Archive | September, 2012

Seahawks/Rams Preview

29 Sep

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Matchup: Seattle Seahawks vs. St. Louis Rams

Site: Edward Jones Dome (St. Louis, Missouri)

Kickoff: 10:00am

It is time to get back to business. After last week’s thrilling win over Green Bay, the Seahawks travel to St. Louis to face the division rival Rams. The Seahawks enter this game at 2-1, tied for second place in the NFC West. The Rams are in last place in the division with a record of 1-2. The Seahawks lead the all-time series 17-11. Their last meeting was last season. On December 12th, 2011 the Seahawks defeated the Rams on Monday Night Football by a score of 30-13. Here is what I will be looking for and expecting out of the Seahawks this week.

On the road, it is imperative that the Seahawks focus on protecting the ball. I do not believe this will be an issue. Russell Wilson has done an outstanding job making sure there are no mistakes and no turnovers. Like I proposed last week, I think our best option on offense this week is to establish the running game with Marshawn Lynch. Although this is important I also would not be surprised to see some peculiar calls in certain situations. I think we might see offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell split the 1st down play calls 50/50 between passing and rushing. Something else I would like to see the Seahawks run this week is more no-huddle. On our final drive against Green Bay, Wilson was effective in moving the ball in chunks without a huddle. If we can keep the Rams guessing, I would fully believe to see no-huddle formations called, especially early on in the game.

I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Golden Tate continue to emerge as our best overall receiver this week. Tate has arguably become Russell Wilson’s favorite target and it would not surprise me at all if Tate leads the Seahawks in receptions on Sunday. Having said this, it would be great to have Wilson spread the ball around more effectively then he has in the first three games. If the Rams defense can frustrate the Seahawks running game, the passing game becomes extremely necessary. I think Wilson will have his hands full and may throw a couple interceptions.

If there is one thing I hope the Seahawks defense has done this week in preparation for this weekend’s game, it’s that I hope they took a good amount of time breaking down the Rams film from their game last week against Chicago. The Bears defense was able to sack Rams quarterback Sam Bradford 6 times. The Seahawks defense, coming off an 8 sack performance last week, can take a lot from the Bears approach on how to penetrate the Rams offensive line. I think the defense will have a very successful day. The defense and the special teams have had some of their best performances recently in St. Louis and I expect nothing less this week.

One potential head-to-head battle I will be keeping my eye on is Rams cornerback Cortland Finnegan against Seahawks offensive lineman Breno Giacomini. When you think of head-to-head matchups you probably don’t think of a cornerback versus an offensive lineman but there is a reason why I bring up these two guys in particular. Finnegan is an outstanding player who is probably best known for his trash-talking abilities. Finnegan can get under the opponent’s skin very easily and it is this ability that helped earn him a spot of the player’s top 100 players of 2012. Through 7 games this season (both preseason and regular season) it is clear to me that Breno Giacomini is the one player that always is a candidate to draw personal foul penalties. I think Finnegan will be at full force trying to get Giacomini to snap and commit a penalty that could really hurt the Seahawks. Definitely be on the lookout this weekend for Finnegan vs. Giacomini.

The St. Louis Rams may not have one of the best defenses, but they have some of the best individually talented players in the league. Chris Long is one of the games most prolific and underrated pass rushers who could definitely take advantage on a Seahawks offensive line that continues to shuffle personnel in different situations. James Laurinaitis is another guy who will direct traffic up the middle. The linebacker out of Ohio State is also an underrated talent that makes his fair share of plays when given the opportunity. With Long, Laurinaitis, and Finnegan all on defense and each on different levels of this side of the ball, I could see St. Louis’s defensive packages and schemes to confuse Russell Wilson.

On offense, the Rams identity continues to be running back Steven Jackson. Jackson is one of the biggest and most athletic running backs the Seahawks will have to face this season. Given this I do not expect Jackson’s physicality to be a problem for our run defense. We have not given up a rushing touchdown to Jackson in St. Louis in the Pete Carroll era. This stat impresses me tremendously and this year our run defense is as strong as ever. There is a great chance that we will shut Jackson down once again in my opinion. A connection to look out for is Sam Bradford to wide receiver Danny Amendola. Amendola was Bradford’s favorite target in Bradford’s rookie season in 2010. An injury sidelined Amendola for all of 2011 but so far in 2012, the chemistry has picked up right where it left off in 2010. Expect Bradford to look in Amendola’s direction more than any other Rams receiver.

