Seahawks-Steelers Result, Reactions, Recap: Stock Up/Stock Down
8/13/2022: Running backs, Boye Mafe star in preseason loss to Steelers
The Seattle Seahawks played the Pittsburgh Steelers in a preseason game on Saturday evening and this sentence serves as an opener that will hide any spoilers to folks who don’t want the game result spoiled in their e-mail preview. Now that I’m done with that, here is what actually happened in the game:
While we’ve been waiting for reasons to believe in either Geno Smith or Drew Lock, it was the running backs—without Rashaad Penny—who stole the show in Saturday’s preseason win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. We all expected Ken Walker III to impress us with any opportunities he would get to touch the ball, and he did, but then Travis Homer closed out the first half with 73 total yards and DeeJay Dallas owned the night in the second half.
DNP: WR DK Metcalf, LB Jordyn Brooks, S Jamal Adams, DT Al Woods, S Quandre Diggs, WR Tyler Lockett, WR Marquise Goodwin, WR Freddie Swain, WR Dee Eskridge, TE Will Dissly
Hurt: WR Cody Thompson
As to the quarterback competition, here’s what I learned:
Geno Smith is as limited as I expected. He should not start for an NFL team, but if it happens on the Seahawks it wouldn’t be that surprising given their other options in 2022. Smith almost exclusively threw near, at, or behind the line of scrimmage and he was also inaccurate at times, including on a poorly thrown red zone attempt to Colby Parkinson.
Drew Lock is way more talented than Geno Smith (what does “talented” mean? Lock has the physical ability to run more plays, but whether or not he will EXECUTE those plays is where he fails) but he may not be that much better than Geno Smith. Seattle’s offense is probably better with Lock because defenses feel more pressure to account for a quarterback capable of beating them more than 5-10 yards downfield.
The Seahawks are not making their most important QB decision of the year in August. Pete Carroll and John Schneider already made that choice when they traded Russell Wilson in March and knew that they’d likely enter the season with Drew Lock competing against Geno Smith for the right to be a one-year bridge quarterback. Based on what we saw on Saturday, I have reason to believe that BOTH will probably start game for the Seahawks in 2022.
Can the man who wins the job manage to keep it for the next four months?
The result? Oh right…Steelers 32, Seahawks 25. But that’s not what you really need to know tonight.
For the rest of today’s Seaside Bonus, I will do “Stock Up, Stock Down, Up/Down” for key players on Saturday and I’ll have a rundown of everything that happened in the game. It will be more comprehensive—and OUT SOONER—than anything else you will read about the Seahawks this weekend and I so appreciate that you’re taking time out of your day to read it or skim it. Today, I only ask that if you’re not signed up for Seaside Joe, please consider us as your Seahawks resource for this season, a FREE daily Seahawks newsletter:
We have big goals we want to reach. This article is FREE, so if you want to share it with Seahawks fans and we can grow this community a little bit more today, I am grateful for your help:
RB Ken Walker III
Walker opened the game with a 7-yard run and finished the first half with five carries for 19 yards. He didn’t have a lot of room to run, didn’t have a chance to flash his full array of talents as a running back, but he seems prepared to be a starting running back in the NFL. As I’ve been saying for months, Walker will catch a lot of passes: He had an 11-yard catch from Geno on his only target.
RB Travis Homer
Homer had four carries for 41 yards and two catches for 33 yards in the first half. He’s going to have a significant role on the team.
S Marquise Blair
With both starting safeties sitting, Pete Carroll started Blair and Josh Jones. Blair looked good in the first half and forced a fumble.
TE Noah Fant
Fant had several opportunities as a receiver, catching two passes for 20 yards.
LB Boye Mafe
Mafe stripped Trubisky in the first quarter. Couldn’t ask for a much better start than that, he has a lot of room left to grow as a pass rusher. Mafe ended with a sack of Kenny Pickett that nearly won the Seahawks the game.
OL Jake Curhan/RT Abe Lucas
It’s a good sign for Lucas that he entered the game early, a good sign for Curhan that he started the game at right tackle and then appeared to play most of the game at right guard. Despite being in a competition, both came out ahead on Saturday.
RB DeeJay Dallas
A third RB on the list! Dallas looked like a pretty strong runner in the second half and of course he’s also expected to return kicks. Walker returned a kickoff too.
If you’re signed up for the free newsletter and you think this bonus is worth a dime, please consider upgrading to support Seaside Joe’s efforts:
Upgrade for premium bonus Seahawks articles:
CB Justin Coleman
We haven’t heard a lot about Coleman coming out of camp and maybe Saturday is an indication of why that is. Coverage didn’t look great, he was involved in a number of negative plays for Seattle’s defense. Given that some other options are cheaper, Coleman may be playing for his life.
QB Geno Smith
The stats will do a HORRIBLE job of conveying how Geno Smith looked in the first preseason game: 10/15, 101 yards, 1 rush TD. Matt Flynn’s stats looked pretty good in his first preseason game in 2012. Smith had one nice downfield throw to Fant, which Fant couldn’t stay inbounds for, but other than that he looked every bit as limited as we know he has been for the last 9 years.
