Week 1 Game Recap: Seattle Seahawks 14, Jacksonville Jaguars 26
What you need to know
The Seahawks’ offensive line gave Hasselbeck ample time on the majority of his first half passing plays. In the first half, Seattle put together a couple of nice drives, a pair of touchdowns and a strong fantasy half of performance for Hasselbeck. The second half was a different story, as Jacksonville blitzed repeatedly and Seattle’s o-line was unable to handle it. Hasselbeck was hurried often, sacked twice and made several poor decisions. On the Seahawk’s last offensive play of the game, Hasselbeck threw an interception as he was hit hard and left the field favoring his throwing arm.
Shaun Alexander had a game unworthy of his early first round fantasy draft selection. Half of his 73 yard performance came on a single 36 yard scamper in the second quarter. He didn’t find pay dirt and had only red zone carry.
Turnovers killed the Seahawks. Matt Hasselbeck threw three interceptions and fumbled once, killing any chance Seattle had at winning this game. It’s hard to fault Hasselbeck on the fumble, as he was blindsided by an untouched Jaguar, but two of his three interceptions were poor throws into tight coverage. The Seahawk offense visited Jaguars’ territory only once in the second half, that visit coming in the waning seconds of the game.
Bobby Engram and Darrell Jackson shared 20 targets evenly, with Jackson finding the end zone, but Engram netting more catches and yardage. The big news here could be the absence of dropped passes. Both receivers showed excellent concentration and good hands by reeling in anything that was catchable, often in traffic.
Josh Scobey, the Seahawk’s new primary kick returner, lost a fumble on the game’s opening kickoff from Josh Scobee, the Jaguar’s place kicker. Most of Scobee’s remaining kicks sailed over Scobey’s head for touchbacks. Confusing, eh?
The Jaguars’ new “attacking offense” was a popular topic of conversation for game commentators. Under this new plan, Byron Leftwich took a healthy percentage of his snaps out of the shotgun and the Jaguars attacked with a few trick plays featuring rookie wide receiver Matt Jones.
Many football fans have taken to adding the adjective “aging” in front of Jimmy Smith’s name. It’s time to stop. Smith had a strong game, burning Seattle’s secondary repeatedly en route to a 130 yard, two touchdowns game. He made it look easy.
The Jaguar rush defense kept Shaun Alexander out of stride from the start. They limited him to only 73 yards with half of those coming on a single carry. In the second half, the pass defense came to life and made Matt Hasselbeck’s day miserable. They successfully blitzed him from all sides and forced poor decisions and turnovers. The Seahawk offense was barred from the Jaguar’s side of the field for the first 29 minutes of the second half.
What you ought to know
Hasselbeck looked sharp to start the game, completing his first two pass attempts to Darrell Jackson, both for double-digit gains, and picking up eight yards on a scramble. His second quarter touchdown pass to Joe Jurevicious showed the strength of his offensive line. Hasselbeck looked right seemingly forever and then checked down to Jurevicius who was alone in the left corner of the end zone. On the next drive, he overthrew Darrell Jackson on a sideline go route and then badly overthrew Bobby Engram for a Jacksonville interception. He capped the first half by leading his team on a strong drive, culminating in a Darrell Jackson touchdown. In the second half, things started falling apart. The Jaguars’ defense made some halftime adjustments that kept Hasselbeck off balance for the rest of the game. On a crucial drive in the fourth quarter, with the Seahawks still in the game, Hasselbeck made his most damaging poor decision in throwing an interception into heavy coverage.
