By John Boyle Herald Columnist
SEATTLE — There is only so much anyone can really take out of a preseason game, particularly the first one of the season. That’s not to say that the games aren’t worth playing, or watching, but inevitably there tends to be some overreaction to what we see when teams play (fake) games for the first time in seven months.
But today we’re not here to talk you out of overreacting. Instead, just for fun, let’s embrace it. Let’s over-analyze everything that happens in a meaningless game, contested for most of the second half by a lot of players who won’t be on the team come September.
Doesn’t that sound more fun than calm, reasoned analysis? So here it is, the overreaction timeline of the Seahawks’ 27-17 win over the Tennessee Titans.
Pregame coin toss
If Matt Hasselbeck wins the coin toss, he’s going to say “We want the ball and we’re going to score,” isn’t he? I mean he has to, right. Wait, here it comes. … Darn. Overreaction: Tennessee has robbed Hasselbeck of his sense of humor.
First play from scrimmage
Hasselbeck throws a low pass that is tipped into the air, and returned for a touchdown by Brandon Browner. Overreaction: The Seahawks have the best secondary — no, the best defense — in all of football.
OK, so actually they may well have the best secondary in the NFL. Maybe this one isn’t an overreaction at all.
Second play from scrimmage
Pro Bowl running back Chris Johnson is stopped in the backfield for a loss by free agent addition Jason Jones. Overreaction: No team can run on the Seahawks, and Jones will be unstoppable for the Seahawks.
Actually, the Seahawks should be pretty good against the run, and Jones did have some moments when he looked pretty darn disruptive.
Seattle’s first drive
Leon Washington carries for nine yards, then nine again, then eight and the Seahawks eventually end up with a field goal. Overreaction: Look at the Seahawks run even without Marshawn Lynch playing. Who cares about a quarterback competition? They don’t need to throw the ball to win.
Truth be told, the No. 1 offensive line did look solid, even without starting guard John Moffitt, particularly run blocking. This is a good sign for a run game that showed tremendous progress in the second half of last season. Also, the offense as a whole should be better having had a full offseason worth of workouts, unlike last year when the offense was learning a new system with little time to learn it thanks to the lockout.
“We’re just so much farther ahead a year later than where we were a year ago,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said.
Still Seattle’s first drive
Matt Flynn went 6-for-6 on his first drive in a Seahawks uniform. Overreaction: He wins the quarterback competition. It’s all over.
Actually, come to think of it those six completions were for only 27 yards, and only none went for more than 10 yards.
Early second quarter
Flynn is intercepted by Tennessee linebacker Colin McCarthy. Overreaction: Oh man, how can he not see that linebacker dropping into coverage? The Seahawks blew it signing Flynn. Give the job back to Tarvaris Jackson.
OK, so Flynn should have seen McCarthy, but otherwise he showed a lot of good decision making in a solid though unspectacular first half. Besides, as Carroll pointed out, a running back messed up his assignment there, allowing McCarthy to drift back into coverage. It will, however, be important to see what Flynn can do when the Seahawks open up the play book a little more.
Pretty much the whole game
Bobby Wagner is on the field at middle linebacker. Overreaction: He’s going to be one tired dude after the game. Actually, this isn’t an overreaction, with the Seahawks trying to see if Wagner is ready to take over at middle linebacker as a rookie, they gave him a ton of playing time, even when the rest of the defense was comprised of third-stringers.
Early third quarter
Russell Wilson enters the game and leads the Seahawks to their first offensive touchdown of the game, a 39-yard pass to Braylon Edwards. A couple of possessions later, Wilson scrambles for a 23-yard gain. Overreaction: Give Wilson the starting job. Do it now! (I know, I just said earlier give it to Flynn. What can I say, we’re overreacting here). Wilson may be a rookie, he may be short by quarterback standards, but this guy has it, whatever “it” is.
Three plays later
Wilson’s pass on third down is tipped at the line of scrimmage, leading to a punt. Overreaction: He’s too darn short to play quarterback. Too short!
Late in the third quarter
The Titans return a punt 85 yards for a touchdown. Overreaction: The Seahawks stink on special teams. This is just like last year when the 49ers returned two kicks for scores. This is a huge issue.
Wait, what’s that? Oh, so a lot of the guys on coverage won’t be on the team in a month. Well OK then, maybe this isn’t the end of the world. But backups or not, Carroll did see issues with the second-half tackling.
“I thought the tackling was terrible,” Carroll said. “Particularly in the second half, we were just falling off of guys. … That was really the area that jumped out at me.
Early fourth quarter
Wilson throws to the end zone, but is intercepted by linebacker Zac Diles. Overreaction: Oh my goodness he stinks. I mean, did you see that throw? He floated it right to Diles, the Titans third-string middle linebacker.
Even Wilson had to admit that throw wasn’t good.
“I kind of just lofted it up there,” he said. “It wasn’t really a good throw.”
Late in the fourth quarter
(Looking up from my computer) shoot, they’re still playing football? Overreaction: I’m never going to make deadline.
Even later in the fourth quarter
Wilson bootlegs and races 32 yards for a touchdown. Overreaction: OK, he’s back in the Hall of Fame.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.