Green Bay Packers
It was one of the most infamous plays of last season — a play that put the scrutinized “replacement refs” in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
Today is the one year anniversary of the “Fail Mary”, a play that put fans across the league in shambles for such poor officiating.
Perhaps the replacement refs would have gotten off the hook a little easier had the game not been on Monday Night Football for the whole nation to see.
With the Seahawks trailing the Green Bay Packers, 12-7, with 46 seconds left in the fourth quarter, rookie Russell Wilson was given the ball at the Green Bay 46. He hit Sidney Rice for a big 22 yard gain before throwing throwing three straight incomplete passes.
It set up a 4th & 10 at the Green Bay 24. Wilson took the snap and dropped back about 16 yards before heaving a lob down the left sideline into the corner of the end zone. Five Packers and two Seahawks launched into the air before it fell into four hands — two of which belonged to safety M.D. Jennings and two of which belonged to Golden Tate.
They fell to the ground in sync while the crowd anxiously awaited the call from the line judges. One called it an interception, the other a touchdown.
Naturally, the CenturyLink Field erupted. Lance Easley, one of the refs, had put his hands in the air signaling the Seahawks had won. They would eventually kick the extra point to give them the 14-12 win and a 2-1 record on the year.
Packers fans, players and coaches were in shock and let the press know of their frustration. Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy spoke to the Associated Press:
”Don’t ask me a question about the officials,” Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said. “I’ve never seen anything like that in all my years in football.”
“I know it’s been a wild weekend in the NFL and I guess we’re part of it now,” he said.
Golden Tate also spoke to the AP:
“We both had possession of it. I don’t even know the rule but I guess the tie goes to the receiver,” Tate said.
Asked later if he got his hands on Wilson’s pass first, Tate wasn’t so sure.
“I think so. … Oh, well maybe he did. But I took it from him,” Tate said.
While the play was heavily disputed, did it really affect the outcome of either team in 2012?
The Seahawks lost their next game in St. Louis against the Rams, but proceeded to win nine of their next 12 regular season games, including five in a row at the end of the year. They beat Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins in the NFC Wild Card game before falling seconds short of the NFC Championship game, losing to Atlanta in the NFC Division game.
The Packers, on the other hand, won 10 of their next 13 regular season games, finishing the year 11-5. They lost to the eventual NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Division game to end their season.
To recap, both teams finished 11-5 and both teams went 1-1 in the playoffs.
So I have a question for you:
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The Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl proving yet again that regular season records mean little in predicting the playoffs. By translating a 10-6 record in to a 4-0 playoff run, the Ravens have made history by becoming the first team in history to win a Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers.
When NFC West football coaches, players, and fans look back on this season, the biggest lesson might be, “Make sure to show up to play in the first half of playoff games.” While both the Seahawks and 49ers looked as talented as any team in football this year, their habit of digging themselves in to a hole and relying on perfect execution late in games backfired. Instead of the NFC West holding a Lombardi Trophy, the 49ers finish the season more closely resembling the team that couldn’t beat the Rams than the team that was predicted by many to win it all.
In my last article I predicted that the Ravens would pass to set up the run. As it would turn out, the Ravens rushing attack was never a factor at all. Luckily for them, they scored their three offensive touchdowns on pass plays. They ended the game with only 93 rushing yards, and averaged a measly 2.7 yards per carry. On a normal day, that would not be enough to move the chains.
However, especially for Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco, this was not a normal day. His three first half touchdowns were enough to bury the 49ers in a deep hole. They were also enough to set a new NFL record with 11 touchdown passes in a single post season without an interception.
Flacco’s first pass was thrown to the middle of the end zone to Anquan Boldin who found a pocket between two defenders. The next touchdown was a 1-yard pass to Dennis Pitta who calmly spiked the ball. The body language of the Ravens squad exuded confidence. The third touchdown made people stop and look. It was a 56-yard completion to Jacoby Jones, who caught the ball in the air, fell down, and got up in time to elude San Francisco defenders on his way to the end zone.
With the possession of the ball to start the second half, the Ravens were in good position with a 21-6 lead at halftime. By the time Jacoby Jones returned the opening kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown, things were looking great.
