Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Few Thoughts on the Game

by: Matthew Heuett

This started out as a reply to Steffes' post, but got long enough that I decided to inflict it on all of you instead of burying it in the comments section. There will be some fun with numbers and stats too, if that helps any.

I caution you all that I am perfectly capable of being totally, unquestionably wrong on any given subject, and this may very well be one of those times. With that said . . .

The Good:

-Seneca looked like a quarterback against Miami. He's shown us glimpses before, but he put together a good performance today even though he was injured in the first quarter and unable to take off and run effectively. He made smart decisions with the ball, not throwing a single interception, and completed 55% of his passes (21 out of 38 attempts)--and had those five dropped passes been caught, his percentage would've been 68%.

-Marshall's blitz schemes worked today, and the front seven managed to pressure Pennington all day. I'm not entirely sure what changed, but here's hoping we'll be seeing more Seahawks linebackers slamming into quarterbacks from now on.

-Prior to this game, there was some speculation that the running back by committee approach was limiting both Jones' and Morris' effectiveness, as many running backs play better with every additional carry they get. Today Jones was the man on 16 of the Seahawks' 22 runs(7 in the first half, 9 in the second) for a total of 88 yards, so let's take a look at his gains per running attempt today:

Carry #Yards Gained

Jones ran for 24 yards with his first 8 carries for an average of 3 yards per carry, but on his second set of eight carries he ran much more effectively, netting 64 yards for an average of 8 yards per carry. If we compare his carries in the first and second halves, the difference gets even larger: 15 yards on 7 carries for a dismal 2.1 ypc average in the first half, followed by 73 yards on 9 carries for an 8.1 ypc average in the second half. Those of you who were in the "pick one back and stick with him" camp may now high-five one another at your leisure.

-Engram didn't drop the ball today. Normally this would be par for the course for him, but after his drops in the last few games it's nice to see him return to his usual form.

-Did I just see Jennings make a diving pass deflection? Did that really happen? Maybe next week he'll be back to belly-flopping on the turf while his man jogs into the end zone (hopefully not), but today he looked like he'd gotten some of his confidence back.

The Bad:

-Are we sure Keary Colbert is a wide receiver? Is it possible that he thinks he's been hired to play cornerback for the opposing team every week? I don't know, maybe he just has terrible hands and isn't actively trying to destroy the Seahawks, but just to be on the safe side Holmgren should crush his skull like a baby bird--if nothing else, it'll do wonders for his blood pressure.

-I think we know now why the Panthers let Mike Wahle go. His mental errors are killing the team in crucial situations.

The In-Between:

-Koren Robinson and John Carlson, anyone? These two have been good overall, but they both need to be spending some quality time with their position coaches on catching drills this week. Granted, Robinson has always dropped passes intermittently, but Carlson is still young enough to train that out of his play.

-Josh Wilson and Justin Forsett are both having a positive impact on the kickoff and punt return game in Burleson's absence. Wilson gained 66 yards on 2 kickoff returns, and Forsett gained 49 yards on 3 punt returns and 32 yards on his lone kickoff return, bringing Wilson's total to 825 yards on 33 kick returns (25 yard average) and Forsett's total to 75 yards on 3 kick returns (25 yard average) and 90 yards on 10 punt returns (9 yard average). The special teams unit's coverage on kickoffs and punts, on the other hand, has left a lot to be desired.

Okay, that's more than enough of my thoughts on the game, what do you guys think? What specifically went well, what didn't, and who needs to be cleaning out his locker on Monday (hint: Colbert)?