LB Nick Bellore
He had quite a few snaps at linebacker. Looked bad in coverage, missed tackles. Seattle can’t enter the season with Bellore as depth at LB, the Seahawks might need to sign (or trade?) for an ILB.
PR Aaron Fuller
Could have let a punt go. Tried to grab it, he muffed it, and Coleman recovered. If your chance to make the team was at punt returner, that may have been the losing straw.
CB Mike Jackson
There’s some talent on display on Saturday, like keeping up in coverage with Pickens at time, but Jackson was on the wrong end of too many completions. The Seahawks must be a little worried about depth at cornerback, which is weird because we’ve been talking about how hard it will be to make cuts from this group.
K Jason Myers
Didn’t have any long attempts, but he did come close to missing one and he wasn’t that “down the middle” at all tonight.
Up and Down:
QB Drew Lock
Without his own week with the 1s and a start against the Bears on Thursday, what would it all be for?
CB Tariq Woolen / CB Coby Bryant
They’ve been the talk of camp and surely both rookies flashed moments of goodness on Saturday. Woolen was able to go step-for-step with Pickens but he also got beat a couple times, over-pursued tackles, and was far from perfect. Bryant seems to have a bright future, but based on what we saw on Saturday it would be concerning if either rookie had to start in Week 1 against the Broncos.
LB Darrell Taylor
Barring an outstanding rookie season by Mafe, Taylor is the Seahawks’ best pass rusher. The speed off the edge was EVIDENT. But as a run defender/tackler, Taylor looked below average at best. He had a chance to sack Trubisky and he completely whiffed.
WR Dareke Young / WR Bo Melton
It’s going to be tough for either of these players to make the final roster and that was clear early in the game, especially for Melton. But then Young caught a touchdown (and two other passes) and Melton caught a pass from Lock and went 39 yards with it. Can Melton win a job on special teams?
P Michael Dickson
I just don’t know what to say other than Dickson wasn’t very good tonight. Preseason punting, I guess.
We’d love for you to share Seaside Joe today:
From Sunday: 5 Seahawks roster thoughts following loss to Steelers
The drive starts with George Pickens making a catch against Tariq Woolen for nine yards. But later in the drive, Woolen shows off speed to run step-for-step with Pickens on an incomplete pass by Trubisky.
Poona Ford run stop; Poona played almost the entire first half
Shelby Harris QB hit on Trubisky; no days off for the veteran Shelby Harris
Justin Coleman catch allowed vs Gunner Olszewkski on 3rd down
Blown coverage leads to Olszewski TD catch-Coleman/Jones closest
Seahawks first offensive drive
Ken Walker III gets opening carry, gains 7
Geno Smith first down throw to Noah Fant
1-yard loss on end around to Dareke Young
Short gain on quick throw to Penny Hart
Geno wastes timeout, losing track of play clock, then sacked
Despite completing his first pass, it was a bad opening drive for Geno.
Heyward 16-yard catch, Woolen in coverage
Darrell Taylor is taking bad angles on run pursuit, missing opportunities
Taylor has free lane to Trubisky, overshoots him, and loses the sack.
Incomplete to Gunner on third down, but was open vs. Coleman
Steelers punt, Aaron Fuller attempts to field punt after it hit the ground and then fumbled it. Coleman lucky to recover.
Ken Walker the 3-carry series:
Walker III gains 4 yards, then 5 yards, but OL is blown up on third-and-1 and Walker loses a yard.
I’m happy that the Seahawks are giving Walker opportunities early against the Steelers. This is the purpose that the preseason serves. Geno gets no pass attempts on Seattle’s second drive. On the punt, Travis Homer and Penny Hart over-pursue/miss tackle on the punt returner and he gains 38 yards for a short field.
Mason Rudolph replaces Trubisky:
Boye Mafe STRIPS the ball from Rudolph, but the quarterbacks gets it back and is tackled by Shelby Harris.
Cody Barton tackle sets up third down.
Rudolph airs one for Pickens and he catches it for a touchdown against Coby Bryant:
Ken Walker handles kickoff return:
Abe Lucas replaces Jake Curhan at RT
Travis Homer gain of 19 via Geno Smith dump off
Geno to Fant for 3
Homer another long run; 74 yards from scrimmage in the first half
Geno keeps throwing behind or near LOS
Smith forced out of the pocket, throws to LOS, incomplete
Jason Myers makes a field goal, but doinks it in, 14-3
Nick Bellore can’t be an option at linebacker:
Bellore could be elite on special teams and good as a fullback, but he’s not a linebacker. His play stood out (negatively) in the second quarter.