It looked like a good old fashioned Super Bowl blowout, until, of all things, the power went out in the Super Dome. While the power outage delayed the game for 34 minutes, it is impossible to judge what effect it had on the two teams. Some say that the 49ers benefited by being allowed to regroup and kill Baltimore’s momentum.
It could be just as easily presumed that Baltimore benefited from the blackout, by being allowed to regain some energy that allowed them to withstand the onslaught that was soon to come. In the end, the real beneficiary of the power out was probably the bar owners across the world who kept their patrons drinking for an extra half hour. At the end of the unexpected intermission, the game really started to get competitive, and turned in to what many called an instant classic.
Colin Kaepernick, who was flustered and ineffective early, suddenly was able to connect with Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis. Both receivers topped one hundred yards, and Crabtree hauled in a touchdown. The other two 49er touchdowns were run in by Frank Gore who ran for a game best 110 yards, and Kaepernick who celebrated his touchdown run with a highly predictable kiss of his tattoo.
While the touchdown brought the 49ers to within a field goal of the Ravens, perhaps Kaepernick’s celebration was a bit premature if not entirely unnecessary. The Ravens would go on to build their lead to 5 on a Justin Tucker field goal giving the 49ers time to take the lead.
However, Baltimore’s defense held tight on a four-down goal line stand that included one controversial non-call in the end zone on a ball thrown to Michael Crabtree. While Jimmy Smith clearly had a handful of jersey, Crabtree was also engaged in contact. Being that it’s a Super Bowl, I’m a big believer in letting the players play, and saving the flags for obvious penalties, like the illegal formation that stalled a promising opening drive by San Francisco.
After turning the ball over on downs, San Francisco’s defense was able to hold the Ravens to a three and out. The Ravens, who had faked a field goal earlier in the game, pulled another unorthodox special teams move. With twelve seconds left, the punter, Sam Koch, scrambled around in the end zone for eight seconds before running out of bounds giving the 49ers a safety and two points.
The score tightened to 3 points, but with four seconds left on the clock, a field goal was not a possibility. Instead of punting from the end zone with 12 seconds left, the Ravens were able to kick off with four seconds left. There were no repeats of the music city miracle as Baltimore’s kickoff team found the ball quickly, and made the winning tackle as time expired.
It was a fitting end to an exciting season of NFL football. The Ravens have some questions surrounding an aging defense, and a free agent quarterback, but have been consistently competitive over the years. The 49ers also look like they’re built to compete for years to come.
The Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots, and Denver Broncos all exited the playoffs with unfulfilled expectations. Expect them to be in the thick of the hunt next season. But, until then, The Baltimore Ravens deserve to hold their well-earned title of NFL Champions.
Tags: Anquan Boldin, Baltimore Ravens, Colin Kaepernick, Dennis Pitta, Denver Broncos, featured, football, Frank Gore, Green Bay Packers, Jacoby Jones, Jimmy Smith, Joe Flacco, Justin Tucker, Michael Crabtree, NFC West, nfl, playoffs, Popular, power out, Sam Koch, San Francisco 49ers, Seahawks, Seattle Seahawks, St. Lois Rams, Super Bowl, super bowl mvp, Super Bowl XLVII, Super Dome, Vernon Davis
It’s Week 16 and the playoff scenario is starting to become clearer and clearer as we go. Here’s a quick look at where we are as we approach the big matchup against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday Night Football.
- It’s simple. Beat the 49ers, and the Hawks are in as a Wild Card. If the Niners lose in Week 17 to Arizona at home and the Seahawks beat the Rams, then the ‘Hawks claim the NFC West crown, and at least one home field playoff game against the 6th seed. The Bears, Vikings, and Giants are prime contenders for this endeavor.
- There is a scenario where if the Seahawks claim the NFC West, and the Green Bay Packers lose one of their remaining games, then the ‘Hawks end up the #2 Seed, and a First Round Bye.
- If the ‘Hawks beat the 49ers on Sunday Night, but the ‘Niners win in Week 17, then the ‘Hawks still go in as the 5 seed, and likely will play at either Dallas, or Washington. The Giants are also a possibility here.
