SEATTLE – It was the kind of night when Seattle coach Pete Carroll could make fun of Marshawn Lynch for having just 1 yard rushing in two preseason games.
Seattle's 40-10 preseason victory over Denver became that kind of laugher. The Seahawks' ability to make big plays was apparent as they returned a kickoff and a fumble for touchdowns and their depth overwhelmed the Broncos in the second half.
"We had fun tonight, and played well, and we got out of there without getting anybody banged up," Carroll said.
Much of what happened on the field became a footnote after Denver's Derek Wolfe was loaded into an ambulance and taken to a local hospital in the first quarter. But Seattle's starting offense moved the ball with consistency for most of the first half after sputtering last week in San Diego.
Meanwhile, the Broncos were sloppy with four turnovers and injuries are starting to become a concern for Denver.
Here are five things that stood out about Seattle's win over Denver:
1. DEREK WOLFE IS OK: Any time an ambulance is brought on the field, it's a scary moment. Denver's starting defensive end was taken off the field on a backboard and loaded into an ambulance early in the first quarter.
Wolfe was initially cut on the play by Seattle's Luke Willson. As Wolfe was getting back up, fullback Michael Robinson collided with Wolfe and appeared to compress his head and neck. Wolfe remained on the ground and appeared to be moving his legs before medical personnel strapped him to a backboard.
Scans showed that Wolfe didn't break any bones and he was cleared to fly back to Denver on the team charter. It's not clear how long he'll be sidelined.
2. INJURIES ARE STARTING TO PILE UP IN DENVER: While Wolfe's injury was scary, right guard Louis Vazquez's left knee injury could be more problematic.
The Broncos already lost starting center Dan Koppen to a knee injury and Vasquez's injury could be another blow to protecting Peyton Manning. Coach John Fox did not have an update on Vasquez after the game. Wes Welker (ankle) and Champ Bailey (foot) also were pulled a bit earlier than expected with minor injuries.
"We need to get a few guys that have been injured back on the field, try to form the identity and the chemistry of this team," Manning said. "We haven't had all of our players at full speed, so hopefully that can start a little more this week, I know there were a few injuries tonight but we still have work we need to put in and improvements we need to make."
3. SEATTLE GIVING UP GROUND: It's hard to criticize a defense that allowed just 10 points and forced four turnovers, but the Seahawks' starting defense gave up plenty of yardage to the Broncos.
The problem continued to be a lack of a pass rush without blitzing, although Seattle played without defensive end Cliff Avril. Manning threw for 163 yards in just 1½ quarters and rarely had to move in the pocket.
The Seahawks were at least opportunistic, causing turnovers and turning those into points.
4. RUSSELL WILSON IS REGULAR-SEASON READY: Seattle's starting QB played the entire first half and looked more than ready for Sept. 8 in Carolina to arrive.
Wilson completed 8 of 12 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns. He scrambled and found open receivers, dropped in perfect touch passes and ran a scaled-down version of Seattle's offense with speed and efficiency.
In other words, he looked much as he did for the second half of last season.
5. JERMAINE KEARSE COULD BE A STEAL: With Percy Harvin out, Seattle needed a fourth wide receiver. Jermaine Kearse may have put a lock on that spot.
He already had developed a strong chemistry with Wilson, beginning in the 2012 offseason when Kearse was an undrafted free agent and Wilson was trying to work his way up the depth chart.
Kearse has continued to improve and has remained a favorite target of Wilson. The wrinkle came when Kearse returned a kickoff on Saturday night and showed a burst when he broke into the open field. His 107-yard return was an electric moment and may have solved one of Seattle's biggest questions going into the season.
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