DENVER — Yes, Russell Wilson was playing against Denver’s backups.
No, Matt Flynn did not have the Seahawks’ full array of receivers, as Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin and Ben Obomanu all sat out Saturday’s exhibition game.
But for the second consecutive week, Wilson outpassed Flynn. And for the second consecutive week, it’s hard to know just how to react to that fact after Seattle defeated the Denver Broncos 30-10 at Sports Authority Field.
The Seahawks intercepted Denver’s Peyton Manning twice and also recovered a fumble in the first half, but didn’t find the end zone until the third quarter.
Flynn completed six of 13 passes for 31 yards in a first half that was notable for his inability to connect with Terrell Owens despite repeated attempts.
Wilson entered the game in the third quarter, the Seahawks trailing 10-9, and promptly led Seattle on the first of his three touchdown drives. The rookie from Wisconsin completed 10 of 17 passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns before Josh Portis came on to play the final 3 minutes.
You can question the caliber of competition Wilson faced, but not the caliber of his plays. On third and 17 in the third quarter, he threw 27 yards to tight end Anthony McCoy. He completed an 8-yard pass to receiver Lavasier Tuinei while being hit by two Broncos in the fourth quarter, and also threw a 37-yard pass to Jermaine Kearse later in the period.
His first touchdown pass was for 34 yards to running back Tyrell Sutton, who did most of the work. The second score was an 8-yarder to tight end Cooper Helfet with 3:36 remaining.
Now, everyone, take a deep breath before jumping to conclusions about the quarterback competition. It’s early. The regular season has not started, which means it’s way too soon to draw conclusions. And it was only an exhibition game.
But Seattle’s first-string offense failed to score a touchdown for the second straight week.
That didn’t prevent the Seahawks from beating Denver, just as it didn’t keep them from beating Tennessee in last week’s exhibition opener. But, three weeks before Seattle opens the season, that has to be the team’s biggest concern.
The Seahawks are not only coming off a season in which they ranked No. 28 in the NFL in offensive yardage, they have a three-way quarterback battle, and in two exhibition starts Flynn has yet to complete a pass for more than 14 yards.
The Seahawks scored three times in the first half, but all were field goals after turnovers forced by the defense.
The problem is the passing game. Seattle has gotten up and running just fine as starter Marshawn Lynch gained 27 yards on five first-quarter carries. Seattle gained 27 yards on its first three carries last week against Tennessee.
It’s the passing game that has not quite clicked. At least not downfield.
That was true against Tennessee, as four of Flynn’s first six completions were to running backs. It was true again Saturday in Denver as Flynn failed to complete a pass to Owens despite throwing in his direction five times.