Getting the Shane Waldron era off to a roaring start, the Seahawks used three passing touchdowns from Russell Wilson to build a 21-10 halftime advantage over the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Five quick first half observations from the season opener:
1. Newcomers on offense already are making their presence felt.
From Seattle’s perspective, there wasn’t a bigger curiosity going into this season opener than what new coordinator Shane Waldron’s offense would look like with Wilson orchestrating. Turns out, a lot of the talk this offseason came to fruition in the first half, as the Seahawks mixed up tempo, utilized extensive pre-snap motion and misdirection, and also got tight ends far more involved than they ever were in Brian Schottenheimer’s offense. Seattle racked up 257 yards of total offense, including 166 yards from Wilson through the air, against an Indianapolis defense that only gave up 332 yards per game in 2020.
At Waldron's disposal, three of Seattle's biggest offseason additions were critical components of three scoring drives. Tight end Gerald Everett basically lined up at every position except quarterback and offensive line, contributing two receptions for 20 yards and a nine-yard touchdown on a slant. In the trenches, Gabe Jackson dominated in pass pro, including stone-walling a pass rusher on Wilson's second rainbow touchdown to Lockett. Rookie receiver Dee Eskridge also got in the act with a 13-yard jet sweep and one reception.
2. The old guard didn't look too shabby in a new scheme either...
While Everett, Jackson, and Eskridge all made a positive impact, many of Seattle's returning starters also enjoyed a strong first half in Waldron's offense. After undergoing significant changes to his offseason program, Chris Carson looked like a man on a mission out of the gate, slipping through multiple tacklers for a 33-yard run on the team's first scoring drive and finishing the half with 60 rushing yards on only eight carries. Like Everett, Dissly already has benefited playing in an offense with more tight end involvement in the passing game, snagging a pair of passes for 28 yards, including a 22-yard reception.
Meanwhile, Lockett continued to show why he remains one of the most overlooked superstar receivers in the sport. His first touchdown reception could be put in the Lourve for display, as he did a remarkable job reacting and tracking a throw from Wilson that was lofted away from the direction he was running his route. The concentration and focus were impeccable as he reeled in the throw to give Seattle its first lead.
3. There’s an ongoing cat and mouse game going between Marcus Brady and Ken Norton Jr.
While the Seahawks offense was near-perfect in the first half, Norton's defense encountered some resistance from a game Carson Wentz and the Colts offense. Initially, the Seahawks looked to have a three-and-out, only for Jamal Adams to be flagged for offsides to extend the drive. Indianapolis eventually scored a short field goal after a 14-play drive in which Seattle primarily played its 5-2 "bear" fronts out of nickel personnel.
On the next drive, with the Colts running the ball effectively, Norton added a third defensive tackle to the mix to counter on base 4-2-5 sets, helping force a three-and-out. But Brady showed his chops as a play caller on the next drive, taking advantage of Adams' blitz happiness and players such as Rasheem Green and Carlos Dunlap dropping into coverage as Wentz drove Indianapolis right down the field and beat the extra pressure with a 10-yard touchdown to Zach Pascal. Both sides have won drives and adjustments will be crucial to determining who holds on to win the game.