The Seattle Seahawks are not only above .500 for the first time since Opening Day, they lead the NFC West thanks to their 37-23 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers, coupled with the loss of the San Francisco 49ers against the Kansas City Chiefs. . Few could have seen this coming when the pre-season predictions were made!
And the Denver Broncos lost, so it’s like the Seahawks keep winning twice with the draft pick upgrades. I don’t know about you, but I like this blatant tanking more.
Let’s come to Winners and Losers!
Kenneth Walker III
You will NOT turn this post into a 100 deep commentary subthread on the positional value of the draft of taking running backs in the second round. We can give him a rest on days like today. You WILL be thrilled that Walker already looks like an elite running back. Walker had 168 yards on 23 carries and a few touchdowns, including the stab in the 4th quarter for 74 yards. He’s quick, he’s powerful (just ask Kenneth Murray, who was his personal rucksack on a 12-yard play), his vision and sneakiness work so well together, and those are the hallmarks of a carry. ball ready to be one of the best in the NFL.
Walker was magnificent once again.
Four catches for 67 yards and a pair of touchdowns for the backflip king of the victory formation. Goodwin stepped up on a day when DK Metcalf was lost to injury and Tyler Lockett wasn’t playing at 100%. It’s great for both him personally and Geno Smith to find chemistry with a wide receiver outside of the top two on the depth chart.
His four catches (for 45 yards) earned first downs. It is the ideal safety blanket for any quarterback.
It’s another week where I think Smith got away with a few bad pitches that could have been singled out, but overall he was a net positive. Both touchdowns against Goodwin were fantastic and Seattle improved a lot on 3rd Down. There are few times that I can remember this season when Smith looked totally frazzled, and that he always put in hard workouts with DK Metcalf and Lockett playing on a bad hamstring is yet another tick in his favor. Other than a comeback win – I’d rather not be left behind – what more do you want from Geno that he hasn’t already shown?
For my money, he was the defensive MVP. Neal intercepted Justin Herbert and defended four passes, while playing tight coverage and making several open-field and cleanup tackles. If Jamal Adams’ fall to Josh Jones was gigantic, Jones’ improvement to Neal is a major climb up the mountain.
All of Taylor’s sacks have been forced fumbles. Unlike the previous two sacks, this one was a sack, fumble, and fumble recovery for Taylor. He had to take his balls for early season struggles, but it’s great to see him getting sacks in back-to-back games and starting to look a bit like he was last year.
Defensive Line, with special thanks to Shelby Harris
The run defense held up again, but the Chargers barely have a rushing offense, so let’s focus on their impact in the passing game. Justin Herbert had four passes from the line of scrimmage – two by Shelby Harris, one by Poona Ford and one by Myles Adams that turned into an -8 yard completion for Herbert. Quinton Jefferson and Al Woods each had a sack, and Harris and Adams both had a QB hit. Harris was my star on the D line and he looks like one of the best parts of the Russell Wilson trade.
Back-to-back weeks where Brooks played well. He had a forced fumble early on Austin Ekeler, a QB hit on Herbert, and his tackles were more of the “minimal gain” variety as opposed to cleaning duty well on the field.
Seven kicks attempted (three field goals, four PATs), seven converts. Myers has made some money this year and it’s a relief after his tough 2021 made him someone I had considered a potential cap victim before the start of this season.
I don’t remember giving Dickerson a winners shout, but that offensive line is one of the biggest bright spots this season. Two rookie tackles, a revolving door at right guard with Gabe Jackson, Phil Haynes and Jake Curhan all getting snaps, and yet they have a powerful rushing offense and a pass blocking unit that only allowed three sacks on 1st and 2nd down all season. The Seahawks offensive line coach was one of the unsung heroes of the 2022 season.
The fact that it’s a top-10 offense with Geno at QB will automatically make Waldron a head coach candidate.
I understand the Chargers offense isn’t dynamic, but it’s been two straight weeks of quality defensive play front to back. LAC was limited to just 5/15 on 3rd down and only managed one long touchdown before garbage time. It looks like Hurtt has figured something out, but we’ll see if that holds up over the next three weeks before the goodbye.