Wilson looked very much like a rookie quarterback in his regular season debut, especially in the beginning. Even his first NFL completion was an adventure. Wilson dropped back to pass on the second play of the game and hurriedly went through his progressions. He looked frantic as he dumped the ball off to Marshawn Lynch, about three feet behind him. Lynch tipped the ball up into the air and miraculously Sidney Rice made a diving catch for a nine yard gain and a first down. This would not be an omen of the help Wilson was to receive from his receivers. After the first drive stalled, Wilson got the ball back on Arizona’s 42 and looked slightly more composed to begin the drive. He started with an eleven yard dart to Rice, released just as the blitz was getting there. As often as the Cardinals were blitzing, the Seahawks tried to mix in a screen to Sidney Rice and it was almost a disaster. The Cardinals jumped the route and Wilson threw behind the receiver, for what should have been a fumble. Poor officiating saved Wilson for the time being. The second quarter was fairly uneventful for Wilson, although he continued to be bothered by the pressure applied by Arizona. Even when his line held up, Wilson was looking for somewhere to run after 2-3 seconds in the pocket. At the end of the half Wilson threw one of his best balls of the game, a beautifully thrown seam route to Zach Miller for 27 yards. This led to Wilson’s only interception, the kind that really shouldn’t be held against a quarterback. With ten seconds left and the Seahawks on their own 48, Wilson just heaved the ball deep and overthrew his receiver for the pick. The throw was poor but it was a low risk high reward type play. Wilson started the second quarter by making the same mistake on a screen play, only this time it cost him. On a screen left to Lynch, Wilson was in the throwing motion before he even looked left. Unfortunately that meant he didn’t see the defensive lineman bearing down on Lynch. Wilson threw the ball again behind the receiver, and though the referees again missed the call, this time it was challenged and ruled a fumble. After an Arizona field goal and an 83 yard kickoff return from Leon Washington, Wilson led his only touchdown drive of the game. On third and nine from the ten yard line Wilson went through three reads under pressure before zipping a bullet over the middle to Sidney Rice for the score. With 4:58 remaining in the game, Wilson got the ball at his own 20 needing a touchdown to win. After starting with a twelve yard hitch to Braylon Edwards on a strong throw, he was sacked and found himself in 3rd and 14 with the game on the line. Wilson threw an absolute dart to Charly Martin right at the sticks for a first down. Running the two minute drill Wilson looked the most comfortable he had all day but he didn’t get much help from his receivers. Doug Baldwin dropped a short hitch on the left side and then dropped a perfectly thrown ball in the end zone that would have won the game. Braylon Edwards had the ball in his hands with a chance to win the game on Wilson’s final throw but couldn’t hold on under pressure from the defense. It was a game the Seahawks would’ve won if his receivers had made a play at the end of the game, but he’ll need to play better for the first three quarters if he wants to be a winning NFL quarterback.
Alexander did not have the kind of day worthy of an early first round fantasy pick. His 73 yards on the ground isn’t dismal, but consider that 36 of those yards came on a single play when he scampered around the right side and accelerated into the Jaguars’ secondary. The Seahawks were still in this game well into the fourth quarter, so his performance can’t be chalked up to an abandoning of the running game. He simply wasn’t finding the holes necessary to succeed against a daunting Jacksonville defense. Obviously no need to panic, but this was certainly less than his owners were expecting.
Morris had his customary handful of carries spelling Alexander’s lone long run.
|RB Mack Strong, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0, Rec: 1 - -3 - 0 (3 targets)|
Strong was not a fantasy factor.
While Coleman will never be mistaken for Reggie Bush, he did do a fantastic job with the targets that came his way late in the game. As the team’s fullback, don’t expect his name on the score sheet too often, but with the team playing from behind, Coleman was looked to more than usual.
Michael played a good game, while splitting carries mainly with Thomas Rawls. Michael showed throughout that he belonged in the starting lineup, with a burst that carried him past scrimmage, and looked like a man possessed on cut backs that helped him find extra room. Michael even busted through on a short yardage carry late in the game. After 3rd down back C.J. Prosise hurt his wrist and sat out the second half, it was Michael who picked up the slack on passing downs. If not for the murky running back situation in Seattle, with some sort of 3-headed time share on tap, Michael would be in store for some great opportunities; As it is, take his future prospects with a grain of salt.
Prosise took a seat after hurting his wrist, causing him to miss the second half (and perhaps more). He made a good catch and run on 3rd down and a single rush for negative yards.
Only two touches for the undrafted free agent. His second carry was for just four yards with 4:18 left in the first half and didn’t see a snap after that.
Engram is officially a threat to cut into Darrell Jackson’s numbers. He and Jackson split 20 targets evenly and Engram turned his eight catches into a respectable 79 yards. Still operating primarily out of the slot, Engram is reliable and opportunistic.
Jackson caught Hasselbeck’s first two passes of the game, but wasn’t targeted again until midway through the second quarter. He showed great concentration in catching his second quarter touchdown pass with a Jacksonville safety riding on his back. If this game is a sign of things to come, Bobby Engram will steal valuable fantasy points from Jackson owners.
Jurevicius’ second quarter touchdown was likely the easiest he’d ever seen as the safety was confused by Hasselbeck’s late check down and Jurevicius was all alone in the end zone. He was shaken up after being hit hard and holding on to a nice fourth quarter reception. Alex Bannister appeared to take his place for the balance of the game.
