By: Ben McCarty/Oregon Sports News
If the Seattle Seahawks wanted to put nightmares of the run first, run second, force up a deep ball experience of the last few seasons to rest, they made some terrific first steps in a season-opening win over the Indianapolis Colts.
Russell Wilson did not just go out and cook; he put on a master class.
After all, anyone can go out and slap some burgers on the grill and hope that some of them turn out amazing. But it takes a rare breed to bring a whole dish together and also nail the wine and dessert pairings. Yet that’s just what Wilson did in his first regular season game under new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron. If last season’s offense was Wilson slinging burgers, this year’s opening performance was him being in charge of a five-star Michelin restaurant.
He showed his old razzle-dazzle by scrambling for a first down on third and long on the Seahawks opening drive. He sliced and diced his way through the defense by getting numerous tight ends involved. Cris Carson battered the front of the Colts defense time after time, and then Wilson cracked the game wide open with one of the most beautiful deep throws you will ever see on a 69-yard strike to Tyler Lockett. And considering that Wilson is a deep ball artist, that’s saying something.
It wasn’t just the throw that was amazing, though; it was he got it. The two plays before the touchdown saw the Seahawks lose 10 yards thanks to a penalty and a sack. In years prior, a second and 20 would have likely meant one of two things: a short pass to set up a deep ball on third and long regardless of the coverage or a run to set up a deep ball on third and long regardless of the coverage.
To be fair, Wilson could make that throw often work enough to keep the Seahawks in games most of the time. Call it the Brian Fantana strategy-60 percent of the time; it works all the time-but as they showed last year, that’s not a sustainable model for success.
Instead, the Seahawks just skipped the middle man and dialed up a deep route right through the Colts’ Cover 2 defense. I guess you could say Lockett burned the safety coverage, but no one was really close enough to him to even get singed as he blew by.
Wilson and his receivers confounded the Colts’ defense all day. In addition, his nice 69-yard grab, Lockett also made a terrific over-the-shoulder basket catch for the first touchdown of the season that would have made Willie Mays jealous.
On his touchdown catch that put the game away, Metcalf used his size advantage of what appeared to be three feet and a few hundred pounds to reach well beyond a Colts defender and haul in a laser beam from Wilson.
Even when things were not clicking on all cylinders, the Seahawks kept the pressure on. Twice in the second half, the Colts had fourth and short in Seahawks territory. Twice they went for it. I respect the call to go for it. Colts coach Frank Reich knew the clock was ticking and that it made far more sense to get touchdowns than kick field goals, especially with how Wilson was playing. Twice the Colts came away with no points. On the first, Carson Wentz fumbled. On the second, Darrell Taylor truck stuck the right tackle on his way to blowing up Wentz in the backfield.
While the special teams didn’t have much to do, as an Aussie Rules football fan, I would be remiss if I didn’t note a glorious moment on Michael Dickson’s first punt of the season. Fearing a blocked kick, he pulled up on the punt and rolled right. He actually stepped out of one tackle and looked upfield before he ignored my shouts of “Run it!” and wisely booted the ball away. It was only a 25-yard punt, but it averted a total disaster and flipped the field for the Colts.
With yet another eastern time zone season-opening win in the books, now the hard part begins for the Seahawks. Next week they get the Tennessee Titans, a division rival Arizona pummeled with ease in their opener. It will be an opportunity for the Seahawks to show that their new-look offense can do everything and more than the Cardinals can.
Opening night at the Russell and Friends Cafe went swimmingly. Now the Seahawks need to show they can deliver that type of consistent performance time and time again. From a master chef, that type of consistency can lead to a frozen foods empire. While I’m sure Seahawks fans would enjoy the convenience of Russell Wilson Burgers in the freezer section of their local supermarket, another Super Bowl title would be even better.