Random Thoughts: James Carpenter is back this week and will play. What an amazing comeback for a guy who tore his ACL and made a full recovery in only 10 months… Mike Carey will be the referee this week. Carey is my favorite ref and usually calls a good game. I say usually because last season he called the Seahawks game against the Browns where Carey’s crew made a couple big calls that may have altered the outcome of the game… Welcome back refs, glad to have you back… It is still a mystery what jersey the Seahawks will wear this week. My guess is white… This is the first of 5 games with a 10am pacific start. Perhaps I will make a full breakfast feast for me and my roommates. Maybe not… Our rivalry with the Rams has died off in recent years which is too bad. Still though, I always enjoy beating them… This game was our alternate choice for my annual Seahawks road trip. Given this, they will probably win. Don’t get me wrong of course I want to see the Seahawks win but it kind of sucks to think I could have been there… We need to limit our penalties. If we can limit our penalties to a range between 5 and 7, I think we will be in decent shape. NO 15-yarders though please!… Ron Pitts and Mike Martz are the play-by-play/commentary team for FOX this week for the Seahawks game. This will be the first week I listen to television commentary during the game. With Martz doing the commentary, I expect it to be a love fest for the Rams, as Martz won a championship as the Rams offensive coordinator in 1999 and took them to the Super Bowl as a head coach in 2001.

Prediction: The Seahawks defense is way too strong of a group and will pummel down on Bradford throughout the entire game. Russell Wilson will not have spectacular numbers but I see him throwing for at least 225 yards and a touchdown. Steven Jackson will be held to 40 yards or less by the Seahawks run defense. The Seahawks break away from the Rams in the second half, and head back to Seattle with a 3-1 record.

Seahawks 27, Rams 14

Look for my review post on Monday afternoon. Enjoy the game everybody. Go Hawks!

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Review: Seahawks 14, Packers 12

27 Sep

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I have watched Seahawks games for 22 years. I have been a season ticket holder for the last seven seasons. I have NEVER witnessed a more epic finish than what happened on Monday Night. I have dubbed the Seahawks victory over the Green Bay Packers the “Monday Night Miracle” after Golden Tate scored on a Hail Mary as time expired to give the Seahawks the lead and the win. I will get to my analysis, feelings, and opinion of Tate’s catch later on in this post. Other than this play, one of the greatest moments in Seahawks history, here are my thoughts about the rest of the game.

Pass Rush: Present: In my preview posts, I always state that the pass rush is the biggest key on defense. If you can put pressure on the quarterback the chances of getting him to be uncomfortable throwing and/or forcing him to commit turnovers skyrockets. The Seahawks sacked Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers 8 times in the first half; 4 by Chris Clemons, 2 from Bruce Irvin, and 2 from Brandon Mebane. It honestly got to the point where the performance of the Seahawks defense was laughable in the stands. It really was that amazing. In the second half the defense recorded no sacks, which is unfortunate. The next phase of improving the pass rush will be to display consistency throughout the entire game. Can you imagine if the Seahawks continued to sack Rodgers throughout the second half? It would have been the greatest defensive performance in team history.

Shutting Them Down: The pass rush is only one part of the Seahawks defense’s night. The defense, which entered the game allowing only 13.5 points per game, held the explosive Green Bay offense to only 12 points. The Packers averaged 35 points per game last season. Considering the weapons Green Bay has, I am beyond satisfied with the defensive performance. The leading receiver for the Packers was tight end Jermichael Finley and he only had 60 yards receiving. The Seahawks now have the 4th best overall defense in the league. With another road test coming next, the Seahawks need to make sure that the defense keeps on rolling. If they can do that, they will prove to me and the 12th Man that they can be successful both at home and on the road.

Another Average Night: Russell Wilson once again did not put up highly impressive numbers against the Packers. Wilson ended the night 10/21 for 130 yards and 2 touchdowns. Wilson did not even break triple digit yardage numbers until the final drive of the game. Once again however, Wilson committed no turnovers. In three games, Wilson has 4 touchdowns and only one interception. It is now to the point where I have to critique Wilson in terms of his stats. Throwing for only 130 yards cannot become the norm for Wilson. Russell must show improvement throwing the ball and completing passes. The defense is holding this team upright and they can only go so strong for so long. Sooner or later whether it is because of seasonal wear-and-tear, the defense will not be able to hold the fort down. It is up to Wilson to improve his numbers. If he can throw for at least 250 yards per game, I think the Seahawks have a great chance of winning the game.

The Special Teams Is Exciting: It feels like every time the opponent lines up to punt or to kick a field goal, the Seahawks have a chance to block it. On Monday night, the Seahawks came incredibly close to blocking both a punt and a field goal. On the attempted field goal block, one Seahawk hurdled the Packers center and I was so convinced he was going to block it I jumped up before the ball sailed through the uprights. Against the Cowboys, the Seahawks special teams could have singlehandedly won the game and it is a huge relief to know that this very important unit is good enough to significantly alter the outcome of the game. The season is young, but I think the special teams will make much more noise throughout the rest of the season.

