SEATTLE, Wash. – The Seattle Seahawks opened their preseason slate with a 22-14 win over the Denver Broncos on Thursday night at CenturyLink Field. With most of Seattle’s starters sitting this one out, all of the attention was on the backups fighting for roster spots.
Here are the top three takeaways from the contest.
1. Paxton Lynch outperforms Geno Smith
Smith has been the better quarterback in practice. It’s why he earned the start in this one with Russell Wilson given the night off. But it was Lynch who was the superior quarterback against the Broncos. Smith struggled to get into a rhythm at any point over the first two quarters. He finished the first half with just 58 yards on 3-of-9 passing.
Conversely, Lynch picked apart the Broncos defense over the final two quarters in what was a revenge half of sorts. Lynch, the former 26th-overall pick for the Broncos in the 2016 NFL Draft, racked up 109 yards and one touchdown on 11-of-15 passing. He added a 9-yard touchdown run and outgained Smith on the ground with 38 rushing yards to Smith’s 21.
The competition to be Wilson’s backup just became much more interesting.
2. DK Metcalf inches away from a monster first half
Metcalf caught one pass for eight yards on four targets. But the mundane stat line was nearly so much more. Smith took two deep shots for Metcalf – one down each sideline. Metcalf had a step on the coverage on each attempt. On the first, Smith overshot Metcalf down the right sideline, and the throw was a bit wide. The rookie wideout got his hands on the second deep ball but couldn’t corral what would have been a full-extension 32-yard touchdown grab.
The near misses are still encouraging for the Seahawks. One or both of the plays would have likely been completions with Wilson at quarterback. Metcalf did have a 7-yard reception nullified due to a penalty.
3. The secret is out on Jazz Ferguson
Ferguson has been a consistent performer in training camp over the last week, highlighted by his two touchdowns in the Seahawks mock game last Saturday. Ferguson’s strong play continued in his preseason debut. The undrafted rookie caught four passes for 54 yards, including a 6-yard touchdown from Lynch. On the score, Ferguson used his 6-foot-5 frame to box out the corner in coverage to make a contested reception at the goal line.
He was easily Seattle’s most impressive skill player on Thursday night. At this point, I’m not sure the Seahawks will be able to sneak Ferguson onto the practice squad. That means the big-bodied rookie may have gotten himself closer to clinching a spot on the 53-man roster.
More to come from this one with quotes from Pete Carroll and Seahawks players.