A recap of the Seahawks’ season-opening 28-0 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Make it players, and go with the Seahawks offensive line – Sean Locklear, Rob Sims, Steve Vallos, Max Unger and Ray Willis.
Yes, Matt Hasselbeck passed for 279 yards and three touchdowns. Yes, tight end John Carlson caught six passes and two of Hasselbeck’s TD tosses. Yes, Julius Jones ran for 117 yards and a 62-yard touchdown. Yes, the defense pitched the Seahawks’ first shutout since 2007.
But the O-line drew praise from all concerned for allowing no sacks and paving the way as the offense rolled up 446 yards – especially on the 99-yard scoring drive on the first possession of the second half.
“They’ve done a nice job,” Hasselbeck said. “I’ve said it many times – (line coach) Mike Solari does a great job; he’s a great football coach.
“I think that unit has really come together. They’re unified. Right or wrong, they’re together. They eat together … they are together all the time. When you’re together as a unit like that, good stuff happens. They played great today.” Read more »
The Seahawks slapped an exclamation point on their first shutout since blanking the 49ers in 2007 with a red-zone stand.
After Marc Bulger passed the Rams into a first-and-goal situation by hitting Laurent Robinson (45 yards) and Randy McMichael, the Seahawks said no mas. Ken Lucas was all over Bulger’s pass in the end zone to Robinson and, on third down, Bulger’s pass to McMichael – also in the end zone – was too high.
That took the game to the two minutes warning, and Jim Mora to his first regular-season victory as coach of the Seahawks.
The Seahawks were left looking at the longest of fields when a punt by the left-footed Donnie Jones hit at the 1-yard line and bounced to the right, where the ball was downed after the textbook punt by the former Seahawks draft choice.
But the Seahawks not only crawled out of that hole, they sprang from it. Matt Hasselbeck gave them from room to work by passing for 6 yards to wide receiver Nat Burleson on the opening play. After runs by Edgerrin James (2 yards), Justin Forsett (7) and James (6), Hasselbeck went to work. He passed for 7 yards to wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, 38 yards to tight end John Carlson and then hooked up with Carlson for a 33-yard TD play – their second of the game. That made it 21-0 with five minutes left in the quarter.
The drive was reminiscent of – dare we say – 2005, when the Seahawks routinely ripped off drives of 80-plus yards during their run to the Super Bowl.
Jones then added some dash to the splash, as he ripped off a 62-yard TD run on the first play of the Seahawks’ next possession. Center Steve Vallos provided Jones the needed block to the right side and fullback Justin Griffith walled off the left side. Jones did the rest, as he outran three Rams defenders to the end zone.
The quarter ended on a bit of downer, however, as middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu went out with the hamstring injury and it was announced he would not return. David Hawthorne stepped in for Tatupu.
The Rams had an opportunity to capitalize on one of their many defense-generated big plays, but former Seahawks kicker Josh Brown – who trotted onto the field to a chorus of boos – was wide right on a field goal attempt on the fifth play of the quarter.
The Seahawks finally got on the board with 5:45 left in the half as Hasselbeck did what worked so well all summer – throwing the ball to tight end John Carlson in the end zone. The 1-yard TD pass came from a two-tight, two-back set, which caught the Rams crowding the line and allowed Carlson to get open in the back of the end zone.
Hasselbeck was 6 of 7 for 39 yards on the 13-play, 73-yard drive. He also ran for 3 yards on a keeper on the first third-down situation. He then passed to Houshmandzadeh for 9 yards on third-and-6 and Deon Butler for 7 yards on third-and-5. Julius Jones carried five times for 16 yards.
The Seattle defense continued its inspired play on the ensuring series, as Herring got penetration to force the first-down play and defensive end Darryl Tapp dropped Jackson for a 2-yard loss; cornerback Josh Wilson broke up a Bulger pass the was intended for Donnie Avery; and, on third down, middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu split a gap between center Jason Brown and right guard Richie Incognito to sack Bulger for a 10-yard loss.
It appeared the Seahawks would add to their lead, but C.J. Ah You got a hand on Olindo Mare’s 49-yard field goal attempt and Quincy Butler returned the deflection 51 yards for a TD with 49 seconds left.
But wait …
The Rams had 12 men on the field and the 5-yard penalty erased the TD return and gave the Seahawks a first down.
The Seahawks didn’t waste this chance, as Hasselbeck passed 12 yards to Burleson for a TD with 12 seconds to play. The re-start of what was a 12-play, 69-yard drive also included a 6-yard run by Jones and Hasselbeck’s 8-yard completion to Houshmandzadeh.
There was a lot of action, but no points.
The Seahawks won the coin toss, but deferred to the second half. It looked like a stroke of opportunism as Lance Laury forced a fumble on the return that was recovered by Will Herring.
