Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Seahawks 21, Falcons 18


I am 23 years old. Sometimes I feel 43, and it usually comes after watching the Seattle Seahawks valiently try to lose a game they should easily win.

The ESPN guys were pointing it out every single time they showed the highlights. You were expecting this team to lose as soon as the Falcons closed the gap to 21-10. The offense had stalled, the defense was allowing the Falcons to, gasp, throw the football, our punter was having an atrocious game, and Mike Holmgren looked ready to burst at the seams.

But we won. For once. We pulled it out.

I'll be honest with you. I'm still processing this game in my mind, and I'm not sure how pleased to be about this game. I mean, I can't imagine our team playing much better then they did in the 1st half, and I can't imagine our team playing worse then they did in the 2nd half.

Well, here is the position rundown.

Matt Hasselbeck - 20-31, 281 yds, 2 TDs, 0 INTs
Well, that 0 INT number looms rather large after the disaster down in Jacksonville, and the TD passes were both extremely nice, especially that diving catch by Stevens. However, he looked extremely shaky in the 2nd half, throwing several incompletions in a row, and he could have sealed the game by completing that pass to Stevens at the 2 minute mark, instead throwing it behind him. Matt, you're supposed to be our leader, and when you see our team struggling, I simply expect more from you. Top-tier quarterbacks steer their team away from crushing losses. You did have a terrific 1st half, but....
Grade: B-

Running back:
Shaun Alexander - 28 attempts, 144 yds, 1 TD
Now, those numbers are more like it. We did not use Alexander enough last week, and it seemed like Holmgren realized that, because the Falcons got a huge dose of Alexander in the 1st half, and Alexander responded by gashing huge holes in the center of the Falcons defense. He was getting to the corner faster, and, when he needed to, not trying to be too fancy, but lowering his head and running between the tackles. He got his first rushing touchdown of the season, which was one game late. In my opinion, our MVP. In that one 4th quarter drive stalled by lame penalties and Engram's fumble, he was our primary weapon, running out the clock with hard runs. By the way, he did pick up a 3rd and 1.
Grade: A

Wide receivers:
D. Jack - 8 rec, 131 yds, Engram - 5 rec, 77 yds, Stevens - 3 rec, 49 yds, 1 TD, Jurevicius - 1 rec, 6 yds, 1 TD
I counted only 1 drop by Jackson, and the 1 fumble by Engram. Besides that, a near flawless performance by the corp. I love the big target of Jurevicius. He is a wonderful goal-line threat, and he forced DeAngelo Hall into a huge pass interference penalty on a terrific stop-and-go route, leading to one of our three touchdowns. Again, though, they seemed to disappear in the 2nd half. Part of that I lay on Hasselbeck's shoulders, but not all. They need to step up their game in the 2nd half, making sure to get in position to make the catch to stop the purging of momentum. And that fumble..... ouch. C'mon, Engram, hang onto the ball, mmmm'kay?
Grade: B

Offensive line:
They generated an awful lot of yards for Alexander, and Walter Jones was an absolute beast this game. Hasselbeck had more time in the pocket, only getting sacked a few times. The holding calls on that last drive were a little weak-sauce on the part of the officials. In other words, they seemed pretty ticky-tack. Tobeck played WAY better, and, once again, the only line player I wanted more out of was Chris Gray, but....
Grade: A-

Defensive line:
2 sacks (Bernard and Fisher), held Warrick Dunn to 54 yds rushing, Vick 43 yds (mostly on 1 run), and 18 yds and a TD by Duckett.
Excellent work by the front line. The best part of the game was late in the 2nd quarter, when the defense stuffed the Falcons on 2nd and 1 AND 3rd and 1. The Falcons punted, and the Seahawks scored their 3rd touchdown before the half. A HUGE turning point. Dunn was a non-factor this game. Duckett only had a few runs, including the TD that noone blamed the D-Line for. And they contained Vick. They got him on a run early and often, and when they did, people were disciplined, staying in their lanes, not allowing him to go off.
Grade: A+

1 sack (Tatupu!), 14 tackles from the starters.
Again, not too shabby, but not overly impressive. I saw a few aborted blitzes several times during the game, but you have to give an assist for the stoppage of the run game to the linebackers. What I'm not seeing yet from these guys is the nose for the big play. There have been no turnovers forced yet from our defense, and, a lot of times, you expect those plays to come from your linebackers. So they were solid but not spectacular. If they give us that kind of performance every game, I will be satisfied.
Grade: B-

13 combined tackles, including several huge ones from Ken Hamlin, allowed 123 passing yds.
Who could miss that huge tackle by Hamlin stopping Vick on what looked like a SURE run for a 1st down? He pulled Vick over backwards, and then Dyson was there to clean up. 123 passing yds is not too shabby, though Vick overthrew Jenkins on a few deep balls where he was WIDE open. We have to shore up that tendency to give up the deep ball, but that could have been due to the fact that our safeties were cheating up to deal with Vick and the running game. For some reason Mike Ditka was really ragging on our secondary after the game, which I don't understand. What I do understand is that they have been ok after two games, but they are too athletic and gifted for an ok performance. They should be spectacular, and they have to be going after the football and getting some turnovers.
Grade: B-

Special Teams:
Um, Araguz? I don't care if your average was 41.5 yds. I watched that game, and you sucked, continually giving the Falcons excellent field position in the 2nd half. Get your leg into the ball or you put our defense on their heels continually.
Grade: D

A tale of two halfs. Which half better characterizes our team? Unfortunately, probably, the combination. Use Alexander to pound the ball against the Cardinals, and try to school Antrel Rolle with Darrell Jackson. You have to protect Hasselbeck, because the Cardinals have an excellent rush package. On the flip side, the D-Line has to continue limiting the run and putting pressure on the quarterback, because this will be the weakest offensive line that we will see this year. The presure will be on our secondary, because that wide receivers corp of the Cardinals is, frankly, awesome. As for this week....
Grade: B

posted by colin_hesse @ 11:20 AM  1 comments


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