Seahawks ‘let Russ cook’ with delicious results in win over Falcons

“Let Russ cook” has become a popular plea among Seattle Seahawks observers who want the team to lean more on its $35 million-per-year quarterback, Russell Wilson.

That plea, at least for the Seahawks’ season opener, was answered. They came out throwing in a noticeable deviation from their usual establish-the-run MO under Pete Carroll, dropping back to pass on 18 of their 25 offensive plays in the first half.

The result at the end of the day: four Wilson touchdown passes and no late magic required as the Seahawks left Atlanta with a 38-25 victory.

Wilson was nearly flawless in completing his first 12 attempts. He finished 31-of-35 for 322 yards and a 143.1 QB rating.

Promising trend: All-Pro safety Jamal Adams said pairing him with All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner was like Seattle’s defense having a “cheat code” in a video game. It looked like it Sunday. Adams was all over the field in his Seahawks debut as he led the team with 12 tackles. The Seahawks blitzed him extensively, which produced one sack and several pressures. Adams figures to be an important part of the Seahawks’ pass-rush plan, especially if they struggle to create pressure with their front four. Wagner had seven tackles and two passes defended. He appeared to be a step ahead in coverage all day.

Troubling trend: Wilson was sacked three times and hit hard on several other plays, with Falcons defenders combining for 10 official QB hits. The Seahawks’ offensive line is, and for years has been, more built to run block than it is to pass protect. If they’re going to lean more on Wilson’s arm than they have in past seasons, they’ll have to find ways to do so without putting him in harm’s way. Rookie right guard Damien Lewis had a rough NFL debut with three penalties.

Promising trend, Part II. Chris Carson was on the receiving end of Wilson’s first two touchdowns and finished with six catches for 45 yards. He did more as a receiver out of the backfield than he did on the ground (six carries, 21 yards). One of his catches was a slick one-hander, showing off what Carroll has called some of the best hands of any player on the team. Is this another indication of how the Seahawks’ offense could look different in 2020? His targets doubled last year from Brian Schottenheimer’s first season as offensive coordinator, going from 23 to 46, but the latter total only ranked tied for 26th among running backs.

Eye-popping NextGen Stat: DK Metcalf reached a top speed of 20.62 mph on his 38-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter. That was the fastest top speed of the game. Metcalf blew by Isaiah Oliver after beating him off the line of scrimmage. That redeemed a drop by a wide-open Metcalf earlier in the drive. He had another drop later in the game. Drops were an issue for Metcalf last year as he finished an otherwise stellar rookie season with a 58.6% catch rate that ranked 57th among wide receivers. He had four catches on eight targets for a team-high 95 yards Sunday.

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