Seahawks fans returned to Lumen Field for the first time since the end of the 2019 season, and, well, they weren't treated to the best performance by their team.
Resting almost all of their starters for the second week in a row, the Seahawks fell 30-3 to the Denver Broncos, their second straight preseason loss with one preseason game still to go.
Here are seven rapid reactions to Saturday night's loss:
1. The Seahawks are protecting their starters so far this preseason.
For the second week in a row, the Seahawks elected to rest the majority of their starters, a decision that differs from how Seattle did things in years past under Pete Carroll. The Seahawks had a few more veterans and starters on the field than they did a week ago, including defensive linemen Kerry Hyder Jr. and Al Wood, but they again went without All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner, Pro Bowl safeties Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs, an on the defensive line, Carlos Dunlap II, Poona Ford and Benson Mayowa.
On offense, the Seahawks sat quarterback Russell Wilson, receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, running back Chris Carson, tight ends Gerald Everett and Will Dissly, and depending on what happens in the center competition between Ethan Pocic and Kyle Fuller, either their entire starting offensive line or four of five starters.
Denver, meanwhile, had most if not all of their starters in early as they built an early lead, so while the Seahawks certainly expect to play better regardless of who is on the field, it's tough to read too much into this result when you have situations such as Pro-Bowl defensive end Bradley Chubb rushing against Stone Forsythe, a rookie starting at left tackle with both Duane Brown and Jamarco Jones out; or Pro-Bowl safety Justin Simmons intercepting Alex McGough, Seattle's No. 3 quarterback who started with Russell Wilson and Geno Smith held out.
2. Turnovers, fourth-down and penalties made the difference.
A big issue last week was the Seahawks' inability to get off the field on third down. This week Seattle's defense improved there—Denver finished 5 for 14 on third down—but it didn't result in stops, because the Broncos went 3 for 3 on fourth down early in the game on a pair of touchdown drives to open the game.
Offensively, the Seahawks moved the ball better than they did a week earlier, but didn't have much to show for it in no small part due to three turnovers, a pair of McGough interceptions and a sack fumble when they were going for it on fourth-and-short.
Again, the Seahawks were far from full strength, but those are things Seahawks coach Pete Carroll would no doubt like to see cleaned up regardless of who is on the field, especially the turnovers.
The Seahawks also hurt themselves with a lot of penalties—nine for 57 yards to be exact—including penalties that effectively killed each of their first two offensive possessions.
3. DeeJay Dallas has been a bright spot in the preseason.
Last week in Las Vegas, DeeJay Dallas provided the offensive highlight of the game for Seattle, taking a short Alex McGough pass on fourth down and turning it into a 43-yard touchdown. This time around, Dallas showed his playmaking ability on special teams. Dallas not only did his best to show he deserves the kick returner role with returns of 45 and 31 yards, he also got his hand on a punt for a partial block.
Dallas, who also had three catches for 27 yards, was a key contributor on a special teams last year, and he's showing he should again have a big role this year in that phase while also being a candidate to be the third-down back on offense.
4. Nick Bellore can still play a little linebacker.
Bellore joined the Seahawks in 2019 as a fullback and special teams standout, but the former undrafted rookie began his career as a linebacker, playing that position for his first seven seasons before making the switch, and as a result the Seahawks have been known to occasionally use him on offense and defense when they need depth at linebacker.
Injuries have caused Seattle to use Bellore at linebacker for much of training camp, and he got a lot of playing time there on Saturday night, even finishing with five tackles, the second most on the team. In the fourth quarter, Bellore shot into the backfield to blow up a running play for a 4-yard loss, then on the very next play he looked anything but out of position as he helped get his teammates lined up for the next play.
5. Jordyn Brooks is going to have a ton of tackles this year.
After being a part-time player last year—he usually came off the field when the Seahawks were in nickel defense—Jordyn Brooks is expected to be an every-down linebacker in his second season, and if Brooks is indeed on the field next to Bobby Wagner every play, the 2020 first-round pick is going to fill up the stat sheet.
One of the few starters to play in the game for Seattle, Brooks had a team-high seven tackles, all in the first half, including five tackles in the first quarter alone.
6. Michael Dickson can still kick a football very far.
While there were plenty of things not to like in Seattle's first two preseason games, fans can rest easy knowing that punter Michael Dickson is in regular season form. Dickson has punts over 60 yards in both of Seattle's preseason games, including a 61-yarder on Saturday that had good hangtime, allowing Darece Roberson Jr. to get down field for a tackle after just a 6-yard return. Dickson's other punt on Saturday was downed inside the 20.
7. Preseason injuries are the worst.
In addition to losing the game, the Seahawks saw two players, Ben Burr-Kirven and John Ursua, carted off the field with knee injuries. Burr-Kirven, who led the team in tackles a week earlier while starting at middle linebacker in place of Bobby Wagner, hurt his knee on the game's opening kickoff, while Ursua was injured in the second quarter running a route. Both players were quickly ruled out of the game not long after leaving the field.
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.