NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst and longtime Seattle resident Rob Rang will be providing analysis for SeahawkMaven, including regular reviews of the Seahawks rookies.
Three rookies – cornerback Tre Flowers, edge rusher Jacob Martin and punter Michael Dickson – contributed meaningful minutes in Seattle’s 28-14 win over the Detroit Lions. A breakdown of their performance, including video and grades are below.
Tre Flowers, CB, # 37 – Unquestionably Seattle’s best and most consistent rookie over the first half of the 2018 season, Flowers turned in another blue-collar effort in Detroit, providing blanket coverage on the perimeter, as well as physicality when fighting through blocks and as a tackler.
The Lions and their Pro Bowl quarterback Matthew Stafford – formerly the NFL’s highest paid player – showed a lot of respect for Flowers over the first half, opting not to target the one-time Oklahoma State strong safety making just his sixth professional start. Stafford only attempted a few passes in Flowers’ direction over the first half, with the rookie doing his best impression of a previous Seahawks fifth round pick – Richard Sherman – on his suffocating coverage of this deep ball.
Stafford jabbed at Flowers on the first play from scrimmage after halftime, completing a quick out to Marvin Jones, Jr. in the hopes of loosening him up for one of his trademark deep balls later. Stafford, in fact, beat the Seahawks twice on long touchdowns to Jones, though neither of them came against Flowers.
Instead, the Lions’ halftime adjustment was to use more in-breaking routes against Flowers and to rotate the quicker, more compact Golden Tate to the angular rookie’s side. It was there that Flowers showed that he may be blossoming as more than “just” a vertical defender, snaking his 33 ¾” arm around Tate to bat away a pass to break up a well-thrown slant by Stafford. The breakup was Flowers’ third of the season.
Flowers was one of many Seahawks to enjoy a very impressive performance in the 28-14 win. He was not perfect, however, getting turned around by Jones on back to back receptions in the fourth quarter and twice slipping off of ball-carriers.
Jacob Martin, DE, # 59 – Martin saw action at left defensive end when the Seahawks shifted to dime, including on Stafford’s first quarter scoring strike to Jones. As you can see below, the 6-2, 242 pound Martin was effectively contained on this particular rush attempt by a double-team, courtesy of right tackle Rick Wagner and right guard T.J. Lang, who each out-weigh him by at least 75 pounds.
While getting to Stafford obviously was the goal, Martin did his job on this snap, setting the edge against Wagner that ultimately limits the quarterback’s escape from Frank Clark just long enough to complete far and away his best throw of the game.
While the Lions deserve kudos for their first quarter touchdown, Martin got the better of Wagner a little later, teaming with Clark on the Lions’ final series of the second quarter to give the Seahawks their first sack of the game.
As was correctly identified by FOX’s telecast (Ronde Barber), Martin beat Wagner upfield, forcing Stafford to step up into Clark’s waiting arms. Clark’s sack forced the Lions to punt, giving the Seahawks a 21-7 lead that Pete Carroll happily took into halftime.
Michael Dickson, P, # 4 – Dickson went from a rather ho-hum day as a punter to one of Sunday’s iconic performers with a stunning first down conversion off a fake punt out of Seattle’s end zone to seal the win. With just over two minutes remaining, Dickson received the ball from long snapper Tyler Ott and drifted to his right, setting up what looked to be a rugby style punt.
Instead, with Detroit largely falling off to set up blocks for a potential return, Dickson turned upfield for a gain of nine on 4th and 8.
Dickson’s run was the perfect capper for a contest in which Seattle dominated the line of scrimmage, out-rushing the Lions 174 to 34.
Dickson was called on to punt just three times Sunday as Russell Wilson, Chris Carson and the Seahawks offensive line bullied the Lions on their homefield. He netted just 39 yards on a first quarter punt that was downed at the Lions’ 18-yard line, a frankly disappointing result given that he had successfully pinned Detroit inside the ten a play earlier, before a penalty allowed Lions head coach Matt Patricia to request a do-over.
Like his run, Dickson’s best punt came late in the fourth quarter when he executed a textbook “coffin corner” kick, angling a 49-yarder to the right sideline and forcing a fair-catch at the 9-yard line.