In the Twittersphere, the usual bandwagon, fair-weather Seahawks fans who cried out for Charlie Whitehurst last year blew their lungs out clamoring for Matt Flynn after a heart-breaking 20-16 loss against the Arizona Cardinals today.
Those people are stupid. And get them some oxygen, quick.
Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson had some hiccups in his first-ever NFL regular season game but there was much to like, and Danger Russ looked solid for most of the game, as did the Seahawks defense and special teams.
Let’s look at it this way: Only one rookie quarterback starting in 2012 had a better QB rating than Wilson today. Andrew Luck wasn’t that person. Wilson’s rating wasn’t stellar by any measure at 62.5. Hell, it was even below average. But he did no worse than most of the other rookie starting quarterbacks and avoided mishaps that most of them made, most specifically in the turnover category where he had one just one interception (Luck with three interceptions; Brandon Weeden with four; Ryan Tannehill with three). Wilson didn’t force anything, and if he threw a long pass, he threw it where, generally, a defender wouldn’t have access.
Unfortunately, our O-line members apparently were having conversations like this tonight: “Derp-a, derp derp derp,” and couldn’t seem to understand the value in providing a more solid throwing window for Wilson. The pocket frequently collapsed, forcing Wilson into tenuous situations, QB hits or sacks.
But we should also, as hard as it may be, give credit to the Arizona defense, known for exotic looks and stunts. While the media focus on the Cards’ QB kerfuffle between John Skelton and Kevin Kolb may have taken focus from the rest of that franchise, the defense is acknowledged as a solid unit. In many ways, the Cardinals and Seahawks were very similar in 2011 for that very reason. Solid D play, mediocre quarterback.
Only, the Seahawks were supposed to be the much more all-around improved team in 2012.
The offense still has some work to do. Receivers appeared to give up on routes. Offensive lineman ran around like chickens without heads. They looked meek compared to the aggressive style of the Card’s D. Odd, considering how nasty players like Breno Giacomini frequently looked for the Hawks throughout the preseason.
It’s like all of a sudden the lineman found a stash of Mom’s sedatives and decided to down the entire bottle on opening night. Russell Okung shocked the world by, again, turning into fragile tea cups, leaving the game with what has been announced as a knee injury. Think of him like a fine China set worth a guaranteed $29 million. Those are some expensive cups.
But there were some wonderful flashes tonight:
Wilson showed poise and smarts during plenty of pressure situations, taking the ball himself to gain a few first downs. It’s that talent that we don’t have with Matt Flynn, who is still accurate and would be a wonderful replacement if necessary (but he’s not necessary now).
During a terrible four-down series to end the game — including a botched decision by the replacement referees that gave the Seahawks a third timeout they shouldn’t have had — he tossed four completely catchable passes to receivers. Turns out their hands had been chopped off prior to each snap, unfortunately.
Sidney Rice, the previously-matching set of crystal stemware for the Seahawks offense to Okung’s China, caught multiple acrobatic catches and took some tough falls. At one point, he landed on at least one shoulder and it looked like he was about to break dance back up onto his feet.
Richard Sherman had an ankle-breaking sideline interception of Cardinals QB Skelton during the second half. Speaking of ankle-breaking, we’ve learned he came out of the locker room in a boot, though he claimed on Twitter he’d “be fine,” whatever that means. Fine for next week? Fine for another sweet “My Brother Dance”?
Braylon Edwards should have a breakout year. We saw it in the preseason and it translated in Game 1.
Doug Baldwin played a fairly solid game after sitting out preseason due to a hamstring injury that required blood to be removed to help the healing process (hello year 1642, bloodletting is BACK BABY! Where my leaches at?), despite the end-zone drop that could have clinched the day.
There’s almost no reason to mention the defense and special teams, because as usual they looked great. Of course, that’s why they should be mentioned, because they deserve it.
But back to Wilson and those “fans” screaming for him to be replaced. After one.friggin’.game.
Despite his claim during his post-game press conference that he had no jitters at all, I think that Wilson will only get better, and those jitters he didn’t have will slowly fade and he’ll settle. Note he also mentioned working on quicker reads, which likely is not only something he needs to work on to continue his progression in the pros, but also because his offensive line is going to force him into that situation.
He’ll need to ensure he doesn’t overthrow receivers on his bombs, too, and game clock management is essential after a few false starts thrown directly because of him.
But he has great field awareness, knows when to scramble when necessary and doesn’t make a bunch of stupid mistakes. He’s a playmaker, but he can’t be the only one doing the heavy lifting, and that’s where that line comes in to play.
No, 12th man, it’s not time to bring Matt Flynn out for a test drive. Not after one game. Not after five, in my view. Wilson has been given a shot, and he needs more time. It was one loss. It was a hard-fought game and everything the Seahawks did they earned through tough work.
For Marshawn Lynch, who gained 90 rushing yards through sheer will power and Beast Mode-style runs, it’s a familiar place to be. That same trudging patience Lynch has attained was embraced by the rest of the team. We nearly had it. This was not a loss in the mold of 2010, or even 2011.
Fixing those red zone mistakes, not leaving the game in the hands of replacement refs, and all of those other things I’ve mentioned (i.e. ~ Derp-a, derp derp offensive lineman) will happen. Pete Carroll will make it happen.
There are 15 weeks to go until the Seahawks are in the playoffs, folks. Let’s all watch it happen.