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!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Week 5: Hawks at St Louis

St Louis Rams: 2-2
2004 Home Record: 6-2
2005 Home Record: 1-0


Quarterback: Matt Hasselbeck (1011 yds, 5 TDs, 2 INTs) vs Marc Bulger (1312 yds, 8 TDs, 6 INTs)
This is a story of two quarterbacks who do very well against the opposing defense. Hasselbeck has pretty much been our offense against the Rams, and Marc Bulger has absolutely decimated our secondary, avoiding many of the momentum-changing interceptions he otherwise tosses. Hasselbeck continues to impress while leaving me wanting. Yes, he's moving the chains. Still, he's not making plays outside the realm of the "steady". I know, difficult to understand. To put it another way... Hasselbeck is making the plays solid quarterbacks make, but none that Pro Bowl quarterbacks would make. Marc Bulger flat out owns the Seahawks and is the single greatest reason why we keep on coming out as losers. He finds open receivers over the middle, generally makes good decisions, and I fear him. Advantage: St Louis

Running Back: Shaun Alexander (455 yds, 6 TDs) vs Stephen Jackson (218 yds, 2 TDs)
If we actually win this game, it will be because of Shaun Alexander. We have to focus on the running game to come out on top. Luckily, Shaun continues to show up. I can't really blame him for his lack of production in the first half last week. He had six carries. I don't really think many backs can have solid production with six carries. The bad news is that the Rams seem to own him, especially on runs that matter. Shaun really disappeared in the playoffs last year and needs to atone for some errors. Stephen Jackson gashed us pretty well last year, but yet again Mike Martz isn't using him at all. 218 yards in four games for a back of that quality? Atrocious, although I do realize that he has had some injury problems. Will the Rams commit the run? Easiest prediction... No. Advantage: Seattle

Well, this is a paragraph that would be a lot different if I'd written it a week ago. The loss of Darrell Jackson and Bobby Engram is huge. We can all remember what life without Engram was like last year. Hint: it sucked. Can Joe Jurevicius and Peter Warrick step up? DJ Hackett will be a starter as well. He's done absolutely nothing after a good preseason. Think Tim Ruskell might be regretting dumping Jerome Pathon? I would be. This is nothing but a giant question mark. I think they'll be good, not great. The Rams have injury problems of their own, with Isaac Bruce sitting this one out (which I called in my preview of the Rams... gratuitous pat on the back), but still have Torry Holt, Kevin Curtis, and Shaun McDonald. Basically, they're stacked. All those receivers play pretty damn well against Seattle too. Advantage: St Louis

Offensive Line:
This is starting to become almost a rote preview. Another week against an excellent defense, another stellar offensive line performance. We are simply rocking people. Now they get to go up against a below average defense. The results should favor our squad. The Rams have a crappy offensive line besides Orlando Pace, and will allow Marc Bulger to get whacked around. He hasn't been injured yet this year, but everytime he drops back to pass he's taking his life in his hands. They open up some holes for Jackson, but are the weak link in the otherwise excellent attack of the Rams. Advantage: Seattle

D-Line: Now I'm not sure what defense is going to show up for the Hawks. The defense which showed up well in our first three games, or the defense which let the Redskins go up and down the field all game long. We need to generate a real pass rush. Grant Wistrom has zero sacks. That is ridiculous for the amount of money we pay him. Our pass rush is going to be key in stopping the Rams' passing attack. We also have to depend on Darby and Tubbs to stop Jackson early to force Martz into abandoning the run. Jackson is a huge weapon and it will be crucial to establish dominance in the trenches. St Louis has a good end rusher in Leonard Little, who actually does put pressure on the opposing QB, and two decent tackles in Jimmy Kennedy and Ryan Pickett (underperforming from their first round talent level though). They can plug some holes but can definitely be taken advantage of. Advantage: Seattle

Linebackers: Even in the worst defensive game of the year so far Lofa Tatupu has 10 tackles and a sack. He didn't take the game off. This is where we need him to step up, because I can't forget all those short slants we gave up at St Louis last year when the Rams jumped out to the huge lead. This is what we have been waiting for from these young backers. If they can't do this... man. As one negative, their blitzing still is awful. The Rams traded Tommy Polley because they thought Chris Claiborne and Dexter Coakley were the answer. I knew it was a stupid idea then and I haven't been disappointed. How many teams have been disappointed in Claiborne? All of them. Advantage: Seattle

Secondary: Our secondary should be ashamed of themselves. They kept on giving up those third downs. Terrible job. On paper we have a huge advantage over the Rams, who are really missing injured CB Jerametrius Butler. They made Steve McNair look good again. They made Kurt Warner look good. They made Tim Rattay look good. They made Eli Manning look good. Do we see a pattern? Unfortunately, with how poor our third down defense was and with how badly we have performed against the Rams in previous games I simply can't give us an advantage. Advantage: Push

Special teams: Do I even have to write this again? Advantage: St Louis

Prediction: What a tough call. The optimist in me says that our defense shows up in this one, controls Bulger, and Shaun Alexander has a fantastic game. I even picked us to win this game in my analysis of our schedule in my preseason preview. However, my optimism is taking a week long hiatus. I can't see us outscoring the Rams without Jackson and Engram. Seattle loses by 10.

posted by Gavin @ 11:55 PM  0 comments


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