Sunday, September 26, 2004


It's hard for me to say that a game in Week 3 can be considered a game that a message can be sent.

But today, a message was sent.

A week after a less-than-stellar performance in Tampa Bay, the Seahawks come home and just dominate the San Francisco 49ers, 34-0. It was the Seahawks first home shutout since December 8, 1986, when they beat the Raiders 37-0.

However, the most important shutout factoid is that the 49ers were shutout. Their consecutive games streak of not being shutout has ended at 420. The last time the 49ers were shutout before today was October 9, 1977, when they lost 7-0 to the Atlanta Falcons in Fulton County Stadium. So it's been a while.

Head coach Mike Holmgren played a part in the long streak. He was the 49ers quarterback coach from 1986 to 1988 and was the offensive coordinator from 1989 to 1991 before heading to Green Bay. Needless to say, I would think that he's a little excited today.

There's reason to be excited if you're a Seahawks fan.

If you haven't figured it out by now, this team is for real. Let the experts eat Donovan McNabb's chunky soup. Let them. So far, the most impressive team in the NFC has been the Seahawks. By no means am I being biased here. To win their first two games on the road and come home and flat-out dominate a team they were supposed to is pretty damn impressive to me.

Today was by far the best showing the offense has had to this point. Matt Hasselbeck was efficient, as he was 21-of-30 for 254 yards and 2 touchdowns. Shaun Alexander, who's still nursing his sore knee, scored 2 touchdowns on the ground and 1 in the air. He ran for 52 yards on 19 carries. The bye week coming up is only going to help Alexander.

Darrell Jackson caught 7 balls for 97 yards. A flu-ridden Koren Robinson only caught 1 pass for 12 yards. Bobby Engram had 4 receptions for 95 yards, including a 60-yard reception that set up the Seahawks first touchdown.

Today's game ball belongs to the defense, again.

Since when could Seahawks fans say "WE HAVE A DEFENSE!"? Through their first 3 games, the defense has only allowed 13 points, leading the entire NFL. Yes, it's early. But this defense is only going to get better.

Shutting out the 49ers, regardless of how bad they are, is impressive. This was the first shutout recorded in the 2004 season. Notice what I just said. The Seahawks recorded the first shutout in the 2004 season. Not the Baltimore Ravens. Not the Carolina Panthers. Not the New England Patriots. The Seattle Seahawks.

Ken Lucas played a great ballgame, recording 4 tackles and an interception. He's finally becoming the player Holmgren expected him to be. As KJR-AM's Dick Fain said, he and Marcus Trufant may be the best pair of cover corners in football.

Is there anybody still bitching about how much money Grant Wistrom is getting paid? Four tackles and he's flying around on every damn play. He's made the Seahawks defensive line much better. Chike Okeafor had 3 tackles and a sack. Rashad Moore ended a late 49ers drive, recovering a Ken Dorsey fumble caused by Okeafor. Cedric Woodard had 3 tackles and a sack.

The Seahawks couldn't have asked for a better start to the 2004 season. Is the offense clicking on all cylinders yet? Not even close. Is the defense as good as advertised so far? Yes. Can this team get better? You bet your ass they can.

Going into the bye week at 3-0 is huge. Granted, they were 3-0 going into the bye week last year, only to get dominated by the Packers in Green Bay. But here's the difference this year. The 'Hawks get to stay at home after the bye week, hosting the St. Louis Rams on October 10. I may actually get to see that game on TV here. I hope that is the case.

Right now, the Seahawks have a 2-game lead in the NFC West over the Rams (1-2). The 49ers and Cardinals are both 0-3. The Rams travel to San Francisco next week while the Cardinals host New Orleans.

There's reason to believe, 'Hawks fans. These are not the "same old Seahawks". And they're 3-0. Drink up, be merry.

But don't get too ahead of yourself. There's still plenty of football to be played. It's easy to think about the Oct. 17 matchup in Foxboro against New England. But the 'Hawks have to take care of business against the Rams two weeks from today. The Rams are very vulnerable. They aren't the "Greatest Show On Turf" anymore. You know damn well Wistrom is going to be hyped up for that game.

Next week, bye week.

Two weeks from today, the Rams come to Seattle.

I love this team. You should too.

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