Seahawks @ Steelers: 3 Big Points From Preseason Week One Loss

August 17, 2022

Time to get deep into the Seahawks preseason game against the Steelers, as there are a lot of things to improve on for Seattle.

We have already covered the summary of the first Seahawks’ preseason game and three players who stood out for Seattle in Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh. Now, it’s time to get deep into the game and talk about some of its main topics. The Pete Carroll-coached side needs to improve on a lot of things, and this matchup was the proof.

These are my main points from this game:

Seahawks QB1 Battle

We all know that both Geno Smith and Drew Lock had pretty solid games. The QB1 battle might be better than everyone expected, but as of now, there is (or should be) a clear winner.

Smith played well, but he reminded me of what he brought in the 2021 season when he jumped in for Russell Wilson when Wilson suffered his finger injury. His best tool was scrambling and gaining yards on the ground, and he recorded a rushing touchdown. But that was it, nothing more and nothing less: the same Geno we have seen with Seattle.

Then there is Drew Lock. When Lock entered the field, the offense improved, and immediately had a different energy. He led his first drive into a touchdown, connecting with rookie receiver Dareke Young. He finished with a 73.3% completing percentage, more than 100 yards, and two scores.

Also, he had these kinds of throws (sadly TE Colby Parkinson couldn’t snag this one), which is promising for his first game in Seattle. He needs to start because he showed charisma, passion, and momentum and he brings something different in this upcoming challenging season for Seattle.

Probably what we will see for the rest of the preseason, or at least during the Week 2 matchup against the Bears at Lumen Field, is Geno Smith playing in the first half, and Drew Lock in the second half.

Lack Of Roster Depth

As the second team, third team, undrafted free-agents, and others took a major part of the game’s activity, I can conclude that there is not enough depth in some parts of the team. In the first half, the defensive side struggled a lot with tackling issues, in coverage, and feeling comfortable on the field as a group – even with some first-team players present.

In the second half, the defense allowed rookie QB Kenny Pickett to finish with 13/15 passing for 95 yards and 2 scores after he was reportedly struggling during Steelers training camp.

On the offense, the receivers had some drops and did not help the quarterbacks progress throughout the game. Even newcomer tight end Noah Fant did not perform the best in his debut with Seattle. Rookies Dareke Young and Bo Melton improved in the second half (with Drew Lock taking the offensive reins) and recorded 77 receiving yards and a touchdown between them.

There are two positions in which the Seahawks are quite good, which are the running back and the defensive line (especially with edge rushers, featuring rookie Boye Mafe who shined in his pro debut).

As for the tailbacks, Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas were the best players on the offense for Seattle as they combined for 164 total yards and a score – helping the offense have a solid performance. The best part here is that they are mostly third-down backs, and Rashaad Penny and rookie Kenneth Walker III are set to lead the running game on early downs.

If there are injuries at the positions of need throughout the year, it could be rough for the Seahawks.

Patience With Rookies

The 2022 rookie draft class is talented, but it’s mostly raw. We, as Seahawks fans, might have overhyped these guys as they did not perform so well in Pittsburgh last Saturday. Cornerbacks Tariq Woolen and Coby Bryant, who shined during training camp, were both humbled by Steelers receivers and both allowed a touchdown.

Zone coverage is not their strength, and as we know they are very physical as part of the cornerback style that Pete Carroll likes on the position. They can be beaten by wideouts that move effectively. It’s going to take a lot of work with them that eventually will pay off, but they’ll both need to learn a lot throughout the 2022 regular season.

Either way, keep an eye on Bryant as the potential nickel back along with Justin Coleman and Marquise Blair as he has been working there, and since the Seahawks just traded Ugo Amadi.

Seattle is high on Young and Melton to make the final roster. But we’ve seen that not everything can be put on Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, since Dee Eskridge is yet unproven, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside is beyond a longshot, and Marquise Goodwin maxing out at a slot role.

We should highlight the first four draft picks from this year. Both tackles Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas had pretty nice debuts in the NFL, with both of them set to be starters on the offensive line. Running back Kenneth Walker III and edge rusher Boye Mafe may also be looking at big-time roles this season.

Walker may be a workhorse immediately. Carroll said that he’s impressed with his all-around game, and is willing to involve him in the passing game, as a run-blocker, and also as a kick returner. He is an Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate with the possibility to be Seahawks’ all-purpose yards leader this campaign.

As for Mafe, he not only recorded two sacks and forced a fumble versus Pittsburgh, but constantly pressured the quarterback and was the most impactful Seahawk player of the game. He is going to create a lot of havoc alongside Darrell Taylor and Uchenna Nwosu on the outside. Seattle’s pass rush will be a bright spot this season.

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Picture Credit: Matt Durisko, The Associated Press