- If the ‘Hawks lose on Sunday Night, but beat the Rams in Week 17, they still go in as the 5 seed against either the Redskins, or Cowboys, on the road. The Giants are a possibility as well, depending on how the NFC East shakes out.
- I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t include all scenarios, including the worst of them. If the Seahawks lose out, then it will take some help from other teams to get in as the 6th seed. Namely a Redskins victory over the Cowboys in Week 17 in what is looking like one of the games of the year.
This is where the Seahawks sit going into what may be one of the greatest games in the HISTORY of this franchise. Every day leading up to Sunday Night is becoming longer than the last, as I’m sure my fellow 12th Men and Women are just aching to open what could be the greatest Holiday present given to its fans in years. Playoffs baby, Playoffs.
The Seahawks (and Seattle) have a target on their backs. It isn’t deserved, at least not the way they got it, but it’s their new reality for the 2012 season. The Seattle Seahawks, the only team to ever make the playoffs with a losing record. The Seattle Seahawks, the team that should never have even been in Super Bowl XL against the Cowher and Bettis et al., who deserved to be there sooner. This is what the rest of the country thinks about when they think of the Seattle Seahawks. After Monday night’s game, Seattle now has another item to add to that list: The Seattle Seahawks, the team that “cheated” and “stole” a game away from the perennially popular Green Bay Packers. It isn’t right, and it sure as hell isn’t fair, but that is the message that has occupied the agenda-driven echo chamber of ESPN and other sports media outlets. Seattle didn’t “deserve” to win – even though they outplayed Green Bay in most aspects of the game. Golden Tate “cheated” by pushing Sam Shields in the back – even though one of the best receivers in the game said it was par for the course on Hail Mary plays (is Fitzgerald a cheater too, Rick Reilly?). The refs blew the call even though the picture becomes less and less clear as time goes on.
Seattle must now focus on the coming weeks against opponents such as the Patriots and 49ers. They can’t let the unwarranted abuse get inside their heads. The Seahawks must avoid any sort of letdown at all costs. The team needs to have a chip on its shoulder the way the Patriots did after spy-gate (although that was actual cheating). The defense needs to be play angry and smart. Emphasis on smart. The offense needs to add a second level. Right now it’s extremely one dimensional and it won’t take very long for other defenses to start putting eight and nine in the box on every play.
Pete Carroll has taken responsibility for such repetitive play calling, which is fine, but at some point the Seahawks are going to need to take some chances and make some throws. Interceptions might have killed the Seahawks against the Packers, but Russell Wilson is going to need to get some experience making decisions under pressure. A franchise quarterback must lead the team on the field during crunch-time and get touchdowns. Game managers are generally not franchise quarterbacks. At this point, Wilson is hardly even a game manager. It might be Carroll’s decision and it might be that Wilson simply doesn’t have the ability at this point. Either way, there will come a point in this season when the Seahawks will need to drive down the field at the end of the game on their own, without the benefit of question pass-interference calls. Game one in Arizona comes to mind but I’ll let it pass since it was the first game of the season.
The reason I’m focusing on this is because the only way that Seattle is going to get the target off its back and show the country that the win against Green Bay wasn’t a fluke and are capable of winning the big games on their own. If Seattle has a let-down and loses to the Rams, or gets blown out by the Patriots or 49ers, the talking-heads will start back up about how Seattle is barely good enough to compete in the NFL.
I don’t think the Seahawks will let down, but I hope they also have a little bit of attitude. Play smart and have attitude. No more dumb penalties. Don’t try to explicitly prove anything to the country, because most of it will never give the Seahawks due credit, but take away their arguments one by one. The way Seattle shut up the critics of a 7-9 playoff team was by soundly beating the Saints in the first round. The way to show that Seattle can beat teams like Green Bay is by beating other good teams (Bears, Patriots, Niners, Lions) and not losing to struggling teams (Dolphins, Rams, and Jets).
Seattle also needs to expect the deck to be stacked against them. As far as fans and, I have no doubt, the league are concerned, Seattle is due for the ultimate make-up call to occur against them. Seattle is going to have to fight uphill for at least the near-term and not complain because nobody else is going to acknowledge it. Hopefully the field will level if Seattle can make its case, but they are going to have to play through adversity, of various kinds, first (which is where a more diverse offensive scheme comes in).
