BRANDON GUSTAFSON

Seahawks Takeaways: Surprising defensive standout, great debut for Waldron in Week 1 win

Sep 12, 2021, 1:44 PM | Updated: Sep 14, 2021, 2:14 am
Seahawks Rasheem Green...
Rasheem Green of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates with Bryan Mone and Jamal Adams after a sack against the Indianapolis Colts. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

One week, one win for the Seahawks in 2021, as they opened the season with a resounding 28-16 win on the road against the Indianapolis Colts, who won 11 games and made the playoffs a year ago.

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After allowing a field goal on the first drive of the game, Seattle’s defense was pretty stout the rest of the way while the offense had its share of explosive plays.

A few players flashed on the defensive side of the ball while the new-look offense had plenty of fun moments. Let’s take a look at a few things that stood out.

Rasheem Green defensive MVP? Yup.

Raise your hand if you had defensive lineman Rasheem Green as the most impactful Seahawks defender coming into this game?

OK, for those of you with your hands up, put them down because you’re liars.

Seattle boasts plenty of star power on that side of the ball including All-Pros Bobby Wagner and Jamal Adams, but it was Green who had far and away the best game on that side of the ball.

Entering his fourth NFL season, it wasn’t clear how much of a role that Green would have. Green missed a lot of time last year due to injury after leading the Seahawks in sacks in 2019 with four, and the defensive line room boasts plenty of depth with Carlos Dunlap, Benson Mayowa, Poona Ford and Kerry Hyder Jr. headlining the group. But Green was one of Seattle’s standout players during the preseason, and he certainly carried that over against Carson Wentz and the Colts.

Green tallied four tackles, a sack, two quarterback hits and even deflected two passes. He was constantly in the face of Wentz and made his presence felt not just against the pass but in the run game, as well.

The Seahawks have always done well against Wentz dating back to his time with the Philadelphia Eagles, and that has largely been because they have been able to apply pressure. Wentz didn’t have a particularly great game once again, and Green certainly played a part in that. Overall, Seattle hit Wentz 10 times and sacked him three times, along with another one on a 2-point conversion attempt.

The Seahawks play the Tennessee Titans at home next week, and that group allowed five sacks to Arizona Cardinals standout edge rusher Chandler Jones alone in Week 1. Green and the rest of the defensive line will have another good opportunity to make an impact next week in the home opener at Lumen Field.

“The Wizard” with a nice debut

One of the big offseason storylines with the Seahawks this year was the addition of offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, who would be making his NFL play-calling debut in Week 1.

So far, so good for the rookie coordinator, who got the offense off to a good start against a Colts defense that was among the league’s best a year ago.

Russell Wilson, who dubbed Waldron a “wizard” this past week, found Tyler Lockett not once but twice in the first half for touchdowns.

Running back Chris Carson, despite a fumble in the second half, had a very nice game as well, tallying 91 yards on 16 carries on the ground and adding 26 yards on three receptions.

The offense was balanced, which head coach Pete Carroll strives for, with 23 passing attempts for 254 yards and 26 rushes for 143 yards. But it was also explosive, with both touchdowns to Lockett showing that Seattle’s deep passing attack is back despite a shift to a more quick and short passing game under Waldron.

One area where Waldron really showed how the Seahawks can be different in 2021 rather than a year ago was his usage of the tight ends. Waldron got both Will Dissly and free-agent signing Gerald Everett involved early in the passing game, and the duo combined for 57 yards on five catches. Everett also scored a touchdown.

Most of that damage came on one drive, where Dissly and Everett each caught two passes and combined for 48 yards. That drive was capped off by Everett’s touchdown.

Dissly was used as a rather traditional tight end in the passing game while Everett was all over the place. Waldron got Everett involved on two screen plays (one of which was called back due to a penalty) and on his touchdown reception, where he was lined up out wide on the right side and beat the Colts over the middle.

Rookie Dee Eskridge showed his speed with 22 yards on two jet sweep rushing attempts, and after star receiver DK Metcalf didn’t get a single target in the first half, he caught four passes for 60 yards and a touchdown.

Waldron is under a lot of pressure in his first season in Seattle after Wilson’s offseason comments regarding pass protection and the offense, and it sure seems like the Shane Waldron era is off to a great start with Wilson tossing four touchdowns and the running game, led by Carson, looking strong all day long against a tough Indianapolis defensive front.

A “rookie” flashes late

He’s not technically a rookie this year, but defensive end/outside linebacker Darrell Taylor didn’t play at all last year due to a shin injury so Week 1 was his NFL debut.

Taylor is Seattle’s starting/go-to strongside linebacker, but the team played a lot of nickel defense with cornerbacks Ugo Amadi and Marquise Blair. As a result, Taylor’s playing time was mostly on the defensive line, where he, like Green, made quite an impact albeit in limited opportunities.

Taylor’s biggest play came on a fourth down play in the second half. He exploded off the edge and planted Wentz for a sack.

And with the game out of reach on the Colts’ final possession, Taylor planted Wentz yet again, marking the 10th time the Indianapolis quarterback was hit by Seattle defenders.

The Seahawks made it a point this offseason to stock up on pass rushers in order to have a quality rotation. If Taylor is making plays like that in a limited role, this could be the best pass rush the Seahawks have had in quite some time, which is definitely going to be needed given Seattle’s uncertainty at cornerback.

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Seahawks Takeaways: Surprising defensive standout, great debut for Waldron in Week 1 win