Rock's Chalk

Rock's Chalk

Seahawks .NET writer Mark "Rockhawk" Olsen takes a look at what's hot and what's not in the land of Seahawks football. Then, guest columnist Nick Shelly gives his take on the upcoming Seattle-Houston contest.

On Fire

5. Josh Brown After a rough week as #1on the Ice Cold list, Josh Brown returns to form and boots 3 for 3 on field goal attempts, giving the Seahawks the winning margin in a 37 to 31 final score against the NFC West division rival Rams.

4. Jordan Babineaux J.P. Darche seems to be getting a lot of the attention for falling on the ball to seal the victory, but Babineaux was the catalyst for the play when he pulled Ram returner Shaun McDonald’s arm away from the ball. Babineaux also played solidly as a nickel DB against the Rams after the Seahawks lost starting DB Andre Dyson to a pulled hamstring.

3. Seahawks Offense – The offense looked like a well-oiled machine against a poor Rams defense, moving the ball with a great balance of passing and running. The offense is ranked #1 in the NFL after week 5.

2. Joe JureviciusAfter losing both starting wide receivers to injuries, Joe Jurevicius got the call to be the #1 guy in Holmgren’s passing attack and he didn’t disappoint, posting a career high 139 yard receiving on 9 catches including a touchdown. His clutch catches were a thing of beauty to Hawk fans, and his ability to break the first tackle attempt was an unexpected positive.

1. 'Hawks finally beat the Rams! – The Seahawks not only get the monkey off their backs after losing 4 straight to the Rams, but they do it in the Ram’s house. This could be argued as the single most impressive win in Mike Holmgren’s tenure as head coach of the Seahawks. The importance of this win for the Hawks and the Rams in the week NFC West division may be huge.

* Honorable mentions to Lofa Tatupu (9 tackles, 1 int), Matt Hasselback (316 yards on 27 of 38 passing with 2 TDs), Shaun Alexander (119 yards and 2 TDs on 25 carries and 16 yards on 3 catches), Rocky Bernard (1.5 sacks)

Ice Cold

5. Holmgren’s Clock Management – Head Coach Mike Holmgren’s team was up by just 6 late in the 4th Quarter against he Rams when he called 3 straight pass plays and was forced to punt, running only a few seconds off the clock. I only place this in the negative column because it could have affected the outcome, but I applaud the Coach for breaking out of his conservative shell and being very aggressive, playing to win instead of playing not to lose.

4. Defensive Backs – After the early loss of starting corner Andre Dyson to a hamstring injury, Rams QB Marc Bulger picked on replacement CB Kelly Herndon for much of the game, racking up completion after completion. The DB’s were asked to hold their coverage for far too long because of the time that Bulger had in the pocket, but the receivers were still far to open downfield.

3. Special Teams – Allowing a kick return for a touchdown on the opening drive on the road would normally kill a team’s chances of winning. The Seahawks unit let Rams returner Chris Johnson return the opening kickoff 99 yards untouched for the score. They redeemed themselves at the end by causing and recovering the clinching fumble on a punt.

2. Pass Rush – 4 sacks on the afternoon looks pretty good on paper, but for the most part, Bulger had too long to sit in the pocket and pick apart the secondary. Some blitzes were effective in getting to Bulger, but most were picked up at the line, giving the Rams great one on one matchups downfield. DE’s Bryce Fisher and Grant Wistrom need to provide more consistent pressure in the backfield.

1. Injuries – After escaping the injury bug for the first 3 weeks of the season, the Hawks seem to have found an entire hive of them over the next 2. Starters Andre Dyson, Floyd Womack, Michael Boulware, and D.D. Lewis all were lost to injuries during the game, only Boulware looks to be healthy enough to play next week against the Texans.

Next on the List

Professional sports handicapper Nick Shelly (nick@nsport.net) breaks down the Seahawk’s next game and gives his pick for the winner.

NSport Analysis - Houston @ Seattle

We nailed last week, with nearly perfect analysis on every trend. This week, it looks as though we are analyzing the battle of the haves and the have nots. But when we look closer, I tend to think that the Seahawks will be looking ahead to next week and nursing their wounds before they face the Cowboys at home.

The Texans are not a very good team - I think they are similar to the Saints in the sense that on offense, they have good skill players (Carr, A. Johnson, Gaffney, and D. Davis), but seem to lack the ability to put the ball in the end zone. On defense, they are better than the Saints, but their stats are skewed because the offense can't gain a favorable time of possession stat. On offense, their Achilles heal is their offensive line. Carr is on his butt several times a game, and tends to hold onto the ball too long. Their running game is average at best, so this plays to the Seahawks strength on defense this year - blitzing. The Seahawks have sent a blitz package on nearly every down this year, and frankly, I don't see that the Texans will be able to sustain long drives -- they're probably good for 13-17 points in this one, provided our offense can stay on the field for at least 30 minutes of possession.

The Seahawks on the other hand are decimated by injuries. The official report is not out, but key injuries as of this writing include Dyson, Jackson, Engram, Boulware and Womack, the Seattle Times is reporting that Boulware is the only player likely to play, while the others could see a minimum of 2 more weeks. We saw in the Rams game last week how they picked on Herndon and tore up the cover-2 defense. On offense, the Rams couldn't cover Jurevicius or Stevens, but we seemed to forget the effectiveness of Hackett, who played a marvelous game as well. The impact of injuries could make this game closer than it needs to be, so with the look-ahead to the Cowboys, I see us playing conservatively. However, a full week of practice for these player's backups improve this situation. Again, I see Holmgren utilizing our strengths - lots of blitzing on defense, a short passing game, and a great offensive line (even without Womack) to facilitate the pass and run. They will hit Hackett, Jurevicius, and Stevens again for about 18 receptions and give it to Alexander to chew up yards and clock. Holmgren's objective again is to put the Seahawks in a position to win in the 4th quarter.

Prediction:
Vegas Line: (Seattle -9, O/U 46)
Seattle ..
.7 .6 .0 10 - 23
Houston
,3 .3 .7 ..0 - 13

Seattle is tough at home and wins again. It'll be close through 3 quarters, but this time, it'll be a backdoor cover with a field goal in the 4th quarter.

Rock’s Final Thought

It may be a bit overstated to say that a week 5 match up in the NFL was the turning point of an entire season, but if history is any indicator, this may very well be the most important game of the Seattle Seahawk’s 2005 season. Ironically it was in week 5 during the 2004 NFL season that the Rams beat the Seahawks at Qwest field in a dramatic come from behind victory that seemed to rip the heart and soul out of the Seahawk players, coaches, and fans. The Seahawks were never the same team after that loss, losing 2 more times to their division rivals including a loss at home during the first round of the playoffs. Last Sunday’s huge win in St. Louis could very well provide the opposite results and catapult the team to further success for the rest of the year.

- Mark Olsen writes frequently for Seahawks.NET. Feel free to send him feedback at seahawk94@comcast.net.

- Nick Shelly has been a professional sports analyst and handicapper for over 10 years. You can contact Nick at nick@nsport.net.

 

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