Clayton: Seahawks look like Super Bowl contenders after Week 1
The Seahawks looked like Super Bowl contenders with the way they beat the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
Their defense looked great. The offense had great tempo and efficiency. Special teams looked good.
Let’s break down some of the observations from the 28-16 victory.
• Seahawks coach Pete Carroll gave the biggest praise after the win to offensive coordinator Shane Waldron. Carroll is amazed how well the offense has come together. Russell Wilson looked great rolling out and moving the offense. He was able to make his long passes and only ended up with five incompletions.
• Last year, Wilson held the ball for 2.97 seconds on average, one of the worst in the league. According to Next Gen Stats, he got rid of the ball in 2.71 seconds Sunday, a significant improvement, and it should get better. Waldron brought the Sean McVay-Kyle Shanahan offense to Seattle that allows quarterbacks to get rid of the ball faster.
• The Seahawks did use more formations with two tight ends, and they looked impressive. Gerald Everett showed why he was one of the most important additions to the team, and Will Dissly played well. The Seahawks used two tight ends on more than 30 plays. Using two tight ends makes it tough for defenses to figure out if the offense is running or passing the ball.
• The offense showed the balance Carroll has been looking for. They ran the ball 27 times and dropped back to pass 26 times. Last year the Seahawks were a 60 percent pass to 40 percent run team and ended up with more interceptions than in the past. Carroll preaches that you win games if you win the turnover battle, and you lose games when the lose the turnover battle.
• Running back Chris Carson looked great in this season opener. He’s physical but the outside zone runs and screen passes are very effective. He had 91 rushing yards on 16 carries and caught three passes for 26 yards.
• I was surprised that the Seahawks made Alex Colins inactive and went with Rashaad Penny as the No. 2 running back. I thought Collins looked like he should be the backup the way he ran in the preseason and in the offseason program. Penny continues to battle injuries as he left the game after just a few carries and is going to be out a few weeks with a calf injury.
• Wide receiver Tyler Lockett was amazing. His Willie Mays-style touchdown catch was one of highlights of the first week of the regular season. He ended up with four catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns.
• A lot of credit has to go to the offensive line. Duane Brown looked great at left tackle even though he was a hold-in until the final week of training camp. Kyle Fuller did a nice job at center. Ethan Pocic got a chance to play but he ended up getting hurt and may be out for a week or two.
• It was interesting to see the chess match on defense between the Seahawks and Colts. The Colts decided to run the ball with Jonathan Taylor early when the Seahawks used three cornerbacks. Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. made a great adjustment to stop the run by using three defensive tackles. Taylor ended up rushing for only 56 yards on 17 carries.
• The defensive line dominated a talented Colts offensive line. Sure, it helped that the Colts didn’t have their top two left tackles. Seattle sacked Carson Wentz three times and made 10 quarterback hits.
• The linebacker corps looked fast and effective. Jordyn Brooks continues to evolve and Cody Barton did a great job. It was also good to see Bobby Wagner make an occasional blitz.