The Seahawks know that the 12th man is behind them and I like to think that’s all they need. Seattle tends to have smart players that understand the big picture and don’t get emotionally rattled by the garbage that gets tossed around. They haven’t so far this week, so I have faith. The Seahawks have handled themselves with class (especially with some of the horrific things that have been leveled at some of them on a personal level) and (correctly) apologized to nobody. Now they need to play smart and hard, have pride and attitude, and, at all costs, avoid any kind of letdown, especially against teams that Seattle should beat.
NFL owners refuse to pay the real referees to work.
Green Bay Packers fans proudly own their team. (And they’ll tell you every chance they get. Like in this tweet from Packer fan @GetFound, for instance: “Packers Champs 10 times, Seattle Seagulls ZERO, and we are not just fans, we are owners loser!”)
Ipso facto, by virtue of the transitive property, Green Bay Packers fans blame THEMSELVES for their loss to the Seahawks.
Don’t be so hard on yourselves, Packers fans.
Filed under: Seahawks
First of all, everybody calm down! In the replacement rules, it CLEARLY STATES that if a receiver has so much as A FINGER on the ball, it is BY REPLACEMENT RULE a reception. You cannot argue with the replacement rules. The replacement rules are enforced by the replacement officials TO A TEE! If you don’t like it, that’s too bad. If a travel leads to a home run on a wicked googly, JUST GO WITH IT! A win is a win and you can’t deny it! It feels so good!
Look, folks. Let’s get serious here for a moment. I’ll be honest. If I was a Green Bay fan, I’d be mad, too. Was that a reception? Was that an interception? Who really knows. How closely did those replacement refs really double-check that last play? Not close enough, I’d wager. Was it worth a discount double-check? Yeah, probably.
But seriously. How beautiful was that game? It was so ugly. So freakin’ ugly! And yet so amazingly beautiful. It was Sarah Jessica Parker. It was Taylor Swift. It was Lindsay Lohan. Are you ugly? Are you beautiful? I can’t tell right now, but you know what? I’m happy anyway. And that’s what really matters.
I’ve never seen anything like that before. I don’t even really know what to say. To spare you from further disorganization, here’s a bulleted list of the muddled thoughts in my head:
Brandon Browner shoving Greg Jennings for no real reason whatsoever was AWESOME! I’m hardly a fan of cheap shots, but that single play set a tone for what this defense and this team is all about.
No one cares about or respects the Seattle Seahawks. It’s just a fact of life. The nation will downplay the defense’s effort in this very ballgame because of one decisive, game-ending play. The disrespect will continue. The lack of acknowledgement is perpetual.
But what Browner and his defensive cohorts did tonight will absolutely have lasting repercussions. They scared the piss out of the Packers’ offense. And in the process, they sent a clear message to every other offense in the NFL: the Seahawks will not be messed with. Teams will fear the Seahawks. It’s moments like the Browner-Jennings scuffle which will instill that fear. And at the end of the day, a feared ballclub is a dangerous one. If danger equals winning, then by all means bring it on.
I believe in Russell Wilson. I do. And I have all year. The difference between a good Russell Wilson and a bad one is the play-calling, plain and simple. This has nothing to do with Wilson’s skill or ability; he’s talented, without a doubt. But when fans turn on Wilson, it’s a direct result of the plays called for him by the coaching staff and hardly dependent on his physical, in-game performance.
Can you blame Russell Wilson for not throwing the ball when the coaching staff calls a run play? No. Can you fault him for scrambling when the pocket collapses around him? No. Is he perfect? Not by any means. Will he make mistakes? Of course. But when all is said and done, is Russell Wilson more often better than he is worse? A thousand times, yes. He has poise under pressure, a great arm, keeps plays alive with his feet, and has that “It” factor that takes a good player and turns him into a champion.
Whether you like it or not, Russell Wilson is here to stay. I’m thankful we have Matt Flynn as our backup, but I’m perfectly content with Flynn being nothing more than that. Wilson has been impressive, simple as that.
