It’s time for our weekly look back at the five burning questions that were posed prior to the Seahawks primetime showdown against the Patriots.
Now that the dust has settled and Seattle narrowly held on to beat New England, 35-30, here are how each of the following keys to the game impacted the Week 2 contest.
1. Can the Seahawks establish an early lead?
An opening drive pick-six thwarted the Seahawks hopes of jumping out to a quick advantage. However, Seattle did eventually establish two-score leads on two different occasions. The Seahawks were up 28-17 in the third quarter and 35-23 in the fourth quarter. On both occasions, New England was able to respond with a prompt touchdown drive of its own.
That was surprising to me. I incorrectly assumed that Cam Newton wouldn’t be able to chuck it at will against Seattle’s defense. Newton took advantage of the Seahawks underwhelming pass rush and accumulated 397 passing yards. Had Seattle allowed Newton to reach the end zone on the final play of the game, there surely would have been much more panic surrounding the play of the Seahawks defense through two weeks.
2. How will DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett fare against JC Jackson and Stephon Gillmore?
Going into the game, I said Seattle could still win if Metcalf and Lockett were able to combine for 125 yards and a touchdown. Those two were able to do quite a bit more damage: 159 yards and two touchdowns (one from each guy).
Sunday night provided another example as to just how special Metcalf and Lockett are. They’re one of the best duos in the NFL and surely the most underrated. Metcalf posting 92 yards and a score against Stephon Gilmore was a tremendous illustration of his growth in Year 2.
I thought this might be the game for Greg Olsen to take some of the pressure off of Seattle’s top two pass catchers. I was wrong there, too. Olsen was only targeted once: the play that resulted in a pick-six after the pass bounced off his hands.
It’s important to shout out David Moore here as well. He’s come up with some clutch catches through two games. His 38-yard score against the Patriots was one of the better displays of body control that you’ll see, and he also had a clutch shoestring grab to convert a third down.
3. Will the Seahawks go for it on another pivotal fourth down?
Seattle didn’t attempt a single fourth down in Week 2, however there was one opportunity where they could have. When Russell Wilson’s third-down pass fell incomplete on the Seahawks final drive of the game, they faced 4th-and-1 from their own 31-yard line. The thinking, of course, is that it’s better to see if Wilson and the offense can get one yard rather than trust the defense no matter where New England got the ball back.
It would have been an extremely out of character move, and my guess is that Seattle never even considered it. But given how the game ended and the moments where it seemed the Seahawks were destined for heartbreaking defeat, it makes sense why some would have rather given Wilson one last shot to put the game on ice.
4. Is this the week L.J. Collier gets his first-career sack?
Collier didn’t get a sack, but he had two clutch plays. The first was a batted down pass and the second, obviously, was the goal-line stop of Newton on the final play of the game. It was a great feel good moment for the embattled second-year defensive lineman.
Collier still hasn’t shown much from a pass rush standpoint, but he’s certainly lightyears ahead of where he was as a rookie. The Seahawks hope he’ll continue to progress and contribute as the season goes on.
5. What does Phillip Dorsett have in store for his former team?
“This will obviously be a silly question if Dorsett (foot) doesn’t play on Sunday.”
That’s what I wrote in my game preview. Turns out it was a silly question after all. Carroll said on Monday that the Seahawks tried to ramp Dorsett up last week, but his sore foot didn’t respond well. Now it seems as though Dorsett could be shut down completely for a few weeks. Don’t be surprised if he ends up on Injured Reserve over the next few days. Remember, players can come back from IR after just three weeks this season. Regardless, it’s been a disappointing start to the season for Seattle’s free agent acquisition.