s preseason game against the Broncos was a test of sorts for the Seahawks, a chance to play against an all-world quarterback with a trio of receivers that might be the best in the NFL and a defense that ranked second in the league last season.
The Seahawks played well enough against Peyton Manning and the rest of Denver’s starters to begin emptying their bench earlier than expected en route to a 40-10 win that was even more satisfying for coach Pete Carroll given the caliber of the opponent.
“We take a lot of pride in this game,” Carroll told “Brock and Danny” Monday. “This was a very, very talented football team that wanted to play well.”
The Seahawks’ defense has allowed just 20 points in two preseason games thanks largely to six forced turnovers, including four in Saturday’s win over the Broncos. (AP)
The Seahawks were far from perfect, of course. They committed 12 penalties and gave up plenty of ground to Manning, bending but rarely breaking thanks to one fumble that cornerback Brandon Browner forced and another that he recovered in Denver’s end zone before returning it 106 yards for a touchdown.
Manning had just seven points to show for the 163 yards passing he racked up in a quarter and a half.
“He’s not holding back, he went after us the best he could,” Carroll said of Manning, “and we were able to make some plays to offset that, their execution.”
Seattle’s first-unit offense also got going after failing to cross midfield in its first three possessions of last week’s preseason opener. Quarterback Russell Wilson played the entire first half, completing 8 of 12 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns.
When it was all said and done, Seattle won its seventh consecutive preseason game, which is a franchise record and a streak that Carroll believes is significant.
“It means a lot to us as a team because we’re learning how to win and we’re learning how we win, we’re learning what it feels like and the things we’re trying to show in our play [are] coming out,” he said. “We’re trying to take care of that football, we’re trying to ballhawk the football, we’re trying to really be aggressive with our style of play on special teams, all of those things.”
Injured Seahawks on the mend
Tight end Zach Miller is among several Seahawks who will return to practice this week. He won’t play in Friday night’s preasason game against Green Bay, however, as the team eases him back into action. Miller was activated off the Physically Unable to Perform list last Friday after missing the first three weeks of training camp with a foot injury that began to bother him in June.
Linebacker Bruce Irvin has missed both of Seattle’s preseason games with a groin injury, making it difficult to gauge his progress as he learns a new position. Carroll hopes he’ll return to practice by the middle of this week.
“We’d love to see him play this game,” Carroll said.
Also returning to practice this week are defensive tackle Tony McDaniel (groin), wide receiver Bryan Walters (hamstring) and cornerback Ron Parker (hamstring) – who are all fighting for roster spots.
“They need to get out there to compete, too,” Carroll said.
Carroll said defensive end Cliff Avril could make his preseason debut after missing both games with a hamstring injury that has kept him out of several practices.
Nickel competition still a coin flip
Three weeks of training camp and two preseason games haven’t been enough to determine a clear leader in the competition between Antoine Winfield and Walter Thurmond to be the starting cornerback in nickel situations.
Winfield has entered each of Seattle’s preseason games before Thurmond, and while he finished tied for the league lead in tackles among cornerbacks last season with Minnesota, he hasn’t made one yet this preseason. Carroll chalked that up to a lack of chances.
“That hasn’t showed up as much because there haven’t been as many reps, but he’s a fantastic player and Walter’s a fantastic athlete that can do just about anything,” Carroll said. “So it’s a great spot for us – we’ve got two guys that can go if we’ve got to go against four wides, we’ve got two inside guys that can play for anybody. So it is a very competitive spot. It’s going to go all the way through the fourth game to tell what’s going on there.”
• Broncos DL Derek Wolfe expects to be fine after leaving Saturday’s game in the first quarter with a neck injury that appeared potentially serious.
“Thanks for the prayers everyone, ill be okay and will be back on the field soon …” Wolfe tweeted Sunday.
Wolfe lay on the field following a block from Seahawks FB Michael Robinson and had to be loaded onto an ambulance on a backboard. He was taken to a hospital and evaluated for a possible spinal injury, but X-rays, CT scans and MRIs were all negative.
Wolfe was beginning to stand up after a cut block when Robinson blocked him. Carroll said he saw no issue with what Robinson did.
“I don’t blame them for being disappointed in their guy getting hurt; we hate that that happened. But as far as the play by our guy, there was nothing, that’s just football,” Carroll said. “Unfortunately, he (Wolfe) got banged really good and had to take the hit, but hopefully he’s going to be alright and gets back out there.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.