Three things we learned
Posted by Danny O'Neil
I. Three things we learned
1) Marshawn Lynch's presence makes a difference. He thrived to start the game, gaining 24 yards on his first five carries, and then toughed out the final three periods, making the most he could out of what little opportunities were there. His hard-driving physical style was like a boxer's jab, persistent and forceful, which Seattle used to set up a quick hook, and in this case that was Justin Forsett, who found room running out of three-receiver sets and gained a season-high 67 yards.
2) Seattle can in fact win on the road.
It's true. The NFL allows it and everything even if that game starts at 10 a.m. Pacific, breaking a string of futility that spanned many years and two coaching changes. It seemed some sort of spell was finally broken for a franchise that had lost 13 consecutive road games to non-division opponents and 17 of its last 20 road games overall if you include the playoff defeat in Green Bay in January 2008.
3) Why Russell Okung was chosen with the No. 6 overall pick.
His strength is just that, his strength and if you need any proof then just watch Justin Forsett's touchdown run in the second quarter when Okung's push helped move the pile that included linebacker Brian Urlacher. It's hard to know what is a fair expectation for Okung. The standard Walter Jones set is so high it's impossible to set that as a baseline for Okung, especially his first year, but the way Okung played Sunday and the fact Chicago defensive end Julius Peppers did not have a sack shows that the words "learning curve" may not apply to Okung.
II. Three things we don't know
1) Will Mike Williams' become Seattle's No. 1 receiver?
He showed he certainly could be that in Chicago when he caught a career-high 10 passes. He's big, his hands are sticky and has everything you need in a Cadillac of a receiver. Of course, that's why he was the 10th overall pick in the 2005 draft. But there's also a reason he didn't play in the league either of the previous two seasons, and we're about to see whether a little bit of success affects his discipline and commitment.
2) Can Seattle replicate its pass-rushing success against other teams? The Seahawks finished with six sacks, their most in any game in more than two years, but they did it with a variety of blitzes, many involving defensive backs. At times, Seattle played a formation that had seven defensive backs on the field, Will the Seahawks employ that package, which they call Bandit, against other teams, and can they generate pressure with that package or was this a one-time occurrence against an opponent that has allowed more sacks than any team in the league?
3) Whether anyone truly appreciates the magnitude of Seattle's shutout on third down.
The Bears didn't convert any third-down plays. Nada. None. Zilch. They went 0-for-12, which is even more remarkable than Seattle's season-opener against San Francisco when the 49ers converted only one of 15 third-down plays.
III. Three things we're still trying to figure out
1) Will this be a turning point in scrutiny of Matt Hasselbeck?
He was incredible to start the game, completing all four passes he threw on Seattle's first drive for 86 yards and a touchdown. He was not intercepted at all for the first time since Seattle's victory at home over San Francisco on Dec. 6, 2009. That first half, he had the offense moving to his beat. Is pointing out the throws he missed amount to nit-picking? There was an underthrown ball that tight end John Carlson made a tremendous catch, and there was the time he overlooked an open Justin Forsett in the flat to try and force the ball in. But ultimately, he had several passes dropped, and the drumbeat of discontent over Hasselbeck is going to be silent this week.
2) Whether punter Jon Ryan got the license plate of the truck that flattened him.
He played running back in high school, receiver in college, but he's never been hit like he was by Earl Bennett on Devin Hester's fourth-quarter touchdown return. Ryan never saw the hit coming, and his ribs were hurting after the game. He's got to keep his head on a swivel. Of course, if he had kicked the ball out-of-bounds like he planned, he wouldn't have had to worry about that.
3) Just where Seattle found its offensive consistency.
The Seahawks traded Deion Branch, who had the most catches of any wide receiver on the team. The defense didn't generate any turnovers, and still an offense that couldn't cross midfield in the second half in St. Louis, scored three touchdowns against the Bears.
Dec 24 - 6:10 AM Looking back: Revisiting Sunday's scouting report
Dec 24 - 1:09 AM Seahawks' scoring binge
Dec 24 - 1:01 AM Video: Summing Seattle's victory
Dec 24 - 12:58 AM Video: Russell Wilson post-game comments
Dec 24 - 12:21 AM Rookie passing roll call