For parts of the game, it seemed like the Seattle Seahawks were trying to find ways to let the Tennessee Titans back into the game, with a couple of miscues just as it looked like they were beginning to get the upper hand.
However, when all was said and done, they were able to pull ahead for good in the fourth quarter, halting any hope of a Titans’ comeback when Russell Wilson drew defensive end Lavar Edwards offside before a 10-yard Marshawn Lynch run allowed them to roll out the victory formation and kneel out the clock.
Despite the Seahawks eventually pulling away, there were plenty of performances on both sides that merited a closer look, so with that in mind, let’s take a look at a few of the most noteworthy.
Tennessee – Three Preformances of Note
Not So Rosy for Ryan
There were stretches of the game where quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (-4.9) looked quite efficient, with 33 yards picked up off quarterback scrambles showing that Jake Locker isn’t the only signal caller in Tennessee with the ability to make things happen with his feet. However, as we’ve become accustomed to, there were just far too many errors throughout, and he finished the game lucky to have thrown just two interceptions. Indeed, were it not for dropped interceptions by cornerback Walter Thurmond in the second quarter, and linebacker K.J. Wright in the third, he’d have finished up with four. As it was he was still able to gift the ball to Seattle twice, overthrowing his receiver to allow Earl Thomas to pick the pass off on 1st-and-10 with 3:13 to go in the first quarter before trying, and failing, to get the better of Richard Sherman early in the fourth quarter on a pass that was little more than a jump ball that the Seahawks’ corner was always the favorite to come down with.
Torrid Outing for the Interior Offensive Line
When the Titans put the emphasis on improving the interior of their offensive line in the offseason, I’m sure they never expected to see days like this. At center, Robert Turner struggled again, giving up two quarterback hits and a hurry to go along with the holding penalty he was called on against Brandon Mebane. He wasn’t nearly as bad against the run, but then there wasn’t much to get excited about there either. Both new additions at guard, free agent Andy Levitre (-4.2) and rookie Chance Warmack (-0.7) struggled against the run, with Warmack allowing a tackle for loss to Red Bryant on 1st-and-10 with 9:59 to go in the opening quarter. Levitre added to his woes with two false start penalties in the second quarter alone, while both of his pressures allowed came on consecutive plays at the start of the Titans’ final drive.
Strong Showing from the Defensive Backs
While they weren’t perfect, the Titans’ starting defensive backfield had a solid day all-around, with Bernard Pollard (+0.8) the lowest-graded of the bunch. Alterraun Verner (+2.2) allowed a 24-yard reception on the sidelines to Sidney Rice on 2nd-and-5 with 8:06 remaining in the game but had two pass breakups in coverage against Golden Tate in the first quarter, bringing his season total to eight through six games. Meanwhile, Jason McCourty (+3.2) allowed six of the seven passes thrown into his coverage to be caught but for just 36 yards, and of course he gave the Titans the lead at halftime after returning a fumble for a touchdown after a botched snap on a Seahawks’ field goal try. There wasn’t a single pass thrown into the coverage of safety Michael Griffin (+2.4), but he was still able to make an impact, recovering a Sidney Rice fumble on 1st-and-10 with 12:07 to go in the third quarter.
Seattle – Three Performances of Note
Efficient Russell Wilson
Though it’s not even close to the highest grade we’ve given to the Seattle Seahawks’ signal-caller, Russell Wilson (+3.8) did put together his best performance of the season so far on Sunday. Flashy only when he needed to be, it was the efficiency and calmness we’ve come to expect from Wilson that shone through. Rushing 10 times for 61 yards, he was smart enough to only take a hit when he needed to, quickly getting himself out of bounds after picking up the first down on more than one occasion. As a passer, he failed to complete just four of his aimed passes and, while he only threw the ball 10 yards or more downfield on three occasions, all three were completed for 107 yards.
Depth Along the Defensive Line
We knew coming into the season that the Seahawks’ defensive line was going to be impressive and they certainly didn’t disappoint on Sunday. Of the nine players to feature on Sunday, only Cliff Avril and O’Brien Schofield, the latter who saw just six snaps, finished the game with a negative grade. That included impressive performances against the run for Tony McDaniel, Clinton McDonald, and Jordan Hill, who had Run Stop Percentages of 22.2%, 25.0%, and 20.0% respectively. However, the star of the show was Brandon Mebane (+2.4), who starred both against the run and as a pass rusher. He would finish the game without a tackle, but was still able to have an impact on the Titans’ running game as he got the better of Turner and Levitre to fill running lanes and prove to be a general nuisance. As a pass rusher, he did his damage solely against Turner, beating him for a hit, a hurry, and drawing a holding penalty. It’s been an impressive start to the season for Mebane and, if Sunday was any indication, he shows no signs of slowing down.
The longer the game went on, the more the Seahawks went to Marshawn Lynch (+2.0) and it was as they did that the game really started to turn in their favor. His raw stats, with just 75 yards rushing and 3.6 yards per carry don’t exactly leap out at you but when you go beyond that it’s easy to see just how well he played. Averaging 2.81 Yards After Contact Per Carry, Lynch was getting yards even when the Seahawks’ offensive line weren’t able to give him any. On top of that he forced four missed tackles from 21 carries, adding another two as a receiver. Adding it all together he walked away with an Elusive Rating of 67.4. With the Seahawks needing just one more first down to run out the clock, they went to Lynch on 2nd-and-8 with 1:49 remaining and he duly delivered. Cutting past the attempted tackle by linebacker Colin McCarthy, he eased past the first down marker, making sure to stay in bounds as he did. The lone blemish on his day was his fumble on 1st-and-goal with 13:05 left in the game, but that he can still finish with as high a grade as he did tells you just how well he was playing on the rest of his snaps.
– Despite being on the field for just 21 snaps, Colin McCarthy missed three tackles.
– Both of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s interceptions came without any pressure from the Seahawks’ defense.
– On 19 carries, the Titans failed to force any missed tackles in the running game.
PFF Game Ball
Though there were solid contributors on both sides of the ball, it was the smart play of Russell Wilson that kept the Seahawks on track despite their miscues, making things happen through the air and on the ground.
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