Check the box score: the Seahawks allowed a mere 12 points. Twelve freakin’ points! To one of the best offenses in the league. Replacement refs or no replacement refs, win or no win, you cannot argue against the importance of that very metric.
One might even argue that if the real refs were officiating this game, the points allowed might have even been lower. Each team was impacted by odd rule enforcement, but it was the respective offenses that seemingly benefited most from questionable calls. Sure, the Seahawks came out on top, but Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay weren’t spared from a few generous breaks along the way. Did that prevent the Hawks defense from recording eight sacks and limiting the Packers to just 268 total yards? Nope.
And say what you will, but the Pack held the ball for seven minutes longer than the hometown eleven, AND totaled 30 more yards than Russell Wilson, et al. Did Green Bay have opportunities to win? Absolutely. But it was the Seahawks’ defense that shut them down when it mattered most.
Fact is, a win is a win is a win is a win. Take the victories however you can get ‘em and move on happily. Undoubtedly, the media contingency will frown upon this Seahawks triumph. But you know what? They don’t know that we’re usually on the losing end of these things. They don’t know how often we’ve had wins taken from us. They don’t know and they don’t care. And frankly, they don’t need to care.
When the final whistle sounded on Monday night, the Seattle Seahawks were victorious. The Seattle Seahawks improved to 2-1. The Seattle Seahawks looked like one of the best teams in the NFC, and no one can take all that away.
It’s time we got one of those stolen victories. And on Monday night, we did.
Screw the rest of the world. This one’s for us.
Filed under: Seahawks
1) Where in the World is Clay Matthews?
- Clay Matthews has been a force in this league since his arrival as a first round selection out of USC. Already off to a torrid start this season with 6 sacks in 2 games, its imperative the Seahawks identify and communicate his location on the field at all times. Not to diminish the fact that all of Green Bay’s front 7 can get to the passer, it starts with Matthews. Line calls, and checks by Russell Wilson will prove vital to the Seahawks ability to handle the Packers ferocious pass rush.
2) Opposites Day
- It’s pretty obvious that a key for both teams to be successful will be trying to offset each other’s strengths, and force each other into their supposed weaknesses. For Green Bay, look to Seattle to play aggressive man-coverage and force the Pack to beat them with the run, while it’s the other way for the Packers. Stop the run, and make Seattle beat them with a rookie QB. What may be surprising to both teams, and their respective fan bases, is that both of these ‘weaknesses’ could end up being keys to victory. Russell Wilson flashed signs of brilliance in the preseason, while Cedric Benson had yet once again been left for dead, however comes out and shocks everyone with his continued physical running style and is now the Packers featured back. Aaron Rodgers and Marshawn Lynch may be the keys for each team’s defense, but watch out for Russell Wilson and Cedric Benson as well.
3) The Legion of Boom
- Green Bay will assault its opponents with aerial efficiency and domination. With 5 readily capable WR’s in Greg Jennings (who is said to be active tonight), Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Donald Driver, and the ever-dangerous Randall Cobb, the barrage won’t stop here. With that, it’s up to Seattle’s feared defensive backfield to take the proverbial ‘wind’ out of the Packers offensive ‘sails’ with its usual physical, bruising style of play. The unit’s cohesiveness and ability to communicate effectively throughout the ballgame will determine the ability Green Bay has to move the ball through the air. Look for a lot of nickel and dime packages from the Seahawks as they try to create difficult matchups for the quick, yet undersized Packer receiving corps. Pressing receivers at the line, and disguised blitzes will certainly force the decisive Aaron Rodgers into thinking twice before he throws the ball. A pass-rushers dream.
4) Hit em’ in the Mouth
- Seattle’s offensive line was marvelous last week against the Cowboys. The Seahawks were able to march the ball down the field with its physical running game, and efficient passing attack. The recipe Pete Carroll has been developing since his arrival. While Dallas is no slouch up front on defense, Green Bay is a different animal. The 3-4 attack style defense they play causes nightmares for opposing D-coordinators. Clay Matthews, A.J. Hawk, B.J. Raji, and co. are going to key on stopping the run on 1st and 2nd down, and forcing the ‘Hawks into 3rd and longs with the hope they can rattle Russell Wilson into making rookie mistakes. A nice game plan, certainly. What will be key is the Seahawks O-lines’ ability to once again punch the opposition in the mouth play after play. Out playing them with the physical, deflating style that has become their identity. The Seahawks have good depth on the line, and reports that Russell Okung is said to be back healthy only adds to this key factor for victory. As the old football adage goes, “So what if they know what we’re going to run, they still have to stop us.” If the O-Line looks like it did last week, good luck to you Green Bay.
