Commentary, NFL

Wilson solid in Seahawks heart-breaking opener (Sam’s Visceral Reaction Week 1)

Associated Press/Rick Scuteri

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.


About Sam

Sam lives in Western Washington and goes by the name of @SamTrap84 on Twitter. He is not in to twerking.


3 thoughts on “Wilson solid in Seahawks heart-breaking opener (Sam’s Visceral Reaction Week 1)

  1. Great post, I definitely agree. Especially on the Wilson front. The guy was a rookie, and threw zero meaningul interceptions. Take away the hail mary to end the half and his QB rating is in the 70s. And one catch in the end zone at the end of the game and it’s in the 80s. I’m not sure what many Seahawks fans were expecting, but I’m certain those expectations were WAY too high.

    As for your criticism of the OL – I think it’s a bit harsh. The Cards’ d-line is incredibly good, and few offensive lineman in the league can contain Darnell Dockett. That guy was straight up beast last night; crashing the interior OL quickly and often.

    I’m at peace with this loss. Russell did what he needed to do to end the game, the receivers simply didn’t. Russell can’t do everything.

    Posted by Nick | September 10, 2012, 6:34 pm
  2. Damnit Sam, that is a helluva write up! I don’t think the criticism on the Oline is too harsh at all and the Cardinal defense took advantage of Sweezy, and I may start questioning that over anything else here soon. I thought Wilson did the best possible job he could have done in that situation and I don’t think Flynn would have done much better with Calais Campbell in his face either, he probably would have had more sacks. And you really can’t even consider Wilson’s interception as actual interception, it was a hail mary at the end of the half that had no negative impact on the game what so ever. This kid will learn and he will learn fast and I really think we have a franchise qb in him. Can’t wait for Dallas!! Bring em to the Clink baby!!

    Posted by Chris | September 11, 2012, 9:20 pm
  3. For the record, I am a Seahawks fan. Lets start from the beginning. Russell Wilson has no business being the starting QB of the Seattle Seahawks. For what ever reason, Carroll wanted Wilson to win that job so he prolonged the competition so that Wilson would have a better chance to get it. Carroll is the same guy that told us the Tavaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst was good. Matt Flynn did nothing to lose that starting job. If T.O. holds to that touchdown pass that Flynn threw to him in Denver, his pre-season numbers would have looked better. This Seahawk team was 7-9 last year. Not 2-14. Not 4-12. There is no reason to start a rookie QB!

    That Hawk defense held AZ running game to 43 yards rushing and played well except for the Kolb late drive. But you can’t win when your offense only scores 16 points. Special teams game Wilson a short field twice. Lynch ran for 85 hard yards. At times Wilson left the pocket when he didn’t even have to. The quarterback has to be a better job of leading scoring drives and putting the ball in the endzone. That game should not have come down to a final drive.

    Seahawks fans shouldn’t have to watch that defense waste away because they can’t get good quarterback play. 16 points is not going to cut it. We don’t have time for Wilson to develop. That’s why he shouldn’t be playing right now. Flynn needs to be the quarterback. How many games do the Seahawks have to lose before Carroll has to make the change? That was a bad loss. You can’t lose to AZ. If the Seahawks finish under .500 and miss the playoffs, Pete Carroll needs to be fired! He has wasted enough of Paul Allen’s money on quarterbacks.

    There were high expectations for this team. A 7-9 team that is expected to move forward and challenge for a playoff spot. But the coach decides to put a rookie in at QB. So everyone is suppose to wait on Russell Wilson to get it together? We don’t have time for that. Same wide receivers that Tavaris had. At least Wilson has Rice. Same O-line except for the RG. Wilson is suppose to be and upgrade. AZ is not great. With our schedule this was a must win period!!!! This will get ugly real fast! Fooling with a rookie that is not ready for real fire. Cowboys are next. Rob Ryan is licking his chops! You think you saw pressure from AZ? If he plays like that again, we’ll be 0-2. Then comes Green Bay, then 2 weeks after that, New England. I like some of the things Carroll has down, but this whole QB situation, he has totally screwed it up. Before the season, I thought we could go 2-0. Boy was I wrong. I would rather go with Flynn who I know can read a NFL defense and check to the right play when he knows the blitz is coming. They saw a little 5’10 QB out there and just attacked the middle. They wouldn’t have come at Flynn like that. This is a copy cat league. Teams will blitz his little behind. I liked Russell at Wisconsin and I like him as a plug in back up. I don’t like him as a starter. Carroll has out smarted himself. We’ll see how long this last. SMH. To many of you are drinking that pre-season Kool-aid. Just because a guy runs for 30 yards, doesn’t make him Michael Vick. Just because a guy is 5′ll doesn’t make him Drew Brees. It’s amazing how people have totally disregarded Matt Flynn like he’s a bum after a couple of pre-season games. SMH.

    Posted by Derwin Worrell | September 12, 2012, 5:12 am

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