With 67,000+ in attendance, the Seahawks mounted an impressive air attack for the home crowd when most were expecting to see a run first Greg Knapp offense. In their first drive, six of eight plays were passes, with four of those snaps coming from shotgun formation, including the 34-yard strike to Deon Butler over blanketed coverage.
The rookie Butler impressed while running with the first team, and looks to be that burner on the edge the Seahawks have been waiting for. It looks like he can push Josh Wilson for kick return duties. The blocking scheme deserves an extended look by the coaching staff though, as two of four kickoffs started inside the 20-yard line when blockers missed assignments.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh still looks like the Pro Bowl player he was in his impressive career with the Cincinnati Bengals. His size and ability to fight for the ball were a necessary addition to the Seahawks receiving corps. On the two-yard fade route to the left corner of the end zone at the end of the second quarter, Hasselbeck sent Houshmandzadeh in motion to his left and snapped while in motion as he darted for the corner. The Broncos knew the play was coming and had decent man coverage on him, but Houshmandzadeh, as he has demonstrated in his eight-year career, has the edge in that situation.
The running game struggled when the first team was on the field. T.J. Duckett and Justin Forsett carried the load for the first team offense and managed a meager 2.8 and 2.6 yards-per-carry average against what was arguably the most porous rush defense in the league last year. With Julius Jones striving to be a feature back, he has every opportunity to secure that position when he returns to the lineup if he can fight for the extra yards.
The defense looked fairly good out there, but the pass defense had some issues. They appeared to play a lot more conservatively in this game as opposed to the blitz-happy packages we saw in last week's game against the San Diego Chargers. The biggest hole in the defense appeared in defending the check down and screen passes. This happened frequently last year in the regular season, and last night's game didn't reassure in any way. The same situations arose, third down pass rush situations where the rush is a little late and the screen is open with three blockers running free with the play going for at least ten yards.
Two players stood out to me defensively, one being D.D. Lewis. It's reassuring to know there is a capable reserve outside linebacker should Hill or Curry miss any substantial time. The second, and most pleasant surprise, is the continued impressive gameday heroics of rookie seventh-round draft choice defensive end Nick Reed. How do you follow up a one sack, one interception game? Reed posted 1.5 sacks, four total tackles and got a hand on a punt that netted 15 yards to give the Seahawks the ball at the Denver 29 that set up a Seneca Wallace touchdown toss to Joe Newton.
All things considered, the Seahawks put together a fairly impressive outing on both sides of the ball including two long scoring drives in the first half by the first-string offense. The defense appears to be built for a violent pass rush, so when put into simpler cover 2 schemes and rushing just the front four, they can be vulnerable to the pass.