5) The 12th Man + Monday Night Football > Ear-Popping Decibels
- So, we’re right up against it 12th Man. Monday Night Football returns to Seattle. John Gruden loves coming here, as much as he loves our new QB. It’s always a blast to hear him talk about how great the atmosphere is at the Clink, and that’s because of you my friends. I can only imagine the walk up to the stadium as kick-off approaches. 1st Avenue will be an avalanche of both confidence, and hope. A statement win on National T.V. brings the Seahawks to the forefront of the already hot button topic of the surprising NFC West. The nation will be watching 12th Man. Let’s let em’ hear it as well.
It appears the Seahawks have … [visit site to read more]
12. Ben Roethlisberger sends Brett Favre the biggest Hillshire Farm’s gourmet sausage and cheese gift basket. This is just what Big Ben needed.
11. Brett Favre finally retires… his cell phone.
10. Dozens of players who have showered beside Favre are called in to identify the suspect’s… uhm… little Favre.
9. Brett Favre’s personal cell phone number is released to the public and Favre receives thousands of pics, an unwanted taste of his own medicine.
8. Brett Favre puts the public shame of his texting to use and finally agrees to be Viagra’s pitchman.
7. Portland Trailblazer Greg Odom and Brett Favre attempt to recruit ten other sports players to put together a nude calendar.
6. Half the NY Jets team cramps up during the game after the players’ wives refuse to allow their husbands to get massages.
5. Brett Favre apologizes to the team and takes them on an ill-advised party boat cruise Lake Minnetonka. The press coverage is understandably negative.
4. DeMarcus Ware unveils his new sack dance against the Vikings – standing over Favre and pretending to snap a picture with a fake phone.
3. Wrangler Jeans unveils a new line of jeans that allows you to photograph your junk through a special opening inside the front pocket.
2. Apple unveils new product: a new camera phone feature that makes your junk appear less flaccid. There’s an app for that.
1. Brett Favre may not have received a happy ending to his massage, but the Green Bay Packers finally get a happy ending to their Brett Favre saga.
A few days ago, it was reported that the Seattle Seahawks were given permission to discuss contract terms with wide receiver Vincent Jackson. While this news is promising for anyone hoping to see Vincent Jackson in Seattle, it does not mean a trade is imminent.
In fact, several additional reports have stated that the Seahawks have barely begun serious talks with Jackson’s agents. And without knowing Vincent Jackson’s demands, the Seahawks haven’t even started serious discussions about compensation with the San Diego Chargers.
Vincent Jackson has been compared by many to Brandon Marshall, who cost the Miami Dolphins a pair of second-round picks in consecutive drafts. Many people assumed the Chargers would demand similar compensation, requiring a package of early-round draft picks to move their talented wide receiver.
The Chargers, however, may be looking at a package that includes players rather than only draft picks.
According to Greg A. Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Randy Mueller was in Seattle to watch last night’s exhibition game against the Green Bay Packers. Mueller is the assistant general manager in San Diego, and his presence has fueled trade rumors and speculation. Bedard also reported that Mueller was in town to scout prospects for a possible Vincent Jackson trade.
It is uncertain what players Mueller had his eyes on last night, but don’t convince yourself he was looking at Deion Branch or another expendable player. Vincent Jackson is a real playmaker and I’m sure the Chargers want real value if they’re going to trade him.
Executing a trade that includes only players may be easier for Seattle; parting with multiple early-round picks could be devastating for a team focused on long-term success. Then again, without knowing San Diego’s exact demands, it is difficult to say what sort of package would be preferable.
What if San Diego wanted a package that included some of Seattle’s young talent? Like linebacker Aaron Curry or cornerback Josh Wilson? One would have the assume the front office wouldn’t move players like that, but is anyone untouchable after so much roster turnover this offseason?
