Josh Gordon, Quandre Diggs Excel in Seahawks Debuts
Making their much-anticipated debuts, nobody knew what to expect from safety Quandre Diggs and receiver Josh Gordon when the Seahawks took the field against the undefeated 49ers on Monday night.
But after cramming a new playbook and recovering from hamstring and ankle injuries respectively, Diggs and Gordon were more than ready to make an immediate impact in Seattle’s biggest game of the season thus far, helping their new team to an exhilarating 27-24 win at Levis Stadium.
Earning the start at free safety, Diggs made his presence felt immediately playing alongside Bradley McDougald, drawing the praise of coach Pete Carroll.
“Quandre did excellent… It was great to see him out there,” Carroll remarked. “He really has played a lot of football, you can tell. He’s savvy, that helps us. I though he and B-Mac [McDougald] did a really nice job tonight back there.”
Playing all 88 of Seattle’s defensive snaps, Diggs whiffed on a couple of early tackle attempts, showing noticeable rust after sitting out the past two games. But he quickly rebounded, delivering several big hits in coverage and reeling in a critical interception midway through the third quarter.
With ample time to throw, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo tried to connect with receiver Kendrick Bourne and though the pass was a bit high, it looked catchable. But the football slipped through Bourne’s fingertips, flying right into the arms of Diggs, who turned out to be in the right place at the right time.
Picking the pass off on the run, Diggs raced down the sideline before finally being dropped after a 44-yard return all the way to the opposing 16-yard line. Three plays later, quarterback Russell Wilson cashed in on the turnover with a three-yard touchdown toss to tight end Jacob Hollister to give the Seahawks a 14-10 lead.
“I was just covering my guy. I was happy to make a play,” Diggs commented after the game. “It was crazy in my debut to come out, get an interception and set up my team to score a touchdown. It’s a blessing, all of it.”
While Gordon had only been with the team for a week and didn’t play near as many snaps as Diggs, he too made a substantial impact for the Seahawks. Though he didn’t have a single target through the first three quarters, when Seattle needed him to make a play in a tied game late in the fourth quarter, he didn’t disappoint.
Facing 3rd and 6 from the 49ers 49-yard line with the game knotted up at 21 apiece, Wilson took a quick drop and fired a bullet to Gordon running a slant from the left side. He reeled in the pass for a 13-yard gain, moving the chains and helping the Seahawks eventually retake the lead on a Jason Myers field goal.
After San Francisco forced overtime with a field goal of its own, Gordon came through again on third down during Seattle’s first possession of the extra period. Running a 10-yard dig, the receiver plucked a low throw from Wilson and picked up 14 yards, moving the chains for a new set of downs.
“That was a really good catch,” Carroll said. “You know, he didn’t get to do as much as he was hoping for, but he’ll be able to help us. He’s a great kid.”
Now only half a game out of first place in the NFC West, general manager John Schneider deserves acclaim for acquiring top-tier talents in Diggs and Gordon as midseason reinforcements. As both players continue to become more comfortable with their new surroundings, they could be legitimate difference makers capable of vaulting the Seahawks to a division title and potentially more in coming months.