Seahawks vs. Broncos: Winners, Losers and Closing Thoughts
Strange week in Seattle sports given the fact that the Mariners actually managed to capture the city's attention briefly mid-week as Felix Hernandez threw a perfect game.
Before long, though, attention shifted back to the Seahawks and their drama surrounding the quarterback situation between free agent Matt Flynn, rookie Russell Wilson and incumbent Tarvaris Jackson with questions like...
Who should start this weekend?
Is Russell Wilson for real?
Week two of preseason action saw the 'Hawks travel to the Mile High City to face off against Peyton Manning and the Broncos with the hopes of providing some answers, but instead we may have ended up more questions.
Once again, most of what we saw is hard to judge accurately, but I figured it might be worthwhile to piece together a short list of winners and losers, along with a few closing thoughts from Saturday night's 30-10 victory for the 'Hawks.
Winner: Russell Wilson
Once again Russell Wilson looked like somebody with a future in this league.
Once again you can argue that it wasn't against the Broncos' first unit.
At the end of the day, though, Wilson went 10-of-17 passing for 155 yards with two touchdowns, not bad given how he managed to spread the ball around to a variety of targets. Oh, and he also ran for 33 yards on five carries.
Should he get the start next week at Kansas City?
I still think that goes to Matt Flynn, but kudos to Wilson for holding up his end of the quarterback competition this weekend.
He just looks like a guy with nothing to lose each time he steps on the field, and he actually helps make watching preseason football fun after the first half.
Loser: Matt Flynn
Oh, what might have been?
Matt Flynn in his second start looked every bit as tight as Russell Wilson looked loose.
No, Flynn didn't do anything to embarrass himself, yet his longest completion on the night was for only 11 yards, and the offense seemed to lack any consistent rhythm with him under center as he went 6-of-13 for 31 yards.
Of course, it might have been a different story if Terrell Owens had managed to haul in a 46-yard strike for a touchdown on a beautiful pass, but alas...
Loser: Terrell Owens
Speaking of TO, I suppose a picture is worth a thousand words.
After all of the hoopla from the last two weeks, Owens finally got his chance for live action after missing the preseason opener last weekend, but in spite of being targeted five times by Matt Flynn, he failed to make a single catch.
His drop of what looked like a sure touchdown from Flynn early in the second quarter that would have given the 'Hawks the lead instead left everyone, especially Flynn, wondering whether or not TO still has it.
While it would be tempting to write him off, I actually think we need to give him a little more time to see if he can shake off the rust before kicking him to the curb, given he did manage to put himself in position for the touchdown catch in the first place.
Winner: Peyton Manning
Speaking of rust, did anyone else have this strange sense of wondering what could go wrong when Bruce Irvin hit Peyton Manning right before halftime?
As soon as he beat Broncos right tackle Orlando Franklin, for a split second I feared that Irvin would start his career by taking out a legend in a preseason game.
Fortunately for all parties involved, Manning bounced right back up and continued as if he was the rookie.
Sure, he didn't have a great night given he threw two interceptions, but he led two scoring drives going 16-of-23 for 177 yards and, perhaps most importantly, managed to take a hit.
Still weird seeing him in Denver, but I wish him all the best.
Loser: Tarvaris Jackson
As for someone else taking a hit, for the second straight week T-Jack is here with nothing to show for his efforts, but the rumor mill is heating up and dragging him along for the ride.
I honestly feel bad for the guy being stuck in a no-win situation, as it's become clear that both Flynn and Wilson are seen as the future while T-Jack is held hostage.
For his sake, I hope the 'Hawks get him a new home sooner than later (perhaps this week?) rather than let him twist in the wind.
Winners: John Schneider and Pete Carroll
Meanwhile, isn't it fiendishly wicked/clever of general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll to hold T-Jack for ransom?
As the world turns, at some point the time T-Jack's trade value should grow given the potential need for a backup quarterback around the league, yet in the meantime the 'Hawks can hold on to him in case they actually need him.
To take a guy who is good but not great in a situation where he is an unlikely candidate to win out and potentially flip him for something in return is impressive.
I, like quite a few other fans in Seattle, am curious to see how this plays out in the coming days and weeks, but for the moment, score one for the front office in managing to recycle a potential spare part with no further value for the team.
Winners: The Running Game
Nice night for Tyrell Sutton with 82 all-purpose yards and a touchdown, but to be honest, he wasn't alone as the team managed to gain 228 yards on the ground averaging 5.2 yards per carry on the night.
Just about everybody on the depth chart from Marshawn Lynch to Kregg Lumpkin carried the load as the 'Hawks had little to no trouble all night grinding with Denver running the football.
For a position that looked like a one-man show for the majority of last season, it's somewhat comforting that at least for one night that the 'Hawks might have some depth if needed.
Winner: The Defense
Once again, this unit looked good by shutting down the run, keeping Peyton Manning in check and creating turnovers with their bend, but don't break approach.
Safety Jeron Johnson was the MVP of this group with a strip of Broncos running back Lance Ball to force a fumble in the first quarter and an interception of Manning in the second quarter to go with his four solo tackles.
I'm curious to see how this group does next week as a change of pace perhaps in Kansas City, against their running game with Peyton Hillis and Jamaal Charles.
For the second straight week, the Seahawks won with solid defense and by pulling away in the second half with the help of Russell Wilson.
This week, expect the quarterback competition to reach a fever pitch with half of Seattle begging for Russell Wilson to start in Kansas City, while the other half of the city urges caution in favor of Matt Flynn.
Meanwhile, the one thing that everyone will probably agree to is that for better or worse, T-Jack must go.
Beyond that, everything else is going to be background noise...
Yes, there is a very interesting battle brewing at wide receiver with the Terrell Owens vs Braylon Edwards debate potentially getting some attention, but what about the countless other receivers waiting in the wings?
Oh, and the defense...they look pretty good.
Were they perfect in Denver?
Of course not, but they, more than anyone else on offense (well, perhaps Marshawn Lynch), will keep the Seahawks afloat early this season.
So long as everyone stays healthy, the linebacking unit starts to round out and pass rush makes a bit more headway, they should be one of the league's best kept secrets.
Until then, it's all about Pete and his trio of quarterbacks...