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Week 1 Game Recap: Seattle Seahawks 24, Denver Broncos 27


What you need to know

Seattle Seahawks

WR Doug Baldwin left the game with a knee injury (it was the other knee, however; he did not aggravate the existing injury. In either case, it’s not good news). Russell Wilson spread the ball around, and despite being chased far too often by Von Miller and Co., looked in control and never seemed ‘on the run’ – even when he was. The RB position so far is a timeshare, in which Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny both made positive contributions. Time may tell if if it’s a one-off, but TE Will Dissly quickly made Seahawks fans forget the Jimmy Graham experiment.

Denver Broncos

Von Miller had a monster night with three sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Justin Simmons intercepted Russel Wilson late in the 3rd, and Adam Jones picked him off again in the 4th quarter. Brandon McManus was perfect on field goals and extra points.

Seattle Seahawks

QB Russell Wilson, 57 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 33 - 298 - 3 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 2 - 5 - 0
Wilson’s first TD pass came on a play action call at the 15 yard line – field position gifted to him by a turnover – to TE Will Dissly at the goal line, who was a favourite target in the first half. The connection with the rookie continued with a confident throw over the middle, hitting him in stride, which Dissly took nearly all the way to the end zone, for a 66 yard gain. Early on, Doug Baldwin left the game, and Wilson didn’t skip a beat, utilizing the talent around him well as he spread the ball around. The Seahawks simply weren’t able to solve the Broncos blitz, and though Wilson was sacked a horrific six times (three by Von Miller), he never lost his cool, never panicked with the ball. Wilson’s vision was excellent on a couple of scoring plays, as he found a wide open Tyler Lockett on play action rollout play that confused the defense enough for him to throw a rainbow pass perfectly into his arms on a deep post route; and to the rejuvenated Brandon Marshall, as the pass was again lofted perfectly into the tightly covered receiver’s arms for the 20 yard score. Wilson’s first interception was clearly a mistake as he threw poorly into zone coverage, but the second one was simply a final play desperation pass. He also fumble the snap on the final drive, which cost them a chance to move the ball with one minute left and no time outs. It also should be a concern that as the Broncos pass rush intensified throughout the game, Wilson was rarely able to get loose and run, but overall, he had a positive outing.

RB Rashaad Penny, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 8 - 0, Rec: 4 - 35 - 0 (5 targets)
Penny’s numbers may not tell the tale here. He looked very good in space – catching the ball and running outside – but, did not really impress when given the ball between the tackles. The key takeaway ‘s here are simply that he looked healthy – and dangerous at times. After sitting out much of the pre-season with an injury, he may need some time to get up to game speed. The numbers here say he put up a dud, but the Seahawks clearly want to get him the ball, so he’s one to keep an eye on in the coming weeks.

RB Chris Carson, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 51 - 0, Rec: 3 - 28 - 0 (5 targets)
Carson not only started the game, but had the better stats to show for it, versus the rookie, Rashaad Penny. Carson was asked to do a bit of everything, and he really shone on a highlight reel juke-and-leap over a defender early in the game. He also looked good in between the tackles as well as catching the ball. In fact, he had a long screen pass called back on penalty that would have given his reception yards total a big boost. Though Carson did everything that was asked of him, he also fumbled the ball, giving the Broncos the ball in Seahawks territory. Carson is clearly the lead back for now, but this could easily evolve into a timeshare.

WR Brandon Marshall, 37 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 46 - 1 (6 targets)
Marshall carried over his pre-season enthusiasm and work ethic and it paid off with a TD in his first regular season game with the Seahawks. On his 20 yard scoring play, Marshall was just ahead of the DB down the sideline, and caught a perfectly thrown pass as he entered the end zone. He had another TD catch negated (granted, due to a penalty on him – but at least it shows that Wilson was looking his way). At least as important as the scoring play(s) were the less memorable catches, the ones that simply moved the chains. Marshall worked hard in traffic as well as the sideline work. He was the intended target on an interception, but the turnover was no fault of his.

WR Tyler Lockett, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 59 - 1 (4 targets)
Lockett was all but invisible for the first half of the game, but looked excellent when his number was called. Early on, he caught a couple of short reads, a screen and swing pass, for very small gains. It was not until the 4th quarter that he made his presence known, streaking downfield, wide open on a post pattern, easily catching the well thrown ball and running for a 51 yard score. With Baldwin out for an extended period, expect Lockett to pick up some of the slack.

WR Doug Baldwin, 11 offensive snaps (1 targets)
Baldwin left the game early on after hurting his knee, without recording a catch. He has been diagnosed with a Grade 2 MCL sprain, which can take several weeks to heal.

TE Will Dissly, 33 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 105 - 1 (5 targets)
It’s too early to tell if this week was a one-off or Dissly is the real deal as a receiving threat. Either way, his NFL debut was exciting to watch. For a guy who got drafted for his run-blocking prowess, he sure looked like a natural fit catching passes from Russell Wilson. Picking up where Jimmy Graham left off (and wearing his old 88), Dissly’s first catch was a 15 yard touchdown, as he got reasonably open on a play action call, and hauled in an easy catch at the goal line. After that, he followed up with a great catch in traffic, as he caught the ball in stride, over the middle, and nearly took it all the way, finishing inside the 10 for a 66 yard gain. In the second half, he disappeared, however, likely to help stop the increasingly effective Broncos pass rush.


Denver Broncos

QB Case Keenum, 74 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 39 - 329 - 3 TD / 3 INT
It was an up and down performance for Keenum, who tossed three touchdowns as well as three interceptions. Keenum was picked off by Earl Thomas early in the contest. The safety was playing deep and jumped the pass as Keenum looked for Demaryius Thomas up the seam. Keenum was picked a second time late in the second quarter as the Broncos attempted to score with their two minute offense. The interception was mostly due to a fantastic diving effort by defender Bradley McDougald. Keenum's third interception was an ugly one, as he simply overthrew his receiver(Sanders) and hit defender McDougald right in the hands in the third quarter.

