Sunday, January 6, 2008

On further review: Hawks beat Skins 35-14



Alright. I've had 24 hours to gather myself. I think I'm ready to revisit that psychotic game yesterday.

What the hell was that!?? If my wife treated me like that, it would be classified as spousal abuse. You just don't do that to people. It was like watching someone build the best ice cream sundae ever for three quarters, and then having them swap it out for a bowl of soggy dog food, only to see them swap the sundae back in with a couple extra cherries. I am not nearly emotionally stable enough to handle that kind of crap. I literally screamed out, "Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!" during the fateful kickoff in the silence before anyone else realized what was about to happen. Not exactly the stuff manly men are made of.

Thankfully, I recovered my masculinity by jumping up and down like a school girl after Hackett's touchdown. I was relieved to see I was not alone as every dude was hugging another dude as far as the eye could see. Of course, we'll all deny it if you ask us about it on Monday.

Now, to the game:

- Big time kudos to Ryan Plackemeier. That was one of the top 5 punting performances in Seahawks history. Hyperbole, you say? Take a closer look: seven punts, ZERO returns, four punts inside the twenty, two inside the five, a 41.6 NET average all done in swirling winds after a horrible inconsistent season. That is called stepping it up, folks.

- Don't underestimate the importance of Josh Brown's 50-yarder into the wind. For those that weren't there, the wind was consistently blowing south-to-north. Remember the horrible kickoff? Remember Suisham's 30-yarder? Brownie is back.

- Hass played better than his QB rating would indicate. That was only the third game in the past seven where his YPA was over 7, and this was against a much better secondary than he's faced all season. He threw some of his best fades all season, and it led to a number of big catches along the sideline. He has an uncanny ability, though, to add fuel to the fire when things start going bad. Was anyone surprised to see him throw the pick after they took the lead? He's still the man.

- Once, just once, I'd love to have the other team outraged in the playoffs over bad officiating. That fumble Kerney caused...errrrrrr. The pass interference that went uncalled on Matt's second pick. I heard Collingsworth's lame explanation on DVR, "I think the official determined the interference happened after Landry made the interception." Give me a break. Obamanu was getting bear-hugged to the ground. If that was Owens or Moss, the flag is thrown for sure.

- Maybe my expectations are just so low, anything is good, but I thought our running game was solid. Shaun ran hard, and got yards after contact. Weaver had a terrific TD. We converted 3rd and short. I continue to see good signs of that part of the offense warming up. Remember, this was the fourth-rated run defense in the NFL and had just held a team to 1 yard. 77 yards and almost a 4 yard average is pretty respectable.

- Balanced defense. I think this defensive unit is comparable to our 2005 offense when it comes to balance. It's been an education for me to watch it get assembled and schemed. The press coverage they are able to play due to above average CBs and assignment-correct safeties allows the front seven to apply pressure that in turn reduces the total amount of coverage time necessary. The media has started to roll it's eyes when they hear Kerney or Tru give the other part of the defense credit for their sack or INT. I don't think it's "team talk." I think it's the truth.

- I admit to being surprised at our pass rush. Whether it was scheme, players, crowd noise, or all of the above, it was a welcome surprise.

- The Hawks have now scored 24+ points in 10 of their last 11 games, are 30-5 in the last three seasons when scoring 20+ and 15-1 when scoring first at home. They are also now 23-2 when holding the opposition under 100 yards rushing.

- I'd say it was best game played by a group of linebackers in Seahawks history if I hadn't witnessed the Eagles game when Lofa and J-Pete combined for four INTs, including the game clincher.

L. Hill13111
L. Tatupu1206
J. Peterson1016
(total tackles, sacks, solo tackles)

Are you kidding me with those numbers? 35 tackles? The three leading tacklers on the team. LeRoy Hill was a man possessed. His play running down Portis from the backside and his sack were two of the best plays of the day. Ladell Betts now has to walk 15 feet behind LeRoy whenever they're together as a sign of submission. He was owned!

- Drago did not just have a nice streak of sacks for a while. This guy is outstanding. Can you believe we got by with Grant Wistrom?

- Gold star to Brandon Mebance for his block on Chris Samuels. It has to feel great for a d-lineman to pancake an o-lineman.

- Walter Jones quietly is starting to look like himself again. Andre Carter's line? Two tackles, no sacks, no pressures. He was the Skins leading sacker with 10.5. Very good sign.

- Solid game by the o-line overall. The only sack they surrendered was completely on Matt since he held onto the ball for 10 seconds. The Redskins were coming really hard, and the pocket was certainly dented, but nobody came free. I always think it's a good sign when none of the opponents top four tacklers are in the front seven. London Fletcher being debated as a comparable off-season pickup to Drago is a joke. The guy had two tackles.

- Three penalties for 30 yards. The discipline on this team is crazy. It's a drastic difference, and I believe most of it can be traced to special teams. Compare how many times we've seen holding calls on returns this year to the last few? I can't even remember the last time we had one.

- This was our second-lowest YPC against (2.59) of the season, and the best in the last 9 games. The longest run of the day for the Skins was 13 yards. Knowing how much Gibbs wants to establish the run, that's just outstanding.

- My man-crush on Nate might be getting serious. He was great on returns all day, and despite the muffed kickoff (I honestly believe that was more Josh Wilson's fault than Nate's as the upback), his catch on third down was as clutch as they come. Imagine D-Jack on Koren in that situation. No way they make that catch. Same things with Marcus Pollard on the conversion compared to Jerramy Stevens.

All in all, I think we witnessed Seahawks history yesterday. Considering the Dallas game last year and the Super Bowl run the year before, we have to count our blessings. We went decades without seeing a single game like we've been treated to. On to the Packers, and our toughest playoff matchup in the Mike Holmgren era (yes, including the Super Bowl).

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