In Primetime, The 12th Man Never Disappoints: I tip my cap to myself and the rest of the people in attendance on Monday night. Most everybody was in their seats by the time pregame ceremonies rolled around. The scene was really cool with everybody waving their rally towels. The most impressive thing though was that very few people left the stadium after the Seahawks failed to convert on 4th down right after the two-minute warning. Not to criticize Seattle sports fans, but usually at that point in a game most fans usually leave to avoid getting stuck in traffic heading home. Not on Monday night though. I am very happy that everyone around me stayed and we all got to witness one of the most incredible plays not just in Seahawks history but in NFL history.

Let’s Talk About The Final Play: Before the Seahawks lined up to run the final play of the game, I looked up one row across the aisle from me. There was a Packers fan who started chanting “S**t Hawks! S**t Hawks!” He had been chanting this throughout the game and of course it made me mad. I started thinking to myself and praying that the behavior by those types of fans is exactly the reason why the Packers do not deserve to win this game. The Seahawks had played lights-out all game long and they played too hard not to win.

Wilson took the snap and after rolling to the left he planted and fired a Hail Mary to the corner of the end zone. From my view, I thought that Golden Tate had out jumped all 5 Packers defenders and had made the catch. After investigating the scene I saw the side judge call touchdown and I went absolutely crazy. I didn’t even see the back judge call interception and touchback. I was focused on seeing the ref call touchdown. As soon as the side judge did, my eyes were attracted to his arms and the fans around me went into full party and celebration mode. Everyone around me including myself didn’t bother watching the play on the big screen as it was reviewed; we were too happy that we had won the game. When the replacement referee confirmed the call on the field, round two of celebrations in the stands took place. My buddy Elliott and I could not believe what had just happened. As we walked down the aisle to the concourse, I heard people scream “I love Golden Tate!” and “Russell Wilson will NEVER buy a drink in this city ever again!” I then headed back home to re-watch the end of the game.

Upon arriving at home I watched the replay of Tate’s catch over and over and over again. Here is my opinion about what happened:

I don’t think Golden Tate caught the ball. I think that the refs clearly missed his offensive pass interference and although the NFL rulebook states that in the event of simultaneous possession the tie goes to the passers, I don’t think there was simultaneous possession in this case. I think M.D. Jennings of the Packers had two hands on the ball initially and Tate only had one hand on it. Upon descent to the ground, Tate was able to sneak in his other hand around the ball to give it the look that both players had their hands on the ball.

There is one view I have seen that shows that the officials may have made the right call. Although Jennings had full possession of the ball initially, he had both feet off the ground. Golden Tate had two hands on the ball and both feet on the ground before Jennings did, meaning Tate completed the entire “act of a catch” before Jennings did. Over the last couple of seasons there have been a couple questionable touchdown/non-touchdown calls because the receiver did/did not complete the entire act of a catch. Most notably, a Calvin Johnson reception for the Lions in Chicago against the Bears that did not count because he let go of the ball before getting up off of the ground. In this instance, from this one view it looks like Tate completed the catch and the Seahawks were correctly awarded the touchdown.

The response from what happened on Monday night has been unbelievable to me. As a Seahawks fan we have had many games that have come down to close calls go negatively towards us over the years. To have this play go in our favor I honestly had trouble understanding the feeling of the victory. It is incredible to see the national attention we have gotten over the last 48 hours since the last play of the game. We have been the top story on SportsCenter, the Today Show, and even President Barack Obama tweeted his opinion about the outcome of the game. At the end of the day, the Seahawks won and the Packers lost. As great a game as this was and for the memories that will live on forever, it is time to move on, get over it, and focus on our next game.

My Opinion Of The Replacement Refs: I’ll keep this brief. After almost three weeks of questionable calls, it was only a matter of time a call made by the replacement officials would determine the outcome of a game. Although the result of Monday night’s game went in our favor, I still believe the job done by the replacements have been utterly ridiculous and it is time for the real referees to return. As of now it looks like the NFL and the NFL Referees Association have agreed on a new contract which will end the lockout. This is ultimately the best case scenario for the league.

