Monday, September 11, 2006


Week 1: Seahawks 9, Lions 6
AP photo -- Carlos Osorio

Folks, the Seahawks lose openers. That's what they do. Even last year's NFC Champion team lost their opener in Jacksonville.

However, they won this game. Again, as Seahawk fans or fans of Seattle teams in general, we've seen our teams lose games like this countless times. We knew as the 2005 season went on that it was the beginning of a new era of football for the Seattle Seahawks. Fans of the Seahawks had gotten used to seeing their team suck, underachieve, or play well but not well enough. The 2005 Seahawks threw their fans a long-awaited bone by doing things that great teams did.

If it wasn't for what we all saw from last year's Seahawks, this win would be a lot more surprising than it is. The Seahawk offense was out of sorts all day and never reached the end zone. Even with that, the Seahawks drove 56 yards in the final 3:13 on a key Shaun Alexander 14-yard run on the first play, the Darrell Jackson cutback from right to left for 13 yards, the Big Play DJ Hackett catch on 2nd-and-14, and the next play, Mo Morris for 17 to the right side to set up the final play.

That's right. Eight plays and 56 yards in 3:13, and four of those plays were for over ten yards. In a game where offensively the Seahawks were offensive (the bad kind), the defense managed to do one better and hold a Mike Martz offense to six points.

Looking forward, though, the Seahawks won, sure, but they only scored nine points. There are more than enough things for this team to work on.

This game was beamed back to Hawaii, but they won't be every week, so visual detail may be lacking in some weeks ahead.

1st quarter
»» 1st Seattle possession (Willie Ponder return to the 33)
Best play: big 36-yard catch by Nate Burleson on the second play
Worst play: 41-yard field-goal attempt by Josh Brown blocked as the Lions field-goal unit gets into and above the line of scrimmage a little too far.
Result: field goal blocked

»» 1st Detroit possession
Best play: a stop on 3rd-and-4 (incomplete pass to Kevin Jones)
Worst play: nobody could tackle Jones on a 2nd-and-8, and he got nine yards; also a nomination for a Grant Wistrom hold on 3rd-and-6
Result: Jason Hanson 44-yard field goal

»» 2nd Seattle possession (Ponder returned to the 43)
Best play: on 3rd-and-8, Strong gets a short pass and jumps over a man to move the chains
Worst play: after a first down, Matt Hasselbeck audibled and handed off to Shaun Alexander, who ran to the right and fumbled
Result: Cory Redding recovers the fumble for the Lions

»» 2nd Detroit possession
Best play: on first down, Bryce Fisher sacks Jon Kitna for a loss of seven
Worst play: on the first play of the drive, Kevin Jones gets a short pass, nobody can tackle him again, and he gets 13 yards
Result: three and out; punt

»» 3rd Seattle possession
2nd quarter starts during possession
Best play: on 3rd-and-3, Hasselbeck gets Engram, who breaks a tackle and gets 21 yards to break across midfield
Worst play: any of the final three plays, two of which were Alexander catching a pass and fumbling it (then recovering) or Hasselbeck getting creamed for a seven-yard loss on 3rd-and-3, leading to...
Result: Brown 53-yard field goal attempt blocked, same deal as the first, except with a lower trajectory on the ball

»» 3rd Detroit possession
Best play: Kevin Jones breaks a tackle and has somewhat of a leaping moment, leaving the ball exposed, and Rocky Bernard knocks the ball loose, and it was recovered by Bryce Fisher
Worst play: there were only two plays on the possession, so the first play from scrimmage was a Jones 3-yard run to the right
Result: the best play, the fumble recovery

»» 4th Seattle possession
Best play: on 2nd-and-5 from the Detroit 17, Alexander runs for eight to get the Seahawks inside the 10
Worst play: after getting one yard on a run, a short pass goes to Alexander, and he gets stuffed in the backfield, leaving the Seahawks with 3rd-and-goal from the 11 (this is a red zone thing)
Result: Brown good from 20 yards, chipping the ball too high for Detroit coverage to get a hand on it

»» 4th Detroit possession
Best play: Julian Peterson sacks and nearly strips Kitna of the ball on 3rd-and-8
Worst play: on 3rd-and-16, Mike Furrey gets open for a 19-yard catch, with the only good thing being that Ken Hamlin lit him up after the catch
Result: punt

»» 5th Seattle possession
Best play: on 2nd-and-7, Hasselbeck evades pressure and gets Engram for nine yards a first down to get very close to Brown's field-goal range
Worst play: on 2nd-and-10, Hasselbeck goes to Burleson down the left sideline and Dre Bly catches it, but luckily he was out of bounds
Result: Brown good from 51

3rd quarter
»» 5th Detroit possession
Best play: Kevin Jones too many yards again (nine) on the first play
Worst play: a stop on 3rd-and-11, Marcus Trufant covering Roy Williams
Result: punt

»» 6th Seattle possession
Best play: Alexander runs for seven yards, but they come on a 3rd-and-18
Worst play: pretty much every other play...Walter Jones got banged up with a foot or ankle injury on the first play, the Seahawks false-started, and Tom Ashworth got blown past on the next play and Hasselbeck got sacked for a loss of seven
Result: punt

