Despite an improved effort by their offense in all facets, the Seahawks fell just short in a 27-23 loss to the Falcons at Lumen Field, falling to 1-2 on the season.
Even in defeat, Seattle had plenty of bright spots, particularly for an offense that had been blanked the week before in San Francisco. Here are my top five grades along with other notable performances from a tough Week 3 loss.
Overall Grade: 86.0 (Passing 88, Rushing 70*)
*Weighted for two attempts
Coming off a rough outing in San Francisco where his team failed to put a single point on the scoreboard, Smith bounced back with his best start under center for Seattle, eclipsing 300 passing yards for the first time since 2014. Remaining efficient with a larger passing volume and more emphasis on intermediate and downfield passing, he completed 72 percent of his 44 attempts and averaged a healthy 7.39 yards per attempt. Exhibiting great touch and accuracy, Smith feathered his first touchdown pass over the outstretch arms of a linebacker to tight end Will Dissly down the seam for six points. His second touchdown toss was equally impressive as he put the throw in a spot where only DK Metcalf could high point the football and catch it. It wasn't a perfect outing by any stretch, as Smith lucked out on a pair of poor throws that could have been intercepted and got picked on a desperation 4th and 18 heave late in the fourth quarter. Still, it was a major step forward for the quarterback and the offense in general despite the failed comeback attempt.
Overall Grade: 83.0 (Pass Coverage 87, Tackling 80, Run Defense 82)
Continuing to impress in his rookie season, Woolen keeps coming through with clutch plays each week. One week after he blocked a field goal that led to a long touchdown return by teammate Mike Jackson, he baited Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota into a bad decision trying to force a deep curl route to receiver Drake London on the final play of the second quarter. Showing off his 4.26 speed, he exploded out of his zone drop and jumped the route, registering his first interception as a pro to give Seattle's defense a bit of positive momentum heading into halftime. While he missed a tackle and allowed Atlanta to convert on 3rd and 19 with a blown coverage assignment, Mariota posted a mediocre 57.5 passer rating when targeting him. Rookie mistakes aside, he's gradually improving as a tackler each week and quarterbacks haven't had much success when they have tried to test him in coverage.
Overall Grade: 82.0 (Receiving 85, Run Blocking 65*)
*Weighted on 21 blocking reps
Statistically, Metcalf still hasn't had his breakout game as he finished with under 70 receiving yards for the third straight game to open the 2022 season. With his 12 targets resulting in only five receptions, it's clear his chemistry with Smith remains a work in progress. But several of those misfires weren't catchable, including the fateful final interception with three defenders hawking around him and an airmailed goal line fade in the third quarter. He also had a pass bounce off of his chest, but the football was tipped by a linebacker, changing the trajectory and making it difficult to reel in. Taking those plays out of the equation, four of his five catches moved the chains for first downs and Smith finally was able to capitalize on his obvious size advantage with a 23-yard touchdown, throwing it up for grabs and letting him rise up to snatch the pass for six points. Efficiency remains an issue that must be addressed, but this game was hopefully a good stepping stone for the star wideout.
Overall Grade: 81.0 (Receiving 90, Run Blocking 72*)
*Weighted for six run blocking reps
Third on the depth chart at tight end, Parkinson hasn't had many opportunities to make an impact, but he's made the most of his chances when Smith has targeted him in the passing game. Trailing 7-3 in the first quarter, offensive coordinator Shane Waldron went into aggressive mode with the Seahawks facing 3rd and 1 at midfield, dialing up a play action pass from a three tight end set. After taking an inside release, Parkinson leaked towards the sideline and Smith lofted a deep ball to him in stride for a 36-yard gain to set up Dissly's touchdown. Later in the third quarter, Parkinson's second grab came on an out route on 3rd and 5 and he picked up eight yards before going out of bounds, once again moving the chains. There's still plenty to unlock from the athletic 6-foot-7 target, but Smith seems to have confidence in him and it wouldn't be surprising to see more targets coming his way in future weeks.
Overall Grade: 80.5 (Run Defense 86, Tackling 86, Pass Rush 70)
As coach Pete Carroll indicated on Monday, Mafe has earned himself additional reps thanks in large part to his surprisingly stellar play setting the edge as a run defender. Teams haven't found much room to operate when they have tried to run off tackle to his side and that trend continued in Sunday's loss. Playing just nine snaps as a run defender, he recorded a pair of tackles, including impressively discarding a tight end to stuff Cordarrelle Patterson at the line of scrimmage for no gain. On a later play, he sprinted down the line of scrimmage and brought down Patterson as a backside defender for a minimal gain. While Mafe did get pancaked on a screen play, he also contributed a hurry forcing Mariota into a rushed incompletion as a rusher. Consistency remains an area of improvement rushing the passer, but the rookie looks poised to see more snaps on early downs moving forward.
Other Notable Performances
While he didn't quite match his performance from Week 2, Tyler Lockett turned in another solid game with 76 yards on nine receptions, earning an 80.0 overall and narrowly missing the top five. Just behind him, Dissly's touchdown catch and steady blocking also earned an 80.0 mark. Rashaad Penny enjoyed his best game of the season as a runner with 66 yards on 14 carries, but he endured a tough afternoon in pass protection yielding two pressures, dropping his grade to 76.0 overall. Along the offensive line, rookie tackles Abraham Lucas (78.0) and Charles Cross (74.0) received the two highest marks, while guard Gabe Jackson (62.0) and Austin Blythe (53.0) each were docked for tough games in pass protection. In the middle, Damien Lewis' two late holding penalties hindered his overall grade (70.0) despite yielding only one pressure in pass protection.
Away from Mafe and Woolen, few players on Seattle's defense played well on Sunday. Al Woods contributed five tackles in another solid effort, receiving a 77.0 overall grade, while Darryl Johnson pitched in two tackles in limited action and held up well against the run for a 76.0 mark. In the secondary, Quandre Diggs missed a pair of tackles, dropping his grade to 74.0, while fellow safety Josh Jones struggled yielding four receptions for north of 70 yards and a touchdown to receive a 55.0 overall mark. Cornerback Mike Jackson only allowed two receptions on five targets, but two of the incompletions were plays where receivers had clear separation against him and Mariota simply overthrew his target. Accrediting for his pass breakup and no missed tackles, he finished with a respectable 72.0 grade. Tackling continues to be an issue for linebackers Jordyn Brooks and Cody Barton, who earned 62.0 and 45.0 overall grades respectively. At outside linebacker, Darrell Taylor endured another difficult game setting the edge, with his 35.0 run grade dropping his overall score to 57.0 despite producing a strip sack as a pass rusher. Uchenna Nwosu scored more favorably (68.0), but a botched backside assignment as a run defender led to a 40-yard run for Patterson.