Bannister was targeted on a big third down play in the second quarter and failed to grab a difficult, but catchable ball.
The rookie from Stanford took his opportunity and ran with it in this game. With new acquisition Sidney Rice sidelined, Baldwin tied for the team lead in targets and looked wise beyond his years in doing so. On his touchdown, he showed a great combination of intelligence and speed as he ran a slant, sat down in the soft part of the 49ers coverage, and turned a short pass into a long TD. Baldwin also had another big catch of 12 yards on a 3rd-and-10 to keep the drive alive which led to the team’s first TD. While he should lose opportunities when Rice returns, he’s a name to keep an eye on as Rice has been injury-prone throughout his career. The theme of Seattle’s receivers though will be that there aren’t enough quality targets to go around after Rice gets his expected amount.
Kearse made himself noticed in the second half, first with a deceptively hard catch. It was a seemingly routine short pass, but with tons of pressure on the QB, it was no small feat to be ready for the pass, and he was. Late in the game, Kearse made an acrobatic, leaping catch for a long touchdown.
Lockette did not play many snaps but he sure made them count. On his 33 yard score, he was wide open but still had to shed one tackler on his way to the end zone. He was also a deep target (and made a good leap for it!), but really didn’t have a chance on the slightly overthrown ball.
Tyler Lockett’s first NFL catch came off a screen pass on the first drive for a 7-yard gain. After a Rams three-and-out on their first series Lockett picks up right where he left off in the preseason and takes yet another punt return back for a TD. He was consistent in his targets catching all 4 passes thrown his way. He makes a nice catch down the sideline with 22 seconds left in the first half that help set up a game-tying field goal.
Martin didn’t even come into the game until the final drive on 3rd and 14. He promptly ran a perfect hitch route and turned to get to the marker for a first down.
Rice gave great effort from the opening whistle and looked outstanding just about every time the ball was thrown his way. His first catch was a diving grab that was actually intended for Marshawn Lynch and had been tipped in the air. Shortly after he drew pass interference on a bomb from Wilson solely because he tried to fight through the contact and didn’t just give up. His touchdown catch was a sharp snag just over his head running full speed across the middle. On the final drive, Rice got the Seahawks into scoring range by drawing another pass interference call. He then prevented an interception by playing great defense on a ball thrown right at Patrick Peterson.
Richardson went mostly unnoticed. He did show that he can be an excellent deep threat, as he had a step on his man, the pass was overthrown.
Taylor was just plain bad. He couldn’t get open all day, he dropped passes, he simply did not look like he belonged. Hasselbeck targeted him early and often, mainly due to the lack of options. Of note is the fact that Hasselbeck threw to him often at the start of the game. He was clearly a big part of the game plan, but it didn’t work out that well.
Stevens had a game typical of Seahawk’s tight ends, a handful of catches and yardage.
With Ituli Mili out ill, Hannam saw action in two tight end sets.
Jimmy Graham had an efficient debut for the Seattle Seahawks. He started slow in the first half and was relied upon as a blocker quite a bit more than he was in New Orleans. His first catch came on a nicely thrown ball towards the sideline for a 9-yard gain after one of the few times Russell Wilson was given time to deliver the football. Where Graham will do the majority of his damage this season will be in the red zone and that was evident in this game as expected. In the first quarter on a key third down play, Wilson out of the shotgun rolled right and hit Graham with a short pass where he dove for the first down but is stopped just short. To separate times in this game Wilson hit Graham through the middle of the field after stepping up in the pocket. Russell Wilson’s only touchdown of the night went to Jimmy Graham. He was Wilson’s first read three plays in a row and the two finally hooked up on third down. Graham caught single coverage and secured a very nice timing throw from Russell Wilson out of the shotgun.
Mili pulled in all four of his targets. Three on short dumps across the middle of the field. He took a shot to the helmet on one of his receptions and went to the sideline for a play, but returned to the game.
Willson was not targeted until late in the 4th frame, and caught two passes. Willson has shown good hands in the past, and could be relied on more heavily this season, but the presence of starter Zach Miller will continue to limit his number of targets.
Brown converted both his extra points and was not given a field goal opportunity.
Seattle’s run stoppers frustrated Fred Taylor for most of the first half, but gave up a big end around gain to rookie receiver Matt Jones. The defensive line appeared to tire in the second half and Fred Taylor found some small holes, finishing the game with 76 rushing yards. Game commentators pointed out that the Seahawks only dressed seven defensive linemen, a possible cause of their fatigue.
