Sunday, September 19, 2004


The Seahawk defense went toe to toe with the Tampa Bay defense and came out on top today, as Seattle will fly home 2-0 and face the San Francisco 49ers next week. The Seahawks overcame crappy offensive line play (including four penalties on Chris Terry)/being overmatched by the Tampa blitzes, numerous hurries and hits on Matt Hasselbeck, a ground game that was a complete non-factor (hell the entire offense outside of Koren Robinson was a non-factor), and some crappy officiating inside two minutes with the Buccaneers driving down the field.

The hockey equivalent to this game would be a matchup between the late '90s New Jersey Devils and the current Minnesota Wild.

Ray Roberts is on the KJR postgame show calling the game "boring." That's in no small part to the Seattle offense, which hasn't gone anywhere near sniffing their potential in their first two games.

Short fact: Tampa Bay still hasn't managed to find the end zone after two games.

Mo Morris didn't get a lot of touches, this even with Shaun Alexander not being at 100%.

Seahawk radio sideline reporter Tony Ventrella told us today that the Bermuda grass at Raymond James Stadium is straight from golfer Greg Norman's sod farm in central Florida. Thanks a lot for that, Tony.

Now, the notes I had jotted down...

>> 1st Seattle possession
14:45 Tampa Bay linebacker Ian Gold almost picked off a Matt Hasselbeck pass over the middle
14:39 Darrell Jackson caught a 12-yard pass for a first down
14:03 Alexander ran up the middle, through the line, and got to midfield for the first down
##12:12 On 3rd and 6, Hasselbeck's pass was tipped and hauled down by Derrick Brooks of Tampa Bay at their own 38. This of course necessitated the Fox cameras giving a shot of Geraldine Mitchell (Brooks' mom).

>> 1st Tampa Bay possession
11:57 Charlie Garner ran for 5 yards on the first Buccaneer play from scrimmage
11:26 Garner got across midfield for a first down
9:53 Grant Wistrom dropped Brad Johnson as the Seahawks had some great pressure on third down

>> 2nd Seattle possession
9:11 Hasselbeck found Jackson wide open down the right sideline for 15 yards and a first down to the Seattle 36
8:06 Hasselbeck was getting rid of the ball on third down and was drilled in the act of doing so

>> 2nd Tampa Bay possession
7:54 Billy Schroeder dropped the punt, but recovered it at the Tampa Bay 15
7:07 On 2nd down, Jamel White was hit in the backfield for a loss of 5
6:24 Johnson didn't get enough juice on a 3rd-down pass, and the Bucs were forced to punt

>> 3rd Seattle possession
6:05 Mack Strong fumbled on the first play, but Steve Hutchison fell on the ball for some positive yardage
5:22 Strong had a pass go off his hands, and Tampa Bay was called for a sideline warning, something I've never heard of before
4:59 Koren Robinson had a first-down catch on the numbers to the right side down to the Tampa Bay 33
2:48 Tampa Bay was hit for another weird sideline warning. I have no idea what happens after a third sideline warning
**2:27 The drive stalled, and Josh Brown was called on for the 44-yard field goal, and he nailed it (SEA 3-0)

>> 3rd Tampa Bay possession
1:32 Mike Clayton made a leaping catch, good for 20 yards along the right sideline
##0:00 The final play of the quarter was Marcus Trufant picking a pass by Johnson and running down the right sideline from the Seattle 30 all the way back to the Tampa Bay 29, thanks to some blockers

The quarter didn't start out too nice with the Hasselbeck pick, but one saving grace was that Tampa Bay failed to do anything on offense, which was in part due to Seattle's play on defense (imagine that). Though the one sustained drive by the Seahawks stalled and ended in a field goal, it was still a decent drive. It was especially a decent drive compared to all the crap they were about to shovel out for the remaining three quarters, anyway. Sorry to spoil that for you if you didn't know about it already.

