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!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Week 6: Houston at Hawks

Houston Texans: 0-4
2004 Away Record: 4-4
2005 Away Record: 0-2


Quarterback: Matt Hasselbeck (1327 yds, 7 TDs, 2 INTs) vs David Carr (542 yds, 3 TDs, 4 INTs)
What do I need to write before claiming this an advantage for Seattle? I have ridden Matt Hasselbeck a bit the past few weeks for not stepping up to a Pro Bowl level. He apparently was listening (not necessarily to me... maybe a friend or relative) because his performance against an admittedly bad St Louis secondary was at an All-Pro level. Matt put a lot of trust in his wide receivers, made the right reads, and was extremely accurate. He is still sitting in the pocket longer than necessary (the four sacks he suffered), but that is as much a reflection of his confidence in his line and receivers than indecision. Also key is the fact that he still is sitting on 2 INTs, both of which were against Jacksonville. David Carr is definitely heading into "Gigantic Disappointment" levels, as his numbers are horrendous. He is actually regressing this year after showing significant improvement the past two seasons. I would compare his quarterback style to Kurt Warner last year with the Giants. A statue in the pocket, holding on to the ball too long, missing open receivers, Carr is a model of offensive mediocrity. At this point Carr is fighting for his football future. Advantage: Seattle

Running Back: Shaun Alexander (574 yds, 8 TDs) vs Dominack Davis (318 yds, 0 TDs)
One of the improvements Shaun has made this year that I haven't mentioned yet is his ability to hold on to the football. Through five games Shaun has fumbled only once, and that was recovered by Seattle. With the success of the passing game against the Rams, Alexander didn't have to take over the game, but still managed to have himself a nice afternoon. The rest is still the same... Shaun is blocking better, running harder, and at this point is definitely worthy of a long term extension. Dominack Davis played pretty well in the second half of last season and parlayed that into being overrated entering this one. Unfortunately, with that weak offensive line, it is difficult to see a lot of daylight. To not even have one touchdown is very poor. Advantage: Seattle

Receivers: Seattle (262 receiving yards/game) vs Houston (89 receiving yards/game)
I owe Joe Jurevicius an apology, because I joined the rest of America in doubting his ability to replace Jackson and Engram. He sure showed me. The disappointment was the lack of involvement Peter Warrick (1 catch) had last week. For crying out loud, he had 79 catches two years ago. He is better than DJ Hackett (who did play very well) and should be good for 5-6 catches each game out. Speaking of Hackett, he continues to draw penalties well and use his height to his advantage. While I don't like seeing Jerheme Urban, this corps should still be plenty for Sunday, especially when weighed against the opposition. If Andre Johnson plays for the Texans, he is the best receiver on the field. Since he's not playing, life gets a little difficult. Corey Bradford and Jabar Gaffney will be relied upon to carry the receiving load. No other receiver has more than 2 catches. It's pretty sad when our #3 and #4 receivers are better than the opposing starters. It's really sad when you can't even average 100 yards per game through the air. Advantage: Seattle

Offensive Line: Seattle (135 rushing yards/game, 10 sacks) vs Houston (124 rushing yards/game, 27 sacks)
Let's put it this way... our offensive line is good. Why are we the #1 offense in the league? Our offensive line. As David Locke wrote this past week, watch Walter Jones some plays.. it is almost as entertaining as the actual play itself. The sack number is higher than we would like after only five games, although as I wrote above, Hasselbeck has enough confidence in his receivers to get open and his line to protect that he is taking sacks because of holding the ball too long. Goal for this game has to be Robbie Tobeck avoiding a holding penalty, as he's had one every game. Houston has a decent number of rushing yards each game, which makes Dominack Davis' numbers above all the more disappointing. Still, the sacks allowed figure is ridiculous. That's almost seven sacks allowed per game! Perhaps even our beleaguered blitzing schemes can have fun against that. Advantage: Seattle

D-Line: Seattle (108 rushing yards/game, 15 sacks) vs Houston (119 rushing yards/game, 4 sacks)
I would give our defensive line a B- for its performance last week. If the Rams had actually committed the run, we would have been gashed. We also are still having some problems getting consistent pressure on the opposing quarterback. It's kinda funny, because our sack totals are pretty good, but basically when we put pressure on we get a sack. The rest of the time the quarterback has all day. We need consistent pressure. We need Marcus Tubbs to step up, a player who gets this year's award for "best preseason player who sucks in the regular season". Still, we look good against a Texans team who has only gotten 4 sacks. Are you serious? Is there any question why this team is 0-4? No turnovers, a terrible quarterback, a running back who doesn't have a touchdown, and only four sacks. Seth Payne is a good NT who Tobeck and Gray need to contain. Advantage: Seattle

Linebackers: The best play of the game for the Hawks defense last week? DD Lewis getting hurt. Okay, that's a little harsh, but Leroy Hill is a much better linebacker than Lewis, and when combined with Lofa Tatupu, gives our linebacking corps an infusion of talented youth that is just exciting. Tatupu leads the team with 33 tackles and had his first interception of the year in a huge situation, showing the type of athleticism we believed he had after the draft. Still waiting on Jaime Sharper to have a dominating performance, perhaps going up against his former team will be the motivation he needs. 24 tackles is great, but only two for a loss and no turnovers. Houston would like to say that the strength of its defense are its linebackers, which would true if their linebackers were any good. A 3-4 team depends on them. Kailee Wong is pretty good, leading the team in tackles, but they lack playmakers. I'll be generous here and say that Houston is okay enough to make an impact while our youth is still growing. Advantage: Push

Secondary: Seattle (209 receiving yards/game, 3 INTs) vs Houston (228 receiving yards/game, 0 INTs)
Our secondary had an okay game against the Rams, with the decided exception of Kelly Herndon, who had an absolutely abysmal game. If Andre Dyson can't go with his hamstring, we need Herndon to step it up. Marcus Trufant as well continues to look bad about one quarter every game. Still, give these guys some credit for the second half they played against the Rams, where Bulger was unable to go down the field as effectively. Marquand Manuel especially had a terrific game after coming in for Michael Boulware, and I am confident he can do it again if Boulware (who should) sits out the week. Houston has what can only be termed a disappointing secondary, with no turnovers. When you have players like Dunta Robinson and Philip Buchanon, you should have turnovers. This is where Houston needs to step up and play effectively, and they do have the talent to do so. Advantage: Houston

Special teams: Another week, another terrible special teams day (opening kickoff return for touchdown). Josh Brown got extremely lucky on a short kick. Tom Rouen has no distance. Until we actually have a good game I don't care who the opponent is. Advantage: Houston

Prediction: For all the heartburn that the Hawks give us, they just don't lose games like this at home. They can make it close, but they always win. Houston is not a good team. The statistics don't lie, and it's not like they've been playing world beater type teams. The most they've scored is 20 against Tennessee, and two weeks they've only scored 7. With the lights on and the world watching, the Hawks are finally going to play to get the respect they deserve. Seattle by 14.

posted by Gavin @ 3:45 PM  0 comments


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