Seattle Seahawks (2-2 Preseason, 2-2 Regular Season) VS the Detroit Lions (1-3, Preseason, 0-4 Regular Season) Game Recap
By Sam Smith
The Seahawks improved to 2-2, on Monday night, notching a thrilling last minute victory at home in Century Link Field. The Lion’s early season woes continued as they fell to 0-4, but not without some strong defensive plays, and a final offense drive that would send fans loud voices even higher. Leading up until the game, a lot of hubbub was made about the noise that the 12s bring. Would they bring the noise to a level that would disrupt the Lions snap count? Would Sherman and Williams combine for two or more picks, which was the one more than the last time these two teams faced? Would Megatron be silenced by the Legion of Boom?
Defensively, it was clear that the ‘Hawks were aware of Detroit’s Ameer Abdullah running style, and they worked in sync to keep him bottled up. Minutes into the game, and Detroit was punting it away. Whether it was punt returns, short yard runs, or even the slim number of 15+ yarders that Matthew Stafford managed to complete to both Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, the Legion of Boom kept the hits coming. Carey Williams drew coverage on Megatron after Richard Sherman shut him down. Megatron had nearly half a foot or more of height and wingspan on Carey, but that didn’t stop the newest member of the L.O.B from keeping tabs on Megatron. He consistently provided man coverage, and never shied away from making key plays. It’s safe to say, now seeing him match up against a legit WR1 (one of the top WRs in the league), and the strip/fumble recovery for a TD he had against the Rams, that he’s cemented his spot in the Legion. Of course, Kam Chancellor had a few things to say with his tackles to Johnson as well, laying him out flat with a bone crushing hit in the 4th Quarter.
Of course, K.J. Wright, Bruce Irvin, Earl Thomas, and Bobby Wagner wreaked distress of Lions receivers and runners. Wagner and Cliff Avril had Stafford’s number, batting down passes and providing so much pressure that Stafford was forced to throw to the sidelines, or early, before his receivers could complete their routes. Stafford was lucky that at least two passes Avril had a hand on he couldn’t reel in, or this game would have gotten even uglier. Now, we cannot possibly talk about the L.O.B, without mentioning the marquee play of the evening: With Detroit down by three, Stafford mounted a vertical attack, marching down the field and threatening to get the go ahead score with less than two minutes to go. As he connected with Megatron on a short slant pass, Earl Thomas came tearing from his left side, leaping out and knocking him off of his feet. Simultaneously, Kam Chancellor appeared out of thin air, leaping like Superman, punching the football from Megatron’s grip mere inches from the end zone pylons. As the ball bounced, KJ Wright aided it out of the end zone, resulting in a touchback and Seattle possession.
On special teams, Steven Hauschka showed us that he is the best kicker in the league, easily lobbing 51 and 50-yard kicks through the uprights, in addition to a point after touchdown kick. John Ryan kept the punts as far down the field as he could, and it kept Detroit’s return game
Again, the defense won this game, holding Detroit to just a single Field goal. It was the offense, particularly the offensive line that almost gave the game away. Rookie center Drew Nowak again displayed some poor game calls, with some low snaps to Wilson that allowed Detroit’s blitz happy defensive scheme send #3 scrambling four or more times. The majority of those times, when the O-line collapsed, miscued on blocks, or caved under the pressure from Detroit’s stout front line, he was successful in making a down field throw, extending the play, or rushing. (He would end the night with 40 yards by himself). Other times, Detroit’s defenders made short work of the Seattle Offensive line, looking more like a hot knife through butter than that of a down and out team. Ziggy Ansah, a defensive end for the Lions, recovered a fumble off of a Wilson to Rawls handoff. He would also consistently get after Wilson, tackling him by the ankle of midriff when he had the time, which was often. Caraun Reed would also recover a fumble by Wilson to return 27 yards for a defensive score that would bring the Lions with a Field Goal of tying the game.
Speaking of Rawls, he filled in for an absent Marshawn Lynch, but it seems that the previous week of tape was all Detroit needed to keep him contained for a majority of the game. Fred Jackson had some key runs and receptions on 3rd downs, before sustaining a high ankle injury. That opened things up for the trio of receivers Lockett, Baldwin, and Kearse. Chris Matthews even notched a 21-yard reception, continuing to show that he’s more than just a one game receiver. It was the trio that kept the offense humming, with Kearse’s longest reception of the night coming from a 50-yard bomb from Wilson, though he had a 34-yard reception earlier. Baldwin made a 24-yard TD reception look easy, showing some twinkle toes to stay in bounds to legitimize the score. Jimmy Graham was again largely mum, notching 4 receptions for less than 30 total yards, but he made some key 1st down conversions.
Tyler Lockett came back down to Earth, fumbling a punt return as it bounced off of his chest. He was largely prevented from ripping off long kick and punt return runs, but showed incredible speed and prowess in the receiving corps, gaining almost 60 yards in this game. It is obvious that teams recognize how unique of a talent Lockett is in the return game, as the Lions kicked to the sidelines, back part of the end zone, and generally tried to make any one of their kicks as un returnable as possible. It’s also worth stating that Lockett, after the fumble, remained involved in the passing game and made successful kick and punt receptions. He’ll look to continue his success within the next few weeks.
The ‘Hawks are now 8-5 all time vs. Detroit. Up next, they travel to Cincinnati to face the Bengals, who are on a 4-0 tear. Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard are doing their best to wear down teams, while the receiver trio of A.J. Green, Marvin Jones and Mohammed Sanu, who have waltzed over most passing defenses they have faced. Tyler Eifert, billed as a Gronk-esque tight end, will likely keep Chancellor and Thomas busy. The Bengals defense, even with some top rushers and backs, has been suspect, in two of their last games they were only separated from the other team by a single score, this may be a close one. GO HAWKS!