Sunday, September 12, 2004


[For Jeremy's much shorter and concise take on the game, scroll to the post directly below this one.]

The Seahawks will be flying back from New Orleans with a 21-7 win under their belts.

Both the offensive and defensive lines looked great today for the Seahawks, and the defense as a whole looked really good; Isaiah Kacyvenski even looked good at times. The offense clicked on and off, but didn't truly reach their full potential, sometimes looking a bit sluggish, and Koren Robinson dropped a few passes (it wasn't too contagious though), which didn't help either.

Shaun Alexander had his name on all three touchdowns today, two on the rush (two very nice runs) and from the air. The Seahawk radio crew (Raible/Moon/Ventrella) brought up early that the new turf in the Superdome was even cushier than Qwest Field's FieldTurf, partially attributing to the sloppy play on both sides in the first quarter. Unfortunately, this too-cushy turf may have contributed to Alexander's injury (tentaively being called a sprained knee) late in the 4th quarter. He had ice on his knee afterward and was standing on the sidelines, and we'll see what happens when the MRI comes in.

And yes, I did choose the Seahawk radio crew for audio rather than go with Ron Pitts and Tim Ryan. Come on.

Some short stats before the recap here: the Seahawks were 6-for-15 on third downs and had 426 total yards on offense (246 passing, 170 ground).

This might be a little like the hockey recaps I've been doing, but I might just try to list key plays or something. These are straight from me scrawling down notes on paper, so some of the yardage might be off.

>> 1st Seattle possession
14:23 Koren Robinson caught a 13-yard pass to the Saints 41

>> 1st New Orleans possession
11:53 Jerome Pathon dropped a pass over the middle on 3rd down

>> 2nd Seattle possession
11:33 A good toss to Bobby Engram across midfield to the Saints 40 was nullified by a Chris Terry hold
11:09 Matt Hasselbeck overthrows, possibly because of miscommunication; the pass is picked, and the Saints taunt and are knocked back

>> 2nd New Orleans possession
8:35 Chike Okeafor bowled over his lineman and got credit for the half-sack on Aaron Brooks

>> 3rd Seattle possession
6:37 Hasselbeck was almost sacked, and completed a huge pass to Bobby Engram into Saints territory, but he fumbled and the Saints recovered. Hasselbeck had a Saint gunning for his head and went down to the turf and was called for a low block

>> 3rd New Orleans possession
5:39 Joe Horn caught a pass over the middle to the Seattle 35 after Terreal Bierria missed a tackle
4:59 Deuce McAllister was dropped behind the line
4:19 Marcus Trufant nearly picked Brooks, and McAllister was drilled on the play
4:10 Boo Williams fumbled on his way to the turf and Seattle recovered. Saints coach Jim Haslett threw the red flag, but the fumble came before Williams' knee was down, and the initial ruling stood

>> 4th Seattle possession
3:07 Darrell Jackson caught a big 37-yard pass down the right sideline to the Saints 41
2:20 Alexander cut back for a 9-yard run, and was down before he fumbled the ball
2:02 Mack Strong rumbled through the pile on 1st down
0:12 Robinson caught a pass to the Saints 12 for a first down deep in the red zone

Yes, the first quarter was quite sloppy, with picks and fumbles and no real offensive rhythm for either team. But, the Seahawks were driving down the field to end the quarter.

