A look back and a look ahead at the week that was and the week that will be for the Seahawks:
Anatomy of a 28-0 victory over the St. Louis Rams at Qwest Field on Sunday:
The collective backbones of the defensive players: The Seahawks bent a couple of times, allowing a 45-yard pass play and a 22-yard run by Steven Jackson. But the defense also held the Rams on downs after they had reached the Seattle 8-yard line in the fourth quarter to preserve the shutout.
Sparked by the energy of rookie linebacker Aaron Curry (four tackles), the inspired play of cornerback Josh Wilson (five tackles, three passes defensed) and getting sacks from middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu, defensive end Lawrence Jackson and defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, the Seahawks pitched their first shutout since 2007 – when they blanked the San Francisco 49ers 24-0 at Qwest.
As coach Jim Mora said after the game, “It gives (the defense) confidence, and gives them faith in what we’re asking them to do – the things we’ve been preaching since Day One that we took over with this new staff. … When you can come away with an impressive performance like our defense did today, then they buy in a little bit.”
Or a lot. “The biggest thing was that we prepared very well,” Curry said. “Everyday we took pride in preparing mentally. The physical part, God blessed us with all of that. But to prepare mentally you have to be willing to prepare a lot and that’s what we did.”
Matt Hasselbeck’s thick skin: Three of the Seahawks’ first four possessions ended in turnovers – two interceptions by Hasselbeck and fumble by wide receiver Nate Burleson after taking a pass from Hasselbeck.
Hasselbeck followed his 0-for-4, two-pick start by completing 25 of 32 passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns. It was vintage Hasselbeck, as he got into a rhythm and the rest of the offense followed his lead.
The broad shoulders of the offensive linemen: No Walter Jones. No Chris Spencer. No hope?
No. The unit of Sean Locklear, Rob Sims, Steve Vallos, Max Unger and Ray Willis did not allowed Hasselbeck to be sacked and opened enough creases in the new zone-blocking scheme to allow the backs to rush for 164 yards – 117 by Julius Jones, who ripped off a 62-yard touchdown run.
The source-for-concern line deserves a pat on the back, and line coach Mike Solari should take a bow.
The hoarse voices of the fans: The din generated by the crowd helped produce four false-start penalties on the Rams – running the league-leading total at Qwest since the beginning of the 2005 season to 82 – and also a delay-of-game infraction.
This stuff isn’t just hype. The fans believe they have an impact on the game because they do.
“We saw from the game today that the false starts get in their heads and they start to doubt themselves,” defensive tackle Colin Cole said. “That really helps us feed off their energy. That energy, that emotional wave, is magnificent and there is nothing better than that right there.
“The emotions that we had coming in from our crowd today, that was probably the best feeling I have had on a football field in a long time.”
The week ahead
An early season biggie, and it’s only Week 2.
After the 49ers’ upset of the defending division and NFC champion Cardinals in Arizona on Sunday, the Seahawks travel to San Francisco with sole possession of first place in the NFC West on the line.
Hyperbola? Hardly. With a win at Candlestick Park, the Seahawks will demonstrate that they are once again a team to be reckoned with in the division. A win over the 49ers also will set the Seahawks up nicely as they continue the pre-bye portion of their schedule that includes home games against the Chicago Bears (Week 3), Jacksonville Jaguars (Week 5) and Cardinals (Week 6) and a trip to Indianapolis to play the Colts (Week 4).
The Seahawks have won five of their past six games in San Francisco.