In their 2018 regular season debut, the Seahawks predictably found it difficult to get into the win column against the Broncos in Denver. Seattle had their chances and the game was close, but the ‘Hawks ultimately fell short in the end, 27-24. Fortunately, there were several bright spots in the game for Seattle. With the theme of the 2018 season being a shift in culture from previous iterations of the Seahawks, this year’s crop of rookies will play a major role in driving forward that change.
We break down the performances against the Broncos by these first-year players.
TE Will Dissly:
Dissly was the lone bright spot for Seattle’s offense in the first half. He led the team in receiving yards, finishing with 105 on three receptions. The former University of Washington defensive lineman hauled in his first career touchdown on a 15-yard pass from Wilson on a beautiful wheel-route along the sideline. Then, later in the first quarter, Will displayed surprising speed while breaking multiple tackles enroute to a 66-yard catch and run.
LB Shaquem Griffin:
Shaquem started the game in place of K.J. Wright and logged 41 of 74 defensive snaps against the Broncos. He finished with two solo tackles, but at times looked lost and a little stiff. Had a couple mix-ups in coverage, including one with Tre Flowers that led to an easy Denver score. After his first half struggles, Griffin was used mostly on passing downs during the second half. All in all, it was an expected performance for a 5th-round rookie making his regular season debut.
Looked like a coverage bust between the two Seattle rookies: Shaquem Griffin and Tre Flowers. Griffin expected Flowers to pass the boundary receiver off, Flowers stuck with him, the back leaked into a bunch of grass. pic.twitter.com/N46Wqd0lVw
— Ollie Connolly (@OllieConnolly) September 9, 2018
LB Austin Calitro:
Rotating in on first and second downs in place of Shaquem Griffin, Calitro played 33 snaps at weakside linebacker and was credited with five solo tackles. His playing time came as a bit of a surprise, as Austin is a middle linebacker and was listed on Seattle’s depth chart as the backup to Bobby Wagner. Despite playing out of position, the undrafted free agent held up well, especially against the run.
In his postgame interview, Seahawks’ Head Coach Pete Carroll was pleased with Calitro’s performance. “Austin has done a really good job for us,” Carroll said. “He has been playing the other spot and we just switched him over when K.J. got banged up, but I think as we look forward that was a really positive move to get him in the game.”
DE Rasheem Green:
Following a strong preseason showing, which included 18 tackles and three sacks, Green was listed as the second team left defensive end going into the matchup with Denver. Rasheem logged 46 snaps on defense, but was unable to generate much of a pass rush. He finished the game with one tackle. Unfortunately, in a contest where Seattle badly needed someone to step up and apply pressure on Case Keenum, Green wasn’t able to replicate his preseason success.
CB Tre Flowers:
A safety in college, Flowers’ transition to NFL cornerback continues to be a work in progress. Named the starter after veteran Dontae Johnson was placed on IR, Tre’s debut was a little rough. Overwhelmed from the beginning, the rookie struggled to contain Denver’s receivers in his first NFL start. Though he finished with eight tackles and played 97% of Seattle’s defensive snaps, Tre undoubtedly looked like a rookie playing a new position. He was burned multiple times by Emmanuel Sanders, was called for a holding penalty on a key third down, and suffered hurt ribs and a tweaked hamstring over the course of the game. He is questionable to play entering week two.
RB Rashaad Penny:
Penny missed significant time during the preseason with a broken finger and he showed his rust against the Broncos. Logging 25 snaps, Rashaad looked a little sluggish and out of shape. After gaining five yards on his first career carry, he could manage only three more yards over his next six attempts. He was however effective in the passing game, catching four of five targets for 35 yards. Penny did a great job keeping himself alive on a Russell Wilson scramble, getting open for the catch and a 15-yard gain in the third.
P Michael Dickson:
The rookie punter continued to display the most impressive leg in the NFL as he averaged 59 yards on six attempts Sunday. Four of those punts ended up inside the Denver 20-yard line. Dickson showcased incredible control and hangtime, averaging 57.5 net yards per punt.