The Seattle Seahawks began their 2019 season with a nail-biting victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1. The Seahawks didn’t look as good as advertised but all that matters is that they got the win by the score of 21-20.
Coming into the game, Seattle was expected to win this game with ease. On the contrary, the Seahawks never seemed to get into a consistent rhythm on offense and their defense showed some areas of concern.
Last year, Pete Carroll’s squad began to return to their roots of running the ball as much as humanly possible. They also wanted to revert back to playing physical, imposing defense following the break-up of the ‘Legion of Boom’.
On Sunday, the Seahawks tried to impose their will on the Bengals by running it 25 times on the ground. Unfortunately, Cincinnati was well-prepared to hinder their rushing attack and allowed only 72 yards at the completion of the game.
Similarly to last year, the Seahawks offense became uncomfortably predictable and the Bengals stayed within striking distance as a result of it. Nonetheless, Seattle ended up making plays when they needed to, to edge out a victory.
With that being said, here are the three biggest takeaways for the Seahawks’ Week 1 win over the Bengals.
3. The Pass Rush is Going to be Just Fine
Prior to the beginning of the regular season, the Seahawks were able to make a call to the Houston Texans to acquire Jadeveon Clowney. Clowney suited up in his first game for the team on Sunday and he didn’t disappoint.
The former No. 1 pick completed the game with two tackles, a sack, and a pass deflection. Along with his pass-rushing prowess, Clowney was also vital to the defense allowing just 34 rushing yards versus the Bengals.
The only thing is: Clowney wasn’t the only Seahawks defender who was able to find their way into the backfield. Both Rasheem Green and Quinton Jefferson combined for eight tackles, three sacks, and two pass deflections as well.
Jefferson was filling in for the injured Ezekiel Ansah while Green was rotating in with him.
Considering this defense still has yet to have L.J. Collier and Jarran Reed on the field; this pass-rush is going to be just fine in 2019.
2. Brian Schottenheimer Needs to let Russell Wilson Loose
As mentioned before, the Seahawks are keen on making their rushing attack the focal point of their offense. That’s completely justifiable but when the opposing team knows what’s coming; don’t you think you should switch things up a little?
Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer called 25 run plays, compared to 20 throwing attempts from Russell Wilson. The Seahawks handed Wilson a four-year, $140 million extension this offseason to make him one of the NFL’s highest-paid quarterbacks.
Prior to Sunday’s game, the Bengals were coming off of a 2018 season where they boasted the worst pass defense in the NFL. Furthermore, in Wilson’s 20 attempts in Week 1, Seattle had some success through the air but Schottenheimer was reluctant to throw the ball.
Why draft D.K. Metcalf and sign Tyler Lockett to a nearly $31 million extension if you aren’t going to utilize your passing attack?
For the Seahawks to improve, they’re going to need to open up their playbook a bit more to allow Wilson to work his magic.
1. The Seahawks Are Going to Miss Earl Thomas
Over the past few seasons, the Seahawks have witnessed each member of the ‘Legion of Boom’ depart from the team via retirement or free agency. The last member to leave was Earl Thomas; who left for the Baltimore Ravens in free agency this offseason.
Among all of the ‘Legion of Boom’ members who left, the Seahawks are going to miss Thomas the most. From 2010 to 2018, Thomas was the glue to the secondary with his ability to see the field from his free safety position.
On Sunday, it was very noticeable to see that Seattle is missing Thomas’ presence on the backend of their defense. The Bengals’ Andy Dalton had a career-day with 418 yards and two touchdowns against the Seahawks defense.
Both touchdowns that Dalton completed on the day came on deep passes downfield to John Ross. Among the players who struggled in Week 1, Tedric Thompson was constantly out of position at free safety.
Despite the win against the Bengals, Carroll is going to have to find a solution to replacing Thomas in their secondary before it’s too late.