Random Thoughts: I did not prefunk before the game. We were running a little late and wanted to get into the stadium in time to get a rally towel and to see pregame… The Steve Sabol tribute was really cool to see again. The ovation was really nice and well deserved. Sabol, the president of NFL Films died this past week after a battle with brain cancer. He was 69… It was weird to see Trent Dilfer raise the 12th Man flag. Usually in the flag raiser video the person’s accomplishments are listed. The most memorable accomplishment for Dilfer was his 2003 Steve Largent Award. I loved Dilfer when he was a Seahawk but I personally do not think he has the appropriate accolades to be raising the flag for a regular season game, much less a Monday Night Football game… The offense was introduced and Russell Wilson got the loudest ovation once again. What a thrill that must have been for him… I was asked to sit down by the person behind me for the second straight week. This week it was a Packers fan probably in his late 50’s or early 60’s. Of course I ignored him and he must have dealt with it because he didn’t make a complaint through the rest of the game… Beer is too expensive inside the stadium. Period… There were way too many penalties by the Seahawks this week. That must change going forward. Most of the penalties are discipline penalties that should be easily avoided… There were WAY TOO MANY Packers fans in attendance. Probably worse than the number of Cowboys fans at the home opener… Marshawn Lynch did not score a touchdown, but that did not prevent me from ripping open a king-size bag of Skittles and throwing them at the end of the game when Tate scored the game winning touchdown… The 2005 NFC Championship Game will most likely always be my favorite Seahawks game that I attended, but there is no question this game is the most exciting game I have ever been to. It will probably take another Hail Mary reception at the end of a game to de-thrown this as the most exciting game I have ever been to.

I apologize that this review post is a little bit late. I just started my first week of school and have been up to my neck in readings for my classes. This will not stop me from writing my preview post of the game next weekend against the St. Louis Rams. Look for that preview most likely on Saturday afternoon. Thanks for reading everybody. What an incredible game. Go Seahawks!

My Plan For The Blog Going Forward

27 Sep

Just a heads up my review of the Packers/Seahawks game will be published Thursday afternoon. Sorry for the delay. School has kept me incredibly busy this week.

Because I anticipate a ton of work for school this quarter, I have decided to limit my blog posts to just PREVIEWS and REVIEWS for each game. If I have the time I may occasionally jump on during the week to discuss what is going on during the week, but I cannot guarantee I will have the time to do this.

Thanks for your patience and understanding everybody. Go Seahawks!

Packers/Seahawks Preview

23 Sep

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Matchup: Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks

Site: CenturyLink Field (Seattle, Washington)

Kickoff: 5:30pm

The Seahawks have a big task ahead of them in week 3, as they host the defending NFC North champion Green Bay Packers in front of a nationally televised audience on Monday night. The Seahawks are coming off a much needed win last weekend over Dallas and the Packers are also coming off a dominating victory over Chicago last Thursday night. The Seahawks are 5-10 all-time against Green Bay. In their last meeting, the Seahawks were blown out by the Packers at Lambeau Field 48-10 in 2009. Here is what I will be looking for this week.

This week the Seahawks need to make sure the best players start along the offensive line. This means having Russell Okung at full strength. Although the Packers have struggled recently as a whole on defense they have some pretty spectacular players. Clay Matthews in particular is a player the Seahawks must keep in check. Through two games Matthews already has 6 sacks. I always touch on the fact that Russell Wilson can make plays happen with his feet but it would be much easier to have the offensive line give him the time and the protection to make throws from within the pocket. In addition to Matthews, the Seahawks also have to keep a keen eye on B.J Raji along the defensive line and Tramon Williams in the secondary. Raji can singlehandedly give Marshawn Lynch fits this week and Williams can make the Seahawks pay if Russell Wilson is not on target with his throws.

I have heard a lot of talk early this week about the Seahawks perhaps using a ground-and-pound strategy this week. Marshawn Lynch is averaging 103.5 yards per game and I have no reason to believe why Lynch will not break 100 yards again against the Packers. Maintaining a steady run game against the Packers enables many things that would carry momentum to a victory. If the Seahawks are effective running the ball, expect them to win the time of possession battle and put themselves in position for many scoring drives. However going off of this point…

The Seahawks cannot afford to settle for field goals on every drive. I have full confidence in our defense to keep the Packers offense in check but I do expect the Packers to score touchdowns. Russell Wilson needs to improve in the passing game. The Seahawks rank last in the NFL in passing yards per game and a strong performance by Russell Wilson will put us in a great position to win. This week I predict that Sidney Rice will be our leading receiver. I think the Packers will give up a couple big plays that will carry Rice over 100 receiving yards this week.

Our pass rush has not shown significant improvement acceptable to my standards. Because we are up against a talented gun slinging quarterback this week I think our pass rush will struggle again this week. On defense, if we can hold the Packers offense to less than 150 yards in each half I think we will be in great shape. Look for our secondary to be in the spotlight on Monday night. I will not predict any interceptions or big plays but I think all four starting secondary players will play up to expectations.

The Green Bay Packers are a very talented team. Aaron Rodgers is one of the elite quarterbacks in the league and the weapons he has around him scare me this week. Cedric Benson saw expanded play last week so I would expect to see the Packers try to establish the running game early. As far as receivers, Rodgers has Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Donald Driver, and Jermichael Finley to throw to. All five of these guys can put up big numbers and all can find a way to get open. Jennings will most likely be back this week after missing the Chicago game with a groin injury. If we cannot put pressure on Rodgers, these receivers will put up big numbers.

