The Seahawks' safeties showed their mettle, Doug Baldwin left early and an unexpected player made a big impression on offense.
DENVER — The Seahawks are 0-1.
But that’s not the entire story.
Here are three impressions from Seattle’s 27-24 loss to the Denver Broncos.
Seahawks’ safeties shine
The Legion of Boom is gone.
But the Seahawks still have some capable safeties.
After holding out for the entirety of the preseason, standout free safety Earl Thomas made his presence felt early on Sunday, intercepting Case Keenum on the Broncos’ second offensive drive and returning the football 25 yards. Sixth-year strong safety Bradley McDougald added two interceptions and nearly snagged a third.
Unfortunately, the Seahawks’ defense otherwise struggled — particularly in the first half. The Broncos racked up 297 total yards in the first two quarters alone. In his first NFL start, rookie cornerback Tre Flowers was repeatedly roasted by wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who finished with 10 catches on 11 targets for 135 yards and a touchdown.
And, as expected, the Seahawks’ pass rush was nonexistent for much of the afternoon. Seattle finished with just one sack (from defensive end Frank Clark) and two measly tackles for loss.
The defense has to get better. But the Seahawks’ safeties, at least, look ready for prime time.
The bizarro world of offense
Imagine a world where Will Dissly is the Seahawks’ leading receiver, where Doug Baldwin doesn’t catch a pass, where Jaron Brown starts but doesn’t earn a single target through the first three quarters.
You don’t have to imagine.
Dissly — a rookie tight end from the University of Washington — made an unexpected impact on Sunday, catching three passes for 105 yards and his first career touchdown. Regarded primarily as a blocking back, the 6-foot-4, 265-pound tight end and former defensive end showcased soft hands and an ability to create separation.
Baldwin was targeted just once, however, before leaving in the second quarter with a knee injury. And wide receiver Jaron Brown, who signed a two-year deal with the team in the offseason, started but made no discernable impact, with one catch for seven yards. Quarterback Russell Wilson was sacked six times, with dominant defensive end Von Miller racked up three sacks and two forced fumbles.
Meanwhile, 34-year-old wide receiver Brandon Marshall scored his first touchdown since Nov. 27, 2016, against New England.
It’s not that the Seahawks’ offense was entirely ineffective on Sunday. A lot of that production just came from unexpected places.
The Dickson show rolls on
You don’t typically want to be talking about the punter.
But this punter, though …
He’s something else.
In his first NFL regular season game, rookie Michael Dickson — a 2018 fifth-round pick — punted six times for an average of 59.2 yards. The highlight was a booming 69-yarder that sailed out of bounds at the Denver 6-yard line.
Yes, the Denver elevation probably had something to do with it. But Dickson continues to prove why he was worthy of the draft pick.
In other special teams news, 40-year-old veteran Sebastian Janikowski connected on all three extra point tries on Sunday but made just one of two field goals, hitting a 35-yarder but missing a 46-yarder that ultimately proved fatal.