»» 6th Detroit possession (Josh Scobey lit up Eddie Drummond on the return and they picked up the flags, amazingly)
Best play: a stop on 3rd-and-16, Kitna incomplete to Drummond
Worst play: Seattle calls timeout on a 3rd-and-1 when their rotations get jacked, then Jones runs for 18 yards, but the Lions get flagged for illegal motion
Result: punt

»» 7th Seattle possession
Best play: Walter Jones comes back into the game on the first play from scrimmage, a pass to Itula Mili for 14 yards
Worst play: on 3rd-and-6, Hasselbeck slid for the chains, but I think they gave him a crappy spot, and they put him a yard short
Result: punt

»» 7th Detroit possession
Best play: on 3rd-and-10, Michael Boulware tips a pass intended for Corey Bradford
Worst play: on the first play, Roy Williams was open for a first-down catch but was underthrown
Result: punt

»» 8th Seattle possession (Isaiah Kacyvenski blocked in the back on the return)
Best play: on the first play, Hasselbeck pumpfakes, runs, slides, and draws a late hit penalty
Worst play: on 3rd-and-6, the offensive line gets dumptrucked and Hasselbeck gets sacked for a loss of nine
Result: punt

»» 8th Detroit possession
4th quarter starts during possession
Best play: on 2nd-and-10, Lofa Tatupu nearly wraps up Kitna in the backfield
Worst play: the defense allows their second straight long pass as Dan Campbell gets open deep down the left sideline for 29 yards to put the Lions at the Seattle 35
Result: Hanson short on a 52-yard field goal attempt

»» 9th Seattle possession
Best play: on the first play, Darrell Jackson catches a short pass and jukes to get nine
Worst play: on 3rd-and-10, Hasselbeck throws wide downfield for Engram
Result: punt (Scobey's false start bails Plackemeier out of a shanked punt)

»» 9th Detroit possession
Best play: the play that knocked Detroit out of the red zone...DD Lewis nearly sacked Kitna, who threw to no one and got flagged for intentional grounding
Worst play: either of the two Seattle penalties...Jordan Babineaux got called for leading with his helmet to Kitna's back after he threw an 11-yard pass to Bradford, and DD Lewis tacked a five-yard facemask onto the end of a Kevin Jones 15-yard pass play
Result: Hanson good from 37 yards

»» 10th Seattle possession
Best play: the only play that went for positive yardage was Morris up the middle for a yard
Worst play: on 3rd-and-15, Chris Spencer was called for a false start, but bodies didn't stop moving around and Hasselbeck took a shot to the left ribcage or shoulder
Result: punt

»» 10th Detroit possession (starting at SEA 43)
Best play: on the first play, Julian Peterson nearly recovers a Kevin Jones fumble, and Detroit was called for holding
Worst play: Furrey had a leaping catch for 10 yards on 2nd-and-13
Result: punt (a field goal attempt by Hanson would have been from 54 yards)

»» 11th Seattle possession
Best play: Darrell Jackson catching the short pass on the right side, cutting back to the left, getting 14 yards, and moving the chains
Worst play: on 1st-and-10 from midfield, Alexander was wrapped up in the backfield for a loss of four
Result: game-winning 42-yard field goal by Brown as time expired

It's a win, it's a win, it's a win, it's a win, it's a win. For how crappy the game went, they somehow led at halftime and somehow won this game. Everything came together with the final drive. Matt Hasselbeck didn't throw any picks and was 25-for-30 for 210 yards. As I said earlier, the Seahawks held a Mike Martz offense to six points. Ken Hamlin had a crushing hit. Julian Peterson, DD Lewis, and Bryce Fisher had a sack apiece. Mack Strong caught the most passes. How about the return game? Willie Ponder looked great. Ray Guy Award winner Ryan Plackemeier's leg is crazy.

Shaun Alexander and the running game couldn't get much done as a whole. The offensive line was quite worrisome at times. Hasselbeck and Walter Jones were banged up in the game, with Jones actually having missed plays. Two field goals were blocked, though I'm not pinning that on Josh Brown. There were some very untimely penalties. The offense was only 2-for-11 on third down (Detroit was 5-for-14). Though I wish they would have him on the field more and throw to him, just one catch from DJ Hackett seems within the realm of possibility. How does Nate Burleson only end up with one catch in this game?

This team didn't look great today by any stretch of the imagination. However, these kinds of games, however ugly, are the type of games that great teams win. Next week, hopefully we get to see a Seahawk offense that clicks a whole lot better and is able to be themselves, for goodness' sake. For next week, it's the home opener, and I'm hoping it's a shutout since it'll be against the Arizona Cardinals. Last season, the Seahawks knocked Kurt Warner from the game and got Josh McCown some playing time. On Sunday, the crazy fans at the Q might see Matt Leinart take his first NFL snaps. Also, Chike Okeafor plays for the Cardinals. As for all the points they put up against the 49ers, well, the 49ers don't exactly have the defense of the Seahawks.

For everyone going to the game next Sunday, you know what to do.

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