Report Card: Top Performers in Seahawks 27-7 Loss to 49ers – Sports Illustrated

Laying an egg in their NFC West opener, the Seahawks turned in a forgettable performance in all phases during a disappointing 27-7 loss to the 49ers on Sunday, quickly falling from the ranks of the undefeated.
While little went right for Seattle in its first road test of the season, a few standouts still turned in quality outings in defeat. Here are my top five grades along with other notable performances from Levis Stadium.
Overall Grade: 86.0 (Receiving 90, Run Blocking 70*)
Playing the role of reliable security blanket as he did for Russell Wilson so many times over the years, Lockett came through as the lone bright spot for the Seahawks at the offensive skill positions on Sunday. Continuing to develop a rapport with Smith, he amassed nine receptions for 107 yards, including snagging a 27-yard reception when he broke off from his original route and came across the field as an outlet for a scrambling Smith to deliver an improvised strike to him in stride late in the first half. Six of his nine catches moved the chains for first downs, or nearly 50 percent of Seattle's 14 first downs on that afternoon. While it wasn't his fault, Smith's only interception came trying to squeeze in a throw to the veteran wideout on a post in the second quarter, only for a defender to deflect the ball into the air and safety Tashaun Gipson run underneath it for an interception. Away from that play, however, he was near-perfect reeling in nine of his other 10 targets.
Overall Grade: 83.0 (Run Defense 88, Tackling 83, Pass Rush 78)
Allowing the seventh-most rushing yards in the league through two weeks, Seattle has serious issues to address in regard to run fits and cohesion between the defensive line and linebackers. But none of the blame for those struggles should be shouldered by Woods, who continues to age like fine wine with dominant outing after dominant outing. While the veteran nose tackle's contributions don't always show up on the stat sheet, he blew up numerous 49ers runs on Sunday, including coming through the line untouched to annihilate rookie running Tyrion Davis-Price for a four-yard loss early in the second quarter. He wrapped up the afternoon with seven tackles, three tackles for loss, one quarterback pressure, and a pass deflection, pitching in as a run defender and interior rusher. Unfortunately, his teammates let him down several times when he created instant push into the backfield to disrupt plays, failing to bring down ball carriers after they were forced to bounce the run back outside and giving up big chunks of yardage.
Overall Grade: 82.5 (Receiving 85, Run Blocking 80*)
From a stat perspective, Metcalf endured another disappointing game with only four receptions for 35 yards and no touchdowns. But after a mistake-filled opener where he dropped a pass and coughed up a key fumble trying to create yardage after the catch, he caught four out of five passes thrown to him by Smith and moved the chains on two of those catches. He also had a remarkable 49-yard reception where he skied over cornerback Charvarius Ward on a double-pass trick play to high-point the football wiped out by an ineligible man downfield penalty, negating Seattle's longest play of the contest. No player on either team was stricken by worse fortune than Metcalf on Sunday, as he not only lost that long reception that could have set up a potential scoring drive, but he also was the targeted receiver on an ill-conceived trick play with running back DeeJay Dallas throwing an interception in the end zone trying to get the football to him. Despite the bad luck and limited targets in the passing game, he kept playing hard and laid a few nice blocks in the run game, including demolishing a linebacker on a five-yard run by Ken Walker III.
Overall Grade: 81.0 (Run Defense 82, Tackling 84, Pass Rush 77)
Thanks in part to the struggles of Darrell Taylor, Mafe saw a substantial uptick in playing time in his second NFL game and took advantage of the additional reps with an impressive second half showing. On just 15 snaps as a run defender, he recorded three tackles, including corralling running back Jeff Wilson Jr. after discarding a block from a pulling guard for a two-yard tackle for loss. Sticking with the play after quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo climbed the pocket, he also registered his first NFL sack tackling him inches behind the line of scrimmage, though the 49ers wound up converting on fourth down the next snap. While he lost his footing on a couple pass rush attempts and generated a single pressure on eight rush attempts, it was a huge step forward for the rookie defender against a quality opponent and he may have earned himself extended playing time moving forward.
Overall Grade: 80.0 (Pass Blocking 85, Run Blocking 75)
Coming off a roller coaster debut in which he allowed a pair of fourth quarter sacks blocking against Broncos star Bradley Chubb, Cross stepped up his game going against Nick Bosa and Samson Ebukam on Sunday. Logging 35 pass blocking reps, he only yielded one pressure to Bosa and no hits against Smith, playing like a top-10 pick in a tough road environment. He also wasn't penalized for a second straight week, a positive development after drawing frequent flags in the preseason. Like the rest of his line counterparts, Cross had a bit more trouble in the run game, often getting driven back at the point of attack on a limited 12-play sample size. There's clear room for him to grow across the board, but similarly to Mafe, he took positive steps in the right direction and the Seahawks should be encouraged by his early development through two games facing talented edge rushers.
Other Notable Performances
While neither player enjoyed strong statistical games, Rashaad Penny and Ken Walker III each racked up significant yardage after contact despite abysmal blocking in front of them all afternoon long, earning 78.0 and 76.0 grades respectively. Taking a bit of a step back in the run game, Abraham Lucas got bullied at times in the trenches, but he still held up well enough in pass protection with two pressures allowed to salvage a 74.0 overall mark. Though he completed 80 percent of his passes, Geno Smith's inability to get the ball downfield along with two interceptions – one was wiped out by a defensive pass interference penalty – dropped his grade to 70.0. Turning in one of the worst performances of his career, guard Gabe Jackson yielded seven quarterback pressures on 35 pass blocking reps, receiving a dismal 15.0 pass protection grade while also struggling to generate push in the run game for a 35.0 overall score. Guard Phil Haynes (57.5) and center Austin Blythe (61.0) weren't much better, combining to allow four pressures and failing to make much of an impact blocking in front of Penny and Walker.
Narrowly missing out on a top five grade thanks to a pair of missed tackles, safety Quandre Diggs still had a stellar outing while having to pitch in more against the run than he should have to. Finishing with seven tackles and a pass breakup, which he wisely didn't intercept in the end zone on fourth down, he received a 79.0 grade. While he wasn't near as productive as Week 1 and missed a couple of tackles off the edge, Uchenna Nwosu also had a decent game with five total pressures and three quarterback hits, earning himself a 77.5 mark. All three of Seattle's starting cornerbacks had difficult days, as Tariq Woolen allowed three receptions in coverage and the only incompletion against him was dropped by Brandon Aiyuk. The fifth-round pick tackled well and did block a field goal, improving his overall score to 72.5. Mike Jackson only allowed one catch, but two defensive pass interference penalties and a missed tackle sullied an otherwise decent day and extended drives for the 49ers, dropping his grade to 68.0. As for rookie Coby Bryant, he endured a rough afternoon drawing two penalties and leaving three tackles on the field for a 52.5 grade. Up front, Poona Ford uncharacteristically struggled with run fits and holding up against double teams, earning a 58.0 run defense grade. Continuing to struggle out of the gate, Darrell Taylor received the lowest grade for Seattle defensively (42.0) after missing three crucial tackles and failing to generate a single pressure as a pass rusher.
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