For the eighth consecutive
week, the Seahawks will face a backup or a backup to a backup.
Starting in Week 10, in succession the Seahawks have faced Chicago's Rex Grossman,
who was back starting for Brian Griese; St. Louis' Gus Frerotte after Marc Bulger
was knocked out with a concussion in the first quarter; Philadelphia's A.J. Feeley,
who was standing in for Donovan McNabb; Arizona's Kurt Warner, who replaced Matt
Leinart; Carolina's Matt Moore, who played behind Vinny Testaverde and Jake Delhomme;
Baltimore's rookie Troy Smith, stepping in for backup Kyle Boller; and Atlanta's
Chris Redman, the Falcons' third quarterback of the season.
Though Seattle soundly stymied the inexperienced Smith, it could not figure out
Moore, an undrafted rookie out of Oregon State who deftly read Seattle's coverages
and got rid of the ball quickly to avoid Seattle's pass rush.
And on Sunday, the Seahawks were picked apart by Redman, who a year ago was selling
insurance but who completed four touchdown passes against a defense that had allowed
only 11 previously.
Against Washington, the Seahawks will face Todd Collins, who had more than a decade
between starts but has led the Redskins on their four-game win streak after starter
Jason Campbell was sidelined with an injury.
Perhaps the Seahawks did not know what to expect from Moore or Redman, who don't
have a deep trove of film from which to prepare. Or, perhaps they just caught
those players on days that they played well. But the primary difference is pressure.
Moore was the beneficiary of right tackle Jordan Gross and a bevy of tight ends
double-teaming NFC sack leader Patrick Kerney, and the Seahawks do seem to play
more base defenses against quarterbacks they aren't able to scout as much. Before
facing Baltimore's Smith, defensive coordinator John Marshall talked about how
the first-time starter's mobility could cause defenders to leave their pursuit
lanes, leading to larger gains from the Ravens' offense.
But the Seahawks will face a 36-year-old veteran with a great deal of savvy, familiarity with his offense, and limited mobility. Like Moore, Collins will have
to get rid of the ball quickly against Seattle's pass rush, which ended the regular
season with 45 sacks.
--Seahawks defensive end Patrick Kerney went into the season finale with a half-sack
lead for the NFL sack title. He did not get any sacks against his former team.
Neither did Houston's Mario Williams, directly behind him. But Kansas City's
Jared Allen had two, sneaking in from the third spot to win the sack title with
15.5. Kerney had 14.5 but only one in the final three weeks. "If you come
into a game and you have good numbers, you have to find a way to overcome (extra
attention)," Kerney said. "There were some games late in the season
where I didn't overcome it."
--Shaun Alexander became the eighth player in NFL history to score 100 rushing
touchdowns, joining Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, Marcus Allen, Jim Brown, John
Riggins, LaDainian Tomlinson and Marshall Faulk. "It's good, but at the
same time when you've got a shot to do well in the playoffs and go deep, that's
kind of the focus," Alexander said. "After the season, I'll crack
jokes with my brothers and cousins and be like, 'Ah, yeah, 100, that's really
PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES
--QB Matt Hasselbeck injured his right wrist in Sunday's loss to the Falcons.
He is expected to play Saturday, though he is not likely to be 100 percent.
--RB Shaun Alexander injured his ribs Sunday. He returned and scored a touchdown
while rushing for 31 yards. He called it "just football."
--DT Rocky Bernard did not play Sunday because of a sore groin. He will play
Saturday against Washington.
--OT Walter Jones sat out Sunday's season finale with a sore shoulder, but he
will play Saturday against Washington.
--WR Deion Branch did not play against the Falcons because of a sore calf but
will play against the Redskins.
--OG Chris Gray came out of Sunday's game after halftime, replaced by Ray Willis.
However, Gray will play Saturday. The team was resting the 15-year vet.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
REPORT CARD VS. FALCONS
PASSING OFFENSE: B-minus -- The Seahawks did throw for 353 yards and three touchdowns
on Sunday. Matt Hasselbeck's passer rating was 89.9 and Seneca Wallace's was
116.9. But both quarterbacks fumbled the ball away after being hit, both of
which led to touchdowns. And Wallace threw an interception deep in his own territory
that led to a touchdown.
RUSHING OFFENSE: A -- The running backs combined to total a season-high 167
yards on 31 carries, a 5.4 average. Mo Morris had 91 yards on 13 carries, including
a 29-yard touchdown run, and Shaun Alexander had 31 yards on eight carries,
including his 100th career rushing TD. This despite not having Pro Bowl OT Walter
Jones and a mix-and-match offensive line.
PASS DEFENSE: F -- Against an unknown QB, Chris Redman, the Seahawks gave up
251 yards passing and four touchdowns. They had permitted only 11 all season.
Granted, some came after critical turnovers, but the secondary was not nearly
as stingy as it needed to be. Tight end Alge Crumpler had a 55-yard touchdown
after making a short catch and running over linebacker Lofa Tatupu.
RUSH DEFENSE: C-minus -- With Redman slinging the ball all over the Georgia
Dome, it opened up things for Warrick Dunn and Jerious Norwood to combine for
124 yards, 70 by Dunn, including a touchdown. Dunn also had a 38-yard jaunt.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C-minus -- Yes, Josh Brown made field goals of 54 and 51 yards.
But he also had to make a key tackle on a kickoff that was returned 61 yards
by Jennings. Overall, the Falcons had 237 yards in kickoff return yards.
COACHING: C-minus -- Mike Holmgren seemed not to be able to impress upon his
players that he wanted to win this meaningless game, and their effort was halfhearted.
It also appeared that they did not want to give anything away to their next
opponent so everything was vanilla.