Rapid Reaction To The Seahawks' Preseason Opener

Quick news, notes, and observations from the Seahawks preseason opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.

KANSAS CITY—The Seahawks won their preseason opener Saturday, a come-from-behind 17-16 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. That result won't mean much in the big picture for either team, but there was still plenty to learn from Saturday's game, beyond the fact that having a 6-foot-6 receiver like Tanner McEvoy is pretty nice when you need a 37-yard touchdown on the final play of the game to set up a game-winning two-point conversion.

Here are a few immediate reactions from the Seahawks' performance:

1. Christine Michael looks ready to build off of a strong finish to 2015.

After bouncing from Seattle to Dallas to Washington, then back to Seattle, all in the span of a few months last season, Christine Michael might have saved his career with a strong finish to the season with the Seahawks. With two solid weeks of practice in training camp, and now with his first game in the preseason, Michael seems determined to prove that his finish to last season was no fluke.

Coaches have raved about how Michael returned to the team more focused and humbled after being released by both Washington and Dallas last season, and he has continued to show that in camp this year. To add to an impressive preseason, Michael rushed for 44 yards on seven carries Saturday, all in the first quarter, showing not just the explosiveness and speed that made him a second-round pick in 2013, but also plenty of toughness while running between the tackles.

2. Have a day, Tyvis Powell.

Following Friday's practice, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll noted that special teams is "where guys can jump out" when trying to make the roster, mentioning receiver Jermaine Kearse and defensive back DeShawn Shead as past examples. And while it's far too early to hand him a roster spot just yet, Tyvis Powell, an undrafted rookie out of Ohio State, did a lot to help his chances Saturday. Powell had a fourth-quarter interception while playing safety, but more significantly, he stood out on special teams, making plays on three different special teams units. First, Powell had a big block to help spring Tyler Lockett for a 17-yard punt return, then later he made a tackle on kick coverage to pin the Chiefs at their own 11-yard line. Later, Powell showed good speed and hustle on punt coverage, appearing to down a punt just short of the goal line, but upon review he stepped into the end zone and the call was changed to a touchback.

"He did a nice job, got a nice pick," Carroll said. "Unfortunately he stumbled with the pick, he had a chance to score with that ball—he's got great speed and he might have been able to get out. He had that play and he had a couple plays on special teams as well. I'm anxious to see how he did on all his snaps—he played a lot, he played corner too… He's a little bit like DeShawn Shead back in the day when we stared with him."

Shead, in fact, has been talking to Powell about the importance of being versatile both on defense and special team.

"I talk to a lot of the young guys, but specifically Ty—to be able to be versatile gives you amazing value, because it's about the more you can do in this league," said Shead, who first made the team for his special teams play, then started at both safety and corner last season. "If you can play corner and safety and special teams—which is number one for him—you create that value and it's a big deal. I was really proud of him today. He did a really good job and I can't wait to see him play again."

3. The starting O-line appeared to hold up.

If coaches tell you that they need to see the tape to evaluate line play, then I'm definitely not going to pretend to be able to make a thorough evaluation of the play of the line right after the game. But at first glance, the starting line of, from left to right, Bradley Sowell, Mark Glowinski, Justin Britt, Germain Ifedi and Garry Gilliam seemed to hold up pretty well. That unit stayed in for three series even after Russell Wilson and the starting receivers were out of the game, and in addition to helping open up running room for Michael, they kept Wilson and Boykin upright.

Look through the best photos from the Seahawks preseason game at Kansas City on Saturday, August 13.

4. The backup quarterback battle wasn't settled in one game despite Boykin's strong finish.

Not that anyone was expecting Trevone Boykin or Jake Heaps to win the backup job in one preseason game, but based off of this small sample size, it would seem both players will battle it out all preseason. Both quarterbacks made some nice throws, and neither made any disastrous decisions—no small feat for a young quarterback—yet neither was able to put up huge numbers until Boykin came through with a big final drive. Boykin, who came in after Wilson played just one series, then returned in the fourth quarter, completed 16 of 26 passes with one touchdown and no interceptions, and also gained 21 yards on three rush attempts. Heaps, meanwhile, was 3 for 10 for 33 yards, numbers that would have been better if not for a few drops by his pass-catchers. Boykin had the better stats, but Heaps showed a lot more than his numbers would indicate, making a few impressive timing throws that were dropped.

5. Cassius Marsh looked good.

Cassius Marsh has been competing for the starting job at strongside linebacker in camp, but he mostly played defensive end and was one of Seattle's best pass rushers Saturday, recording two quarterback hits to go along with two tackles on defense and one on special teams. Marsh was a big factor on special teams last season and it appears he will be again this year.

6. The Seahawks are taking a serious look at George Farmer at running back.

Injuries caused the Seahawks to move George Farmer from cornerback to running back, but based off what we saw Saturday, coaches want to get a real look at Farmer at his new position. A former receiver at USC who spent part of last season on Seattle's practice squad, Farmer was the third back in the rotation behind Michael and Alex Collins. Farmer's stats weren't gaudy—seven carries for 15 yards—but he did get all seven of those carries before the next two backs, Troymaine Pope and Cameron Marshall, touched the ball.

7. Steven Hauschka is dialed in.

While the offense wasn't able to produce a touchdown until the final play of the game, kicker Steven Hauschka was on his game, making three field goal attempts, all from long range, connecting from 52, 49 and 50 yards out.

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