O’Neil: Should the Seahawks really have run the ball more in Week 1?

Rashaad Penny and the Seahawks averaged just 2.2 yards per carry in the second half. (AP)

The Seahawks couldn’t run the ball last season.

They chose not to on Sunday, a fact that left many feeling misled by an offseason of not just talking about running the ball, but choosing a running back in the first round with the express purpose of doing so.

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The question of whether the Seahawks should have run the ball more leads our list of three things we’re still trying to figure out:

1. Should Seattle have run the ball more?

Yes. Given the fact that Seattle’s only first down on its first three possessions was a technicality as it came on Will Dissly’s first-quarter touchdown catch, the Seahawks would have been better served by calling plays other than the ones they actually called. And it’s certainly hard to reconcile Seattle’s offseason emphasis on improving the run game by drafting a running back and hiring a new offensive line coach and offensive coordinator with the fact that Seattle had just 16 rushes in the game, only six in the first half.

But …

The Seahawks’ longest run in the game came on a play in which Chris Carson literally jumped over the defense and their second-longest run was a 10-yard gain on third-and-16 in which Seattle called a draw to play for field position rather than go for the first down. Throw in the fact that Seattle averaged all of 2.2 yards per carry in the second half, and that’s hardly a convincing argument that the Seahawks inexplicably went away from an element of the offense that seemed to be working. Suffice it to say that the effectiveness of Seattle’s running game and its importance remain huge questions entering Week 2.

2. Do the Seahawks need a new starter at right cornerback?

Tre Flowers played better than anyone had a right to even hope for. Here wasn’t just a rookie starting his first NFL game. He wasn’t just a rookie fifth-round draft pick starting his first NFL game. He was a rookie fifth-round pick starting his first NFL game at a position he did not play – like ever – in college.

This certainly was not Seattle’s plan, but Byron Maxwell never got healthy in the preseason and then Dontae Johnson got hurt five days before the season began, and boom, Flowers is your starter.

And he played pretty well. He kept everything in front of him with one exception. He was tough and competitive and gave you every reason to think that he’s going to be a future starter, maybe even a star at cornerback. But is he ready to remain the starter going forward with veterans like Deshawn Shead and Maxwell available? It will be interesting to see what Seattle does.

3. How in the hell has Denver opened eight straight seasons at home?

Did I miss some sort of explanation here? Not only that, but this is the fifth time in those eight years the Broncos have played the first two games of their season at home.

Now I know that it all evens out in the end, and perhaps strategically you would rather have home games stacked toward the end of your schedule as Seattle does this season rather than early in the season. Then again, Denver’s success at home early in seasons is jarring. To summarize, more than a decade’s worth of results shows that Denver’s home-field advantage is accentuated in September, and the Broncos’ home games have also been stacked into that month of the schedule.

This is the third straight year in which Denver will begin the season with back-to-back home games. The Seahawks have not started a season with back-to-back home games since 1997.

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