>> 4th Seattle possession continued
**14:52 Thanks to a nice block by Robbie Tobeck, Alexander was free for a screen pass to the left side and he rolled in for the touchdown (SEA 7-0)

>> 4th New Orleans possession
14:42 Donte' Stallworth caught a play-action pass along the right sideline for 12 yards and a first down
13:38 Williams had yet another miscue, dropping a wide-open pass over the middle
12:44 McAllister caught a screen pass to the right side, but was dropped short of the first down

>> 5th Seattle possession
11:40 Alexander rumbles through the line and gets 15 yards and a first down
9:54 Strong ran up the middle on 3rd and 4, but was stopped just short of the first down
8:26 Hasselbeck's pass sailed wide on 2nd and 21 sailed way out of bounds, and Stallworth and Ken Hamlin jawed by the sidelines
7:34 Jackson caught 21-yard pass to the Saints 23, and would have been in the end zone if not for a fairly vicious facemask
**6:39 Alexander got into the end zone again (SEA 14-0), this time off the draw. Walter Jones and Robinson made two nice blocks, and Alexander made three guys miss (two Saints missed tackles on the play)

>> 5th New Orleans possession
6:30 Michael Lewis returned the ensuing kickoff for 47 yards, and only kicker Josh Brown slowed Lewis down before Ken Hamlin finally brought him down
5:47 Horn caught a 15-yard pass for the first down, and Hamlin made a hard thigh-level tackle on him
5:01 Grant Wistrom batted down a pass by Brooks
4:51 Brooks scrambled for 13 yards to the Seattle 22
**2:54 Former Husky Ernie Conwell caught a ball in the end zone, good for a 6-yard touchdown pass (SEA 14-7)

>> 6th Seattle possession
1:54 On 3rd down, Itula Mili caught a pass and got the first down
0:38 A pass to Robinson was tipped
0:22 The Seahawk punt team made a great play, except the guy who downed the punt on the 3 yard line ran a couple steps out of bounds on the way there

>> 6th New Orleans possession
Well, it was really short, and it was right before halftime, but nothing of note happened

The New Orleans put some points on the board, signaling their offense was getting some semblance of rhythm together. The facemask penalty probably meant the difference between a 14-7 game at halftime and a 10-7 game at halftime.

>> 7th New Orleans possession
14:54 Lewis had another big return off the kickoff, this time across midfield to the Seattle 47
14:48 A holding penalty knocked the Saints back some
13:54 Horn caught a pass and was one yard short of the first down
13:02 McAllister had a first-down run and fumbled. Orlando Huff recovered for the Seahawks at their own 31

>> 7th Seattle possession
12:06 Alexander brings out the chains on a 3rd-down run, but he falls just short

>> 8th New Orleans possession
11:47 McAllister rolled to the left for 12 yards
11:09 Conwell had another key catch, good from the slot for 18 yards to the Saints 49, as New Orleans was getting some offensive rhythm
9:11 On 3rd and 4, Bierria made a key play, knocking down a pass over the middle

>> 8th Seattle possession
8:19 A pass downfield to Robinson went off his fingertips
8:09 Bobby Engram caught a pass as Hasselbeck was falling down; Engram scurried to the Seattle 24 for a first down
7:00 Strong caught another pass, good for a first down to the Seattle 34
6:23 Alexander rumbled for 7 yards
5:51 Jackson caught a ball good for a first down to the Seattle 49
5:24 In what would have been a real big play, the ball was tipped on a pass that would have hit a wide-open Jerramy Stevens down the field
4:51 Robinson can't cradle a pass in the breadbasket on third down as he falls to the turf

>> 9th New Orleans possession
4:45 Already deep in their own territory, a false start knocks the Saints back to their own 6
3:57 Big Rashad Moore runs Brooks out of bounds, keeping the gain to a paltry two to force a 3rd and 12
3:40 Brooks' pass was tipped by Grant Wistrom, and Michael Boulware came down with it

>> 9th Seattle possession
3:32 Alexander was open and raced down the sidelines for 17 yards to the Saints 9
**3:06 Alexander moved to the right and cut left and to the sideline en route to paydirt (SEA 21-7)

>> 10th New Orleans possession
2:28 McAllister ran for a first down to the Saints 40
2:03 Horn caught a pass to the Seattle 45 for a first down
1:17 The Seattle defense wasn't fooled on the reverse, as Stallworth was stuffed for only a one-yard gain
0:39 A dash of luck for Seattle, as Pathon was open downfield and the pass went off his fingertips

>> 10th Seattle possession
The quarter was almost over

The Seahawks' drive midway through the quarter ended quite unceremoniously, with the tipped pass that would have hit Stevens down the field, and the pass that Robinson should have had on third down which would have moved the chains. But Grant Wistrom's tipped pass and Michael Boulware picking that same tip really helped, as two plays and 26 yards later, the Seahawks found themselves up by two touchdowns.