Coby Bryant with a nice diving toe tackle
Pickens with another first down catch against Mike Jackson
(My article for remembering player numbers actually DID come in handy, it helped me remember Mike Jackson was “30” for “30th anniversary”)
Jackson is fast enough to keep up with Pickens
Miles Boykin catch against Jackson
Marquise Blair forces a fumble, but recovered by the Steelers
Bellore missed tackle
Mike Jackson with a pass breakup in the end zone, but some wonder if it’s either a pass interference or a drop by Boykin
Bellore pass breakup on third down to force a FG, 17-3
Walker the receiver:
Ken Walker opens the series with an 11-yard reception. I’ve been saying all summer that he would catch passes this year and I was told often that I was “wrong”
Smith airs a nice one down field while on the run, but Fant does a poor job of getting his second foot down
Bo Melton drops a pass, Seahawks forced to punt
On the next Steelers drive, Coby Bryant makes a nice tackle of the tight end to force a fourth-and-1 punt. Cade Johnson returns the punt, Johnson also returned a kick. Making the team for special teams would be surprising, but he did also catch a 21-yard pass.
Geno Smith throws 8 yards to Bo Melton, then scrambles for a first down
Geno’s best pass, a 21-yard completion to Cade Johnson, sets up first-and-Goal from the 7. Geno’s next pass is WAY OFF from Colby Parkinson.
Homer with a 5-yard run
Geno runs it in from 2 yards out, making the score 17-10 going into halftime
Geno Smith finishes his first start going 10-of-15 for 110 yards. The offensive drives were:
5 plays, 22 yards, punt
3 plays, 8 yards, punt
8 plays, 57 yards, FG
4 plays, 15 yards, punt
9 plays, 61 yards, TD
If Pete Carroll doesn’t start Drew Lock on Thursday against the Bears, it will be shocking. Confusing. Is all of life a lie? Lock entered the game to start the second half.
Drew Lock got very lucky on his first throw:
DeeJay Dallas runs for 15 yards on the next three plays
Lock hits Parkinson right where he needs to, but the Steelers knocked the would-be touchdown out of his hands
Lock underthrows a fade route to Aaron Fuller
Lock throws a laser to Young for a 3-yard TD
Now that Seattle got their first look at a new quarterback it was Pittsburgh’s turn. Kenny Pickett played the second half for the Steelers:
Pickett goes right down the heart of the Seahawks’ backup defense, starting 5-of-5 on his first drive. He ends with a 3-yard TD throw to Jaylen Warren, defended by Joel Dublanko and Mike Jackson
Pickett completes a two-point conversion to Connor Heyward, giving the Steelers a 25-17 lead.
Where does Dallas fit into Seattle’s plans:
DeeJay Dallas opened with a 6-yard run, then two plays later gained 18 on the ground. Dallas finished with 10 carries for 73 yards plus a 17-yard touchdown catch
However, a false start by Curhan, an incomplete throw by Lock, and a -1 yard loss from Lock to Young results in another Michael Dickson punt.
Bad Pickett Drive:
Kenny Pickett goes 2-of-2 for 4 yards to start the next drive, but then is sacked by Vi Jones… Violently.
The Seahawks needed eight points to tie the game going into the fourth quarter. Luckily, they have some great running backs.
Dallas has two carries for 14 yards on the drive
Lock finds Young again for a 15-yard gain
Lock to Dallas for a 17-yard touchdown, mostly thanks to Dallas
Lock completes a 2-point conversion to Travis Homer to tie the score 25-25.
The two sides next trade punts, with Darwin Thompson now at running back for the Seahawks. Kenny Pickett is sacked by Boye Mafe to give Seattle the chance to win the game if Lock can just gain a couple of first downs.
Sacks come around, go around:
Steelers LB Mark Robinson is completely unblocked (Stone Forsythe was blocking someone, so I don’t know where the free lane came from) and Lock has no idea that he’s about to be sacked, causing him to fumble the ball, which is recovered by Pittsburgh.
Pickett doesn’t need to do much for the win. He throws a first down on 3rd-and-2, scrambles for 8 yards to get in field goal range, then throws a touchdown to Tyler Vaughns.
Steelers 32, Seahawks 25
I recorded an Instant Reaction to the game on the Seaside Joe podcast:
Pickett finished 13/15, 95 yards, 2 TD vs the Seahawks.
Drew Lock finished 11/15, 102 yards, 2 TD vs the Steelers in the second half
Geno Smith finished 10/15, 101 yards in the first half
Dallas: 10 att, 73 yards
Homer: 4 att, 41 yards
Walker: 5 att, 19 yards
Thompson: 3 att, 15 yards
Bo Melton: 2 rec, 47 yards
Dareke Young: 4 rec, 30 yards, 1 TD
Dublanko: 8 tackles led team
Vi Jones: 6 tackles, 1 sack
Boye Mafe: 2 sacks, 1 TFL
Now talk about the game with me in the comments and share this post!
Lock >> Geno.
Not surprised to see DeeJay have a good game--we have great depth at RB.
Surprised the OL played as well as they did. Geno got sacked despite good time to throw--his first drive was gawd awful.
D was more porous than I had hoped it would be.
I did not see who the RB was on the play when Lock was strip sacked at the end but it was absolutely his responsibility to pick up the blitzer.
Personally, I'm pleased with this "game". I'm not expecting the Hawks to be good this year. Our draft class looked as good as advertised. In my view, Lock played significantly better than Smith. I'm hoping he starts on Thursday against the Bears. Would like to see how he does against a first string D. I'm not saying the Hawks are making the playoffs this year. Just that I've raised our under-over for games won this season from 3 to 4.5.