Pete Carroll and John Schneider
I’ve been very critical of these two for years, and I’m lumping Schneider together, regardless of Carroll’s control. There’s a lot of articles and tweets I’ve written where I’ve been extremely skeptical about how they’ve handled player personnel in particular and whether they can be given the task of building another competitor. I still believe that the criticisms of some of their past draft picks, trades and free agent decisions were valid and no doubt had an impact on the poor results of recent seasons. But they hit a scary home run with this 2022 draft class and they boosted my confidence in them. I was wrong. Fake fake fake fake fake.
This team badly needs a draft class that yields several top potential players regardless of where they’ve been taken. Charles Cross, Abe Lucas, Kenneth Walker III, Coby Bryant and Tariq Woolen don’t just play, they play damn well. This is the type of franchise change class that increases the overall talent level of the roster. They’re not just the future of the Seahawks, they’re the present. Carroll and Schneider made the big gamble of trading Russell Wilson, and so far it’s paying off to the point where they’re regaining the reputation they established early on in Seattle.
After a productive day against the Arizona Cardinals, Eskridge responded with an ugly drop/fumble (which is charged to Geno Smith) on a throwing play against him, and he committed offensive pass interference that wiped out a 21-yard catch-and-run. by Marquise Goodwin on a screen. He also finished the day without a catch and with just a four-yard run on a throw sweep. I’ll credit him for the massive block he had on Walker’s second TD, but considering Eskridge could be tasked with a bigger role depending on how bad DK Metcalf’s injuries are, I’m not thrilled. by these possibilities.
Just one catch for seven yards on three targets, one of which was a perfect throw from Smith that Fant couldn’t hang on to. He also picked up a waiting penalty that wiped out Kenneth Walker’s first down. I’m sure he makes good plays blocking, but as a real offensive threat I’m disappointed.
Pete Carroll’s Challenge Flag
He’s 0 for 3 on those challenges and I’m pretty sure none of them have come close. Hopefully these remain confined to the 1st half when time outs are less valuable.
Land Clark and his team of officiants
It wasn’t a well officiated game, so it makes sense that Clark would be a longtime Pac-12 official. Geno’s interception should have been a defensive pass interference call, Uchenna Nwosu escaped with a face mask penalty on Justin Herbert, Austin Blythe was called for a made up false start on what should have been a offside penalty, and Will Dissly looked like he got a little snappy on Walker’s second touchdown. I’m also sure that Geno Smith was roughed up by Jerry Tillery and they didn’t call him either. They were bad both ways, that’s what I’m saying.
- I just hope DK Metcalf is okay. There have been tons of injuries on both teams (Nick Bellore and Phil Haynes were concussed on the Seahawks side), but Metcalf is the bigger name and losing him would be a big hit for this group of receivers.
- BRUUUUUUUUUUUUUCE was on a run stop and I think he got QB pressure. It’s good to see Irvin back on the court.
- Tariq Woolen eventually gave up a touchdown, but he otherwise played well and still had a pass defended. He would have had another PBU (plus Coby Bryant would have had an interception) had it not been for Uchenna Nwosu’s offside penalty.
- DeeJay Dallas had some tough runs that included the 8-yard run to seal the game on 3rd down in the final two minutes. The Chargers had already waved the white flag, but that ensured there would be no nervous finish.
- Michael Jackson had two assists he could have chosen! He played his best game of the season in my opinion.
- Tyler Lockett had 7 catches for just 45 yards, but he still made a few timely catches that kept the chains moving.
- Austin Blythe, Damien Lewis and Jake Curhan all had bad reps. Blythe was wrecked on safety, Lewis was pushed into Geno’s lap on a sack and Curhan was badly beaten for a sack. Apart from that, not too much to complain about when OL stop Khalil Mack.
- Quandre Diggs shaking Gerald Everett in the back to prevent a potential 3rd conversion (or 4th attempt if Everett was short of the winning line) was the first glimpse of vintage Diggs I’ve seen all year.
- First place! FIRST PLACE! If they can beat the New York Giants 6-1 (!!!) next week, confidence in this team will only increase. Their ceiling is much higher than most had imagined for this season.
#Winners #losers #Seahawks #Chargers