Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hawks Get Big W, But Still Have a Long Way to Go

by: Michael Steffes

The scoreboard today tells a much different story than the game itself. While the Seahawks marched to a much needed (and fan appreciated) 34-13 win, they did little to distinguish themselves from the pretender status they have obtained through 6 weeks of bad football.

Seneca Wallace is a backup QB, but that doesn't preclude him from winning football games. He did what a backup needs to do to get a win: he didn't turn the ball over, and he got the ball into the hands of people who can win the game. Today that player was Leonard Weaver, who had a monster day amassing 100+ yards receiving with 2 TDs.

Overall, under Wallace the Hawks' passing game showed some improvement. Wallace threw for 222 yards, which is more than the last two weeks combined (I think). Both Koren Robinson and Bobby Engram caught 4 balls each, which shows that the team was able to get into a rhythm in the passing game. However, they could have done better. There were several balls Engram probably should have come up with, and two of those were on third downs. While the Hawks' 6-14 performance on 3rd down was better than they have been doing, it leaves room for improvement as well. All this also came at the expense of targets for John Carlson, who only caught one ball. When they get Carlson, the backs, and the wideouts catching passes at the same time, then the Hawks offense will be truly threatening.

Today, the running game stalled. Both Jones and Morris averaged 1.5 yards per carry. In a way, this was to be expected as teams would be stupid not to key in on the Seahawks' run offense right now. TJ Duckett did hold up his end of the bargain, converting a 4th and 1, and a short goal-line TD run. The running game will get better again as the passing game improves. Luckily the backs made themselves useful in the passing game, which really helped the Hawks offense do just enough to keep the defense fresh.

Speaking of the defense, it is hard to judge their performance accurately. Early on, they got pressure, forced turnovers, and created big plays. However, once a lead was established, the Niners began moving the ball effectively. The Niners outgained the Hawks in both passing and rushing yards. The defense allowed 3rd down conversions close to 50% of the time again. The Niners also ran 20 more plays than the Hawks and had 4 drives lasting 10+ plays. Were the Hawks playing conservative defense? There is little doubt. In a way, their performance was similar to what they would have done last year. They won convincingly, but were far from dominant. However, as for road performances of recent memory, the defense's performance today was improved. They will need to be better next week vs Philly though, that is for sure. Hopefully this win will re-energize the 12th man for next week.

Overall it is great to get a win. The Hawks are now right in the thick of things in the NFC West again. They are two games out of the top spot in the division, with two versus the leader Arizona still to play. However, they are not playing near the level they need to be to beat Arizona, or even a team like Philly for that matter. But, if they improve as much this week as they did last week, then they have a chance. In the end, that is enough to keep a smile on my face this week, and hopefully it does the same for you.


Leonard Weaver
: Embrace the Neon, peeps! Those shoes are the costume of a 260lbs superhero! Weaver has been under-utilized so far this year, but he still presents a nice threat. Hopefully he will be more involved in the offense going forward.

Josh Wilson X 2: For a "midget" and a "bust," he has really been turning on the jets lately. Today should have marked his second defensive TD in as many weeks, plus he is excelling as part of the much-improved return game. He is making smarter decisions with the kicks and making big plays when he has the chance. ~END~