But Matt Hasselbeck’s third-down pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh was tipped and intercepted by Rams safety James Butler. The Seahawks also gave the Rams the ball two other times in the quarter, as Nate Burleson fumbled after taking a pass from Hasselbeck, and Hasselbeck then had a second pass picked off – this one by safety Oshiomogho Atogwe on a pass to Burleson.
But the defense held the Rams after each of the turnovers.
The Seahawks lost linebacker Leroy Hill to a groin injury midway through the quarter. Herring replaced Hill in the lineup.
Greetings from Qwest Field, where the some players already are out for their preliminary warm-ups and stretching leading up to the Seahawks’ regular-season opener against the St. Louis Rams.
It is a picture-postcard of a day and the fans – at least those encountered during a walk from Elliott Bay Books to the stadium – are geeked.
This is the game where the coaches unveil some of the new wrinkles that they’ve kept under wraps during the preseason, and the starters will play the entire game.
A few things to look for:
The Seahawks have talked all offseason about improving their pass rush, and made moves to do just that – with personnel and plan. But the key against the Rams will be stopping the run – or, in this case, Steve Jackson – so they can put pressure on Marc Bulger.
The Rams QB took snaps under center in practice this week for the first time since breaking the pinkie on his throwing hand in the preseason opener.
On offense, most of the attention has focused on the new zone-blocking scheme and just how much each back will carry the ball. But the most consistent – and productive – aspect of the offense remains Matt Hasselbeck distributing the ball to his receivers. In addition to second-year wide receiver John Carlson, who led the club in receptions, receiving yards and TD catches last season, keep an eye on No. 84.
That’s T.J. Houshmandzadeh – not Bobby Engram – and the team’s big free-agent addition and Hasselbeck have been simpatico since shortly after Housh arrived.
Wide receiver Deion Branch is among the Seahawks’ inactive players. That’s not a surprise, because Branch did not practice since straining a hamstring in practice on Monday.
- CB Travis Fisher
- C Chris Spencer
- OT Walter Jones
- DT Red Bryant
- DT Michael Bennett
- DE Derek Walker
Mike Teel is the 3rd QB
Fisher, Spencer, Jones and Walker also are injured, or coming off an injury.
Inactive for the Rams:
- S Anthony Smith
- S Craig Dahl
- OT Eric Young
- OG Roger Allen III
- OG John Greco
- DE Victor Adeyanju
- DT LaJuan Ramsey
Keith Null is the 3rd QB.
Jason Smith, the Rams’ first-round draft choice, will start at right tackle for Adam Goldberg.
Rams OT Alex Barron vs. Seahawks DE Patrick Kerney: Each has moved to create this pivotal pairing – Barron from right tackle to left; Kerney was left end to right. The Seahawks lost their pass rush last season after Kerney went down in Week 7. By moving to the right side, he will face less double-team blocking, but also more premiere tackles. Barron will have to deal not only with the relentless Kerney in protecting QB Marc Bulger’s blind side, but also Darryl Tapp.
|Kickoff||Sunday, September 13
1:15 p.m. (PT)
|Records||Seahawks (4-0 in preseason)
Rams (3-1 in preseason)
|TV||FOX (channel 13 in Seattle)
Ron Pitts (play-by-play)
John Lynch (commentary)
|Radio||97.3 FM & 710 ESPN Radio
Steve Raible (play-by-play)
Warren Moon (commentary)
Jen Mueller (sidelines)
One to watch
Seahawks DTs Colin Cole and Brandon Mebane vs. Rams RB Steven Jackson: The Rams’ best offensive option remains handing the ball to their battering-Ram of a back. It will create a good first test for the revamped middle of the Seahawks’ line. The 330-pound Cole was added in free agency to provide a run-stuffing presence at nose tackle, which has allowed the disruptive Mebane to move to the three-technique spot. Jackson averaged a league-high 118.4 yards rushing and receiving last season.
Fun to watch
Aaron Curry: The Seahawks’ first-round draft choice is getting a lot of play for rookie of the year honors in preseason prognostications, and rightfully so. The strong-side linebacker was active – and productive – during the preseason, when his calling card was playing full speed on every play.
The Seahawks have swept the home-and-home series the past four seasons, giving them a 12-9 edge overall. … Bulger has taken snaps from center in practiced this week for the first time since breaking the pinkie on his throwing hand in the preseason opener. … The Seahawks have 10 new starters, five each on either side of the ball: WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, FB Justin Griffith, OT Ray Willis, C Steve Vallos, OG Max Unger; DE Cory Redding, CB Ken Lucas, FS Jordan Babineaux, Cole and Curry. There also are four players who are starting at new positions: Josh Wilson at left cornerback, Rob Sims at left guard, Mebane and Kerney. … The Seahawks have won five of their past six home openers. … Just like the Seahawks, the Rams have a new head coach (Steve Spagnuolo), a new offensive coordinator (Pat Shurmur, nephew of former Seahawks defensive coordinator Fritz Shurmur) and a new defensive coordinator (former Seahawks, PLU and UW coach Ken Flajole).