Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll lauded the performance of his young players after his team’s convincing, 31-10 win over San Diego in the exhibition opener for both teams.
Specifically, Carroll singled out receiver Stephen Williams, linebacker John Lotulelei, running backs Christine Michael and Derrick Coleman, defensive end Benson Mayowa, defensive tackle Jesse Williams and middle linebacker Allen Bradford as players who stood out against the Chargers.
Williams was particularly impressive. The former Arizona receiver was specifically targeted by Seahawks general manager John Schneider once the Cardinals released him after an Achilles tendon tear. The Seahawks signed Williams to a futures contract in January.
Williams finished with two catches for 83 yards, including a 42-yard score. And he seemed to have a good connection with Tarvaris Jackson, who finished 8 of 9 for 128 yards and two touchdowns on the day.
“I’ve been working out with him for a long time,” Jackson said. “So it feels pretty cool to actually get out on the field with him and do some of the stuff in the game that we did while we were working out.”
Mayowa finished with two sacks, flashing the same relentless motor rushing the passer that we’ve been seeing during training camp.
“You’re going to practice how you play,” Mayowa said. “And I’ve been going out there every day busting my tail to make plays all over the field. So it showed today.”
Although he’s only 5-11 and 233 pounds, Lotulelei showed great anticipation and feel for the running game and on special teams. He finished with three tackles, including a tackle for a loss.
Starting for Bobby Wagner, Bradford got off to a slow start, but led the team in tackles with a combined eight.
“The adrenaline was going,” Bradford said. “I don’t know if it was nervousness, but I just wanted to do everything right. And sometimes you can’t play like that. Even if you’re wrong, you have to go 100 miles per hour at it.”
Receiver Jermaine Kearse also played in the first half how he’s been performing during training camp, finishing with two catches for 31 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown.
Kearse chalked up his touchdown to a pre-snap read of San Diego’s defense.
“I had a post route, and I had some outside leverage on the defender,” Kearse said. “I knew I just had to push him out, and if I could beat him I was going to be wide open. So I just widened him, slipped inside and waited for the ball.”
Cornerback Walter Thurmond also had a big play, exploding through the middle of San Diego’s defense for a 46-yard punt return that set up a 22-yard, Carson Wiggs field goal.
“The guys did a great job of blocking,” Thurmond said. “From the gunners, to the interior guys – they gave me a lot of space to be able to maneuver.”
Perhaps the most impressive performance of all was rookie running back Christine Michael. He finished with 89 yards on 16 carries, including a long of 24 yards in the fourth quarter.
Michael seemed to get stronger as the night went on, and Carroll said he wanted to make sure to get the Texas A&M product into a rhythm.
“We weren’t going to get frustrated with what happened early, and just keep sticking to it,” Carroll said. “He bounced the ball well outside on his long run – had a couple of nice runs. He’s got a long way to go, but he ran hard, looked quick and made some guys miss. So I think it’s a very good first game for him.”
As far as the struggles of Seattle’s first-unit offense, Carroll said he’s not concerned. Russell Wilson was under pressure most of the opening quarter, finishing 2 of 6 for 23 yards.
“We kind of staggered our way though the first couple series,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said. “We didn’t get much done right off the bat. But that’s early in the game, and I’m not worried about it.”
It appears that the Seattle Seahawks came away from the contest relatively healthy.
Carroll said that defensive end Jaye Howard twisted his knee, Byron Maxwell sprained his ankle and defensive end Ty Powell suffered a thigh bruise.