INDIANAPOLIS — It’s hard to have expected much more out of the Seahawks in an opener that was as solid of an effort as any in the Pete Carroll era, especially considering playing on the road against a team that won 11 games last season and has similar aspirations this season.
Russell Wilson and the passing game thrived in the new-look offense, and the defense looked as good as it did at any time in the second half of last season.
It added up a 28-16 win over the Colts in which Seattle never led by fewer than 11 points in the second half.
Onto the grades:
It’s likewise hard to expect much more out of Russell Wilson than we got Sunday.
In his first game working with new coordinator Shane Waldron, Wilson threw fewer passes than at any time last season.
But he’s rarely thrown it better, completing 18 of 23 passes for 254 yards and four touchdowns.
He’s also rarely orchestrated the offense better, making several obvious checks at the line that resulted in big plays. He showed he can still run when he has to — his 11-yard scramble on third-and-nine on Seattle’s first scoring drive was an underrated play in the game.
For all but one play, Chris Carson looked like everyone hoped and expected he would in an offense that seems well suited for his skills.
And that one play — a fumble in the third quarter — seemed more the result of a really nice play by Indy standout linebacker Darius Leonard than anything else.
Carson finished with 91 yards on 16 carries and had three catches for 26, stats the team would take all year.
And this was not the way Rashaad Penny wanted to start a critical season for his career as he left late in the first half with a calf injury and did not return. Alex Collins was inactive, so that left the rest of the tailback duties not filled by Carson to DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer, who each saw some snaps in the second half.
For a while, you wondered if this offense was forgetting its receivers.
But when the game was over, Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf had pretty typical-looking games combining for eight receptions for 160 yards and three TDs — Lockett leading the way with four for 100 and two first-half TDs and Metcalf with four for 60, all in the second half.
Second-round pick Dee Eskridge also showed some encouraging signs with two runs for 22 yards — a wrinkle of the Waldron offense in which he could really thrive — and one catch for 6 yards before suffering a concussion.
You wanted more tight ends in the offense, you got it.
Tight ends Gerald Everett and Will Dissly combined for five receptions for 57 yards with Everett getting a 9-yard TD in the first half.
Tyler Mabry also got some snaps and seemed to hold up well blocking.
A solid day all around considering going against a decent defensive front.
Wilson was sacked three times, but one was more the result of coverage as Wilson scrambled on a roll out and kept the ball when he couldn’t find anyone open.
And the running game was efficient with 140 yards on 27 carries.
The Seahawks rotated some at center with Ethan Pocic and Kyle Fuller.
Seattle had to punt after each of Pocic’s first two series, the second of which ended on a sack by DeForest Buckner, who beat Pocic on the play.
The defensive line might have been the underrated star of the game.
The Seahawks had three sacks and 10 quarterback hits and seemed to bring blitzes less as the game wore on, content that the line could get the pressure needed.
Rasheem Green, continuing his strong preseason, broke through for Seattle’s first sack of the season and had a hit on Carson Wentz on Indy’s final drive of the second quarter. He also batted down a pass in the fourth quarter after the Colts reached Seattle’s 26.
Benson Mayowa also had a sack and two QB hits.
And Carlos Dunlap broke through for a sack of Wentz on a two-point attempt when Indy scored with 2:08 to play.
The interior linemen also get high marks for the job Seattle did on Indy’s vaunted rushing attack, especially Bryan Mone, who finished with five tackles.
The Colts got 26 yards rushing on seven carries by running backs on their first drive, then had just 64 on 19 the rest of the game.
There was some shaky play on the first drive as the Colts moved 67 yards for a field goal and then 68 yards for a TD on their third. But Seattle tightened things up after that, with Bobby Wagner finishing with a typical-looking game with 12 tackles and a pass defense. Jordyn Brooks, in his first game as the full-time weakside linebacker, added eight tackles.
And Darrell Taylor, in his first NFL game, had maybe the play of the game with his fourth-down sack of Wentz at the 18 in the fourth quarter.
The much-maligned cornerbacks must have done a lot right considering the Colts had just 10 points until the waning moments and no pass play of longer than 24 yards.
D.J. Reed came up with the recovery on a fourth-down fumble in the third quarter, and Tre Flowers’ name wasn’t heard too much — generally a good thing for a cornerback.
As Carroll had hinted, Ugo Amadi and Marquise Blair rotated playing nickel, with Amadi getting the call on the first series.
Michael Dickson quietly pinned three of his four punts inside the 20, critical during the second-half stage when the Seahawks offense stalled some. And Dallas had a sure recovery of an onside kick late.