The Seahawks lost their second straight preseason game, falling this time to the Denver Broncos.
The Seahawks once again rested most of their starters while Denver's played early in the game, a contributing factor in the 30-3 final score, but regardless of who was on the field, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll noted that this preseason has featured, "Two weeks in a row of playing football where the lessons are hard, and they're obvious."
The hard lessons included the team seeing what happens when the offense turns the ball over three times in the first half, as well as how a lopsided penalty differential can change games.
"We have to take away the things we can grow from and we can learn from on the plus side of it," Carroll said. "It's obvious, you turn the ball over three times in the first half, it's really, really hard to win a football game. Then we go nine penalties to none—they played a lot better than we did in that regard too."
And while the final score was ugly, there is plenty to evaluate in terms of how players performed when it comes to making roster decisions.
"A lot of film to watch and a lot of evaluations to make, that's really what this time is about," Carroll said. "We'd like to be having fun winning football games and all of that, but that's not where the matchup's happening right now."
Being the optimist that he is, Carroll was still able to find positives in a lopsided loss, most notably the play of DeeJay Dallas, who had two good kick returns and partially blocked punt; Rasheem Green who had another sack, three tackles and a forced fumble; and veteran fullback Nick Bellore, who has been playing his old position of linebacker of late, and who had five tackles, one for a 4-yard-loss.
"We'll find the positives, you know I'm going to find the positives," Carroll said. "I thought DeeJay Dallas played a terrific game tonight. Rasheem Green again, he got a sack and did some good things in his plays. He's really taking advantage of this preseason to make a statement. And Nick Bellore had five tackles tonight on defense, it was amazing. I don't know how he did that. He said he was knocking off the rust.
Later talking about Bellore, Carroll said, "Really, he is an amazing football player and a big factor on this team. He's a captain on special teams as well. We're not using him on special teams because we're saving him for potentially playing offense and defense in the game—he was ready to play both ways. He's an amazing kid and player, and there aren't many guys who can do that, it's rare."
Perhaps most noteworthy after the game was Carroll confirming that next week's game will look different in terms of who is on the field. So far, the vast majority of Seattle's starters have been held out of the two preseason games, but the Seahawks are shifting this week from training camp to regular-season mode in terms of their daily schedule, and they'll also get more starters on the field for their third and final preseason game.
"We have to take all the positive things and keep growing, and this week is a little different for us, we'll change the format of it and get out of camp and make it a regular week for us in terms of the cadence of the week, get our guys a chance to get tuned in to what that means so that when game week comes a couple weeks from now, we'll be ready to crank it up again," Carroll said.
In past preseasons when there were four games, most teams, the Seahawks included, would play starters sparingly in the first two games, then have them play more in the third game before giving many of them the final weekend off.
With a three-game preseason and a weekend off before the opener, the plan this year is to let starters get some work next week knowing they'll then have two weeks to recover before the regular-season opener.
"This format for us was different than we've ever done before," Carroll said. "We've done something different, and it hasn't been a lot of fun in games with the way we're playing. Week 3 is a big deal for us, and we'll go back to a lot of the other guys who haven't played in the first two game to prepare them for Game 1 of the regular season—that's been the plan all along."
Carroll added that he's a fan of the three-game format that gives teams more time between the end of the preseason and the start of the regular season.
"I really like the two weeks, we're trying to take full advantage of that," he said. "I think that's a great deal for the league and I think everybody's going to really appreciate that. I think it's a really good idea. That's been enticing the whole time, knowing you've got all that time to get guys back, this is the game they can play in and get more airtime."
The Seattle Seahawks take on the Denver Broncos in their second preseason game of the 2021 season at Lumen Field.This album will be updated throughout the game. Game action photos are presented by Washington's Lottery.