The Seahawks this week will be keeping a close eye on the Packers special teams. Last week, Green Bay ran a fake field goal that turned into a touchdown pass and a relatively easy seven points. I do not expect Packers head coach Mike McCarthy to pull trick plays out of his hat again this week but the Seahawks need to be aware that fake plays are included in the Green Bay playbook.

The Seahawks have not lost a home game on Monday Night Football since 2004. Since then the Seahawks are 4-0 at home on Monday night. This week the 12th Man will be on fire and it will be up to the Seahawks to make sure we stay that way. Bad play and Green Bay scores will take the fans out of the game so the Seahawks need to keep up their Monday night momentum. Best case scenario to keep the crowd alive is to score. Score early, score often.

Random Thoughts: The last time the Seahawks played on Monday night I showed up at halftime due to a final exam for school. This year I am sacrificing my first day of the 2012 school year to be at the game. It better just be syllabus day in both of my Monday classes… The Seahawks are giving out white rally towels to the first 50,000 fans this week. Looks like I may have to cut my prefunction short this week to make sure I get one… Kris Allen of 2009 American Idol fame is singing the national anthem Monday night. Usually for primetime games the home team is able to book a well-known artist so Allen is a breath of fresh air in my opinion… There has been buzz online this week about the possibility of Chris Hansen raising the 12th Man flag on Monday night. The new Seattle arena is on track to be officially approved on Monday so I think it would be only fitting to have Hansen raise the flag. However, according to multiple Twitter reports, former Seahawks quarterback Trent Dilfer will be raising the flag. Dilfer works as an analyst on Monday Night Countdown so he will be in town for the game… I have been used to cold weather primetime home games recently. It will be nice to go to a primetime game with no sweatshirt and shorts instead of jeans… The Seahawks will most likely wear blue this week. I want to know what games we will be wearing gray for… Honestly I don’t want Greg Jennings to play for Green Bay. I would be fully content with starting DeSean Jackson and Mike Williams of Tampa Bay in fantasy football this week… The offense will be introduced this week. I cannot wait for Russell Wilson to run onto the field on national television in front of the 12th Man and all the fans who cheered him on at the University of Wisconsin… I will be bringing lots of Skittles this week. Fair warning: If anyone is sitting in or around section 340 on Monday night, be prepared for a Skittles shower if Beast Mode scores a touchdown… I’m so happy I won’t have to listen to Jon Gruden’s horrible analysis on television… Maybe if we win I’ll try to go down to field level to get a picture with Stuart Scott of ESPN. That would be pretty cool, even though I have heard he can be a d**k sometimes… Speaking of ESPN, it will be nice to get a lot of national media coverage this weekend leading up to the game. I just hope all the talk is not about the Packers. Who am I kidding? Of course it will be. The Seahawks get ZERO national media respect… If we win the talk on ESPN better not be about how the Packers lost. That happened last week against the Cowboys. Nobody wanted to acknowledge the fact that we played an incredible game. Stupid east coast bias.

Prediction: This game will be a lot closer than most people think. At this point however, I’m not convinced the Seahawks can pull it off. They have the pieces and the talent to win but I am not convinced right now that it will all come together. The lack of a pass rush will be the difference in this game. I think we could be in for a track meet early on in the game. I see Aaron Rodgers passing for at least 275 yards and a couple touchdowns. The Seahawks will be competitive throughout the entire game but the Packers will sneak out of Seattle with a victory.

Packers 31, Seahawks 27

Check back Tuesday afternoon as I review the Monday night matchup with the Packers and preview the next upcoming week of practice. Thanks for reading everybody. Go Seahawks!

ESPN: CAN YOU HEAR US NOW?

Hawk Notes 9/19: Roster Moves, My Opinion of Tate’s Fine

19 Sep

Yesterday the Seahawks announced a few roster moves. Cornerback Danny Gorrer has been signed to the 53-man roster and to make room we have released running back Kregg Lumpkin. Gorrer is a journeyman player who most recently played for the Baltimore Ravens the past two seasons. He has also spent time with the New Orleans Saints and the St. Louis Rams. With the injury Sunday to Byron Maxwell, Gorrer will most likely take Maxwell’s spot and play primarily on special teams.

The Seahawks also released wide receiver Ricardo Lockette and linebacker Allen Bradford from the practice squad and brought back linebacker Korey Toomer and offensive lineman Rishaw Johnson to the practice squad.

