Seahawks vs 49ers: Recap, Reaction, Stock Up/Stock Down
Seaside Joe 1292, 9/18/2022: What happened in San Francisco in Week 2?
The Seattle Seahawks went into their Week 2 contest against the San Francisco 49ers to prove integral points about their current status as a team…as well as the current punching power for a 49ers franchise that fell just shy of last season’s Super Bowl but has significant injuries on offense and questions about their quarterback position.
What did we learn after four more quarters of Seahawks-49ers football?
As we suspected, Seattle is indeed in the middle of a re-something. Rebuild, re-tool, re-set. Whatever you want to call it, the Seahawks surely wish they could re-do a few of their plays in Sunday’s 27-7 loss to Jimmy Garoppolo’s 49ers. Yes, Jimmy Garoppolo’s 49ers.
The 2022 offseason started with uncertainty as to whether or not the Russell Wilson-led Seahawks would ever be good enough to compete for a Super Bowl again. Once Wilson had been traded, the intent of the Seaside Joe newsletter with regards to Seattle’s present situation was not meant to be one of pessimism and negativity—but reality and logic.
Exactly as it was when the Seahawks were good!
I’ve never tried to paint the Seahawks or their starting quarterback as anything other than they really are, it just so happens that I started covering the team on a regular basis in the middle of the 2011 season. Since then, Seattle has been mostly great and have had one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
Life was so easy.
It may seem like a stark contrast to go from one of “Don’t worry, the Seahawks will be fine” to “Don’t worry—but the Seahawks are not presently fine.” However, that’s just reality: A 7-10 team that started a season with Russell Wilson might very well have a worse record when starting a season with Geno Smith.
Seattle took a risk by trading Wilson. I happen to believe that it was the right move and for the most part I’ve seen that Seaside Joe readers are in agreement with me 100-percent.
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But it IS a risk.
The Broncos haven’t been right since Peyton Manning retired. The Falcons are falling hard without Matt Ryan. The Colts might be in dire straits with Matt Ryan, as Indianapolis is still struggling to compete since losing Manning to the Broncos a decade ago. The Saints are not the same team with Jameis Winston. The Patriots are floundering without Tom Brady. The Steelers are crossing their fingers that one day Kenny Pickett can help them forget about Ben Roethlisberger. The Panthers haven’t been able to rewind back the magic that they had in 2015 with Cam Newton.
For two quarters to open the season, it felt easy to just believe in miracles. For the six quarters since, that difficult reality that I’ve been trying to pound into Seahawks nation has hit with the asteroid-sized impact that I am not at all surprised by: 12 offensive drives, 266 yards, 22.1 yards per drive, seven punts, three turnovers, two ends of halves.
Do these drive charts remind you of anyone? They should. This is exactly how the offense looked with Smith in 2021 and during the 2022 preseason.
The only ones who are shocked right now are the fans and media members who convinced themselves that reality was something other than the one I thought we had all agreed upon: Geno Smith is a backup quarterback.
The Seahawks lost 27-7 on Sunday and scored zero offensive points. Teams that held quarterback competitions in training camp rarely go more than two games without scoring before getting antsy about switching to the option that didn’t originally win the starting gig. Seattle confused us a little bit by beating the Denver Broncos in Week 1. Now I sure hope that Seahawks fans are closer to being on the same page about the one “Re-” word that really matters.
Not rebuild. Not reset. Not re-tool.
QB Geno Smith
Personally it doesn’t matter to me that much if Geno Smith or Drew Lock is the starter, the goals are set for 2023. I do, however, think that it’s well past time for some people to snap back to reality. Geno Smith was 24-of-30 for 197 yards with an interception. He could have had more than one interception. Going back to last week, the only reason Smith doesn’t have at least three interceptions is the defender didn’t execute the opportunity.
Pete Carroll noted that the most important job is to protect the football and that’s why Geno beat Lock. Well, is that still how Pete feels? He noted after the game: “We need to score.” The Geno Smith-led offense is as inept as any in the NFL. Running backs will also struggle to get opportunities if defenses have no fear of the quarterback being able to complete passes down the field.
Geno Smith deep passing: 1-of-2, 27 yards, 1 INT.
The Seahawks lost by 20 points and the quarterback threw two deep passes. He had one called back for an Abe Lucas ineligible downfield, but also had an interception overturned because of a penalty, so those plays even out.
If you’re getting anxious about the future at QB, check out Sunday’s bonus post on the 2023 draft class.