Keenum's first touchdown was all Phillip Lindsay, as the back caught a short out route from the backfield and turned it up the sideline for a 29 yard score in the 1st quarter. Keenum found Emmanuel Sanders in the 2nd quarter for his second touchdown of the day on a play action. Sanders split wide left and ran a deep crossing route, losing his defender in the middle of the field where Keenum found him. The receiver turned on the jets and took the ball up the right sideline for a score. Keenum led a 75 yard scoring drive to take the lead in the 4th quarter. His short memory was apparent as he fearlessly stared down McDougald(who had already picked him twice) and threw a laser past the defender to connect with Demaryius Thomas for his third touchdown. The receiver made fantastic effort to catch the ball and touch both feet down as he fell out of bounds.

RB Phillip Lindsay, 26 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 71 - 0, Rec: 2 - 31 - 1 (3 targets)
Lindsay was the third back in the game for Broncos, but his was the most impressive performance after he entered the game late in the 1st quarter. Lindsay lined up in the backfield in a shotgun formation, catching a short out route and turning it up the sideline for a 29 yard touchdown on one of his first snaps. Lindsay showed off his speed on a pitch play in the 4th, turning the corner on the defense for a big gain up the left sideline. He was effective between the tackles as well, picking up several nice gains and moving the chains. Lindsay also showed great effort when he ran down Earl Thomas after an interception, saving a touchdown. Though Freeman got the start, Lindsay finished with the same amount of carries and yards, as well as performing better than Freeman or Booker in the passing game.

RB Royce Freeman, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 71 - 0
Freeman got the start, but wound up nearly splitting time with Phillip Lindsay. He and Lindsay interestingly posted nearly the exact same stat line in the rushing game, with both backs tallying 71 yards on 15 carries(Freeman's longest run was 17, Lindsay's 14). Freeman fumbled a carry in the 1st quarter but managed to recover the ball himself. Freeman was deployed to grind out the clock and had a couple of impressive runs right up the middle late in the 4th quarter, moving a pile of defenders downfield as he churned out tough yards. Freeman was not targeted in the passing game, with Devontae Booker working some passing downs and Phillip Lindsay scoring a nice receiving touchdown.

RB Devontae Booker, 19 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 4 - 0, Rec: 2 - 11 - 0 (2 targets)
Booker was overshadowed by the two rookie backs and did not have much of a role in week 1. He worked some passing downs early and was featured at the end of the first half as the Broncos fielded their two minute offense, catching a screen pass for a short gain. Booker picked up one other reception late in the 4th as Keenum dumped it off to him under duress. He was outsnapped by both rookie RB's and was not as effective a receiver as Lindsay.

WR Emmanuel Sanders, 64 offensive snaps, Rec: 10 - 135 - 1 (11 targets)
Sanders clearly has the best chemistry with Keenum of all the receivers at this point. He led the target share with 11 targets to Thomas's 10, and he was much more efficient with his looks, hauling in 10 total. Sanders got hot early, clearing 115 yards and 7 receptions in the first half alone. He snagged his first target of the day, a toe-tapping 15 yard gain that converted 3rd and long on Denver's opening offensive drive. Sanders got wide open and showed off his speed on a deep crossing route in the second quarter, hauling in the pass from Keenum then turning it up the sideline for a 43 yard touchdown. Sanders had a beautiful diving catch down the left sideline late in the second quarter for another big gain. Sanders tacked on a few more catches in the second half, with DT taking over more in the last half of the game.

WR Demaryius Thomas, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 63 - 1 (10 targets)
Keenum looked to Thomas plenty, but the two struggled to connect on anything other than short curls and slants. Thomas had a bit of a rough start in the first half, letting a couple of passes clang off his hands and getting called for a holding penalty. DT had a great catch and run late in the first that picked up 23 yards and moved the Broncos out of their own end zone. Denver was down on their own 2 yard line until Thomas caught the ball at the line of scrimmage and wove his way through defenders for the pickup. Thomas saved his fantasy day with a late touchdown in the 4th quarter. Denver drove down to the Seattle 4 yard line and Thomas made an amazing toe-tapping effort as he fell out of bounds on a quick out route from Keenum. Thomas finished with 10 targets to Sanders' 11, but Sanders had a much better day. Still, the offense clearly runs through the top two receivers.

WR Courtland Sutton, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 45 - 0 (5 targets)
Sutton worked behind Sanders and Thomas in 3WR sets, catching a deep post for a nice gain on his first target of the game. Sutton lined up in the right slot in the 4th quarter and hauled in a skinny post for another big gain. He was targeted five times overall. Sutton is clearly the third receiver behind Thomas and Sanders, but he probably won't have much value unless one of them go down.

WR Tim Patrick, 9 offensive snaps (2 targets)
Patrick was targeted once near the end of the 2nd quarter, but did not see many snaps on offense.

TE Jake Butt, 36 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 29 - 0 (4 targets)
Butt split time at TE with Heuerman and was targeted twice in the passing game. He had a short catch on an out route in the 2nd quarter. He made his second catch down the left seam late in the 4th for a gain of 22, despite drawing a defensive holding flag on the play. It's hard to say which of the two starting tight ends is the best option in the passing game, and it looks as though the Broncos passing offense is going to run through the two top receivers and the running backs.

TE Jeff Heuerman, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 15 - 0 (1 targets)
Heuerman started alongside Jake Butt in 2TE sets. He wasn't used much in the passing game. He made a nice back shoulder catch in the second quarter for a gain of 15, his only target of the day.