First-place Seahawks Relish Unexpected 1-0 Start to Season
SEATTLE (AP) — For at least one week this season, the Seattle Seahawks find themselves all alone in first place in the NFC West.
In no other week might it be a sweeter feeling for the Seahawks then after Week 1 and their 17-16 upset of the Denver Broncos on Monday night.
With all the attention focused on Russell Wilson’s return to Seattle with the Broncos after his offseason trade to Denver, the Seahawks managed to steal a victory despite being a touchdown underdog at home.
And there watching it all unfold was a group of former Seahawks. The night was a family reunion of sorts, with Richard Sherman, Doug Baldwin, Marshawn Lynch, Sidney Rice, Cliff Avril and K.J. Wright all strolling along the sideline before the game waiting to see what Wilson would do in his first game no longer in a Seahawks uniform.
“It was obvious how much they wanted to win the game,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said on his radio show on KIRO-AM on Tuesday. “And we were representing them with everything we were doing and we were playing for them as much.”
While the victory was lustfully celebrated by coaches, players and fans that gladly booed Wilson most of the night, it was still just one game and there were plenty of faults the Seahawks showed. They didn’t suddenly change the expected narrative of this being a season of restructuring for Seattle.
But Seattle may end up being more competitive than expected, especially if Geno Smith can perform as he did in the first half against the Broncos when he was nearly perfect.
“It was just another win, great win, with the team,” Smith said. “I love the way our guys stood up. I love the passion we played with, and we just have to keep that going.”
Seattle’s defense was on the field too much in the second half and gave up 433 total yards, but its red zone defense was superb. Denver had three red zone possession in the second half and came away with just three points thanks to two fumbles near the goal line.
Seattle’s defensive line anchored by Poona Ford, Al Woods and Shelby Harris were notably solid during those goal-line situations and keeping the Broncos from finding the end zone.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
Seattle’s second-half offense was putrid. The Seahawks managed 34 total yards and had just five first downs, two of which came via penalty. Smith was 17 of 18 for 164 yards in the first half, but faced too many long-yardage situations in the second half and couldn’t sustain drives.
Edge rusher Uchenna Nwosu was thought of as a nice addition to Seattle’s defensive front in the offseason and could be a good rotational player.
He showed plenty more than just being a nice addition in the opener. He was constantly wrecking Denver’s plans. Nwosu finished with seven tackles, one sack, one pass breakup and forced one of the two goal-line fumbles by the Broncos.
“They brought me here for a reason. I kind of feel like I was not perceived as the player I think I am, and I have to go out there and show it. As many times as I have to do it, I’ll do it,” Nwosu said. “To be able to do it in a place like this, with the crowd behind you like that, it’s surreal and I’m grateful for the opportunity.”
Rookie cornerback Coby Bryant only played two defensive snaps in the first game of his career and ended up allowing a 67-yard touchdown on one of the two. It was a great route by Jerry Jeudy and a good throw by Wilson, but a forgettable moment for Bryant.
Seattle still has high hopes for the fourth-round pick and last year’s Jim Thorpe Award winner at Cincinnati. But his debut was rough.
Seattle lost starting safety Jamal Adams likely for the season after he suffered a serious knee injury in the first quarter. Carroll didn’t have specifics on his radio show on Tuesday, but said Adams would “need to get some work done,” referencing surgery to repair the injury.
Adams missed four games in his first season with Seattle in 2020 because of injuries and missed the final five games of last season after undergoing shoulder surgery. He also injured his finger on the first day of training camp this year and was going to have to play the season with extra protection on his hand.
“I don’t know the extent of it yet, but I know it’s serious,” Carroll said. “It just breaks your heart. He loves the game so much. We’re going to miss him so much.”
7-1 — The Seahawks are 7-1 against this week’s opponent, San Francisco, since the 49ers moved into their new stadium in 2014.
Seattle will try and start 2-0 for the third time in the past four seasons if it can win at San Francisco on Sunday.