It was only one pass in a game where 64 were launched into the mile-high air.
But it was a pass that if caught could have changed the perception of several things that transpired in the Seahawks’ 30-10 victory over the Denver Broncos on Saturday night at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
But instead of a touchdown 46-yard catch, the ball eluded Owens’ grasp and fell incomplete.
With the catch, Flynn would have finished with seven completions in 13 attempts for 77 yards – rather than 31 on 6-of-13 passing. With the catch, Owens would have had one big reception in the five times he was targeted by Flynn. With the catch, the No. 1 offense would have scored its first touchdown of the preseason.
With the catch, coach Pete Carroll could have stepped to the podium after the game and discussed the progress that had been made by that No. 1 offense’s passing game in the team’s second preseason game; and the remarkable next step in Owens’ return to the NFL.
Instead, Carroll was left to say, “It’s the first big ball he had thrown to him in a long time, and unfortunately it got away from him. That would have been a really big event for us to score on that play in the first half; I think it would have made a difference in how that first half would have gone.
“It’s unfortunate. But he’s got to get back in action. It’s his first time out there. He’s been very much on point in practice and he’s worked very hard – and he’s caught a lot of deep balls in practice, too. So I know he can make those plays for us. It’s unfortunate we didn’t get it right off the bat.
“I wish for him, and for everybody, we would have caught that thing.”
As for Flynn, the Broncos turned up the pressure, and the entire offense did not respond as Carroll had hoped – or the unit will need to react once the regular season begins.
“It was hard on him. It was really hard on him,” Carroll said. “We didn’t protect him very well; we held a little bit (three holding penalties). We got some long-yardage situations. He couldn’t even get started, I didn’t feel.
“At this point, it’s really hard to evaluate the quarterback.”
So what’s a coach to do entering this week’s third preseason game against the Chiefs in Kansas City? Go with Flynn, again, to see if the No. 1 offense can take a needed step forward? Or, give rookie
“The second half was so clean for us, in all aspects,” Carroll said. “Russell did some really good things again. He continues to show that he has a great sense for getting out and avoiding getting sacked and he’s made some plays when he’s done that. And he’s thrown the ball well, too.
“So he’s doing really well. We’re ecstatic about it. To have a guy coming off the bench like that and play two halves back-to-back and really play football, it’s great for our team.”
Has Wilson done enough to earn a start in the preseason? “We’ll see,” Carroll said. “We’re going to evaluate all that.”
With that said, here’s a look at three things that worked against the Broncos and three things that need work as the team prepares for Friday night’s game against the Chiefs:
One. The No. 1 defense. Talk about picking up where they left off. Not just from last season, when the Seahawks ranked among the Top 10 in the league in average points and yards allowed; but also from the preseason opener, when they returned the first pass of the game for a touchdown and added another interception in the second quarter.
Against the Broncos, linebacker
In nine preseason series, the No. 1 defense has forced five turnovers and a three-and-out, while allowing one touchdown drive and an end-of-the-half field goal.
“We really pride ourselves on being the best defense out there,” Wright said Saturday night. “We’re going to be good to go this season.”
Two. The running game. It wasn’t just that the Seahawks ran for 228 yards against the Broncos, it was how they did it – by committee.
“We want to run the football,” Carroll said. “And to run for 230 or something, that’s a big deal.”
Three. Wilson. As Carroll said, the kid just continues to make plays. As incumbent starter
Saturday night, he completed 10 of 17 passes for 155 yards in directing touchdown drives of 80, 85 and 68 yards. He teamed with Sutton on a 34-yard score that was more run than pass, and also found rookie tight end
What needs work
One. Penalties. They’re back. The Seahawks were flagged 138 times for 1,047 wrong-way yards last season, and Carroll vowed to correct the situation. Against the Broncos, it was seven penalties for 75 yards, including the three holding penalties and two for unnecessary roughness.
“We were terrible in that regard,” Carroll said of the roughness fouls. “We have to play penalty free. That’s the kind of team this is.”
Two. The pass protection. See Carroll’s comments above.
“It’s unfortunate,” Carroll said. “We looked really bad. We can fix that, though.”