Hello, all you 12s out there, and welcome back to another season of Seahawks football!
When we last left our heroes, we were all pretty downtrodden. "The play that shall not be mentioned" lingered over the fan base this offseason like a dark cloud that provided no relief from the hottest and driest summer on record in the Northwest, yet added humidity to make it even more unbearable.
The first preseason game against the Denver Broncos provided a much-needed diversion to take us all away from that play, and Mother Nature decided to play a practical joke on Seahawks fans by dumping an inch of rain on the them and their city in the hours leading up to the game.
The Broncos won the game, 22-20, but neither the rain nor the outcome could dampen the spirits of 12s, who were elated to finally put the harsh ending of last season to bed, and to cheer their team on again. It is football time again!
CenturyLink Field underwent a slight modification in the offseason, with the addition of two new sections in the south end zone of the upper deck as well as the new Toyota Fan Deck, which houses a much larger flag pole for the 12 Flag. The new flag and pole are rather impressive. I was wondering if the flag would be able to fly, due to its size. But the strong winds of the day wasted no time in unfurling the prodigious banner.
The game itself was about what one would expect from a preseason game. The Seahawks' infamous "Legion of Boom" fielded no representatives (unless you count the entire defense as the Legion, as some do). Quarterback Russell Wilson played only two series before being lifted for backup Tarvaris Jackson, who suffered an ankle injury in the second quarter. R.J. Archer finished up the game after Jackson went down, going 11-of-20 for 110 yards and a touchdown.
Wilson completed the only pass he was able to get off (to newly-acquired TE Jimmy Graham). He was sacked twice in the two series, fumbling once that led to a Broncos field goal. On the night, the Broncos sacked Seahawks quarterbacks seven times. Thankfully, it's a preseason game, and this is when coaches straighten these kind of things out.
The Broncos' starting QB, Peyton Manning, didn't play a snap at all, leaving backup Brock Osweiler in charge of the offense. Osweiler proved capable enough against the second stringers, completing 15-of-20 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown.
For me, preseason games are all about seeing the team's draft choices get on the field to see what they can do and the top two picks of the Seahawks did not disappoint. Second-round pick Frank Clark was seemingly everywhere on defense, finishing with a team-high nine tackles. Nevermind the quantity, it was the quality of his play that impressed me. He exhibited a nose for the ball in amassing those tackles and forcing a fumble.
Providing the biggest plays of the evening was third-round pick Tyler Lockett. Lockett excelled on special teams, returning a kick 103 yards for a touchdown and exhibiting a knack for returning punts, as well. There is no doubt he will provide the spark on special teams that was lacking last season.
Overall, the game was fairly "Meh," but that is kind of what I expect at preseason games. I find it very difficult for me to get jacked up for a game that really means nothing in the grand scheme of things. But for those who are fighting for a job, these games mean a lot…the culmination of a lifetime of work.
It was good to see 34-year old Army veteran Nate Boyer lead the team out of the tunnel, carrying the U.S. flag. It was most unfortunate to learn he was let go the following week, but he took it in stride. He knew it wasn't likely for him to catch on. But there's no doubt it will be an experience he will never forget. I'm glad the Seahawks could give him that opportunity.
It's good to be back in the stadium. It's good to experience the sights and smells surrounding game day. Hopefully we can collectively get that bad taste out of our mouths that the ending of last season left behind.
I expect the Seahawks to do something this year no other NFC team has ever done; win their third consecutive conference championship (Miami won 3 AFC titles in a row 1971-73 and Buffalo won 4 AFC titles in a row from 1990-93). This team is still stacked and there is no reason for me to expect anything less.
I hope they can pull it off. With all us 12s backing them, you know they will!
The 12s packed their rain gear and came out to CenturyLink Field for the first home preseason game of the 2015 season against the Broncos.