LB Darrell Taylor
Though he had two tackles for a loss, Darrell Taylor seems to be a target for opposing offenses when they want to run the football. He’s an “OK” pass rusher and potentially a bad run defender, which does not necessarily equate into being a top-30 edge rusher. Seattle’s best edge rusher is Uchenna Nwosu and Boye Mafe, who had a sack, needs a lot more development time.
The Seahawks need to draft an edge rusher early in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Offensive Line (Present)
Go Abe Lucas! Go Charles Cross! I think you’re going to be great! The Seahawks have a bright future at tackle. The guards are bad. Damien Lewis got hurt. The inexperience is showing. Austin Blythe is a bridge center. Gabe Jackson might need to be released. Penalties, bad run blocking, lots to work on at present.
Feels like I could be repeating myself on the rookie corners each week—maybe in the long run we’ll see that these games are good. I think Bryant is taking his lumps through these first two games and he had a couple of clear bad moments on Sunday. It’s quite something that the Seahawks re-signed Sidney Jones IV and yet are starting a fourth round rookie and a guy who was on the practice squad last year.
Tyler Lockett returning punts
I’m not mad at Lockett. I just thought that I had already won this war against Pete Carroll putting Lockett out there on special teams. A 53-man roster and not a single other player who can catch a punt? I suppose Pete was hoping that Lockett could score, since the offense was having such issues. That backfired.
The tight ends group
We keep hearing that this might be the best tight ends room in the league. Even though we know that’s not true, Week 2 was a lot rougher than Week 1: 4 targets (two each for Noah Fant, Will Dissly), two catches, 11 yards. Colby Parkinson wasn’t targeted.
Dee Eskridge caught one of one target for six yards and apparently can’t catch punts. Marquise Goodwin caught zero of one targets. Would the TEs and WRs be helped by better QB play? Yes.
I’m not sure if anything will ever help Eskridge—we just don’t have any positive data to go off of yet.
RB Kenneth Walker III
Direct snaps! Catches!
I feel vindicated that all of the research we did on the running back this offseason at Seaside Joe is paying off. NOBODY else had the scoop that Ken Walker III would take direct snaps/wildcat in the NFL. NOBODY. Why did we know it? Because we didn’t just think of Walker as a position. We treated him like a player and a person and we studied his actual games at Wake Forest and Michigan State.
Walker took a direct snap in the red zone and made a Ken Walker highlight play:
The next direct snap much went worse! But it wasn’t Walker’s fault.
I was also told that Walker “would not catch many passes in the NFL because he couldn’t do it in college.” Wrong. The offenses he was in didn’t ask him to do it. He could clearly do it. Walker caught two passes for five yards on Sunday. The production wasn’t anything to look twice at, but he’s quite clearly going to be a dual threat—no, TRIPLE threat—option in Seattle’s offense.
CB/ST Tariq Woolen
Woolen’s size and athleticsm helped him make the play of the game for the Seahawks and he could end up being a weapon on special teams.
WR Tyler Lockett
A receiver survives the QB to be productive: nine catches, 107 yards.
DT Al Woods
Campaign to get Al Woods into the 2022 Pro Bowl. He had three tackles for a loss, seven tackles, and a batted pass.
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I've followed multiple Seahawks blogs (and more "traditional" sources) over the past three decades - you continue to be my favorite. You consistently manage to find the sweet spot where your observations and insights give me hope for the team's future while treating the present day's shortcomings with honesty. Too many other writers swing too far in one direction or the other in search of clicks/views/subscribers/etc (of late, excessive fatalism has become far too trendy). Thank you for your work!
They were the team I expected them to be today. I still think the roaring boos of the Seattle crowd last week were instrumental in beating Russell Wilson, and they weren't going to have that this week. Considering the OL features two promising rookies and the defense installed a whole new system with a bunch of rookie players, I didn't expect either to be good to start the season. The running game keys off the OL, so if the OL hasn't gelled yet, the running game is going to suffer. If the defense is still learning and developing, it will create a lot of pressure on the offense to not only score but maintain possession and keep the defense off the field. That's a lot to ask of Geno Smith, especially when his OL is getting creamed by the Niner's front seven.
It's disappointing that there was almost nothing I could get excited about today but Pete Carroll can say whatever bullshit he wants, this was always a rebuilding season. This team wasn't ever going to contend for much other than the future this year and that's fine, that's how this works. They've got to learn to walk before they can run.