Seattle Seahawks 33, St.
Louis Rams 6
Sunday, October 21,
Qwest Field, Seattle, Washington
Play Of The
Day: Nate Burleson
took the opening kickoff of the second half 91 yards to the house in what
was the proverbial dagger in the heart of the Rams' hopes for a victory.
Handouts to the Standouts: Daryl Tapp enjoyed a monster game
despite injuring a finger towards the end of the first half. Tapp finished
the game with 4 sacks, a forced fumble and what was credited as a defended
pass but was really a dropped interception.
Julian Peterson continues to impress. One play in particular that stands out was
a short dump off to RB Travis Minor where Peterson was in full-bore pass rush
mode, turned 180 degrees and ran down Minor from behind. It’s these kinds
of plays that don’t make the SportsCenter highlights
that separate J.P. from the rest of the pack.
Leroy Hill was, as usual, a monster against the run, but Hill also contributed in
the pass department with a sack, a forced fumble and a beautifully defended
pass late in the game.
Will Heller caught just three passes today, but two of them were for scores
– the only two touchdowns the Seattle
offense would score on the day. Both passes were on the goal line, and both
cases Heller executed the classic “block and release” that has become de rigueur
for NFL tight ends.
Things That Made Me Go “Blech”: Seattle had
the ball fourth and an inch and the play call was a run to the outside???
For real??? There are times for trickeration,
and there are times for hard-nosed, ram-it-down-their-throats football. Fourth
and an inch would be the latter.
leads me to our next entry on the “Blech” parade – the running game. Time
and time again, Seattle running backs are hitting a wall at the line of scrimmage.
I wish I could point to one culprit, but there are problems all across the
line when it comes to opening lanes for the backs, which is made all the more
frustrating by the line’s dominance against the pass rush. I’ll leave the
Xs and Os to the experts, but it is abundantly clear that no one is going
to rush for over 100 yards with the state of run blocking as it is now.
offense still is not in synch, although at least the first 15 scripted plays
went well. On several occasions Hasselbeck threw the ball to receivers who
weren’t looking for the ball, and on several others Hasselbeck threw the ball
into double coverage. Matt was particularly poor late in the second quarter,
although he was nursing sore ribs at the time so perhaps he earned a pass
on those series. Still, there was way too much confusion between Matt and
his receivers for my taste.
Offense: The Seahawks offense looked like
NFC Championship offense on the first drive of the game. The drive began
with two quick passes followed to by two solid runs from Alexander. Another
pass, this one to FB Leonard Weaver was followed with three consecutive running
plays. On second-and-6, Hasselbeck checked down to Bobby Engram setting up
a third-and-1. Both Walter Jones and Weaver threw nice blocks on the outside
to spring Maurice Morris for the first down, which set up a first and goal
play action pass to TE Will Heller, the first of his two touchdown catches
on the day.
that, things seemed to get progressively worse for the offense. They finished
the half with two three-and-outs, one four play drive, a drive cut short by
an interception and a field goal. All of this despite being given consistently
good field position by the defense.
the second half the offense got back on track, scoring on four of their seven
possessions, albeit only one ending in a touchdown.
box score wasn’t very pretty: 4-14 on third downs, 0-1 on fourth down, 5
tackles for losses on running plays, and barely over 50% completion percentage.
That might be good enough against a team that has yet to win a game, but if
the Seahawks want to make a serious run at the postseason, they need to tighten
up the ship on offense, and they need to do it quickly.
Defense: The Seahawks defense was rock solid
in all facets of the game on Sunday. The team amassed 7 sacks, 2 forced fumbles,
3 interceptions and kept the Rams out of the end zone all game long despite
St. Louis making it to the red zone
twice. The front four were especially effective in getting to Marc Bulger,
led by Daryl Tapp who racked up four of the teams 7 sacks and Rocky Bernard
who recovered a Marc Bulger fumble and who was a constant disruptive force
in the middle of the field against both the run and the pass.
linebackers Leroy Hill (1 sack, 1 FF) and Julian Peterson (1 sack, 1 INT)
were major factors in the game, as the Rams elected to avoid the middle of
the field and Pro-Bowl MLB Lofa Tatupu for most of the game. The secondary
played well against the aging Rams wideouts in the first half, and conceded
ground in the second half as the lead began to widen. Marcus Trufant did
a great job of keeping his feet in bounds while nabbing his third interception
of the season midway through the second quarter.
Special Teams:Nate Burleson was the special teams
star of the day, returning the opening kickoff the second half 91 yards for
a touchdown and racking up an additional 79 yards on his other kick and punt
returns. I have to admit, I hold my breath every time he fields a punt off
of a hop but so far he’s held onto the ball so I guess I can’t complain.
Josh Brown was money from the field, converting each of his four field goal attempts
from 38, 48, 45 and 43 yards in addition to his three extra points. Ryan Plackemeier
averaged almost 42 yards a punt, which is impressive considering that he placed
three of his five kicks inside the 20.
Additional Notes: Ex-Seahawk Donnie Jones boomed an
80 yard punt, and also shanked one 39 yards, demonstrating the kind of inconsistency
that lead to his departure from Seattle. Kudos to Tom Ashworth for fair catching a short kickoff rather than
attempting to run with the ball. The last thing anyone wants is guard
trying to run back a kick.
The Golden Microphone Award: The FOX booth crew of Matt Devlin
and J.C. Pearson did a decent job calling the game in the first half (despite
an unnecessary pre-packaged tribute to Minnesota Vikings HB Adrian Peterson)
but completely fell off the mark in the second half spending time picking
their top 5 BCS teams instead of calling the action on the field, calling
the wrong names (e.g. Kelly Jennings plays for the Seahawks, Kelly Jenkins
is girl I went to high school with), and generally losing focus.
was compounded by the total incompetence of the director who missed no fewer
than three snaps while showing us meaningless prepackaged crap (does anyone
care that Donnie Jones and Nate Burleson shook hands before the game?) and
at one point, missing the recovery of a fumble.
Summary: The Seahawks proved they’re not as
bad as the woeful Rams but, frankly, that’s not saying much. With both the
Cardinals and 49ers losing earlier on Sunday, Seattle took advantage and will head into their bye week up one game
in the meek ‘n’ mild NFC West. One would hope that the team would take the
time off to fine tune the passing game and try to discover where their running
game has gone.
Next Week: Bye.
Dylan is a die-hard Seahawks fan trapped in Eagles Country and firmly believes
that “Live At Leeds” is the single greatest live performance since a deaf
Ludwig Van debuted his final symphony in Vienna
in 1824. You can e-mail Dylan at NJSeahawksFan@gmail.com.