Seahawks Quick Hits: K.J. Wright is awesome, pass rush struggles again
It wasn’t pretty by any means, but the Seahawks are 4-0 to start the 2020 regular season after a 31-23 win in Miami over the Dolphins. Now, the Seahawks will look to go 5-0 with a Week 5 win Vikings before entering their bye week.
But first, let’s take a look at some of the biggest takeaways from Sunday’s win over the Dolphins.
K.J. Wright shines for Seattle’s defense
The Seahawks surrendered a season-low 23 points, as well as a season-low 415 yards, and they had the “bend don’t break” defense on full display against the Dolphins, forcing five field goals, recording two interceptions and allowing just one touchdown, which came very late in the contest.
A big reason for Seattle’s defense coming up with its best performance of the year statistically is the play of veteran linebacker K.J. Wright.
Wright finished the game with eight tackles and three pass breakups. All three of those pass breakups could have easily been interceptions, which may have made the game even more uneven than it really was.
But Wright was also laying out some huge hits, especially when it came to the Dolphins running screen passes with their running backs, such as this play here.
K.J. Wright and blowing up screens. Name a better duo.
— Brandon Gustafson (@TheBGustafson) October 4, 2020
Wright has always been the unsung hero of the Seahawks’ defense due to him playing with the Legion of Boom and alongside perennial All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner, but games like this one are a good reminder at how good Wright is and has been during his 10-year NFL career.
Ryan Neal appreciation post
I’ll keep this one short, but how cool is it that Ryan Neal made a big impact early on in this game?
With All-Pro safety Jamal Adams and his backup, Lano Hill, out with injuries, Neal was thrust into a starting role.
Neal was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster earlier this week, days after he recorded the game-sealing interception in Week 3. How would he follow that up in his first NFL start?
Well, for starters, Neal recorded another interception, this time coming on the fourth play of Miami’s first drive.
RYAN NEAL PICK ‼️ What a way to begin his first NFL start!
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) October 4, 2020
He also delivered some big hits and finished the game with six tackles, two pass breakups and the interception. Not bad.
Worst outing by the pass rush?
Yes, I know this has been talked to death, but let’s be real: This was the worst pass rush the Seahawks have had this year, and that’s saying something.
Seattle recorded two sacks in Week 1, one in Week 2 and two in Week 3 before taking down Ryan Fitzpatrick just once in Week 4. Yes, the Seahawks had just one sack in Week 2, but they were very close to getting Cam Newton, one of the biggest and most elusive quarterbacks in the NFL, down for four or five total sacks.
Fitzpatrick can still move at 37 years old,but he’s no Newton, and the Seahawks’ one sack came from backup defensive tackles Bryan Mone and Anthony Rush. In total, Seattle had six quarterback hits while Fitzpatrick had 45 passing attempts. That number of QB hits (six) was down from 11 in Week 3, slightly up from five in Week 2, and down from eight in Week 1. Worth noting, the Patriots’ offensive line is much better than the Dolphins’ line is.
The Seahawks were without Adams, who is leading the team with two sacks, but so far, the front four isn’t able to get any pressure without bringing extra rushers. With seven sacks through four games, the Seahawks are on pace for just 28 this season, which is as many as they had in 2019.
Do the Seahawks have the NFL’s best WR room?
A week after his huge three-touchdown game against the Cowboys, Tyler Lockett didn’t check in with a catch until the fourth quarter in Miami. That was OK, though, due to the play of both DK Metcalf and David Moore, who looks like he’s emerging as the team’s No. 3 receiver with Phillip Dorsett on injured reserve and Josh Gordon waiting to be reinstated from suspension (and those two are both expected back at some point).
Currently, the Seahawks are using mainly four wide receivers: Lockett, Metcalf, Moore and rookie Freddie Swain. Lockett has four touchdowns, Metcalf has over 90 yards in all four games, Moore has 173 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including this nice toe-drag score in Miami, and Swain has at least one catch in each game and has a touchdown.
When the Seahawks get Dorsett back from injury and Gordon is – ideally – reinstated, that gives the Seahawks six big weapons for quarterback Russell Wilson in addition to the deep tight end group and the running backs, led by Chris Carson.
It’s not unrealistic to think the Seahawks could soon have the best wide receiver room in the NFL. Heck, based on Moore’s play Sunday as well as in Week 2, you may be able to make the case that they’re No. 1 right now, up there with Dallas and Tampa Bay.
Bye week can’t come fast enough
The Seahawks are banged up, man.
Four defensive backs, including two starters, missed Week 4 with injuries, multiple offensive linemen are missing practice time with injuries, Carson was questionable to play in Week 4 and also left at one point as he was tested for a concussion, and his backup, Carlos Hyde, missed the game with a shoulder injury.
Oh, and defensive end/linebacker Bruce Irvin and nickel corner Marquise Blair are out for the year and it’s unclear when Seattle will get running back Rashaad Penny, rookie defensive end Darrell Taylor or rookie tight end Colby Parkinson back from injuries, either.
Irvin and Blair aren’t coming back this year, but there are a lot of starters and quality players that are missing time or are playing through injuries for the Seahawks right now.
Luckily the Seahawks have just one game left before their Week 6 bye. That can’t come soon enough, especially after last year, when the Seahawks were decimated with injuries, particularly towards the end of the season.