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 26, 2005

Seahawks 37, Cardinals 12

Ah yes. This one was sweet. Super sweet.

Sweet like the feeling you get when the sun is rising in the mountains. The birds are singing, the air is fresh, and you get ready to, like a true man, use the outdoors to your advantage (adding to the morning dew, as it were).

Sweet like whupping Gavin in "Star Wars Battlefront" when he has owned it for six months and you have played it one weekend, thus cementing yourself as awesome and Gavin as lame.

Sweet like Chike Okeafor being completely taken out of this game by a rookie, Sean Locklear. That's right. A rookie. Screw you, Chike.

Sweet like seeing ESPN talking heads knocked down about 57 pegs with their ridiculous preseason pick of the Arizona Cardinals..... but I will write more about that on Wednesday. I could write a book about it, but there will be a longer post about that on Wednesday.

Let's analyze this sweet, sweet game.

Quarterback:
Matt Hasselbeck: 20/31, 242 yds, 0 TDs, 0 INTs
A second week with 0 picks for Hasselbeck, who was extremely efficient all game, just USING Antrel Rolle and hitting the quick routes that make up the West Coast offense. Matt seems to play better when the focus is not on him but on Shaun Alexander, but this was his best game of the season, after he entered the day worried about his health. There were a few throws that were incredibly off-target, including one in the end zone that was almost picked off, maybe due to the pain in his arm. He was great with the short routes and good to terrible on the long routes. Again, he doesn't seem yet like a true leader in the mold of a Manning or a Brady, but if this is the Hasselbeck that shows up this season, I will be satisfied.
Grade: B+

Running Back:
Shaun Alexander: 22 attempts, 140 yds, 4 TDs
Amazing game for Alexander, running against a defense that had made it their mission to stop him entering this game. He was, simply, incredible. I have seen a real fire from him these last two games that I haven't seen in a really long time. I have seen him block, seen him go straight ahead when needed, and use his cutbacks more judiciously, resulting in some huge runs. Holmgren, feed Alexander the ball. Every game should start with this philosophy, and making the passing game be built off the running game as long as Alexander plays like this. Wow, Shaun. Keep this up, and I will be pleading with Ruskell to offer you that long-term contract. MVP of the game, by far.
Grade: A+

Wide Receivers:
DJack: 8 rec, 125 yds; Engram: 5 rec, 54 yds, 1 big drop; Stevens: 3 rec, 34 yds, 1 big drop
There was one spot in this game where I thought the dropsies might be back, but the receivers, well, recovered, and had a pretty solid game. I am seeing hard catches being made every game. There was a big one by Stevens in the 3rd quarter over the middle that kept a drive alive that was huge, another one by DJack that comes to mind before he was flattened by Adrian Wilson. What made this performance better then last week was the existence of clutch catches in the 2nd half, making this the first complete game by this group. This is a better wide-receiving corps then we had last year. They are more consistent, more reliable, and they get the job done. Hasselbeck must be smiling continuously about their performance the first three games of the season.
Grade: A-

Offensive Line:
Look at the day from Shaun. Look at the day from Hasselbeck. 0 sacks allowed. They were awesome. Walter Jones wrapped Bertrand Berry into a pretzel and stuffed him into his pocket. The aforementioned Okeafor had a whopping 2 tackles in his glorious return to Seattle. Shaun had HUGE gaping holes to run through ALL DAY LONG!! There were perhaps 2 holding calls? Maybe 1? Definitely one on Chris Gray, but when does that not happen? These guys were, frankly, dominant, and I loved every moment of it. Again, if they play like this through the rest of the season, our offense will be hitting on all cylinders from this moment forward.
Grade: A

Defensive Line:
Held Marcel Shipp to 41 yds and Arrington to 9 yds, 1 recovered fumble by Bernard, 1 sack by Bryce Fisher
Gavin went out on a limb in saying that we had the better defensive line then Arizona. Well, look at the production. Chartric Darby has been nothing short of special, and Marcus Tubbs is looking like a 1st round pick (by the way, any coincidence that our team is playing better when our 1st round picks of Tubbs, Trufant, and Stevens are all plyaing well?). I love Darby. He always seems to be around the ball, and he is terrific against the run. Rocky Bernard is being able to generate some pass rush, and Wistrom and Fisher make for a semi-potent combo from the ends! They need to stay healthy, but..... wow.
Grade: A

Linebackers:
1 sack by Leroy Hill, 7 tackles by the starters
After a week of raving about Tatupu, he was largely not a part of this game, managing only 1 solo tackle and 2 assists. However, they seemed to do their roles, because the Cardinals were not able to take advantage of any mismatches with their superior wide-receivers, and helped the defense stuff the running game. You might be able to see it in the stats, but these guys are all playing well. They are fast, but more importantly, they seem to be playing very smart football, and have not seemed to cost us much in production the first three weeks of the season. How much better is this then last year? MUCH better.
Grade: B+

Secondary:
1 INT by Babineaux, stifled Larry Fitzgerald (3 rec, 44 yds), handled Boldin (88 yds)
You would find it difficult to come up with a better wide receiving corps then the Arizona Cardinals. The Hawks were up to the task, even with Herndon out with a stinger and Dyson out with illness for various parts of the game. Boulware had a huge sack and fumble of McCown that seemed to ice the game, making this the first game that I remembered why Boulware was our MVP last season. He has become an excellent safety for the most part, and Hamlin is a probable star, though they blew that one coverage where Boldin should have scored. It's hard to diss anyone this game when you look at the final score.
Grade: B+

Special Teams:
Josh Brown: 3/3, long of 47 yds; Leo Araguz: 36 avg, long of 39 yds
Again, I am not a fan of Araguz. He is just not booming the ball at all, and it seems like in every single game we are outmanned in the realm of special teams. Brown seems to always shine with field goals, but he loses his big leg when he is dealing with kickoffs. I don't understand how to fix this, but I have a bad feeling that Araguz might cost us at least one game before this season is out. He almost did against Atlanta, and it might happen again.
Grade: C

Overall:
Just a great performance overall. This was done by the halfway point of the 3rd quarter. At halftime I called Gavin and wondered how we could absolutely dominate a half and yet only by up by 1 point. Well, the Seahawks must have wondered that too, because they put the Cardinals on their heels. I loved taking it to Okeafor and playmaker Orlando Huff. I loved our offensive line shoving the Cardinals defense all over the field. I loved how DJack made Antrel Rolle his personal slave all day long. This was an incredible game. Unfortunately, we had a great game last season. Then we played the Rams. Thus, I won't believe any talk of awesomeness until we take it to Washington (which we should, but Washington seems to be a house of horrors for us) and St. Louis (which will be hard since St. Louis is also a house of horrors for us). So, no big conclusions here, but it was a fun game to watch.

posted by colin_hesse @ 3:26 PM  1 comments

1 Comments:

At 4:21 PM, Blogger Gavin said...

You harp on the one freaking time you beat me like some insecure record. No mention of the utter "Battlefront" domination which predates your one success. No mention of your weak attempts at attempting my patented stormtrooper moves. Poor journalistic integrity...

 

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