Today wide receiver Golden Tate was fined $21,000 for his block on Dallas linebacker Sean Lee in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win. In real time it looked like a vicious crushing blow but when the play is slowed down I cannot see any evidence of it being a dirty hit. Tate hit Lee in the chest and led with his shoulder. Only helmet-to-helmet hits or hits where the tackler leads with his helmet are subject to fines so this fine does not make any sense to me. Coach Carroll said today that Tate will appeal the fine and rightfully so.

Like I said, this fine does not make any sense to me. In an era where player safety is at the forefront of the issues in the National Football League I do not understand how Tate is supposed to do anything different. According to the official reasoning, Tate was fined for hitting a “defenseless player,” but when you are actively trying to run down and tackle a player (in this case Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson) how does that make a defender defenseless? I hope that Tate wins this appeal because he definitely deserves to. If not, then I hope Tate’s teammates step up to help pay the fine; a commonality among plays that should not warrant a fine in the minds of other players and fans.

Tomorrow the Seahawks start preparation for Monday’s game against the Green Bay Packers. I hope to be back on tomorrow night with notes from practice.

Review: Seahawks 27, Cowboys 7

17 Sep

After struggling on the road in week one, the Seahawks returned home and completely dominated the Dallas Cowboys 27-7. It started with a fumbled kickoff and that was enough to fuel the 12th Man and the Seahawks took advantage of the opportunity and never looked back. I took a lot of positives out of this game. Here are some of my thoughts after this great win.

“They Just Can’t Play Here:” That was a statement from my friend Alan regarding Dallas’s special teams after the Cowboys fumbled the opening kickoff. The biggest headline leading into this game was the Tony Romo botched snap six years ago and the Cowboys continued their special teams struggles into this game. The Cowboys kickoff fumble turned into three points, then later in the quarter Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith blocked a punt and Jeron Johnson returned it 5 yards for a touchdown. Seahawks special teams 10, Dallas 0 after the first quarter. I have to believe that the crowd plays a part in the terrible play by Dallas’s special teams, not to take anything away from our special teams. It is amazing looking back into hindsight that those scores alone would have been enough to beat Dallas yesterday.

My Russell Wilson Evaluation: After getting off to a slow start, Russell Wilson shined in the second half. He ended the game 15/20 for 151 yards and a touchdown. His 75% completion percentage in a single game is the highest for a Seahawks rookie quarterback in franchise history. His stat line may not be the most impressive, but his decision making is what really caught my eye. Each of his throws were right on the money and he did not force any throws into double or triple coverage. Through eight quarters, Wilson has only turned the ball over once and that one turnover came on a hail mary before halftime of the Arizona game. In his last 73 games dating back to USC, when Pete Carroll teams win the turnover battle their record is 70-3. When we take care of the ball like we do we have a great chance to win or at least be competitive. This is turning into my favorite attribute of Russell Wilson’s play. His numbers may not be the best but the way he plays the game mentally gives us our best chance to win.

Our Defense Continues To Prove It Can Be A Top 5 Unit: Through two games the Seahawks have allowed an average of 13.5 points per game. At this pace the Seahawks could be a very tough team to pick against as the season extends and teams potentially get thinner and tired. I was very impressed by the way we tackled. One play in particular; a second quarter swing pass from Tony Romo to DeMarco Murray where K.J. Wright went for the tackle, and was able to wrap him up long enough for Bobby Wagner and Kam Chancellor to come over and help make the tackle without letting Murray get away. I think our tackling has improved as a whole but there is still some work to do. Our run defense continues to be dominant, only giving up 49 rushing yards to the Cowboys. The pass rush did not meet my expectations this week because Romo was only sacked once. This needs to change soon especially since Green Bay comes to town next week.

Cleaning Up Our Laundry: After getting flagged 13 times in Arizona, the Seahawks only got penalized 5 times against Dallas for a total of 35 yards. There were only 10 penalties combined in the game which makes me wonder was there that significant of change in one week’s time or were the replacement referees just letting them play? I am very satisfied with this stat but I was concerned multiple times in this game about Breno Giacomini. Giacomini is a very fiery competitor and at times he can let the opponent get under his skin. He was flagged twice in the preseason for personal fouls on one drive and it looked like that could have happened again a couple times yesterday. These are the penalties that kill drives and kill games. All in all I am hoping this game is a sign that we have cleaned up our mistakes, however that big of a positive difference in only one week’s time is going to keep me cautiously optimistic heading into future games.

Our Best Receiver: I was asked by Alan in the middle of the game who I thought is our best wide receiver. After a little bit of thought I answered Golden Tate. He looked at me surprised but I explained my opinion that whenever Tate gets the ball in his hands there is a chance he can make something explosive happen. He can make plays when given the opportunity and I think he may have the best hands on the team. Tate can even make a huge block when the time warrants him, just like he did when he leveled Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee:

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Tate is an emerging talent that I will predict right now will be our leading receiver by the end of the season.

