- Terry Blount, ESPN Staff Writer
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Where was ground game? The Seahawks had only 70 yards rushing on 26 carries, and Marshawn Lynch didn’t look like the man who rushed for 1,590 yards last season. He ended the game with 17 carries for 43 yards. Lynch didn’t play much in the preseason, so maybe he was a little rusty. Maybe he just had nowhere to go and the line wasn’t making any holes to run through. And maybe he misses fullback Michael Robinson, who was released in the final cuts, partially over financial considerations.
The offensive line is a big part of the problem: The Seattle offensive line was completely outmanned at the line of scrimmage by the Carolina defensive front. This has to be a concern heading into the home opener against the San Francisco 49ers Sunday night. Russell Wilson was sacked twice, one of which caused a fumble, but it easily could have been four or five sacks if not for his athletic ability to scramble out of trouble. He was running away from pressure most of the day.
No problems without Percy: Many people were concerned about how the Seahawks' receiving corps would look without the man it never had: Percy Harvin. The speedster was the big offseason acquisition for Seattle in a trade with Minnesota, but Harvin suffered a torn labrum over the summer and had hip surgery Aug. 1. The Seahawks looked fine without him Sunday. Doug Baldwin had seven catches for 91 yards, including a miraculous sideline grab when Wilson scrambled and just threw it up hoping for the best. Golden Tate had four receptions and averaged 12 yards on four punt returns. Second-year player Jermaine Kearse had the catch of the day, a leaping grab down the sideline for a 43-yard touchdown that put Seattle ahead in the fourth quarter. Harvin tweeted last week he expects to return sooner than the previous projections of late November. No doubt he will add a game-breaking ability to the offense, but the Seahawks have a quality group without Harvin.
Will Clemons, Browner and Avril return for the 49ers? Seattle's defense had an impressive performance Sunday despite being without those three players, along with defensive end/linebacker Bruce Irvin, who is suspended for the first four games because of PEDs. But the other three players could return soon. Brandon Browner and Cliff Avril (both with hamstring strains) were game-time decisions Sunday and the coaches elected to make them inactive. Chris Clemons, who had 11.5 sacks last season, is close to being ready after rehabbing from offseason ACL surgery. Clemons is expected to practice this week. Seattle's defense is strong without these guys, but it’s probably the best in the league when all these players return.