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Rapid Reaction: Colts 19, Seahawks 17

RapidColts

SEATTLE - The Seahawks dropped their preseason opener to the Indianapolis Colts, but still showed some encouraging things Thursday night at CenturyLink Field. Here are six rapid reactions to the 19-17 loss:

1. The No. 1 offense got off to a promising start.

Russell Wilson and most of the rest of Seattle’s offensive starters played only one series, but it was a very impressive debut for that group. After dominating in last weekend’s “mock game,” Wilson and the offense picked up where they left off, driving 75 yards on 12 plays for a touchdown. The drive, which was capped by a 5-yard touchdown pass to Nick Vannett, was especially encouraging considering the Seahawks offense tended to start slow and finish strong last season.

A couple things that stood out about that drive:

  • Wilson, who completed 4 of 5 passes for 43 yards, mostly operated from a clean pocket, obviously an encouraging sign. The line also opened up a huge hole to spring Chris Carson for a 12-yard gain.
  • Vannett was targeted three times and had a 15-yard catch in addition to the touchdown.

While the overall running numbers weren’t overly impressive, there were a couple of encouraging signs on that opening drive. In addition to Carson’s 12-yard run, he also powered for two yards on fourth-and-1 to keep the drive going, bringing to mind offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s comment about needing to be able to run the ball even when the opponent knows you want to run it. First-round pick Rashaad Penny also showed off some impressive lateral movement on a 6-yard run one play after Carson’s big run.

2. Shaquem Griffin had a productive night.

Shaquem Griffin was one of the biggest stories of the NFL draft because of his inspirational story—being drafted by the team that already employs his twin brother didn’t hurt either. But what has been apparent since he arrived in Seattle—and what should have been pretty obvious to anyone who watched him play at UCF—is that Griffin, who had his left-hand amputated as a young child, isn’t just a feel-good story, he’s a darn good football player. That has been on display in training camp, and was evident again in his first preseason game when the fifth-round pick recorded a team-high nine tackles. Griffin was part of or around just about every tackle while he was on the field, and also recorded a tackle for loss on a running play.

3. Encouraging signs from new pass rushers.

With Frank Clark still limited and Dion Jordan on the physically unable to perform list, pass-rush depth has been a potential area of concern for the Seahawks, but even with those two out for Thursday’s game, the Seahawks were able to pressure Indianapolis’ quarterbacks, recording three sacks, all by players new to the team this year. Third-round pick Rasheem Green got things started with a sack of Andrew Luck, and later recorded a half a sack that he shared with sixth-round pick Jacob Martin. That was Martin’s only stat, but he got pressure a couple other times, including when he hit Jacoby Brissett just after Barkevious Mingo got there to record a sack. Mingo and Jones both showed impressive speed off the edge to get to Brissett.

4. Kicking and punting competition update.

With competition ongoing for the kicker and punter jobs, every kick and punt matters, and for the most part all four candidates acquitted themselves well in this game. Jason Myers made his only kick, a 43-yard field goal, while Sebastien Janikowski made two extra points and boomed two kickoffs deep in the end zone for touchbacks.

Jon Ryan punted three times, averaging 46.3 yards per punt, including a 53-yarder, while rookie Michael Dickson averaged 50 yards on three kicks, including one he boomed 61 yards. Dickson also downed one punt, a 34-yarder, inside the 20.

Notable about Dickson’s punts is that they seemed to be tough to field, as one was muffed and another was bobbled before being secured, and both were near the sideline to make a return even more difficult.

The Seahawks also sent Dickon out for a kickoff late in the game for a drop-kick pooch kick attempt, but the Colts recovered.

5. The Seahawks scored a very preseason-y touchdown.

Trailing by nine points late in the game, the Seahawks got back into the game with a defensive touchdown that was not so much a great play by the defense, but rather a rather comical moment for the Colts offense. After a snap flew high and wide past quarterback Brad Kaaya, he and everyone else gave chase as the ball rolled towards the south end zone. Kaaya dove for the ball, but only succeeded in knocking it farther back. Linemen for both teams then failed to recover, knocking the ball into the end zone, where defensive tackle Joey Ivie finally fell on the ball for a touchdown.

The following paragraph is best enjoyed while listening to Yakety Sax.

6. Injury updates.

Unfortunately, it was a tough night for Seattle’s tackle depth, as both Isaiah Battle and Jamarco Jones left with injuries. Battle came out of the game with a knee injury and did not return, while Jones, a rookie out of Ohio State, had to be carted off after a Colts defensive lineman fell into his lower leg.

Seahawks receiver David Moore came out of the game in the fourth quarter after a hit to the head that drew flags and resulted in the ejection of safety Shamarko Thomas. Seahawks safety T.J. Mutcherson also required attention from team doctors late in the game, but was able to walk off under his own power.

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