The final score might not have shown it, but Seahawks coaches did see progress out of their offense from Week 1 to Week 2.
Pass protection took a step forward, and while the running game wasn't on at times, the Seahawks were able to run the ball well at the end of the game to run out the clock. And if not for a few dropped passes, two of them coming in the red zone, the Seahawks likely would have had a lot more than the 12 points they scored in a win over the 49ers. Seattle's third-down efficiency was also significantly improved, allowing the Seahawks to run 31 more offensive plays than San Francisco while enjoying a 36:58 to 23:02 advantage in time of possession.
"We can look at the tape and we can see that we're improving," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. "There's things that we're working on each and every week, and you can see things that we're getting better at. We're targeting really well, there's no question about our effort and how the guys are playing, they're definitely playing hard. But we've got to make our plays when we get opportunities to make plays. There were a couple of plays in the red zone that really changed the game—give us an opportunity for a couple of touchdowns early, then the game's a lot different. Then there was another catch on a big third-down conversion that extends another drive, those are big plays that have to be made…We improved in some areas, we're targeting well, third down, we improved in that area, but we'll continue to peck away each and every week."
In particular, the Seahawks liked what they saw from the offense late in the game, both in the game-winning drive and also in the final possession that saw the offense run nearly five minutes off the clock to end the game.
"It's really exciting the way we finished the game," Bevell said. "To be able to take that clock off, not put the defense back out there again, it was really good for us and something we can really build on. And we've done that a few times in the preseason as well, that has been something we've done pretty well. It's nice to have us out there on the field for a long time, we got a lot of plays in the game, we just didn't make enough hay on some of the opportunities."
None of that is to say the Seahawks think everything is going great with the offense. Those drops need to be eliminated, and the line, while better in Week 2, needs to be more consistent, offensive line coach/assistant head coach Tom Cable said. Cable also noted that the running backs missed a few reads that limited runs, and Russell Wilson missed a couple of throws he usually makes.
"I saw a much better second half, obviously a really good finish to the game," Cable said. "Early, maybe not enough in rhythm with the (running) backs, some misreads. We targeted much better than the week before, and I thought it showed later in the game, then obviously at the end it was pretty good. So some things that were better, targeting from Week 1 to Week 2 100 percent improvement in that regard."
Looking to get more out of the offense, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll noted Monday that the offense could make some changes, saying, "there will be some things that will be a little bit different this week," though he declined to specify whether those potential changes will involve scheme or personnel. One area where personnel change could be a possibility is along the line, where both Carroll and Cable have said the competition remains ongoing at some spots. In particular, Oday Aboushi is battling for playing time at right guard, where he split starting duties with Mark Glowinski in the preseason before Glowinski won the job for the start of the regular season.
Were Aboushi to play this week—and neither Cable nor Carroll has said who will start—Cable said the former Jets and Texans starter could bring, "veteran leadership, consistency having been in there and done this a lot, so that's a thought, definitely."
As an added bonus, both Aboushi and left guard Luke Joeckel have significant experience against Tennessee having played in the AFC South.
"For him and Luke both, there's great familiarity with this group playing them twice a year," Cable said, adding that that familiarity is "good for the room. Talking to them not only about players, but the scheme and all of that I think has been kind of a nice deal for us this week."
That experience could be especially helpful this week against a Titans defense coached by legendary defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, who is famous for the blitz packages he has used throughout his career, most notably in long stints in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. The Seahawks know a LeBeau-led defense will provide a good early-season test for an offense still trying to find its best level of play.
"That's why I'm excited about it," Cable said. "The physical test of this group is going to be really, really good, but also what we're up against in terms of this pressure package, where they come from. That's something we've done well so far in two games. Targeting the pass protection hasn't been an issue, the run game got cleaned up a little bit last week, hopefully we'll continue that."
The best photos from the Seahawks' Wednesday practice at Virginia Mason Athletic Center in preparation for Sunday's Game against the Tennessee Titans.