Overcoming an sluggish start on offense, the Seahawks scored three touchdowns in quick order in the second quarter to enter halftime with a commanding 24-9 advantage at Lumen Field.
Russell Wilson finished the half with 11 completions on 15 attempts for 191 yards and a touchdown, while Tyler Lockett went off with 114 receiving yards on two receptions, including a 63-yard touchdown. Alton Robinson came through defensively, strip-sacking Ryan Tannehill deep in Tennessee territory and setting up a Chris Carson touchdown run.
Here are three quick observations from the first two quarters of play in Seattle:
1. Seven points is better than three points.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to be able to understand touchdowns are a far more ideal result than field goals in a football game. Ultimately, that’s been the difference thus far through two quarters at Lumen Field. While the two teams traded field goals on their second drives respectively and the Titans took a 6-3 lead midway through the second quarter, the Seahawks became the first team to find the end zone when Tyler Lockett put his grade A brake pads on display and evaded two would-be tacklers in coverage for a 63-yard touchdown. Moments later, Alton Robinson strip-sacked Ryan Tannehill and Kerry Hyder recovered the fumble inside the 10-yard line, setting up a touchdown run by Carson from two yards out. Tennessee tried to respond with a touchdown of its own, but Julio Jones’ footwork heroics at the back of the end zone were centimeters away from being good enough for six points and Mike Vrabel’s team had to settle for another field goal. Using tempo to perfection, Wilson led Seattle on a seven-play, 78-yard drive in just 48 seconds, setting up Carson for another touchdown to expand the lead to 15 points. Red zone efficiency has truly been the difference, with the Seahawks going 2-3 finding the end zone and the Titans striking out on three attempts thus far.
2. So far, the Derrick Henry train has been kept at the station.
Henry, the two-time defending NFL rushing champ, has had a few decent runs in the first two quarters where he dragged tacklers and pushed the pile forward. But for the most part, he’s been stymied behind an injury-marred offensive line and he’s probably getting tired of seeing Poona Ford in the backfield. The fourth-year defensive tackle has been too much for the Titans guards to handle and from the outset, he was meeting the powerful back in the backfield and preventing him from getting a head of steam. Ford finished the half with three run stuffs on Henry, with none of those plays going for more than two yards, and the Seahawks held the star runner to 35 yards on 13 carries for a 2.7 yards per carry average. Tennessee will continue to try to get King Henry rolling and continuing to swarm him and wrap up effectively will be critical to Seattle keeping him off the tracks.
3. The Seahawks will have to find ways to help Tre Flowers against Julio Jones.
Given the presence of A.J. Brown, a two-time 1,000-yard receiver in his own right, Seattle has limitations in regard to how it can try to provide assistance for Flowers in coverage against Jones. But defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. will need to figure something out because the fourth-year cornerback hasn’t been able to match up at all against the perennial All-Pro, who finished the half with four receptions for 102 yards and averaged 25.5 yards per reception. After getting torched for a 51-yard gain down the seam, Flowers started giving Jones plenty of cushion and the star receiver has taken advantage beating him across the field with crossers while picking up chunks of yardage after the catch. With the Titans trailing by two scores, they’ll likely be forced to lean on the passing game and Tannehill will continue to call Jones’ number. The question will be whether or not Flowers and the rest of Seattle’s secondary will be able to come up with any answers to slow him down.