Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson gestures as he walks off the field after a preseason game against the Chargers on Aug. 28, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson gestures as he walks off the field after a preseason game against the Chargers on Aug. 28, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

What to watch when Seahawks, Colts clash in season opener

Seattle has plenty of questions and intrigue after an eventful offseason.

  • Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times
  • Saturday, September 11, 2021 5:48pm
  • SportsSeahawks

By Bob Condotta / The Seattle Times

And away we go with the 46th season in Seattle Seahawks history.

It’s the continuation of a journey that started exactly 45 years ago — Sept. 12, 1976.

And who could have imagined all that would follow on that Bicentennial year day when Seattle hosted a team that has long since changed locations (the St. Louis Cardinals) in a stadium that no longer exists (the Kingdome) and took an opponent that would go on to win 10 games down to the final play in a 30-24 defeat?

Will this be another season to remember (I think we could all use another 2013 right about now), or one to forget (and take heart — there’s almost no way anything could ever be as bad as 1992)?

The story begins to unfold Sunday against the Colts in Indianapolis at 10 a.m.

Here’s a closer look at Seattle’s season opener.

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Seahawks front seven vs. Indy’s running game

The Colts have some injury issues at receiver (T.Y. Hilton is on injured reserve), and it’s unclear exactly how healthy quarterback Carson Wentz will be and if his recent foot surgery might curtail some of his usual mobility. That means the Colts may lean more than ever on their ground game, featuring two players with 1,000-yard seasons under their belts (Jonathan Taylor with 1,169 last year as a rookie and Marlon Mack with 1,091 in 2019). Nyheim Hines is also a threat both running and receiving, capping a trio that Pro Football Focus recently rated as the second-best running back corps in the NFL heading into the season. It’ll be a stern test for Seattle’s remade linebacking group right off the bat. And it may mean a lot of snaps for veteran tackle Al Woods, signed in March to replace Jarran Reed.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Seattle QB Russell Wilson

True, when isn’t Wilson a player to watch? But given the offseason Wilson-inspired kerfuffle, the change in offensive coordinators even after a year when Wilson threw a career-high 40 touchdowns, and the national speculation about his long-term future, Wilson’s every move — and Seattle’s every play call — figures to be scrutinized more than ever. A hot start for Wilson and the Seattle offense would be much welcomed in the upper-level offices of the VMAC.

COACHING DECISION TO WATCH

Just how much up-tempo offense the Seahawks use

The first thing almost every Seahawk mentions when asked how the offense may differ under new coordinator Shane Waldron is a faster tempo. That includes both more use of the no-huddle, which gives more freedom to Wilson to call the offense, but also simply working more quickly overall. Wilson has often been at his best when the Seahawks go up-tempo. But that’s usually been in small doses and in end-of-game or other unique circumstances. One big question is how committed Pete Carroll will be to it when the offense lulls, which is inevitable during the course of a 17-game season.

THE X-FACTOR

10 a.m. starts

But this may not be an X-factor in the way that you think it is. Where Seahawks fans once tuned into early games with dread, Seattle has long since turned that trend around. Seattle is 19-7 in its last 26 10 a.m. Pacific time starts and has won 11 of the last 12 since 2018. That includes a 3-1 mark last year, with wins at Atlanta, Miami and Washington and a loss at Buffalo. It almost makes you wish they had more than two 10 a.m. starts this year, the other coming in December at Houston.

PLAYER WHO COULD SURPRISE

Tight end Gerald Everett

OK so maybe a player making $6 million this season — the most of any outside free agent signed by the team in the offseason — isn’t really one whose contribution should be considered a surprise. But since he played just 12 snaps in the preseason, exactly how the team plans to use him remains an unknown. Everett has a skill set that will allow him to be split out often if the Seahawks want, with Will Dissly likely to get more of the snaps as the inline tight end. Seattle could also use Everett as an H-back.

KEY STAT

40-23-1

That’s Seattle’s road record since 2013. And while much is rightfully made of Seattle’s success at home, the Seahawks have been almost as good on the road in recent years. Seattle’s 63.3 road winning percentage is second in the NFL the last eight years only to Kansas City, which is 44-20, 68.8. Of Seattle’s seven most successful seasons on the road, six have come since 2013. Seattle is also 12-4 on the road the last two years, better than Seattle’s 11-5 home record in that time. So, the Seahawks should feel right at home at Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday.

