By Danny O’Neil
The Seahawks won this one going away.
It was true when Jermaine Kearse returned a first-quarter kickoff 107 yards for a touchdown. It was true when cornerback Brandon Browner returned a fumble 106 yards in the second quarter.
And it was true in the second half when Tarvaris Jackson completed a 38-yard scoring pass to Stephen Williams as the Seahawks scored 30 consecutive points against the Broncos, winning 40-10 in their second preseason game of the year.
The storyline: The game pitted the league’s top secondary against the gold standard of quarterbacking. Turns out that it wasn’t Seattle defense that overwhelmed Peyton Manning and the Broncos, but Seattle’s ability to score in all manner of ways. Russell Wilson threw for two touchdowns while Seattle also scored on a 107-yard kickoff return and 106-yard fumble return.
The significance: Seattle’s first-team offense showed significant improvement. Golden Tate had a pair of receptions for 42 yards and an impressive punt return. It was the Seahawks’ seventh consecutive preseason victory, the longest streak in franchise history for those who are interested in such things.
Turning point: Seattle’s lead was cut to 10-7 after Wes Welker’s 11-yard touchdown catch with 1:52 left in the first quarter. Kearse returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. The Seahawks scored 30 straight points after that.
Player of the game: Kearse. There shouldn’t have been any doubt he would make the team entering the game, and there’s certainly none now. He caught a 12-yard pass for Seattle’s first touchdown and returned a kickoff 107 yards for the team’s second touchdown. The second-year receiver out of Washington is a lock to make the team.
The good: After failing to cross midfield last week in San Diego, Seattle’s first-unit offense scored on each of its first two possessions. Wilson was 5-for-6 passing in the first quarter for 93 yards and a touchdown. Williams picked up right where he left off, catching a 38-yard touchdown pass from Jackson in the third quarter. Williams finished with two catches for 45 yards, giving him four receptions in two games for 128 yards and two touchdowns.
The bad: The place-kicking was the pits. Steven Hauschka missed an extra-point attempt in the second quarter, and backup Carson Wiggs missed a 43-yard field-goal attempt in the third quarter. Denver backup quarterback Brock Osweiler entered the game at the end of the second quarter and promptly made you wonder how in the world he got drafted ahead of Wilson. Yes, Osweiler is 6 feet 8. Unfortunately, he does not appear particularly adept at playing quarterback. He was sacked four times, committed two turnovers and was 9-for-14 passing for 66 yards.
The ugly: The pace of the game was absolutely brutal in large part because of the 11 penalties called in the first half alone. Seattle kicked off from its own 20 twice because of 15-yard penalties called on the touchdown.
Injuries: Denver DE Derek Wolfe suffered a neck injury in the first quarter and was taken off the field in an ambulance. He had movement in his extremities, and returned to Colorado with the team. Denver OL Louis Vasquez hurt his something-or-other.
Go figure: Kearse returned a kickoff 107 yards for a touchdown. The longest regular-season return in franchise history is 101 yards, set by Leon Washington.
Did not play: RB Christine Michael, DT Tony McDaniel, WR Sidney Rice, WR Bryan Walters, LB Bruce Irvin, DE Cliff Avril, TE Zach Miller.