Same Old Romo, Same Old Cowboys: According to Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in Texas, the Cowboys have a .500 winning percentage dating back to the 1990’s. Going off of this stat I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that after the Cowboys surprisingly beat the defending world champion New York Giants they would slump off and lose to the Seahawks. The Cowboys may be the most inconsistent and overrated team in all of football, and it drives me crazy when I hear talk that Tony Romo is an elite quarterback in the NFL. 23/40 for 251 yards and one touchdown and one interception is not elite in my book. Dallas is an average team at best. They can challenge for the NFC East title but in no way are they legitimate super bowl contenders, at least not at this point in the season.

Random Thoughts: I woke up at the earliest time for a week of football in two years (5:45am). By the time I got home for Sunday Night Football I was beat… One of my roomates made bloody Mary’s before leaving for the tailgate. Tomato juice and vodka at 7:30 in the morning is not my idea of a good time… Alan, Jake, and I tailgated about two blocks north of the stadium with Jake’s brother Chris and his friends. Usually I am used to going to the bars before Seahawks games because parking lot tailgating is either too expensive or too bare but Sunday was one of the best tailgates I have been at in a long time. It felt like a college atmosphere, almost as if we were prefunking for a Husky football game… Alan bought a Marshawn Lynch jersey before the game. Great investment in my opinion… The alumni day ceremony was one of the worst I have seen. Everything seemed rushed and because of limited time, the Cowboys were introduced halfway through the ceremony… The Seahawks defense was introduced to the crowd to a roaring ovation… Former Seahawk Paul Johns sung the National Anthem. Johns sings the anthem on alumni day almost every year… Shawn Springs raised the 12th Man flag, continuing the tradition that a talented and popular former Seahawk raises the flag at the home opener… Two rows down there was a lady who got super drunk and obnoxious, calling out Seahawks fans for not starting trash talk with Cowboys fans in the fourth quarter. I’m all for having a good time at a game but when you get mad at other Seahawks fans for not being a$$holes towards the opposing fans, I have a problem with that… I brought six bags of Skittles into the game for whenever Marshawn Lynch did something great. We threw four bags worth of Skittles when he scored his fourth quarter touchdown… One fan across the aisle looked back in anger because I think one of our Skittles hit him or went down his back. If you are going to make a big deal about a single Skittle, then I’m sorry. I’ll buy you some tissues for the Green Bay game sir… The Seahawks wore blue jerseys and blue pants on Sunday. I don’t think we will wear gray at home this season… The giveaway was a mini 12th Man flag. Mine ripped before the game even started… The halftime show was the Red Bull skydiving team. I’m always entertained to watch people jump out of airplanes for our entertainment… After the game we went back to the tailgate, drank a couple more beers, then bussed back home to Wallingford… I am very disappointed that the other NFC West teams all won on Sunday. It makes the division look better and we get more national media coverage but it does not help the Seahawks gain any ground on taking the division lead.

I believe the Seahawks are off the next two days and preparation for next week’s Monday night matchup against the Green Bay Packers. Check back this week for my notes heading into week 3. Go Seahawks!

Cowboys/Seahawks Preview

15 Sep

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Matchup: Dallas Cowboys vs. Seattle Seahawks

Site: CenturyLink Field (Seattle, Washington)

Kickoff: 1:05pm

After a disappointing first week, the Seahawks return home to face the Dallas Cowboys in our 2012 home opener. The main storyline surrounding this game is this is the first time the Cowboys have played in Seattle since the 2006 playoffs. In that wild-card playoff game with a 21-20 lead, the Cowboys were in position to take the lead on a late-game field goal. Instead Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo fumbled the hold and was tackled short of the goal line. The Seahawks held on to win and advanced to the divisional playoffs against Chicago.

Even though the Seahawks last played the Cowboys at home in that playoff game, we have played the Cowboys three times since then; all on the road. The Seahawks went 0-3 in those three matchups since, including a 23-13 loss in Dallas last season. The Cowboys lead the all-time series against the Seahawks 9-5. Here is what I will be looking for in this week’s home opener.

This week John Moffitt starts in place of J.R. Sweezy at right guard. I think this gives us our best possible offensive line. Last week our offensive line was unable to consistently give Russell Wilson enough time to make solid throws and other decisions. We need to solidify an offensive line that will not shuffle week in and week out. If we can do this and rebuild continuity along the line, I believe we will see significant improvement. One question mark this week is left tackle Russell Okung who suffered a bone bruise in his knee last week. Coach Carroll expects Okung to play this week. If Okung cannot go, Coach Carroll said Frank Omiyale is ready to step in to replace him. I am very worried about the offensive line if Okung does not play. I originally thought Omiyale was going to be cut after training camp. I do not think he is the best option at the position. I would suggest sliding Paul McQuistan to left tackle and starting Lemuel Jeanpierre at left guard. I am not concerned about the running game no matter who starts along the line, but if the starters are not healthy, expect Russell Wilson to be flushed out of the pocket on a consistent basis, much like he was last week in Arizona.

