Monday, October 10, 2005


AP photo -- Kyle Ericson

It was an absolute must-win. It was a big game on the road against a division rival. Never mind that the division rival had beaten the Seahawks three times last year and four straight times overall. It was a long time coming, but the Seahawks' first win in Saint Louis since 1997 sure feels good, doesn't it?

With help where necessary from the Gamebook, I'll jump right into the nuts and bolts...

-- no turnovers, two takeaways
-- Hasselbeck with results
-- Alexander getting tough yards
-- receivers stepping up for injured
-- Manuel, Hill, Herndon, others stepping up for other injured
-- Tatupu interception
-- special teams forces the final turnover, seals the deal

other good times from my notes or the gamebook...
first half
-- Rams defensive holding on first possession bails Seattle out of 3rd-and-5
-- Rams offense gets nowhere on first set of downs from scrimmage, Rouen pinned Rams with punt to STL 6
-- pass interference on Rams puts ball on 1-yd line, sets up Alexander touchdown pitch for 7-7 tie
-- Seahawks get stop on 3rd-and-8 thanks to Shawn McDonald catching out of bounds
-- Hasselbeck scrambling out of pocket to hit Jurevicius for 52-yard play
-- after Seahawks knocked out of FG range, Rouen pins Rams on own 6 again
-- Seahawk defense forces three-and-out on that possession
-- Seahawk offense takes three plays to hit end zone on ensuing possession late in first quarter (Stevens 29-yd TD catch)
-- Jurevicius for 27-yd TD midway through second quarter
-- defense protects seven-point lead; Leroy Hill sacks Bulger on 3rd-and-5, knocking Rams from FG range

second half
-- defense buckles down, sacks Bulger early in third quarter on third down
-- Tatupu pick on 3rd-and-15, preceded by Bernard sack of Bulger
-- pick sets up short field for Alexander 18-yd TD run (34-21 score)
-- defense forces three-and-out early in fourth quarter
-- Darby sacks Bulger on final possession, Rams false start on 3rd-and-18
-- bailout from three-and-out late thanks to special teams; Babineaux forces, Darche falls on it
-- Alexander runs for two sets of downs, knees

-- starting game without starting wide receivers Bobby Engram, Darrell Jackson
-- losing Andre Dyson, Michael Boulware, Floyd Womack during game
-- penalties to offensive line?
-- Rams run back opening kickoff
-- third straight game where Rams scored quickly on Seattle
-- three-and-out late in the fourth quarter with only six-point lead
-- Trufant, Herndon possibly overaggressive stripping ball on deep passes, burned
-- almost anything involving Torry Holt

other bad stuff from my notes or the gamebook...
first half
-- Rams give Seahawks fresh set of downs on first drive, then get nowhere (Hasselbeck bloody nose)
-- first play from scrimmage after Seahawks tie game at 7-7: Steven Jackson catch for 27 yards
-- possession starting with the 52-yard Jurevicius catch ends with Hasselbeck sack, out of field-goal range
-- on Ram possession ending first quarter/beginning second quarter, defense flagged for holding (Trufant), offside (Fisher); drive ended in touchdown
-- Torry Holt for 24 on possession after Jurevicius touchdown
-- offense goes three-and-out late in first half (incomplete pass on 3rd-and-2)
-- crappy Rouen punt gives Rams short field, in end zone on three plays; Trufant picked on, passes of 17 and 26 yards (touchdown)
-- on possession ending first half, offense gets to STL 12, follows up with Tobeck false start and Hasselbeck sack (settled for FG)

second half
-- offense fails to take advantage of having ball to start half (Walter Jones holding on third down)
-- Lewis injured early in half
-- first STL offensive play: 18 yards to Holt
-- offensive possession starting on Rams' 35-yd line goes three-and-FG
-- Steven Jackson-mania late in third quarter; 80-yd TD drive by Rams (34-28)
-- starting 4th quarter, Hasselbeck dropped, Tobeck holds (declined), Jones false starts on third down
-- seven better than three (Brown hit the upright); Seattle possession started at 50-yd line (37-28)
-- first two plays on final STL drive: passes for 19 yards
-- defense allows 14-yd pass on 3rd-and-15 (Rams convert 4th-and-1 with 16-yd Jackson run)
-- offense; inexcusable three-and-out with lead of six and under four minutes left

The thing that hurt me the most about the Seahawks losing four straight to the Rams was that I could never convince myself that the better team won any of those games. This game was different, and different is good.

The Seahawks came in banged up in a very bad way, and they came out of it even more banged up thanks to the turf and a hit or two. Starting receivers Bobby Engram and Darrell Jackson did not play, and this was partially offset since Isaac Bruce was out for the Rams as well. As the game went on, many Seahawks got banged up. Matt Hasselbeck got a bloody nose on a 3rd-and-4 on the Seahawks' very first possession. At least Hasselbeck was able to stay in the game. Andre Dyson pulled a hamstring late in the first quarter and was out for the remainder of the game. Floyd Womack tweaked a quadriceps early in the second quarter on the touchdown drive that put the Seahawks ahead 21-14. Womack was also lost for the game. Just minutes later, Michael Boulware was hit hard in the lower back and was down on the field, necessitating his being strapped to a gurney and wheeled off the field. DD Lewis was injured in the first few minutes of the second half.

Who would step in for the injured Seahawks? Marquand Manuel and others stepped in for Boulware, but the biggest step-up was turned in by the tall Joe Jurevicius, a great offseason pickup who holds on to the ball. DJ Hackett also caught a handful of balls, Jerramy Stevens caught a few, and even Mack Strong caught a trio as well. Stepping in for the incompetent Leo Araguz was Tom Rouen, who sandwiched some bad punts with a couple of really good ones.

The Seahawks turned the ball over zero times and got the benefit of two turnovers by the Rams. In the fourth quarter, Lofa Tatupu's pick of Marc Bulger gave the Seattle offense a short field, which helped set up the Shaun Alexander 18-yard touchdown run to put the Seahawks up 34-21 with just over six minutes left. Jeff Wilkins' 40-yard field goal got the Rams within six points at 37-31, but the Seahawk offense inexplicably responded with a three-and-out. The Seahawks were to punt the ball from their own 19 with less than four minutes to play and with a lead of only six. The pass defense hadn't exactly been a brick wall on the day. Rouen punted, Shaun McDonald (not the usual punt returner) caught the ball, but he was stripped by Jordan Babineaux. Long snapper JP Darche fell on the ball after running down the field from the line of scrimmage. Three Shaun Alexander runs for two first downs paved the way for three knees by Matt Hasselbeck since the Rams were out of timeouts.

I wouldn't say the offense was balanced, but I'd have to say they ran just enough. Shaun Alexander's yards were pretty tough yards, but they were necessary yards. Those ground yards look great compared to the Rams' running game. Alexander ran 25 times and caught three balls, which is good. Shaun needs to be fed.

I guess maybe a source of concern other than the injuries would be Matt Hasselbeck getting sacked four times. I'd need video to see how many of those sacks are on the offensive line or if Hasselbeck is holding the ball too long.

Since I have today off, I look to the Sunday night game against Houston next week and lament why it couldn't have been this week instead. I have today off, not next Monday. Thus, I'll be a zombie on Monday morning at work, and the game post will have to wait until Monday night. Sad. I can't put into words how much I hate east coast time. The only cool thing is that you can have yourself a Saturday night and sleep in Sunday without missing any football. If you want to watch the whole day of football, though, you're up until midnight, and that sucks.

Is it scary to think that this Seahawk team is an upright away from being 4-1?

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