In a perfect scenario, Seattle could acquire Vincent Jackson for some older, expendable players. Deion Branch and his contract are most certainly disposable; hopefully Randy Mueller was impressed with Branch’s touchdown catch last night.
Not going to be at the game tonight? No worries – you can share your opinions right here.
Feel free to leave comments regarding tonight’s game.
Another week, another football game. There’s definitely no better time of year than football season.
Tonight, the Seattle Seahawks host the Green Bay Packers at Qwest Field for their second game of the exhibition season. Last Saturday, in their first exhibition game, the Seahawks defeated the Tennessee Titans 20-18.
Preseason records are never meaningful – the Seahawks were undefeated last year – but there are still several things worth watching. It is fun to see guys battle for spots on the final roster, but here are the specific things I’ll be watching tonight:
Running back Leon Washington
The Seahawks acquired Washington from the New York Jets for nearly nothing. With Washington, the Seahawks have a certifiable homerun threat in their backfield – the first since Shaun Alexander was leading the league in rushing touchdowns.
Washington, however, suffered a compound fracture to his fibula in Week 7 last season. The gruesome injury ended Washington’s 2009 season and kept him off the field throughout the offseason – until now.
In his last full season, Washington averaged nearly six yards per carry on 76 attempts. With the New York Jets, he was known for his big-play ability and explosiveness. In Seattle, the Seahawks desperately need him to return healthy and productive; injecting Washington’s explosiveness to an otherwise bland backfield would immediately improve the offense.
While it is uncertain how many touches he’ll get, head coach Pete Carroll confirmed that Leon Washington will make his debut in Seattle against the Packers.
“We’re really excited about Leon playing this week,” Carroll said. “He’s ready to go at this point, so we’ll see where he is.”
Wide receiver Golden Tate
When Golden Tate was drafted in the second round of last April’s draft, everyone assumed the Seahawks added a dynamic playmaker to their offense. Tate is a capable athlete who is dangerous after the catch and a threat to score whenever he holds the football.
I watched Golden Tate shred up the Washington Huskies in a dominating performance last October and was extremely glad to finally have a player of his caliber on our side. In the game against Washington, the former Notre Dame receiver caught 9 balls for 244 yards and a touchdown.
In the preseason opener, however, Tate looked rather pedestrian. He dropped a few balls, ran poor routes, slipped after the catch, and looked quite lost in Seattle’s offense. Tate finished the night with 2 catches for only 5 yards. As a punt returner, he never demonstrated any explosiveness and just looked like another guy vying for a roster spot.
Tate is obviously better than he played in his debut at Qwest Field. Tonight would be a great night to prove he can produce at the professional level.
Without question, Matt Hasselbeck is Seattle’s starting quarterback. But against the Titans, Hasselbeck completed only 4 of 10 passes and threw for just 26 yards. While Hasselbeck was on the field, the Seahawks were unable to consistently move the ball on offense.
Charlie Whitehurst, who was acquired to help the franchise prepare for life after Hasselbeck, looked surprisingly good last weekend. Despite one mistake – a miscommunication with Mike Williams that resulted in an interception – Whitehurst still finished the game with a 107.0 quarterback rating. The unproven veteran completed 14 of 22 passes for 214 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
I need to see Matt Hasselbeck perform better tonight. And I want Charlie Whitehurst to impress again, proving that last week wasn’t just a fluke.
The defensive pass rush
Last week, the Seahawks recorded two sacks and generated consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks throughout the game. Chris Clemons, who was acquired in the Darryl Tapp trade, looked quite good at times and showed a unique ability to get after the quarterback.
On Clemons’ only recorded sack, he beat Pro Bowl tackle Michael Roos with a few quick moves and tackled Chris Simms for a 13-yard loss. The other sack, by rookie Dexter Davis, was on an obvious passing down; on 3rd and 18, broke through to the quarterback for another big loss.
The Seahawks struggled to generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks last season, and any improvement will obviously help the defense as a whole. The first preseason game was a good sign, but probably not indicative of performance through the regular season.
I know it is only the preseason, but I need to see Seattle’s defense harass opposing quarterbacks in consecutive weeks.