THE PICK

Seahawks 24, Colts 20

Nothing figures to come easy against a Colts team that went 11-5 in 2020 and features a stout running game and dangerous players on the defensive front in tackle DeForest Buckner and weakside linebacker Darius Leonard. But Seattle has the edge at the most important position — quarterback — especially with it unclear just how healthy Wentz is.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Sports

The 2024 Nautique WWA Wakeboard National Championships and Nautique U.S. National Wakesurf Championships begin July 25 and conclude the 28, held at Lake Tye Park in Monroe. (Photo courtesy Katie Darrow, City of Monroe)
2 national sporting events to take place in Snohomish County this week

The USA Softball Western Nationals are in Everett and Lynnwood, and the Nautique WWA Wakeboard National and U.S. National Wakesurf championships are in Monroe.

Coco Gauff (USA) returns the ball against Nadia Podoroska (ARG) during a WTA match at the Miami Open tennis tournament, on Friday, March 22, 2024. (Pedro Portal / Tribune News Service)
Column: My storylines for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games

Part 2: The U.S. men’s and women’s soccer squads, world tennis players Nadal, Alcaraz, Djokovic, Svitolina and Gauff are my favorites to win medals.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith throws a pass in the second half, October 29, 2023, at Lumen Field. (John Kuntz / Tribune News Service)
How Ryan Grubb’s history of helping QBs can help Seahawks and Geno Smith

Grubb, the former UW offensive coordinator, also helped transform ex-Husky Jake Haener from a Power Five transfer into an All-Mountain West performer and draft pick.

Rory McIlroy hits from the fairway on second hole at the 2024 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club, Thursday, April 11, 2024, in Augusta, Ga. (Hyosub Shin / Tribune News Service)
Column: My storylines for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games

Part 1: The U.S. men’s and women’s basketball squads, world golf players Scheffler, Schauffele and McIlroy are my favorites to win medals.

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba catches the game-winning touchdown pass as Eagles cornerback James Bradberry defends in the fourth quarter on Dec. 18. (Yong Kim / Tribune News Service)
Five things as Seahawks open first training camp of Mike Macdonald era | Analysis

The first day to evaluate the 90 campers begins Wednesday.

Lakeside’s Addie Streidl hits the ball during the girls gold doubles championship match at the Snohomish Summer Smash at Snohomish High School in Snohomish, Washington on Sunday, July 21, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Wesco tennis players crowned champions at 2024 Snohomish Summer Smash

Shorewood’s Carlota Garibay Romero and Archbishop Murphy’s Cole Balen highlight the weekend with singles and doubles titles.

Boys Snohomish Little League 8-10 coach Aaron Barstad (kneeling) talks to the outfield during practice at the Snohomish Little League Complex in Snohomish, Washington on Thursday, July 18, 2024. Barstad’s team claimed the Washington District 1 Little League title, securing a spot in the 2024 Washington State 8-10 Baseball tournament held July 20-27 at the North Kitsap League Complex in Poulsbo, Washington. (Taras McCurdie / The Herald)
Baseball history in the making: Snohomish Little League 10U boys team is state bound

The 2024 District 1 champions became the first Snohomish boys team to advance.

Rays third baseman Isaac Paredes catches a pop fly in foul territory during Friday’s game against the Cleveland Guardians. (Jefferee Woo / Tribune News Service)
Ranking the best Mariners trade targets as deadline nears

Seattle needs to fill the offensive gap by July 30.

Matt Calkins: Forget the slow start, the Sounders are showing they’re title contenders

Seattle’s 2-0 win over St. Louis City FC launched it into sixth place in the Western Conference.

Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald talks with the media after practice at Under Armour Performance Center. The Seattle Seahawks hired Macdonald on January 31, 2024. (Kevin Richardson / Tribune News Service)
Seattle Seahawks roster breakdown: One thought on Geno Smith and every position group

The next phase of Mike Macdonald’s debut season as head coach of… Continue reading

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.