Through the first quarter of play, Byron Leftwich completed seven of ten pass attempts and the Seahawks’ pass rush never even found his zip code, though Grant Wistrom did manage to tip one at the line of scrimmage. The pass rush fared better early in the second quarter with a handful of hits on Leftwich, but the Seahawks’ secondary gave Jimmy Smith way too much room and an easy touchdown. Seattle blitzes found some success, particularly in the third quarter, forcing a Leftwich fumble that should have been recovered by the Seahawks and forcing the mobile quarterback to scramble more than usual. Following a fourth quarter Hasselbeck interception, Jamie Sharper came up with a clutch sack with the Jaguars deep in Seattle territory, holding Jacksonville to a field goal.
|QB Byron Leftwich, Pass: 17 - 31 - 252 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 9 - 0|
Leftwich played an efficient, virtually mistake-free game. He began the game by completing his first four passes with ease. Jimmy Smith was by far his most popular target as he was wide open more often than not. Leftwich’s scrambling ability limited the Seattle defense to only two sacks and generated minimal positive yardage. With the Jaguars defense firing on all cylinders, Leftwich simply wasn’t asked to do anything spectacular.
Bortles looked out of rhythm until the two-minute drill to close the first half, which featured a lot of checkdowns and then a bomb to Allen Hurns on a corner route after the defense started squatting short. He had more good plays using his legs than his arm, having a nice run on a read-option keep as well as a couple of scrambles for positive yardage. On his first completion to Allen Robinson, he actually led him upfield a little on a dig route allowing for some extra yardage. His interception was an awful decision, where he threw a quick Out route where Carolina had three defenders on two wide receivers, with all the defenders squatting and waiting for the short pass. He has now thrown 7 pick sixes in 14 starts. The entire pass offense came off the rails once Luke Joeckel hurt his ankle, getting shut out in the second half.
Henne came in late in the fourth quarter and immediately completed a pass in the flat to his back. Henne completed a 24 yard pass to Cecil Shorts on a nice backshoulder throw down the sideline. The offense stalled at that point, as Henne couldn't connect with his receivers. He didn't play enough to supplant Gabbert.
|RB Fred Taylor, Rush: 20 - 76 - 0, Rec: 2 - 14 - 0 (2 targets)|
On Taylor’s first carry, he was unable to convert a red zone third and one. He was continually frustrated for most of the first three quarters, finding little room to operate. He showed some of his nifty old moves on a couple of occasions, but the Seattle defensive line did an excellent job in limiting his opportunities. Most important to Taylor owners, he didn’t look to be playing hurt. He wore the knee brace as he did during the preseason but commented earlier that it was no problem. He said he’d worn a similar brace for many games in college and it was not a problem hampering his speed or mobility.
The back up tailback spelled Taylor.
The fullback had a single catch for a first down.
He was not a fantasy factor.
One of the biggest concerns with Toby Gerhart as a starter rather than a backup is his durability. In this game, the Jaguars were given a fright when Gerhart went off with an injury, but he did ultimately return. Gerhart ran well early in the game, showing good patience and vision with the ability to break tackles. However, the limitations of his offensive line were clear. Late in the game, Gerhart was being given more space and he showed an ability to take advantage of it with a number of impressive runs.
Robinson's first carry came from the wildcat, but the Chiefs easily snuffed him out as he tried to carry it up the middle. Robinson's second carry came in the fourth quarter, as Gabbert handed the ball off to him in the shotgun for no gain.
Yeldon played very well in his professional debut. His statline wasn’t gaudy because Jacksonville got away from their run game (their two-minute drill that led to a touchdown at the end of the first half was fool’s gold that caused them to start throwing the ball too often in the second half). The right side of the Jax offensive line is much better than the right side – his first 3 carries to the left side totaled 8 yards. The next two carries were to the right and went for 14 and then 11 yards. On that first carry to the right side, he had a very pretty stutter step on the safety that allowed him to pop off for some additional yardage. He also showed good quickness in the open field on a Swing pass where the wide receiver picked the linebacker. Had a goalline carry in the first half, but there was no room on the play and it was stuffed.
