Brock Osweiler was composed and efficient, leading the Denver Broncos to scores on all five first-half possessions. An impressive effort, even if it came against a makeshift Seattle defense.
Osweiler was 15 of 20 for 151 yards and a touchdown playing the first half in the Broncos' 22-20 win over the Seahawks to open the preseason on Friday.
Starting in place of Peyton Manning, who went through pregame warmups but was just a spectator, Osweiler finished with a 112.7 rating. He capped his night with a 17-yard touchdown pass to tight end Virgil Green late in the first half for a 19-10 lead. Denver's offense finished with 240 yards in the half, although much of that came with most of Seattle's starting defense standing on the sideline.
"Things felt very smooth out there tonight. So from a personal standpoint it probably is my best performance to date, but I can't say that without those 10 other guys I was out there with tonight," Osweiler said.
While Osweiler picked apart Seattle's defense, Russell Wilson was left to scramble for safety during his two series in the first quarter. Wilson was sacked by Von Miller and fumbled on Seattle's second offensive play. He was sacked on third-and-goal from the Denver 8 and completed only one pass - a 12-yard connection with new tight end Jimmy Graham that elicited one of the biggest cheers of the night.
The biggest highlight for Seattle was the electric debut of rookie Tyler Lockett. Drafted primarily for his ability as a returner, Lockett took a kickoff back 103 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter after having a 46-yard return in the first quarter.
But there were more concerns for Seattle than highlights after seeing two important players taken to the locker room with injuries. Wide receiver Chris Matthews, who had four catches for 109 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl, suffered a sprain of his left shoulder on punt coverage diving for a loose ball after it was muffed by Solomon Patton.
And backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, Seattle's security should anything happen to Wilson, was taken to the locker room on a cart in the third quarter after his right ankle was rolled. Jackson was diagnosed with a sprain.
Both Matthews and Jackson are likely to be out at least 10 days to two weeks, according to coach Pete Carroll.
Even Carroll got dinged up. During Lockett's touchdown return, Carroll collided on the sideline with field judge Eugene Hall. Carroll was sent sprawling to the turf while Hall kept his balance and was able to throw the flag for sideline interference.
"I saw him and couldn't get out of the way," Carroll said.
Other observations from the preseason opener:
NEW LOOK LINE
Denver's new look offensive line, with five players in new spots, played well with the exception of one play. Osweiler was sacked by Cliff Avril on Denver's second offensive play. Otherwise, Osweiler stayed upright and the Broncos rushed for 101 yards in the first half.
"Once they settled down they played well. They came off the ball well," Denver coach Gary Kubiak said.
Seattle defensive tackle Jesse Williams took the field with 11:30 left in the second quarter for his first play of the preseason, less than three months after undergoing surgery to remove a cancerous kidney. Williams played in a rotation on the defensive line for the final three quarters.
Williams finished with two tackles.
GETTING THEIR KICKS
Denver continued to split its kicking duties, with Connor Barth and Brandon McManus both getting multiple chances. Barth hit from 28 and 23 yards, while McManus was good from 52, 44 and 23 yards.
Undrafted free agent long snapper and ex-Green Beret Nate Boyer led the Seahawks out of the tunnel pregame carrying the American flag. Boyer handled all of the snapping duties in the second half after veteran Clint Gresham snapped in the first half.
Green led Denver with five catches for 45 yards and the touchdown reception. It's a good start as Denver tries to replace Julius Thomas.
Along with Lockett, rookie defensive end Frank Clark stood out for Seattle. Clark had a game-high nine tackles, one quarterback hit and one forced fumble playing a variety of positions on the defensive line.
"I thought Lockett's 83-yard touchdown was really good. See, I didn't see the last 20," Carroll on his collision with the side judge.