Sunday, October 23, 2005


AP photo -- John Froschauer

[update ~11:06p]

You know, I'm just going to toss out the regular format for now. I just want to let loose about this game.

It took until Week 7 in the fourth season of football at Seahawks Stadium/Qwest Field for a game to finally be played on an all-out stereotypical Pacific Northwest rainy day. Both sides were banged up in some way. I figured that the loss of Flozell Adams on the Dallas offensive line and the fact that Julius Jones wasn't playing could only help the Seahawks. At the same time, I feared the thought of Drew Bledsoe and receivers Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn picking on the Seattle secondary, who had been burned before even when they did have Ken Hamlin healthy. So one would figure that Shaun would be Shaun, and that the Seattle pass defense leaves a lot to be desired, right?

I'm guessing that's where the rain came into play.

Beyond the first and last drives of the game, the Seahawk offense just couldn't move the ball. Seattle went three-and-out with four of their seven first-half possessions. Luckily Josh Brown nailed the 55-yarder to net the Seahawks some points in the final minute of the half. They could have used seven on that drive, but they could use seven all the time. In the early stages of the second quarter, Dallas had a 3rd-and-9 on their own 15, but Kelly Herndon was flagged for pass interference. To me, it was going to be one of those days. The Seahawks would have chances to shut down the Cowboys or take advantage of the Dallas mistakes, yet they never would.

It just seemed like they got chances and chances, and yet they'd waste those chances. For example, early in the third quarter, Matt Hasselbeck hit Jerramy Stevens for a 14-yard catch on a 3rd-and-8, but Robbie Tobeck was whistled for holding on the next play, and that basically killed the drive. Dallas went three-and-out not long after that, but the Seahawks couldn't get very much further than midfield.

But none of what I've said matched Jimmy Williams muffing the kickoff at the Seattle 9-yard line on the second play of the fourth quarter with the Cowboys up 7-3. The Seahawks somehow stood the Cowboys up three times on goal-to-go plays, and to top it off, Jose Cortez missed a chipshot from 29 yards.

The Seahawks took advantage of the Cortez missed field goal with: run, pass, incomplete pass, punt. That's right -- three and out. I was miserable at this point. Another chance would present itself. The Cowboys echoed the Seahawks, going three-and-out on the ensuing possession to take the game under ten minutes to play.

The Seahawks' next possession, starting with just under ten minutes to play, started out promising with the 20-yard strike to Jerheme Urban. They eventually got a fresh set of downs just past midfield on an Urban catch that was red-flagged but upheld before Tobeck held again to knock them backward, then Hasselbeck was hit with intentional grounding on third down to knock them back even further. Of course, this was a good time for a 28-yard punt from Tom Rouen. Dallas had the ball at their own 41, which wasn't exactly good if you were a Seahawk fan hoping to keep the score at 7-3 so you were still within striking distance.

While that Dallas possession got nowhere, the Seahawks got the ball back on their own 12-yard line with 3:45 to go. On the second play, Hasselbeck was picked, which was bad enough, but Jerramy Stevens got hit with a facemask to give Dallas the ball on the Seattle 12-yard line. Again, the defense bended but didn't break. This time, however, Cortez hit the field goal. It was 10-3 for Dallas and they merely had to hold the Seahawks at bay and guard against the two-minute drill.

Then things got crazy. The two-minute drill was in order.

The Seahawks got the ball with 2:01 to go, and Matt Hasselbeck struck for consecutive 22-yard passes to Jerheme Urban and Jerramy Stevens to march the Seahawks from their own 19-yard line to the Dallas 37-yard line in quick fashion. Then Sean Locklear was flagged for holding on the Seattle line. Not good. Hasselbeck threw incomplete to DJ Hackett, but Aaron Glenn was flagged for pass interference. Alexander got his biggest run of the day on the next play, good for 11 yards and a fresh set of downs from the Dallas 11-yard line. Three plays later, it was Ryan Hannam making the sliding catch on his knees in the end zone. A Josh Brown extra point later, and the game was tied. The two-minute drill, with help from a Dallas penalty, had worked with smashing results.

Take another look at the guys to whom Hasselbeck was throwing on that touchdown drive -- Jerheme Urban, Jerramy Stevens, Shaun Alexander, DJ Hackett, Ryan Hannam. Joe Jurevicius had injured his shoulder earlier in the quarter. The Seahawks mounted this drive without their top three receivers.

So, the Seahawks had to just make sure the Cowboys didn't run one back for a touchdown or anything, then hope for the coin toss to go their way, march down the field, get some points, and end the game in overtime. On Dallas' 3rd-and-7 from their own 44, Bledsoe didn't quite throw the ball out of bounds, and in came Jordan Babineaux to race in and intercept the ball, running it 25 yards in the other direction to the Dallas 32.

Mike Holmgren didn't hesitate to send the field-goal unit onto the field. It would be Josh Brown from 50 yards. He'd missed from 47 in an attempt earlier this season to end the game in Washington in regulation for a Seahawk win. Today, he scored seven of Seattle's 13 points with an extra point to accompany two field goals whose distance totaled 105 yards.

But to quote reader and blogger Dan, "WE NEVER WIN THESE GAMES! We NEVER win these games!"

It's true. The Seahawks have lost this game and many others like it billions of times. It seems like it anyway.

I'm just glad that one of these games finally have gone Seattle's way. Also a subplot is that they've avenged devastating losses to the Rams and Cowboys from last year.

And congratulations to Shaun Alexander for assuming the Seattle Seahawks' career mark for rushing yards. He didn't have a Shaun-type game, but that 11-yard run on the final touchdown drive was huge.

This feels great. It really does. The turnaround was so quick. I've never gone from yelling in the room to beyond jubilant in the span of five minutes before. If you weren't watching or listening to it in real time, I just have to tell you that it was such a quick 180 it was incredible. Words are insufficient for description.

They're 5-2 heading into the bye week. Let's see if this team can avenge the usual Mike Holmgren post-bye Seahawk loss.

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