Moore: Seahawks had flaws in Week 1, but nothing worth worrying about yet
If you’re concerned about the Seahawks after their 21-20 win over the Bengals, that’s understandable. They didn’t play well. Two players called it an ugly win. Their defense allowed Andy Dalton to pass for a career-high 418 yards. And if Dalton can go off like that, what kind of a record-setting afternoon will Drew Brees have in two weeks when the Saints come to town?
But it was the first game. I’m also guessing they had no way of knowing what to game plan for against a first-year coach in Zac Taylor. And think about this: If they had lost, they’d be playing catch-up with the rest of the NFC West already. The Rams and 49ers won on the road, and the Cardinals rallied for an improbable tie against the Lions.
A week ago, you would have thought that if the Seahawks lost to the Bengals they’d be staring at an 0-2 start like last year since they’re playing in Pittsburgh this week. But then you watched the Patriots dominate the Steelers 33-3 Sunday night and are now thinking that Pittsburgh might not be so formidable after all.
But I get it, they were supposed to post a solid victory over the Bengals, a team with a makeshift offensive line and a defense that was last in the NFL last year.
I just don’t know if the Seahawks’ flaws on Sunday are worth worrying about right now. If the secondary continues to play as it did in the first game, then yes, there are reasons to wonder if they will even finish with a winning record. If the offense plays like it did in the next 15 games, kiss the postseason goodbye.
Just look at last year as an example. The Seahawks lost at Denver and Chicago, abandoning the running game while Russell Wilson was sacked 12 times. They finished 10-6 and made the playoffs.
A pattern can’t be established in one game. If that were the case, I’d want Tedric Thompson replaced at free safety. I’d have renewed doubts about right tackle Germain Ifedi. I’d be concerned about the receiving corps outside of Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, who surprised me with his sparkling debut.
The sputtering running game was more likely an aberration than the start of a trend. The defense? It was average last year and will probably improve once Jadeveon Clowney gets more familiar with the system and Ziggy Ansah plays in his first game, perhaps this week at Pittsburgh. It should take another step in the right direction when first-round draft choice L.J. Collier returns from his high-ankle injury, and we pretty much know that Jarran Reed will upgrade the defense when he comes back from his six-game suspension.
As vulnerable as the secondary is now, it will get better too with a more consistent pass rush, and it’s not like the pass rush was subpar Sunday. The Seahawks registered five sacks, two by Quinton Jefferson in an encouraging development. Jefferson had three sacks in 2018 and turned into a force against the Bengals, strengthening the Seahawks’ defensive-line rotation.
The Seahawks also have capable potential replacements for Thompson if his struggles continue. Rookie Marquise Blair is one, and Bradley McDougald could shift from strong safety to free safety, providing another option perhaps with Blair or Lano Hill taking over at strong safety.
I guess if I have a point it’s this – I didn’t see anything on Sunday that makes me feel any differently about my preseason prediction of an 11-5 record and NFC West title for the Seahawks in 2019.