The biggest thing to look for this week on defense is the interior pass rush. Cowboys starting center Phil Costa is presumed out this week with a strained back. Backup Ryan Cook will most likely start this week at center for Dallas. Jason Jones is definitely the man to keep your eye on on defense this week but also look for Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright to have a big impact. Much like the Cardinals defense did last week, I think it would be effective to stack the box on first and second down to put extra pressure on Tony Romo and to clog interior running lanes for running back DeMarco Murray. My hope is for our defense as a whole to record at least one sack per quarter.

For both teams it is very necessary to analyze the wide receivers. The Seahawks have a healthy Golden Tate this week and he will most likely start at split end this week. Doug Baldwin is expected to play at full strength this week after he had two of his teeth chipped in the fourth quarter last week. The only Seahawks receiver who will not play this week is Charly Martin who suffered a bruised lung in Arizona last week. Martin spent time in an Arizona hospital after last week’s game as a precaution and he is expected to miss at least a couple games. Although Martin is hurt I don’t think the Seahawks will activate a receiver from the practice squad. The Seahawks will most likely dress only five receivers against the Cowboys.

For the Cowboys, I am afraid the Seahawks will spend too much time worrying about Kevin Ogletree. Ogletree came out of nowhere last week against the New York Giants, catching 8 balls for 114 yards and 2 touchdowns. Although Ogletree is an emerging threat, that does not mean we can be lenient with defending Miles Austin and Dez Bryant. Austin will most likely be defended by Brandon Browner, who made it clear last week he still has a problem with penalties. To my memory, I believe Browner got caught for pass interference, holding, and illegal contact all last week. If Browner does in fact cover Austin this week, look for Romo to throw in Austin’s direction a lot. There is a good chance that by throwing towards Browner, the Cowboys will pick up some yards via penalties. Jason Witten will also be back stronger this week. I think Witten will get targets but because he is still not 100 percent, his numbers will not be overly impressive. I think four catches for Witten would be considered decent.

Random Thoughts: This Sunday is the home opener. Barring a home playoff game, this will be the loudest game of the season by far… The Cowboys are the best opponent for our home opener since I have been a season ticket holder. Not a fan of playing the Rams and Cardinals in home opener’s year after year… My tailgate starts down at the stadium at 8:45am. I am stoked… I think the Seahawks will be wearing navy blue jerseys this week but I would love to see them wear gray and force Dallas to wear their ugly navy blue uniforms… Last year in the final regular season game against San Francisco, everybody seemed to bring and throw around Skittles whenever Marshawn Lynch broke off a big run or scored a touchdown. I need to remember to buy my Skittles before Sunday. I hope the 12th Man remembers to do the same… The referee this week is a guy by the name of Donovan Briggans. My friends and I have nicknamed him “replacement Mike Carey.” For those of you who don’t get the comparison look up both of those names. Hopefully you will then understand… Kenny Albert and Daryl “Moose” Johnston is the play-by-play/commentary pair this week. If the Seahawks would have won last week we might have gotten the number one FOX crew of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to call this week’s game. Slightly disappointing… This Sunday is also Alumni Day. I hope Cortez Kennedy makes an appearance even though the Seahawks postponed his jersey retirement until halftime of the New England game on October 14th… I can’t wait to talk fantasy with the people around me on Sunday. I just hope from a fantasy perspective the Seahawks shut down Dez Bryant… On Alumni Day the Seahawks always have a popular former player raise the 12th Man flag. I think that the flag raiser this week will be either Michael Sinclair or Shaun Alexander.

Prediction: I could see this game being very sloppy, at least to start out. The Seahawks have not lost a home opener since 2008 when they lost to San Francisco in overtime. The Seahawks are 8-2 all-time in home openers at CenturyLink Field. Not many people expect the Seahawks to win this week. I hate to say the Seahawks will win because of luck but I do think there is a chance a couple of bad calls or lucky breaks in favor of the Seahawks will be the difference in this week’s game. All in all, Russell Wilson will have a much better game than last week and the defense will be able to shut down the Cowboys running game. I think Romo will throw for three touchdowns but it will not be enough as Marshawn Lynch and a poised Wilson will lead the Seahawks to a nail-biting close victory.

Seahawks 30, Cowboys 27

I hope to have my review up before the start of Monday Night Football. Thanks for reading. For those of you going to the game this week, have lots of fun and BE LOUD. Go Seahawks!