The Seahawks are now 1-0 after a convincing, 38-25, win on the road against the Falcons on Sunday. As promised, here’s a weekly look back at our keys to the game in review of how each played an impact in the outcome.
1. Will Jamal Adams leave his mark on the game?
Adams was tremendous throughout, but particularly in the first half. He posted seven tackles and one sack over the first two quarters alone. He finished with a game-high 12 tackles, two for a loss and a pair of QB hits. Adams also had a late-game interception taken from him by teammate Quandre Diggs.
Per Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus, Adams rushed the passer 11 times in Week 1. That’s the most rushes by a safety in the Pete Carroll era. He was a sideline-to-sideline missile for all four quarters and made a notable impact in both the run and pass games.
Jamal Adams rushed the passer 11 times in his Seahawks debut.— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) September 14, 2020
Most pass rushes by a safety in the Pete Carroll era.
He finished with a sack, two QB hits, and a hurry
2. How much production will the Seahawks get from their tight ends?
I predicted eight collective catches for 74 yards and one touchdown from the tight ends. It was a bit more modest than that as Greg Olsen, Will Dissly and Jacob Hollister combined for seven receptions, 41 yards and one touchdown. Most of that production came from Olsen, who posted a line of 4-24-1 in his Seahawks debut.
He’s clearly Russell Wilson’s top tight end target, but it’s notable that Olsen’s touchdown came out of 12 personnel with Dissly also on the field. Expect more production from tight ends moving forward, but the group has a modest ceiling given DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett’s presence.
3. How will Seattle split up touches at running back?
At least for one game, the Seahawks showed a commitment to rotating their running backs. Carlos Hyde led the team with seven carries, and Chris Carson was most productive as a pass catcher, posting six receptions for 45 yards and two scores.
Seattle was comfortably ahead for most of the game, which allowed the Seahawks to rest Carson more than normal, but this was still an important takeaway from the game. Carson will very seldom assume a workhorse role as a way for Seattle to keep their top running back healthy and fresh for a full 16-game season (and playoffs if they make it, of course).
4. Will the pass rush make Matt Ryan uncomfortable?
The Seahawks posted just two sacks (Adams had one and Benson Mayowa had the other), but they did a decent job of getting to Matt Ryan with eight total quarterback hits. Facing Atlanta was always going to be a tough opening challenge for Seattle’s much-maligned pass rush.
The biggest positive is that Seattle’s defense came up clutch in critical moments, holding the Falcons to 0-4 on fourth down. Mayowa played a huge role in two of those stops with a PBU and a sack.
Suffice to say, there wasn’t anything that made you say, “Oh wow, this group is going to be way better than expected,” but there also wasn’t any added cause for concern. Another big test is coming in Week 2 against Cam Newton and the Patriots.
5. How will Marquise Blair handle his first game as a nickel corner?
Blair played 55 snaps (70%) against the Falcons. He had seven total tackles and delivered a few punishing hits. The most notable actually came on special teams when Blair forced a fumble on a successful fake punt that resulted in a takeaway for Seattle.
The second-year defensive back’s role on defense is secure and ensures that Seattle will be utilizing its nickel package much mor frequently in 2020. His presence, along with Adams and Bobby Wagner, gives Seattle’s defense a remarkably physical presence in the middle of the field.