As had been anticipated all week, the Seahawks indeed had three members of their 2022 draft class in the starting lineup.
The three were left tackle Charles Cross, right tackle Abraham Lucas and cornerback Tariq Woolen.
Cross, the No. 9 overall pick, has been a starter since Day One at left tackle, but Lucas, taken 72nd overall, had to beat out Jake Curhan in camp to get the starting nod. Woolen ascended to the right corner spot due to both injuries and his surprising play in camp.
On his appearance on the team’s pregame radio show, Seahawks general manager John Schneider said Lucas ascending to a starting job was something of a surprise.
“I would have said Cross, yes, Abe, no,” Schneider said. “I wouldn’t have pictured that.”
But Schneider said Lucas won the job by showing up well in run blocking to go along with pass blocking that the team anticipated would be good.
“You can see it in the run game,” Schneider said. “He’s done a really nice job in that area.”
Other draft picks who were active for the game were linebacker Boye Mafe, cornerback Coby Bryant and receiver Dareke Young with running back Kenneth Walker III out with a hernia injury and Tyreke Smith on injured reserve. Another rookie, receiver Bo Melton, was waived at the cutdown to 53 and later re-signed to the practice squad.
Bryant, Mafe and Young all saw action in the first half.
Michael Jackson gets start at cornerback
With Sidney Jones IV returning in the last two weeks from a concussion some thought he might return to the starting lineup at left cornerback.
Instead, Michael Jackson, who was one of the standouts of the preseason, got the start there with Woolen on the other side.
That left Jones as a reserve with Justin Coleman getting the start at nickel, with rookie Bryant behind him. Artie Burns and Isaiah Dunn were inactive.
Ken Walker III, Damien Lewis among inactives; Alton Robinson placed on injured reserve
The Seahawks’ list of six inactive players for Monday night’s game included rookie running back Walker and starting left guard Damien Lewis, who had each been listed as questionable with injuries.
Among the others were long snapper Tyler Ott, out with a shoulder injury, and Burns, who is dealing with a groin injury. Two other players were healthy scratches — defensive lineman Myles Adams and Dunn.
Walker, taken by Seattle with the 41st overall pick in April, has been out since suffering a hernia injury in the preseason opener against Pittsburgh on Aug. 13 while Lewis has been out since suffering an ankle injury in the second preseason game against the Bears on Aug. 18.
Seattle on Monday also placed linebacker Alton Robinson on injured reserve with a knee injury. That means he must miss at least four games, including the game against Denver.
With Lewis out, Phil Haynes started at left guard.
The Seahawks on Saturday declared Ott would be out with a shoulder injury suffered recently. The Seahawks elevated veteran Carson Tinker from the practice squad to take his place. Tinker, a veteran of 78 NFL games dating to 2013, signed to the practice squad Thursday.
Seattle also elevated linebacker Tanner Muse off the practice squad to add depth and help on special teams.
Muse made a tackle on Seattle’s kickoff following its first touchdown to pin Denver back at its 11.
Tyler Lockett gets a punt return
The Seahawks listed Dee Eskridge as the starting punt returner with Tyler Lockett, who held the job for five years, as the backup.
But with the Seahawks pulling out all the stops on this night, Lockett got the first crack at a punt return — just his second since 2019.
His first attempt early in the second quarter was a fair catch.
Lockett had 143 punt returns from 2015 to 2019 but has done little returning since suffering a leg injury in a game at San Francisco in November 2019.
Lockett had one punt return for 3 yards against the Steelers last year and had just one kickoff return in 2020 but otherwise had done no returning the last two seasons.
Legends aplenty on the sidelines
Carroll said on Saturday he anticipated a heavy presence of former players at the game.
And that came to fruition as a half-dozen or so former players of the Legion of Boom were in attendance.
Two were in official capacities — former linebacker K.J. Wright, who recently announced his retirement, raised the 12 Flag while cornerback Walter Thurmond, a member of the team from 2010 to 2013, was honored as the Seahawks legend.
Others who were visible on the sidelines before the game included receiver Doug Baldwin, running back Marshawn Lynch and defensive end Cliff Avril.
The Seahawks wore their lime green uniforms. Seattle entered the game with a 4-1 record in those uniforms, the one loss coming last year against the Rams at home, the game in which Russell Wilson suffered his finger injury. The wins were home games in 2016 against the Rams, 2018 against Minnesota and 2019 against the Rams and at Arizona in 2017.