Clayton: Metcalf, Dissly standing out in Seahawks’ impressive passing game
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll celebrated his 68th birthday with a 28-26 win Sunday over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Birthdays usually produce gifts, but Carroll and the Seahawks received more gifts than anyone expected.
For Carroll the gift was a successful challenge of a non-call of pass interference when Russell Wilson fired a 38-yard pass attempt to Tyler Lockett midway through the fourth quarter that fell incomplete. Lockett was double-teamed and replays showed extra contact and grabbing by the defensive backs. Carroll challenged and won the appeal as pass interference was called on Pittsburgh safety Terrell Edmunds. The Seahawks, who were leading 21-19 at the time, were gifted a fresh set of downs and the ball was moved from Seattle’s 27-yard line to the Steelers’ 35 after the 38-yard penalty.
Three plays later, Wilson hit DK Metcalf with a 28-yard touchdown to give the Seahawks an eight-point cushion with 7:45 left in the game.
Let’s check with what everyone learned Sunday.
• The Seahawks are receiving a break because of injuries to opposing quarterbacks. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger left Sunday’s game at halftime with an elbow injury. It turned out his season is done. Then later in the day, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees suffered a sprain right thumb that is going to sideline him for at least six weeks – beginning with next Sunday’s game in Seattle.
This two-week section of the Seahawks schedule was going to be tough facing two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks in Roethlisberger and Brees. But the Seahawks’ defense will only end up playing one half against both quarterbacks – a half in which Roethlisberger’s Steelers scored 10 points and had only 75 yards rushing.
• Fans and critics have been wanting offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to throw on first down as opposed to just running the ball, especially after the Seahawks struggled last week running against the Cincinnati Bengals’ 5-2 defensive scheme. The preference for many would be to run on first down with Chris Carson and Rashard Penny.
The Steelers are among the busiest blitzing teams in the NFL, and that strategy worked early against the Seahawks. Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Keith Butler blitzed to the weak side of the Seahawks’ offensive line and Russell Wilson was sacked four times in the first 22 minutes.
Wilson doubled the number passes to run on first down and the blitzes left the Steelers’ defense vulnerable to short, quick passes. Wilson worked it perfectly. He targeted Tyler Lockett 12 times, connecting with him for 10 completions and 79 yards. As it turned out, the Seahawks threw the ball 35 times and had 33 rushes. They still had their balance.
• Will Dissly continues to look great at tight end. He caught five passes for 50 yards and scored two touchdowns. He also had a 43-yard catch called back by a penalty. Dissly beat out Nick Vannett for the starting role and is looking like a good one.
• DK Metcalf is looking like one of the steals in the draft. The rookie wide receiver had 89 yards in Seattle’s first game and followed up against Pittsburgh with three catches for 61 yards and the game-clinching touchdown. He’s been amazing. He makes incredible catches and he’s physical after the catch. On one play, he drove Steelers safety Sean Davis back four yards. Davis injured his shoulder and eventually couldn’t finish the game.
• The Seahawks are still making too many penalties and that has to be cleaned up. Against the Steelers, they were flagged 10 times for 93 yards. It cost them big plays on offense and put them in tough positions on defense.
• The Seahawks are continuing to use their three-linebacker set twice as often versus three-receiver sets. Linebacker Mychal Kendricks had 39 plays. Jamar Taylor was the most active nickel cornerback and played well. He was on the field for 19 plays, while Akeem King had two and Amadi Ugo had one.
• Keeping Mike Iupati out of the opener worked well. He played 70 of 72 plays Sunday and the right side of the offensive line looked strong.
- Tune in to 710 ESPN Seattle on Saturday mornings for The John Clayton Show.