Sunday, August 21, 2011

The First Quarter

I didn't get a chance to pay close attention to the game yesterday, so I'll be re-live-blogging it. Here we go:

  • Opening kickoff - Tate wouldn't normally take it out, but was probably told to... still, from about 6 yards deep, he takes it out and only gets to about the 11 before being swarmed by six Vikings. That's on the blockers.
  • First play - Seahawks line up with empty backfield, T-Jack looks quite good, in that he stays in the pocket, steps up, and makes a pretty good throw that Tate can't hang on to.
  • 13:20 - Jackson somehow evades a sack from Jared Allen after Tyler Polumbus completely ignores one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. T-Jack throws the ball away since no one was open. 
  • Vikings first play is a run up the gut to Peterson, who gets about a yard before meeting Alan Branch. Second play, Raheem Brock is untouched off the left edge and shows Allen how it's done. On 3rd and Long the Vikings basically do the same unsuccessful 3rd-and-long screen play that Forsett couldn't convert. 
  • Jackson flashes his escapability on 1st and 10 and scrambles for four yards. Kept his eyes downfield though, which is nice. On 2nd and 6, T-Jack again gets out of trouble, making a good throw while practically sprinting backwards. McCoy catches and rambles 6 yards for the first. 
  • Run game still not working well, as Lynch is stuffed for a two yard loss. The Vikings are blitzing on almost every play, which is not game-planned for here in pre-season. Still, it's always concerning when a team states that they will be a run-first team, but can't run.
  • Mike Williams with a dumb false start penalty makes me realize that neither he nor Rice (or Tate) has a completion at this point. Miller, McCoy, Robinson, and Forsett with the completions thus far. Part of that is no doubt the fact that our friend Jackson is under siege constantly. 
  • Seahawks punt, Jeron Johnson forces a fumble with a nice last-second punch, which Curry returns for a touchdown. Unfortunately, the play is blown dead, so the Curry TD counts for naught. No big deal, except, of course, that it becomes one:
  • Two plays later, Jackson throws a catchable ball slightly behind Golden Tate. It wasn't a great throw, but it is an easy catch for an NFL player. The ball clanks off both of Tate's hands and is returned 64 yards for a touchdown. That sucks, but what sucks more is that the referee blew the Curry TD dead, and three plays later there was a pick-6. 14 point swing in about 3 minutes. 
  • Jackson delivers a very nice swing pass to Lynch, allowing him to catch it in stride and not miss a step. Every QB should be able to make that throw, but it's been a big problem in recent years (Hasselbeck less so, but Whitehurst and Wallace for sure). 
  • First attempt to Sidney Rice is overthrown, but it's a pretty ball (other than being 3 yards out of bounds). On third and seven, Jackson again rambles for a first down. He seems to have a very good idea of where he needs to be for a first, which is nice. 
  • The offensive line is looking absolutely terrible, by the way. 
  • Leon Washington's first carry shows why he is going to be much more integrated in this offense. He's fluid and shifty, but also sick-fast. Brings the speed that Forsett doesn't, and the make-ya-miss that Lynch lacks. These three backs are all different, which is nice. 
  • Stupid penalty by Moffitt, but he's a rookie, so I'm not too worried. James Carpenter's name hasn't been called and he hasn't been particularly noticeable at this point... that's a good thing.
  • On third and one, the Seahawks get nothing. Silly weird jump pass by T-Jack after another Viking goes unblocked and takes him down. On 4th and one, Michael Robinson has a great run, somehow squirting through a mass of men and getting about six yards. 
  • Sidney Rice in the slot, bad ball by Jackson who should have been picked off by the safety. This is what Jackson is notorious for, so it's a little concerning to see him just notice the safety. 
  • 0:46 -- first completion to a wide receiver! It's Mike Williams with a crazy good catch, nice and physical and gets the team to the two. 
  • Forsett runs up the middle between Unger and Gallery, gets about 1.5 yards. The first quarter is over!
Overall, the Seahawks offense looked pretty poor in the first quarter (and are about to look poorer when they can't convert in three tries from the 0.5 yard line). The offensive line is going to be absolutely demolished by Tom Cable in the film room. Again, these blitzes are not being game-planned, so you give a degree of lee-way in picking them up, but at the same time you've got a QB running for his life on literally every play. Hasselbeck would probably already have a broken tailbone at this rate. Shockingly poor play by the OL, and it's not just Polumbus. 

Jackson looks better than he did last week, but something is still missing. Without being able to see the full field, I can't tell you what is going on with WRs on every play, but there were five targets in the first quarter: one was overthrown out of bounds (Rice), one was intercepted off a drop (Tate), one should have been intercepted after ignoring the safety (Rice), one was a tough, but catchable ball (Tate), and one was actually caught (Williams). Jackson's shiftiness and athleticism will keep the Seahawks in games early, but he has to be able to find his targets at all levels of the field for this team to actually win.

Different runs are being called for different RBs. Leon Washington isn't being asked to run power up the gut like Marshawn Lynch is, so this may come down to being more of an offensive line function than a running back function, but right now Lynch is our 3rd RB, Forsett is 2nd, and Washington is #1. All three will get a fair amount of carries this year, but Lynch is likely set for the most. If he doesn't turn it on a bit (and the OL doesn't get much better at blocking power run plays), we're in for a long season. 

I haven't seen Carlson and didn't see the inactive list, so maybe he's on that. I do know that Anthony McCoy is looking like a keeper, though. 

So, uh, the defense saw three plays. Not much to evaluate, but they should have fresh legs in the second quarter!

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