>> 4th Seattle possession
**14:27 On the second play from scrimmage, Hasselbeck play-faked and hit Koren Robinson down the right sideline for a 27-yard touchdown strike (SEA 10-0). Here's to hoping this does wonders for Koren's confidence

>> 4th Tampa Bay possession
14:18 Tracy White made a nice tackle for the Seattle special teams unit, and Tampa Bay started from their own 19
13:39 Johnson had Garner wide open on 2nd and 8 and threw wide
13:32 The Seahawks force a three-and-out

>> 5th Seattle possession
11:38 A Chris Terry false start put Seattle into a 3rd-and-long situation, something which they encountered countless times today against the Tampa Bay defense
11:12 Robinson had some nice yards after the catch, but he was still two yards short of the sticks

>> 5th Tampa Bay possession
10:32 Heath Evans wrapped up the punt returner. On a fair catch
10:25 Chris Simms got his first NFL experience, and would stay in for the rest of the game. Charlie Garner ran for 24 yards to midfield
9:08 Rocky Bernard almost picked Simms' first NFL pass attempt (grrr!!!!!)
8:39 Simms was incomplete to Charles Lee to the right side

>> 6th Seattle possession
8:14 Jerramy Stevens caught a 30-yard pass down the right sideline to move the chains. Good to hear Stevens' name called
7:46 Alexander's illegal motion penalty was declined, leaving the Seahawks with a 3rd-and-10
7:42 Hasselbeck is sacked by Spires on third down for a loss of seven

>> 6th Tampa Bay possession
6:35 Ken Dilger caught a pass on the right side and moved the chains to the Tampa 42
5:51 Rickey Dudley (huh?!) caught a pass at the numbers on the left side, good for 18 yards to the Seattle 41
5:10 Garner scampered for 5 to the Seattle 33
3:57 Schroeder caught a first-down pass to the Seattle 28
3:09 Garner ran down to the Seattle 16 for a first down, marking the first time the Tampa Bay offense had made it into the red zone this season
2:18 Simms scrambled to the Seattle 3 to force 1st-and-goal
1:05 Terreal Bierria was all over Jamel White's back, and stopped him short of the goal line to force third down
1:02 Chris Simms fumbled on 3rd-and-goal!! Tampa fell on the ball, but the bottom line was that Tampa had a set of downs from the 3 yard line and had to settle for...
0:52 Martin Gramatica's 24-yard field goal (SEA 10-3). Unliek his brother, there was no raucous one-man celebration after the field goal, and there was no ACL tear

>> 7th Seattle possession (the radio broadcast came back way late, and since I was depending on them to cue me on when the game was coming back on, I missed the kickoff and probably two plays from scrimmage)
0:39 Jackson was found on the right side for a strike to the Seattle 39
0:19 Morris scampered down the right sideline and out of bounds for a first down
0:15 Morris didn't turn around to receive the screen pass
0:09 Hasselbeck threw a very deep ball over the middle to Bobby Engram, but it was overthrown

The end of the half had some discrepancies between the scoreboard and the sideline markers over what down it was, so people at RJ Stadium probably thought the Seahawks were punting on third down to end the half. Not so.

Again, the field goal drive in the first quarter was the only sustained Seattle drive all day. They got absolutely no rhythm going today, and depending on which way you might look at it, the offensive line either was crap, or the Tampa blitzing schemes were way too much. It seemed like all too often there was one guy that was totally uncovered and had an unabated path to Hasselbeck. Not a good thing. I don't know how much of a running game you can expect against a Tampa Bay defense with Shaun Alexander not at full strength, but 23 rushing yards in the first half still doesn't seem like a good number. What was a good thing about the first half was Koren Robinson getting a couple of key catches. Good for him. Dropping bad, catching good. Catching and running long way verrry good. For what it's worth, I wrote down that Chris Simms was 5-for-8 on that field goal drive for Tampa with 47 pass yards.

