Sunday, August 30, 2009

RECAP: Hawks Beat Chiefs 14-10


Say what you want about the Seahawks prospects for the season after their early injury problems, but these have been three of the most entertaining pre-season games I can remember. When I look back at them, it's not like we are scoring left and right or smacking the quarterback around. The team just seems to have that "It" factor. Guys like Housh, Matt, Burleson, Forsett, Nick Reed and John Carlson are just fun to watch. The swagger is back.



SUMMARY
The Seahawks dominated this game. The score doesn't show it, but the stats do. Total yards was 406-260. The Hawks top 2 QBs has passer ratings of 111.4 and 94.5, compared to 62.8 and 62.1. The Chiefs offense scored 3 points. Time of possession was 36-23 in favor of the Hawks, and perhaps most importantly, the Hawks were 11-19 on 3rd downs compared to 1-10 for the Chiefs. That, folks, is domination. The picture certainly wasn't all rosy. Our defense still seems a step slow and reactive. I am yet to see the aggression we've been promised. Somewhere South of us, John Marshall is snickering. Our all-star linebacker corps has been MIA, and we've yet to see a single memorable play from our #4 draft pick.

Many of us have been expecting the defense to carry the offense this year, especially with the o-line injuries. After the second straight week of Hasselbeck throwing for more than 150 yards in the first half, it may be the other way around.



FAVORITE MOMENT - Housh TD Taunt & Housh at the Improv
Touchdowns are always great, but I loved seeing Housh extend the ball into a defender's face on his way into the endzone before halftime. It wasn't enough to get him a flag (although the ref spoke to him afterwords), but we need that swagger. We need that belief that we are so much better than the opponents that we expect to make every play. The Hasselbeck shuffle to Housh on the bobbled snap was the same type of thing. Even botched plays can lead to 17 yard gains with this team.

BIGGEST SURPRISE - Passing game progress
After the opening series pick six (which had nothing to do with being a tipped ball), there were no signs of the growing pains we've seen in previous weeks. The word was that we were going to try get the ball to Branch more, and that looked forced. The good news there is that we tried to get the ball to Housh and Carlson the first two games and that looked forced then, but looked smooth as silk last night. Our passing game looks stacked. Even the pass protection was fine. And it's easy to forget the new life in getting our halfbacks involved either through screens or wheel routes. I could write for days about our potential there, and just might...

BIGGEST IMPACT - TJ Houshmandzadeh
Yes, I can now spell that name without looking it up. Pre-season has it's purposes for bloggers as well. Gush. I love everything about this guy. I think it's taken Matt some time to believe in Housh's proclamation that he's always open, but we're starting to see him throw to him in tight coverage in big spots with great results. Forget the TD and the broken play. Look back at his first catch of the night on 3rd down when Matt rifled a ball to him in double coverage. He made the catch short of the first down and carried two guys up field past the marker. Difference maker.

BIGGEST RELIEF - Running Game
There was reason to be optimistic that we can go beyond 2.9 YPC (even though that's where we finished). Forsett looked awesome running between the tackles. Jones looked good enough for now. We were averaging over 5 YPC in the first half. Our goal here is to be a team that keeps teams out of nickel defenses all year. That's it.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT - Aaron Curry, LeRoy Hill, Lofa Tatupu
This is supposed to be the strength of our team. Three of the best young linebackers in the NFL on the same team. Folks, I'm not seeing it yet. They look slow and reactive. I can't remember a single play in the entire pre-season where any of them looked like they were "flying to the ball." These guys need to pick it up big time.

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