Rock's Chalk - 12/16/05

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 contest between Seattle and Tennessee.

On Fire

5. 11 Wins, 2 Losses – 83 to 3 in scoring over the past two games. This is just fun.

4. Matt Hasselbeck – 21 of 25 for 226 and 4 TDs. He has efficiently run Mike Holmgren’s offense all year, and this game was his to shine.

3. Seahawks Defense – San Francisco was held to 113 yards of total offense for the game, a Seahawks team record for yardage allowed in a game. I don’t think most realize what an impressive stat this is. Props to rookie linebackers Lofa Tatupu and LeRoy Hill for continuing to play and act far beyond their years, and cornerback Jordan Babineaux who led the team in tackles in his first start replacing the injured Andre Dyson.

2. One away from Home Field – With a Seahawk win this weekend against the Titans and a Chicago loss, the NFC will have to come through Seattle for a shot at the Super Bowl.

1. Being a Seahawk fan! – We’ve waited for so long for a season like this. I just hope that we don’t take it for granted while it’s here.

* Honorable mentions to Marcus Tubbs for 2 sacks, Shaun Alexander for 108 yards rushing, 20 receiving, and a touchdown, and Bobby Engram for 2 TDs.

Ice Cold

1. I’m supposed to come up with a list of things going wrong with the Seahawks? Yeah, right. We just stomped the Eagles and 49’ers 83 to 3 in the last 7 days, good luck with that. I hope Editor Doug doesn’t pay my huge salary based on word count.

2. Ok, fine. I’ll complain about something. The halftime shows are terrible and they should play the stadium music about 100 times louder than they do.

3. Some dude spilled hot chocolate behind me and soaked our backpack. (I’m really trying here)

4. David Greene replica jerseys in the Pro Shop really annoy me.

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

NSport.NET Analysis - Seattle @ Tennessee

Last Week: Another thorough shellacking of an inferior opponent last week. The 49ers started Alex Smith; attempting to follow in the footsteps of 2nd year starter Eli Manning. Sixteen points was a lot to cover by the Hawks, yet they did. Of course I admittedly took SF and the points, expecting the Seahawks to let off the gas in the second half.

This Week: At the start of the season, I was thinking it'd be a successful year if we held serve in the NFC West and went .500 the rest of the way. My reasoning was the brutal schedule against the AFC South and NFC East teams this year. Well the Seahawks have proven everyone wrong and are making it look easy by outscoring inferior opponents 84-3 over the last two games. The Titans had envisioned a promising year ahead with Chris Brown back for a second season and Steve McNair retooled with plenty of offensive firepower. Unfortunately for them, under-achieving players and injuries have destroyed their season. At a paltry 10th in the AFC on offense and 15th on defense, the Titans have proven they are an inferior team.

When the Titans have the ball: McNair is back, but in their last two games, they have hardly scored any points. For teams that have no chance of advancing to the playoffs, weeks 13 and 14 are tough to deal with - it is very difficult to "get up" for a game, and it showed last week in a win over the lowly Texans. But this is week 15 and the end of the miserable season is now barely visible on the horizon. The team got embarrassed a couple weeks ago against the AFC's top seed, now the NFC's top seed comes rolling into Tennessee and wants to do the same thing. In this one, the Titans should have plenty of success running the ball and dumping off short passes to Brown and hitting Erron Kinney and a slew of Titan receivers (Drew Bennett leading the way) against Seattle LB's and young DB's. What am I saying? This is a good match up for the Titans on offense this week and they should hit their home scoring average easily (21 ppg).

When the Seahawks have the ball: Shortened playbook continues to be the motto for Seattle as they script all the plays necessary in their first twenty to determine the game plan for the remainder of the contest. Of course, the Seahawks need to continue shaking off 800 pound gorillas by winning and covering on the road. Can they do it? I believe so. Shaun Alexander will only be stopped by a coaching decision in the second half and Matt Hasselbeck will pick apart this Titan defense at will by tossing a mixture of short passes to Jerramy Stevens, drag routes to Joe Jurevicius, and first downs to Bobby Engram. Don't forget about young D.J. Hackett who continues to develop as a legitimate deep threat. The Seahawks should have so much success on offense, they will need to call off the dogs after the first drive of the second half (in typical Holmgren fashion) to limit the possessions of Tennessee.

Vegas Line: Seattle (-7, 45)

Seattle .......10 14 7 3 - 34
Tennessee ...3 ..7 3 7 - 20

Game Log: Seattle starts off strong again, scoring easily on offense with a balanced, efficient attack. The defense continues to answer the bell and stymies McNair into an interception and 4 sacks in the first half. Chris Brown is the only hope for the Titans, and racks up 75 yards and a touch by half time. The third quarter opens with a Seattle drive for a touchdown and the offense goes into hibernation yet again while Tennessee starts to pass to try to catch up. Not enough time for the Titans and Seattle wins by two touchdowns.

Fantasy Alert: The Seattle defense has been playing well and will continue this week against the Titans. Alexander will be a strong play again, scoring twice on his way to the TD record and rushing title. For Tennessee, take a good look at Brown, but realize they will probably need to pass in the second half to try to make up for a large Seattle lead.

Rock’s Final Thought

Get off my bandwagon! One thing that I love about being a fan of the Seahawks is the instant connection and kinship you automatically have with any other human that you see wearing Seahawk gear away from the games. This is especially true in other states away from Washington, where seeing a person in Seahawk gear automatically causes me to strike up a conversation. That kinship is much harder to find now that the team is winning and wearing the gear is “cool”. I guess if there’s a negative about winning, it’s that the close knit group that we compromise becomes a bit more clouded with fans that haven’t been around for the lean years. But as long as we never lose that true blue core, we’ll always be able to know the difference.


- 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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