>> 7th Tampa Bay possession
14:20 Garner caught a pass on 3rd down, but was short of the sticks, as Seattle forced a quick 3-and-out

>> 8th Seattle possession
13:59 Morris ran toward the line before the ball was snapped, and Jackson ran out of bounds before touching the pass and not coming down with it. Both penalties were declined for the loss of down
13:46 Jackson had first-down yardage on his catch, but Terry was lined up in the backfield (I hate "WTF?!?!" written on my sheet)
13:15 Strong had a decent run, but it didn't move the chains, and Tom Rouen once again punted, which he did many times today

>> 8th Tampa Bay possession
12:33 Wistrom drops Garner in the backfield
12:01 Orlando Huff got in Simms' face and sacked him for a 10-yard loss
11:21 Simms threw the ball behind Garner, forcing another 3-and-out

>> 9th Seattle possession
11:06 Alexander had a short 3-yard scamper to the Seattle 33
10:33 Alexander missed a block, and Hasselbeck was wrapped up, leading to a 3rd-and-11
9:58 Terry was called for ANOTHER false start, his fourth penalty on the day
9:30 On a 3rd-and-forever, Hasselbeck had nobody to throw to
9:20 Chris Richard on the Seahawk punt team ran out of bounds trying to avoid a block. That's a penalty

>> 9th Tampa Bay possession
9:10 Tim Brown almost dropped the fair catch, and Alex Bannister nearly took the ball out of his hands
8:20 Garner ran a 3-yard sweep to force a 3rd-and-1
##7:32 Wistrom knocked the ball loose from Simms and Rashad Moore fell on the loose ball

>> 10th Seattle possession
7:24 Alexander ran for 5 yards
6:15 Bannister caught Rouen's punt at the Tampa Bay 4

>> 10th Tampa Bay possession
5:06 Simms hurried, ran, and was short of the marker to force another 3-and-out

>> 11th Seattle possession
4:17 Alexander ran to the left side for 5 yards
3:41 Hasselbeck was hurried and overthrew Jackson running down the right sideline
3:36 On 3rd-and-5, Anthony McFarland blew through the line and wrapped up Hasselbeck

>> 11th Tampa Bay possession
2:03 Anthony Simmons knocked Simms out of bounds on a scramble to the left side to force a 3rd-and-5
1:32 Clayton caught a first-down pass
0:15 Simms hooked up with Brown for 13 yards down the right sideline

Did I stress enough how crappy the offense was today? Wistrom forced a fumble and the offense responded with a three-and-out, for goodness sakes. Warren Moon pointed out on the radio about how the Seahawks were constantly finding themselves with 3rd-and-11 or 3rd-and-14 or 3rd-and-9, but never any 3rd-and-shorts. Quite frankly, that'll happen when you have no semblance of a ground game, your offensive line is a sieve, and your quarterback is getting drilled a little too often. Still it was a little unnerving to see Tampa Bay gather a little momentum toward the end of the quarter.

>> 11th Tampa Bay possession continued
14:47 Brown caught a 6-yard pass to the left side to bring up 3rd-and-4. The radio crew noticed that Tampa Bay wasn't throwing to receivers being covered by Ken Lucas, either
14:21 Antonio Cochran sacked Simms to force a punt

>> 12th Seattle possession
13:39 Engram caught a pass to the Seattle 24 for a first down
13:04 Jackson was downfield and almost tipped the pass to himself
12:59 Robinson laid out on the left side for a 12-yard catch and a first down
11:50 On 2nd-and-4, Alexander was leveled to force...
11:03 3rd-and-5, when McFarland blew through the line and sacked Hasselbeck again

>> 12th Tampa Bay possession
9:19 Clayton caught a wide-open pass over the middle for 14 yards to the Tampa Bay 42
7:53 Simms threw a deep ball to the end zone, which went incomplete; Simms was drilled hard as he let go of the ball
7:49 Mike Alstott caught a pass and got just past the marker for a first down
6:54 Lee caught a pass between Lucas and Ken Hamlin and got all the way to the Seattle 6
5:35 Simms was hit and made a late "throw" as he fell, not getting nailed for grounding
5:19 Garner caught a short pass to the Seattle 5, forcing...
**4:36 Gramatica's 22-yard chipshot field goal (SEA 10-6)

