The fact that Wilson attempted 35 passes while Seattle’s running backs combined for 16 carries isn’t a sign that the Seahawks have suddenly become a pass-first team that no longer value balance, but it did show that they recognize one of their biggest strengths—one of the game’s best quarterbacks—and how well he and the passing game were functioning in the leadup to the regular season.
“What we’ve been doing in practice showed up,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “Russ has been extraordinary all camp. He had a great summer throwing the ball to everybody and he had perhaps his best throwing day, numbers wise, just about as you could have. He was in great command of the game.
Carroll wasn’t going to go as far as to declare the volume of passing we saw Sunday as the team’s new normal—and even if that was the plan, there’s no reason to admit it after one week—but he did say it was a case of playing to the strengths they’ve seen so far this year.
“It’s just a sign of how we’ve worked in this off-season,” Carroll said. “It’s really the way we’ve been practicing, and Russ was in total command of the game and had a beautiful game. But there’s so many things that factor in on that, it’s Schotty making the calls, it’s all the preparation to get there, it’s the guys coming through with their plays and all that, Russ will be the first to tell you. But it is a statement, though, off the off-season. This whole Zoom season, our guys did a marvelous job. Russ was extremely involved, integrally involved with all of that, and it just showed. It showed. We were together and tight and functioning well. I don’t know what we did on third down, I don’t know if it was any good, but we just were able to move the ball, even when we were backed up with penalty situations or sacks, we came back and converted. That’s confidence and belief. These guys, first game, they have earned their way right here. They have earned their way to play like that by the way they practiced.”
As Carroll alluded to in that quote, it wasn’t a perfect game for the offense. Wilson was sacked three times, including on Seattle’s first play from scrimmage, and there were five offensive penalties, two holds and three false starts, two of which came on consecutive plays. But the offense putting up 38 points in its opener, after an abbreviated offseason and no preseason games, was definitely a very good way to start.
“I thought guys were dialed in, they were tuned into the situational football, we were on it,” Wilson said. “All the different words and languages, and all the different things that we’re doing when we’re super advanced in how we’re doing things. We’re going to be a tough football team to beat. I’m excited about it. We can score a lot of points and we’ve got a lot of great players.”
Wilson’s big performance saw him complete passes to nine different players, including Metcalf, who had 95 yards on just four catches, Chris Carson, who scored two touchdowns on six catches, and new tight end Greg Olsen, who had four catches for 24 yards and a touchdown. And of course, Tyler Lockett was leading the way, as usual, with eight catches for 92 yards, just another big game for one of the league’s more underrated receivers.
“Tyler is one of the most consistent players in the NFL,” Wilson said. “He’s one of the most explosive players in the NFL even though he’s a smaller guy—he gets open all day. His ability, his feel for the game, his intelligence his awareness, his ability to get open in a blink of an eye.. He’s Mr. Dependable in so many ways. I love how he approaches the game. There’s nobody who approaches the game better than he does. He needs to get more recognition honestly for what he’s doing. I mean, he’s been unstoppable for the past I don’t know how many years. He’s been unstoppable. I think he’s one of the best receivers in the game, hands down.”
Players on the other side of the ball, who made plenty of big plays themselves in a game that saw the Seahawks thrive in all three phases, enjoyed watching Wilson and offense perform, even if seeing a quarterback play to that level was somewhat foreign to newcomer Jamal Adams.