Percy Harvin zooming past Chicago Bears on a kickoff and then after receptions like a Bugatti past so many Car2Gos. Earl Thomas flying down the left sideline while returning a punt 59 yards. Russell Wilson coolly turning what would have more sacks against most quarterbacks into first downs and touchdowns. Heck, even Marshawn Lynch not only carrying the ball in August but scoring.
It sure looked like regular-season quality the Super Bowl-champion Seahawks put on display tonight in the final full tune-up for the Sept. 4 opener against Green Bay.
“Yeah, it feels good. But you can always get better. And it’s only the preseason,” Thomas, the All-Pro safety and now newly explosive punt returner said tonight after the 34-6 rout of the Bears that was 31-0 at halftime, after which the starters soon left. “We don’t know if we got their best start, so you just to stay low-key and humble about it.”
What Thomas did know he got from the Bears was wide receiver Brandon Marshall’s white, No. 15 game jersey. That was sitting on the floor in front of Thomas’ locker as he spoke.
What Thomas said is really the Seahawks’ most-pressing issue at this moment. Staying “low-key and humble,” resisting the urge to believe that what happened tonight — and what happened last week against San Diego, when it was 24-0 starters midway through the second quarter — is automatically indicative of what will happen when the games get real.
Being these aren’t wide-eyed kids but proven champions, you can fully expect they won’t think they’ve won anything yet.
The NFL is full of histories of teams that look title-bound in August, only to be toilet-bound by October. Heck, the Cleveland Browns went 3-1 last preseason.
Then again, the NFL is thin on histories of defending Super Bowl champions looking this dominant this early. There aren’t a lot of teams that have added a supremely unique and jet-fast talent such as Harvin, who is looking other-wordly in these first glimpses since his offseason hip surgery. That has a uncannily cool, beyond-his-years quarterback that keeps turning what should be sacks into scores with scrambles.
That’s the glass-is-overflowing view.
But here’s the thing: The glass never actually overflows for any NFL team in August — no matter how full it looks. And there’s no denying how fully grand the Seahawks look at this instant, 13 days before the Packers arrive for the league opener.
But there will be teams that game-plan to specifically slow Harvin on his inside routes. That come after Seattle’s offensive line that is still seeking continuity and just tonight got all five of its starters on a game field for the first time since February’s Super Bowl; that line still isn’t the strength of the team right now, to say the least. There will be opponents that don’t completely cower away from throwing at All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman, as Denver and San Diego did in the previous two exhibitions, but instead test him often to keep the field balanced and the Seahawks’ defense more honest. Chicago’s Jay Cutler did that three times in the first half tonight, and got three completions in front of Sherman that seemed to surprise all of Seattle.
In other words, it will be different beginning on Sept. 4.
Then again, it will be different for the Seahawks, too. As varied and lethal as they’ve looked these last two weeks — more exotic on defense; they zone blitzed at times, sending pass-rush weakside end O’Brien Schofield (who is playing fantastically with six QB hits, two sacks in the last two games to seize not only a roster spot but a prominent role in this defense) into the right flat in pass coverage; they have been more varied with motion and misdirection on offense — they still have yet to fully game plan, either.
All this is to say that this is only the preseason. It’s as dominant and exciting and full of what-this-can-be as any preseason Seattle’s ever had. But it’s still August.
“Yeah, we have to keep playing,” Carroll said. “We have a long ways to go to get it right.
“It’s about consistency.”
It’s about doing it again for real beginning in 13 days.