Russell Wilson has been just about perfect. The defensive front of rotating down linemen has completely taken away Denver's running game. And the Seahawks have a 17-3 lead on the Broncos at halftime of the NFL's first rematch of Super Bowl foes in the following since in 16 years.
Wilson has completed 11 of 13 passes for 145 yards and touchdown throws to Ricardo Lockette of 39 yards and Marshawn Lynch of 5 yards. The latter one came with 12 seconds left in the half, after another exquisite drive in hurry-up mode for Wilson and the Seattle offense. They have scored TDs in hurry-up, no-huddle mode to end the first half in each of the last two weeks.
Wilson has even caught a pass, 17 yards on the first offensive series from Jermaine Kearse on a flea-flicker. Denver safety Rahim Moore tried to hit the quarterback so hard at the end of his catch that Moore's helmet flew off on the tackle. That drive, after a Denver fumble on the game's first scrimmage play, resulted in only a short Seattle field goal after Lynch was stopped twice from inside the 3-yard line on runs.
Wilson has been sacked twice, as the Seahawks' seasons-old problem of pass protection has continued against Denver defense bolstered since February's Super Bowl by the signings of cornerback Aqib Talib and DeMarcus Ware, among others. And Seattle lost left tackle Russell Okung on the final drive of the half to a shoulder injury. His return in questionable.
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Wilson has avoided at least three other sacks for either scramble gains or completions, again compensating for problems protecting him. Rookie right tackle Justin Britt has been blocking Broncos' rush linebacker Von Miller often solo and often well, though Miller did beat him badly once with a spin move.
The stars of the half besides Wilson? Fourth wide receiver Ricardo Lockette reached back and grabbed Talib just before Talib would have caught an interception that may have become a return for a touchdown. A few plays later, after another Wilson escape, Lockette beat his man down the right sideline for his touchdown, which he caught while getting bumped.
The defensive front has played seven men -- and have wrecked Peyton Manning's audibles to runs on third downs when the Seahawks have been in nickel defense with five defensive backs and only two linebackers. Rookie defensive end Cassius Marsh blew up consecutive running plays to end one Denver drive.
The Broncos, the NFL's record-breaking offense of a season ago, have scored 11 points in the last six quarters they've played against Seattle's top-ranked defense.
Chat live now during the second half at thenewstribune.com/sports.