BRANDON GUSTAFSON

Good, Bad and Ugly: Seahawks turn in poor performance vs Bears

Aug 18, 2022, 9:42 PM
Seahawks...
Cade Johnson fumbles on a punt return against the Chicago Bears. Thee ball was recovered by the Bears for a touchdown. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
(AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

The Seahawks fell to the Chicago Bears 27-11 in their second preseason game of 2022, and unlike their first game when there was plenty of good things to discuss despite losing, this game was pretty rough to watch in every phase of the game for Seattle.

Fast Facts: Seahawks lose to Bears 27-11 in preseason; Lewis injured

“We’ll learn from this … One thing I have to evaluate is where are the errors coming from and how meaningful is it?” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said after the game. “It was not a great game for us at all.”

With that being said, let’s dive into what went right, what went wrong, and what went even worse than wrong Thursday night.

Good: RB depth appears to be in good shape

As you might imagine, there wasn’t a whole lot of good that happened for the Seahawks in this game. And the lack of quarterback Drew Lock playing really put a damper on things from a competition standpoint.

Carroll laments lost chance for Lock, Seahawks due to COVID

One thing that did bode well for Seattle was the play of running backs Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas, a pair of former Miami Hurricanes who both had some big moments against Chicago.

For Homer, a 2019 sixth-round pick, he had the biggest run of the game for the Seahawks with a 33-yard burst that saw him seemingly make something out of nothing after being swarmed at the line of scrimmage. He finished with 48 total yards on six touches.

For Dallas, a 2020 fourth-round pick, he paced the Seahawks in receptions and receiving yards, and he caught a pass that went for 29 yards thanks in part to a what looked like busted coverage by the Bears. He rushed just five times for 15 yards but caught four of five targets for 52 yards.

Heck, even Darwin Thompson, a former undrafted free agent who is fighting for a roster spot, ran five times for 22 yards and the Seahawks’ lone touchdown.

While the performances of the two Miami products may not seem too important at first glance, them continuing to show they’re capable backs is a big plus considering what the Seahawks have at the top of their depth chart at running back.

Rashaad Penny will enter 2022 as Seattle’s lead back after a red-hot finish to 2021, which led to him re-signing on a one-year deal. The talented former first-round pick has played in just 37 of a possible 65 games since being selected in the 2018 NFL Draft, though. Injuries have plagued Penny’s career to date, and it seems very unlikely that the Seahawks can count on him to play a full 17-game season. His career-high in games played was 14 as a rookie, and he missed seven games last season.

Right behind Penny on the depth chart is Ken Walker III, the Seahawks’ second-round rookie from Michigan State. While Seattle and its fanbase are excited about the prospect of the high-round pick, Walker’s Week 1 status is up in the air as he underwent surgery for a hernia this week after rushing five times for 19 yards in the Seahawks’ preseason opener.

Homer and Dallas stood out a pretty good deal for their play, but that they were two of the Hawks’ standout players in this contest unfortunately says more about how the rest of the roster looked versus how good they did.

That being said, given Penny’s injury history and the unknown of both Walker’s injury and how good he can be as a pro, it does appear likely we’ll see Homer and Dallas get meaningful touches this season, especially because the Seahawks figure to run the ball a lot in 2022. That they showed they can handle their business and look better than many of the backups they played with and against is certainly notable.

Honorable mentions go to rookie cornerback Coby Bryant, who made two nice plays on the ball at nickel, which is a spot he had never played in a game prior to Thursday, and punter Michael Dickson, who again looked very good at his job. Unfortunately for Seattle, Dickson punted 10 times for 474 yards as the offense didn’t do much all game.

Bad: Geno can’t clamp down QB1

Let’s get into that offense, shall we? More specifically, quarterback.

Geno Smith may very well be the Seahawks’ Week 1 starter at quarterback, but he didn’t wrap it up like he had a chance to do on Thursday against a Bears team that wasn’t very good last year and doesn’t figure to be all that good this year.

With Lock out with COVID, Smith got his second start in a row and entered Thursday in great shape to effectively end the quarterback battle with one more preseason game to go.

Smith played the entire first half and completed 10 of his 18 passes for 112 yards and was sacked twice and posted a passer rating of 74.3.

While that stat line is not at all impressive, it is worth noting that Smith didn’t get much help from his teammates on offense, and him not putting the exclamation point on the quarterback competition isn’t all on him.

“He did OK. We needed to come through, we needed to help him a little bit,” Carroll said of Smith. ” … He’s running the show well. He’s doing OK.”

