5. Tight Ends and Wide Receivers – None of the receivers or tight ends had a spectacular game against the Cowboys, but the Seahawks patchwork corps made enough plays to win the game, including several key catches during the game-tying 84 yard touchdown drive late in the 4th Quarter.
4. Josh Brown – After missing a game winner a few weeks earlier in the year against the Redskins, Josh Brown was money, nailing two long field goals in adverse weather conditions, including a clutch 50-yarder to win the game.
3. Jordan Babineaux – Like Safety Michael Boulware last year, CB Babineaux has become a playmaker on the field. He’s not only serving as a competent defensive back in nickel situations, but he can be directly credited for two wins this season. His interception of Drew Bledsoe’s pass was not only a great read on the ball, but he showed exceptional awareness by not trying to cut back into the field to gain more yards after the INT, but instead he went out of bounds and gave kicker Josh Brown the opportunity to make the game winning kick.
2. Seahawk Defense – The Hawk defense looked as good as any other defense in holding the Dallas Cowboys offense to just 10 points. The most impressive part of the defense was the number of times that they held the Cowboys offense out of the end zone when starting deep in their own territory. Grant Wistrom and Bryce Fisher played exceptional football.
1. The Kick is up, IT’S GOOD! Hawks win! – The Seahawks solved another of its historical problems by beating a very good team at the end of a close game. Great teams find a way to win these very close games, even when they have been outperformed.
3. Seahawk Fans leaving early – With just over 3 minutes to play and the Hawks down 7 to 3, Seahawk QB Matt Hasselbeck threw an interception off the hands of TE Jerramy Stevens deep in their own territory. Lines of fans got up and left the stadium giving up on their team’s chances. They ended up missing one of the most exciting finales in Qwest field history.
2. Offensive line and coaching – The swarming Dallas defense rendered the Hawks normally dominant offensive line virtually ineffective. The run game never got on track and the offensive line had a very hard time picking up the blitzes and pressure by the 3/4 defensive scheme.
1. Bye Week Blues – The Hawks are on a major roll and the bye week has not been kind to them (0 wins 6 losses in Holmgren’s tenure). The Hawks can get another of their historical monkeys off their backs with a win after the bye.
Next on the List
Professional sports handicapper Nick Shelly (email@example.com) breaks down the Seahawk’s next game and gives his pick for the winner.
NSport.NET Analysis - Seahawks @ Cardinals, 11/6/06
Arizona - It has been a disappointing season for the Cardinals so far in 2006. Their optimism was high (remember how all us Seahawks fans used to be every year since 1983?) because of two talented receivers, a former Super Bowl MVP at QB, and the "player's coach" in Denny Green. However, the defense has been bad, the offensive line has been bad, and as a result, the running game is non-existent. What chance do the Cardinals have in this game on Sunday? Not much - Anquan Boldin is out 2 to 4 weeks with another knee injury (and out of my fantasy lineup). Kurt Warner is back, but recall that it was against the Seahawks when he was last injured. Prior to the injury, the Cardinals were actually playing stride for stride with Seattle. Also, the Hawks are horrible out of the bye losing all 6 games during Holmgren’s tenure.
To make matters even more interesting, Holmgren gave his troops the week off. What can the Cardinals expect to accomplish? This is a situation of a team in desperation (ask the 49ers about this) and should play hard against the top team in the NFC West. Although it is hard to imagine that Warner will be sharp, he still has two big receivers (Larry Fitzgerald, Bryant Johnson) to toss the ball up to. The question will be, do the Cardinals have enough on defense to stop the Seahawks? It's easy to say "no" but it remains to be seen if this is a game that the Cardinals can get up for, similar to their effort in Mexico City.
Seattle - The bye-week hangover has haunted the Seahawks, but this is our "new and improved" mature Hawk team that we have not seen in years past. My only concerns will be on defense (where they are still a little banged up in the backfield) and on offense, where Bobby Engram may be ineffective along with the absence of Darrel Jackson. The running game needs a shot in the arm after an abysmal performance against the Cowboys. They should get it here. Seattle should not have too much of an issue scoring in this one; a scripted drive to start the game and two more scores in the first half could put a lot of pressure on Green and the Cards.
Vegas Line - Seattle (-4, 44)
Seattle 10 7 7 3 - 27
Arizona 3 3 7 0 - 13
Eager to get back in the flow of things, the Seahawks take care of business in the desert. The Cardinals will hang around, but I really feel like they will be prone to mistakes. One, possibly two turnovers by the Cardinals could lead to easy scores for Seattle and make this game ugly. I see a mistake-free performance from the Hawks and a relatively easy victory.
Rock’s Final Thought
I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Boston last weekend on business. With a day off on Sunday, I traveled to Gillette Stadium and was lucky enough to score a ticket to the Sunday night Patriots game verses the Buffalo Bills, my first NFL game without the Seahawks participating. I was surprised at the very low energy level from the Patriots fans, considering their team and the nationally televised game. I was also sickened by the cost of parking, starting at $30 over a mile and a half away from the stadium (I ended up parking over two miles away and talking the long walk for free parking). Qwest field, its superb location, parking, accessibility, and the Seahawks fans themselves are much better than I have given credit for in the past.