>> 13th Seattle possession
3:41 Jackson caught a pass to the right side and was just short of the chains
2:56 Seattle called a timeout after the play clock wore down
2:50 Alexander was stopped just short of the sticks (dammit)

>> 13th Tampa Bay possession
2:26 Garner ran up the middle for 9 yards
2:04 Brown caught a pass over the middle for a first down
1:55 Simms' pass was tipped, but that came after Chike Okeafor had a path on Simms and tried to tip the ball himself. When he reached to tip the pass, he got a hold of Simms' face mask. I'm not entirely sure why this was called as a 15-yard face mask instead of just five yards. This moved the ball to the Tampa 45
1:49 Wistrom was called for pass interference along the sidelines. Of course, this implies that Wistrom had to start on the line and move out toward the sideline for pass coverage. Did this guy have foot problems? I hope they don't come up again
1:44 Bernard dropped an interception. The ball was right in his hands. If he would have caught it, all Seahawk fans would have been able to breathe much easier
1:34 Marcus Trufant picked the pass from Simms, but Okeafor was whistled again, this time for going for Simms' legs after the pass, even though it looked like he was obviously letting up
1:05 Michael Boulware picked a pass after Wistrom picked up Simms during the pass attempt. Of course, the conspiracy theorists were out as the people in the replay booth reviewed whether Simms' knee was down as he threw the pass. The ruling was no (I don't think it was planted), and it was finally Seattle ball

>> 14th Seattle possession
From here, it was a couple of Alexander runs, a couple of Tampa timeout calls, and the game clock running in sync with the play clock. The Seahawks were on 4th down with 40 seconds left, but Tampa Bay didn't get the ball on downs. The game was finally over

I couldn't believe I kept the number of times I cursed at the TV in the 4th quarter at less than five. It seemed like a perfect storm was coming together to give this game to Tampa Bay. It wasn't just that three penalties were called on the Seahawks inside two minutes to go, it's that the three penalties were automatic first-down penalties. Adding to this was Rocky Bernard's drop of what should have been a pick, and the fact that people in the replay booth went back to review the final interception play, and it seemed like a nightmare compressed into the final two minutes of a football game. Thank goodness it finally turned Seattle's way though. A KJR caller pointed out that with any past Seahawk team, you could play this game 10 times and the Seahawks would lose 10 out of 10 times. I'd have to agree with him. In the final minutes of the game, all I was thinking was "God, not again. What did Seattle fans do to deserve this?" Alas, it's never going to be easy for the fans of Seattle, I guess. I felt this way even knowing full well that I would have been pleased if the Seahawks came into Week 3 at home against San Francisco after splitting the two road games to start.

But you know what? This was a road game. Against Tampa Bay. And the Seahawks won. They have two road wins this year, and had exactly that many last season. Dick Fain of KJR is giddy over a possible matchup of 4-0 teams in Week 6 when Seattle takes on New England, but I'm not looking that far ahead. This team has to come out against San Francisco next week, take an early lead, and just bury them. The offense just needs to prove to themselves that they can do this. They're not going to be able to get away with games like this against better teams, and they shouldn't be able to, frankly.

As for the Seahawk defense on that final Tampa Bay drive, good gracious. Of course, the officiating was a little shaky, but if I remember right, Tampa was starting to go no-huddle, and that probably got the guys a little tired. Of course, it's not like the Seahawk offense was giving the guys any rest either. They were 6-for-15 on third down against New Orleans last week, and they weren't even close to that today. It was just brutal.

Well, the Seahawks are flying home 2-0 with San Francisco coming in next Sunday. I more than likely won't be able to chime in with a recap, so everyone enjoy that game, all right?

A win is a win. But Mike Holmgren will give this team a lot of stuff to work on this week, because this team, and especially this offense, needs work. Granted, the offense started out sluggish last year too, but just seeing this offense not click is always somewhat concerning.

Okay, this is where the recap ends. Have a good night and a good week, everyone.

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