>> 10th Seattle possession continued
14:54 Alexander takes the pitch, cuts back, and rolls for 27 yards to the Seattle 30
13:31 Alexander had a 12-yard run called back by a penalty
12:24 Robinson runs a slant route on third down and the ball goes off his chest. Grrr...
12:14 On the punt, Alex Bannister made an open-field tackle on Lewis, ensuring he wouldn't run it for a huge return

>> 11th New Orleans possession
12:08 Wistrom got to Brooks untouched, who threw incomplete on the play
12:01 Horn went up between Bierria and Ken Lucas and came down with it, good for 38 yards to the Seattle 43
10:46 Stallworth scampered to the Seattle 28 on a 15-yard run down the right sideline
10:14 With Brooks barely avoiding the sack, Pathon caught a pass at the Seattle 9, but Trufant came up with a big hit and jarred the ball loose
9:31 Boulware got to Brooks, and the pass coverage was top-notch; the Saints had nothing on the play
9:28 Though there was still a lot of time left in the game, the Saints went for it on 4th and 3. Lucas batted down the pass

>> 11th Seattle possession
8:40 Jackson got first-down yardage on a 13-yard catch down the left sideline
7:30 Strong had his second run in a row, getting first down yards
5:28 The Saints defense guessed correctly, stuffing Alexander in the backfield for a loss on 3rd down

>> 12th New Orleans possession
4:32 Boulware nearly picked Brooks again
4:27 Brooks was dropped by Rocky Bernard on 3rd down

>> 12th Seattle possession
3:35 Alexander moved right and cut left for the first down. Alexander sprained his knee on the play (luckily I'm typing this long enough after the game to know this), not as a result of being hit, and he will have an MRI and be reevaluated
3:27 Maurice Morris ran for a first down
1:48 Morris ran for the dagger first down, basically sealing the deal
1:17-0:00 knees

And so went the Seahawks' first game of the 2004 season. In some ways it was a lot like last year's opener, with a decent amount of turnovers and not everything quite clicking. The defense didn't have the Hamlin hit from last year, but today they played very well. Kacyvenski looked decent, Bernard had a sack, Bierria made a couple of good plays (when he didn't get burned), and Boulware had his hands in a couple of plays too. Keep in mind, all of this happened without Marcus Tubbs and Chad Brown.

The Seahawk offense looked great on their drive that ate up a shade over 5 minutes of the second quarter, which of course was helped by the facemask penalty (though without it Jackson would have scored). The Seahawk offense wasn't in full form though, and Koren Robinson continuing to drop passes isn't a good thing, and that better be rectified soon.

I'm hoping for two things out of this game...
(1) Shaun Alexander turns out to be okay and is back sooner rather than later, and
(2) I find a way to streamline these recaps because this one seems a bit long

You know, with Steve Raible and Warren Moon now in the booth for the Seahawks, it seems that the personality and panache that one would get from a seasoned play-by-play football guy has been at least partially replaced by a bigger influx of insider terminology, which former players Raible and Moon would know a thing or two about. About Ventrella, he didn't do too much, and it turns out Paul Moyer is quite a competent radio sideline reporter in comparison. But it's possible even Ventrella is adjusting, just like the other radio guys.

Overall, I'm just glad I don't have to worry about the Seahawks coming back home to Seattle in two weeks with an 0-2 record and the entire northwest region screaming "same old Seahawks!"

Seahawks. Buccaneers. Early next Sunday.

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