Sunday, November 15, 2009

RECAP: Cards Beat Hawks 31-20

Thank you. Thank you, Seahawks, for standing up and fighting today. Any hope of resurrecting this season ended with the loss to the Cardinals, but any realistic hope ended back in the week three loss to the Bears, and again in the loss at home to the Cards. This game today was about self-respect. There was plenty of reasons to expect a massive butt whupping today, but the Seahawks finally played with the resolve and confidence that has been missing for nearly two years.

The defense, especially, started the game by setting a nasty tone. Good tackling, tight coverage and hard hits were abundant. The goal line stand and subsequent 99-yard TD drive was by far the best five minutes of Seahawks football all season long. In the end, though, the better team prevailed.

This game came down to two things: red zone production and pass rush. The Seahawks finished with 1 TD in 4 red zone trips compared to 3 TDs in 5 trips for the Cardinals. When the Seahawks had a 1st and Goal at the 1 yard line, tied at 17, and had to settle for a FG, you knew we probably had lost our edge. We ended the game with zero QB hits and zero sacks compared to 7 QB hits and 4 sacks for the Cards. It was pretty obvious that our game plan was to sit back in coverage and force Warner to throw underneath. Even so, we never came close to getting to Warner with four down lineman.

- Justin Forsett proved what I've been saying for since last pre-season: he's our starting running back until we find someone better. Julius Jones is a waste of money and snaps. Forsett runs with purpose and creativity that Jones simply is incapable of. He also made at least one fabulous block on a blitz that saved a potential safety or defensive TD.

- Louis Rankin was a great partner in crime. He was a blur once he had the ball and ran hard. Glad to have him aboard. Let's just hope Jones is shown the door or the bench so we can really see what we have here.

- Offensive Line play was suspect in pass protection, with Locklear and Ray Willis getting beat on multiple occasions. The zone blocking in the run game finally started to look like it was working. I even saw a few effective cut blocks. We just need to see this group play together the rest of the year before we can be sure what we have (or don't).

- Matt played his heart out, but I have to admit he looked old. He was a step slow running and looked like he was pressing all day. He has the heart of a champion, but his grasp of this new offense is suspect. We can hope that another off-season of practice will quicken his reads and improve his decision making, but it begs the question, would the offense be better off returning to what Matt knows best?

- David Hawthorne. Another game, another pile of (team-leading) tackles and another tackle for loss.

- Josh Wilson really stood out today in the secondary as a competitor and tackler.

- Housh had his breakout performance.

I firmly believe this franchise is better off with Mike Holmgren running it, and so I take a little solace in the fact that this loss gets us a little closer to that possibility. Hold your heads high Hawks fans. Your team played tough today.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

First Reactions: Hawks Beat Lions 32-20

Being a Lions fan has to be among the worst things a sports fan can be. The Seahawks started a game about as bad as you can start (for the second straight home game), and yet I turned to my buddy with confidence as we went down 17-0 and said, "You know we're still going to win this game, right?" And that wasn't arrogance as a Hawks fan. It was just awareness of what the Lions are.

I really feel for those folks. Hopeless.

Quick hitters:

- David Hawthorne. Three starts, three times leading the team in tackles and making at least two major impact plays in each game. I don't miss Lofa one bit.

- Julius Jones will get some praise for his long screen play, but for god sakes, why doesn't anyone see how much he's holding the team back? He offers almost nothing out there! I think he and Edge are a toss-up, and we just waived Edge. Forsett gets one carry for 14 yards. Unacceptable.

- Matt has never seemed comfortable with this offense. He might have had a record day with stats, but he continues to look hesitant and is missing much bigger gains by locking into a single receiver.

- Nice game by Josh Wilson

- Jon Ryan continues to be the best Seahawk this year.

GAME THREAD: Hawks vs. Lions

This game is like clash of the titans, only re-enacted by disabled, elderly little people. That said, there are a few things I am looking forward to:

- David Hawthorne further proving that Lofa has been loafing the past two seasons, and that a talented, hungry middle linebacker can make plays behind this defensive line

- Sean Locklear? Could it be? I'd really like to start evaluating how much of this o-line will need to be blown up and rebuilt next year.

- Forsett and/or Rankin getting some carries with Edge out of town

- Housh and Matt shutting everybody up

- A little run for Deon Butler?

- Aaron Curry tends to be a beast at home, especially against shitty teams.

FEARLESS PREDICTION: Nick Reed will have a memorable play today

All the media outlets have chalked this game up as a gimme victory. What people fail to realize is that the Hawks are not good enough to have any certain wins. The Lions have given a number of teams more fight than they expected. I think it's fair to expect a Hawks victory, but unwise to count on one.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hawk Blogger 2009 Power Rankings Week 8

Check out the powerhouse NFC West with no team ranked higher than 18!! Congrats to the Rams on being ranked higher than 32nd for the first time all season. As always, I recommend clicking on the Chart1 scatter chart for a different perspective.

Monday, November 2, 2009

RECAP: Cowboys Stomp Hawks 38-17

Let me start by saying, I'm not mad or depressed or even disappointed in the game yesterday. Fool me once, and all that. I point out my state of mind to dismiss any notion of this being the ramblings of a tortured soul. This is where we are people. Get used to the view.

As I watched the game yesterday (I only saw about half of it due to vomiting youngest son who needed a hospital visit which was nearly as much fun as the game), my overwhelming feeling was, "How the hell are we going to fix this?"

It was annoying to read the paper this morning and see quotes claiming confusion and disbelief that Seahawks were playing so poorly. What could possibly be leading to this? Uh, seriously?

There are many types of poor NFL teams. There are the bad teams that are young at key positions, building toward something better. I'll give you the 2006 Arizona Cardinals (5-11), for example. They had the core of their young offensive line in place, key defensive players like Docket and Wilson, and were about to draft a franchise player in Fitzgerald the following off-season.

There are also bad teams that are just broken and are not building toward anything. The current St Louis Rams would be an example of that.

Then you have a team like the Seahawks that is terminally ill. Key parts of the body (offensive line, defensive line, running back) are dead or dying, but this won't be a merciless, quick death, and the hopes of recovery hinge on regrowing or replacing vital organs. The Hawks can't just buy or build a new offensive line. We've had a couple of decent lines in the Hawks 35-year history. They are not a certainty. They take years to groom and stabilize, and are even harder to come by in the world of free agency and salary cap. Defensive lines are the second hardest thing to replace. The Hawks have a number of young players on this defensive line, and none of them appear to be cornerstones you can build around. For the hype around Mebane, he's no budding superstar.

Even our supposedly strongest position, linebacker, is highly questionable. David Hawthorne has played the best two games of any linebacker on the Seahawks team this season, and better than any game Lofa Tatupu has played in the past two seasons. LeRoy Hill has been middling, at best. Curry looks like he'll be a nice player, but not a franchise player. These are your linebackers for years, folks. Tons of money invested there.

For all the concern about Hasselbeck's health and future, he could still lead a good team to a championship. This just isn't a good team. He's at the point in his career that he must have a reliable running game and offensive line to work with. He's got neither. I will say that Matt left three TDs on the field yesterday by throwing the ball on a line without enough air under it. One to Housh. One on a screen moments later, and one on the diving catch Burleson made down field. If any of those throws had allowed his receivers to run underneath it, the Hawks would have scored. And even though I don't think Housh's antics are the right way to show it, Hasselbeck is not using him appropriately.

Bottom line is that we've got problems that are not going to be fixed in one or even two off-seasons.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

GAME THREAD: Hawks @ Cowboys

This is going to be brutal. Come join me for the fun!

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