Smith had a very strong game to open the season. His 45 yard reception in the second quarter could have gone for a touchdown had Leftwich led him just a bit. He had single coverage beaten by a few steps, but the slightly under thrown pass allowed a saving ankle tackle by Kelly Herndon. Two plays later, Smith found himself alone in the end zone with ball in hand. Smith continued to have his way with the Seattle secondary, drawing mismatches or just flat beating the corners.
|WR Matt Jones, Pass: 1 - 1 - 6 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 28 - 0, Rec: 2 - 22 - 0 (5 targets)|
His primary contributions came on trick plays, once even lining up at the familiar quarterback position. In the third quarter, Jones caught a pass in the back of the end zone, but came down out of bounds. It was close to being a force out, but the official ruled he wouldn’t have gotten two feet in.
The big wideout, coming off a disappointing rookie season, had a decent game. He used his size to gain separation from coverage and made the best of his five targets.
The rookie struggled a bit in his first regular season outing, but showed some of his speed and ability on a few of his catches. There seemed to be an assumption Blackmon was walking into an instant lead wide receiver situation, but it clearly will take him some more time to get up to the speed of the NFL.
Broussard caught both of his targets, including one where he beat one on one coverage to reel in a well-thrown pass from Garrard for a 47 yard touchdown catch, displaying impressive speed and great hands as he dove for the ball and held on.
Greene had a really nice drive on the two-minute drill to close the first half. He started the drive off with a few short receptions, and capped the drive with the Jaguars’ only touchdown of the day on a stick route from the one-yard line.
Allen Hurns is an undrafted free agent who starred for the Jaguars in the preseason. His all-around skill set and physical talent allowed him to dominate lesser opponents when given opportunities before the regular season. It was unclear if Hurns' production would carry over to the regular season, but his talent was always going to give him opportunities. Hurns took those opportunities early on in the game as he caught two touchdown passes and one big catch down the sideline after a double move. He faded out of the game, but that was largely a result of the Jaguars offense as a whole and the plays he made early on were not easy so his outlook should remain very positive. Importantly, even though Hurns became less involved in the game as it went on, he was still able to get open down the field. In the third quarter, he was unfortunate not to make a tough reception diving out of bounds for what would have been a big reception.
Lee finished this game with six catches, but he wasn't involved on offense early on. His first catch was a short curl route underneath midway through the second quarter. Lee's next catchable target came late in the third quarter when he couldn't make a difficult reception on an underthrown pass down the sideline. He needed to be stronger at the catch point and attack the ball in the air instead of waiting on it. That kind of play is never going to be Lee's strength. Instead he needs to see targets on screen plays and underneath routes that afford him opportunities to create YAC. His next target was a screen that he turned into a first down with his elusiveness in space. Lee caught a deep out route a few plays later as he and Henne began to build a relationship. Three of his receptions and most of his yards came on the final drive of the game against prevent coverage.
Robinson was targeted a couple of times early in the game, but he couldn't create separation on underneath routes. When he caught his first pass, it was on a screen play where the defensive back tackled him as soon as he caught the ball.
Wrighster showed excellent concentration in catching a tipped pass on his only target.
Wilford was not a fantasy factor.
The starting tight end was not asked to contribute.
Lewis was targeted several times as Garrard’s outlet receiver on short and intermediate routes and did a good job of getting open. He was targeted twice in the end zone, being overthrown once and on the other attempt, he appeared to not lay out completely for the pass.
Thomas had one of the best, if not the best, games of his Jaguar career from a consistency and efficiency standpoint. He did not drop a single target that came his way and showed his terrific versatility throughout the game, lining up both in-line, in the slot, and flexed out wide. He converted several first down receptions for the offense and was a constant threat up the seam of the defense. His big play of the day came when he was flexed out wide in the redzone and beat the defender by a step, creating a deep window for Bortles to place the touchdown pass in. If this game showed anything, it is that the Jaguars are going to use Thomas all over the field to ensure that they get the ball in his hands.
Eighty percent is nothing to scoff at after a rookie campaign that saw him finish at 75%. More important to the Jaguars, he sailed five of his seven kickoffs into the end zone. Fantasy owners need not worry about a kicker change in Jacksonville as long as that trend continues.
Jacksonville’s run defense kept Shaun Alexander and Maurice Morris in check from minute one. Alexander’s stats would have been miserable if not for a single 36 yard run.
Jacksonville started blitzing Hasselbeck with some success in the third quarter and enormous success in the fourth. They recorded only two sacks, but forced Hasselbeck into a number of poor decisions, resulting in three interceptions and a fumble. This was the key to the game for the Jaguars as Hasselbeck’s frustrations spread to the entire team and kept the Seattle offense off the field.