Yes, Homer and Dallas had their moments, but Smith had a couple of his passes dropped (more on that later), and his offensive line had five penalties when he was in (also more on that later).

“It happened a little bit to Geno again where there were a couple of balls that could have been caught that we needed to catch,” Carroll said.

That’s not to try and make Smith’s night seem drastically better than it was, but he had a few plays negated and was playing behind the chains for much of the evening due to the play of his teammates.

But Smith’s performance, even had those things gone his way, wasn’t much to write home about. He missed a fairly deep pass over the middle that would have gone for a big gain, threw behind Penny Hart (though Hart likely could have caught it) and tripped over himself for an easy Chicago sack.

If Lock’s able to get healthy and play next week in the preseason finale in Dallas, he very well could still beat out Smith and start Week 1.

Smith has been the leader in the clubhouse this offseason, but it looks like Lock has a better shot to beat him out than many expected once it was announced that he would miss this week’s game.

Ugly: How much time do you have?

Where to start?

The Seahawks made an awful lot of mistakes in every phase of the game against the Bears.

On offense, first-round left tackle Charles Cross was tagged for five – yes, five – penalties, with four false starts and one hold.

“Each one of them was a different situation,” Carroll said of Cross. ” … It’s just experience. This won’t be something that bothers him forever.”

Seattle receivers dropped a number of passes and did not do much to impress, especially in the first half when Smith played. That was notable with the Seahawks lacking a clear No. 3 receiver as Marquise Goodwin and second-year wideout Dee Eskridge are both hurt. Dareke Young, Bo Melton (who had a ridiculous 11 targets but caught only four for 18 yards), Cade Johnson and others failed to really separate. Penny Hart did make one long catch for 41 yards as well as a nice special teams tackle, but he was later called for a hold on a Seattle punt return.

“We have to catch the ball better in general,” Carroll said. “The guys that are trying to make this club have got to catch the football for us and make our plays.”

And as mentioned earlier, Dickson had to punt 10 times!

Defensively, there were still a good amount of missed tackles.

“I’m going to check on the tacklers, the guys who are missing the tackles,” Carroll said. “I think that’s the most important thing for me right now … We’ve got to clean some stuff up (with some guys), and if they can’t get it right then they won’t be able to be here and we’ll get guys who can.”

Someone who stood out in a bad way on that side of the ball was fourth-year defensive back Marquise Blair, who missed a few tackles on his own and was also called for unnecessary roughness with a helmet-to-helmet hit on the sideline.

Special teams was also messy, with kicker Jason Myers missing a 47-yard field goal, the coverage squads allowing big returns in both the kick and punt games, and returner Johnson fumbling at the goal line for a Bears touchdown.

Seattle did recover a late onside kick, however.

Carroll said he can’t remember the leverage of the kick and punt units ever looking as poor as they have this preseason.

All in all, it was very much a game to forget for the Seahawks, but with so many roster spots and higher positions on the depth chart up for grabs, this can’t be glossed over.

ESPN’s Orlovsky: Seahawks ‘closer’ than it seems thanks to rookie class

Brandon Gustafson

Seahawks Geno Smith...
Brandon Gustafson

Let Geno Cook? Seahawks’ opened-up offense shining with Smith at helm

After two conservative games to open the season, the Seahawks and Geno Smith have drastically improved offensively, especially in Week 4.
4 days ago
Mariners Cal Raleigh...
Brandon Gustafson

Cal Raleigh’s walkoff highlights how important he’s become to Mariners

Cal Raleigh went from an early-season demotion to a valuable member of the Mariners, which was cemented by his walkoff blast on Friday.
5 days ago
Mariners...
Brandon Gustafson

‘It was the craziest thing ever’: Mariners end playoff drought and party is on

The Mariners ended their 21-year playoff drought in epic fashion Friday night and the party that kicked off was one for the ages.
6 days ago
Mariners Playoffs...
Brandon Gustafson

The numbers that define the Mariners’ 2022 season with playoffs in reach

Brandon Gustafson provides some numbers that show how the Mariners are on the brink of ending their long playoff drought in 2022.
6 days ago
Seahawks defense...
Brandon Gustafson

Seahawks’ offense gets plays it needs, but new D not cutting it

The Seahawks got back on track offensively against Atlanta, but the defense continues to struggle, and this year, it's in a new way.
11 days ago
Seahawks...
Brandon Gustafson

What we do and don’t know about Seahawks through 2 games

Through the first two weeks of the season, there are some things with the Seahawks that we know, while many things remain to be answered.
18 days ago
Good, Bad and Ugly: Seahawks turn in poor performance vs Bears