INDIANAPOLIS — For the most part, the Seahawks produced a complete performance on Sunday.
Here are three instant impressions from Seattle’s season-opening 28-16 win over the Indianapolis Colts.
Shane Waldron’s offense (mostly) impresses
So that’s what a Shane Waldron offense looks like.
The 42-year-old first-year offensive coordinator made a positive first impression on Sunday, as the Seahawks scored touchdowns on their first two drives of the season. The highlights included a bounding 33-yard run by running back Chris Carson on third-and-1, punctuated by an impolite stiff arm of safety Julian Blackmon. And while the offensive system had changed, quarterback Russell Wilson was characteristically efficient — heaving a trio of touchdown passes in the first half alone.
Two of those, unsurprisingly, went to ever-reliable wide receiver Tyler Lockett — who swiveled in the end zone to locate a pop fly for a 23-yard score, then centered under a renowned Wilson rainbow for a 69-yard touchdown late in the second quarter. Wilson added a 9-yard touchdown to new tight end arrival Gerald Everett on a crossing route as well.
In the first half, the Seahawks offense showed everything its fans had hoped to see — short completions, tight ends in the passing game, extended drives, red zone trips resulting in touchdowns.
Everything except a cameo from D.K. Metcalf, who didn’t record his first catch of the game until early in the third quarter. But Metcalf’s most significant contributions came later.
And in the aforementioned third quarter, the offense suddenly stalled — punting twice before surrendering another familiar Carson fumble, and then punting again. But Wilson and Co. recovered when they needed to most.
Seahawks defense also impresses (but not at first)
In the Seahawks’ 2020 season opener, Ken Norton’s defense was exposed by a questionable Falcons offense for 450 passing yards and 68.5% completions.
On Sunday, Colts quarterback Carson Wentz completed 10 of his first 11 passes — and the home team piled up a 14-play field goal drive that lasted nine minutes and 19 seconds to open the game.
After which, the Seahawks defense found its footing.
In the third quarter alone, Seattle forced a pair of three-and-outs (in which Indianapolis actually lost a yard) and produced a fourth-down stop when Wentz fumbled a snap under center. In all, a feisty Seahawks pass rush produced three important sacks and made Wentz consistently uncomfortable. And the cornerback duo of Tre Flowers and D.J. Reed — considered the defense’s possible weakness — managed to hold up for the most part as well.
Wentz completed 25 of 37 passes on Sunday but threw for just 251 yards with two touchdowns (and those numbers were inflated in garbage time). Colts running back Jonathan Taylor was reduced to 56 rushing yards and 3.3 yards per carry.
Seahawks find a way to finish
Doesn’t Pete Carroll say something about not being able to win games in the first, second or third quarter?
Regardless, on Sunday, the Seahawks found a way to finish.
On fourth-and-2 from the Seahawks’ 18-yard line early in the fourth quarter, defensive end Darrell Taylor exploded through Indianapolis’ right tackle for his first career sack. On the ensuing offensive drive, Wilson found a wide-open Metcalf for a 30-yard gain, then revisited the connection for a laser 15-yard score up the seam.
Indianapolis recorded a garbage-time touchdown, but by that time the damage was already done. Wilson completed 18 of 23 passes for 254 yards and four touchdowns, while Lockett added four catches for 100 yards and a pair of scores. Carson rushed 16 times for 91 yards, averaging an impressive 5.7 yards per carry.
It was a pair of fourth-quarter drives that sealed a season-opening win.