A recap of the Seahawks’ 34-7 loss to the Texans in Houston on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Andre Johnson. The Seahawks talked all week about containing the Texan’s big, big-play wide receiver. But when it came time to do it, they were left almost speechless. Johnson caught 11 passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns. The Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald has caught more passes against the Seahawks this season (13), but no one had come remotely close to that yardage total.
Sure, Matt Schaub was the one who threw Johnson all those passes, and he did complete 29 of 39 for 365 yards – despite having his left shoulder separated last week. But Johnson was a beast, especially in the first half when he caught 10 balls for 184 yards – and on the first play, when he went 64 yards for a score.
“He played well, and he made big plays,” said cornerback Marcus Trufant, who had problems staying with Johnson all afternoon. “I didn’t play one of my best games, and I’ll be the first one to say that.”
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: Where to start? At the beginning. On that first play of the game, when Johnson ran past Trufant to take a pass from Schaub that turned into a 64-yard touchdown. That one play told anyone what they needed to know about this day.
“We played quarters coverage and he just ran by our guy,” coach Jim Mora said. “He’s an outstanding player.”
Defense: Since we’re talking tone-setters, why not go with the Texans’ first defense play of the game. Rookie linebacker Brian Cushing blitzed and drilled Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck as he was releasing an incomplete pass. That’s how the rest of the game went for Hasselbeck, and his blockers.
“I’m not happy with our offensive line,” Mora said. “I’m not happy at all with them. And if we can make moves to make us better up there, we’re going to make them. Because it’s unacceptable for our quarterback to stand back there and get hit the way he did today.”
Special teams: Kris Brown was about to kick a 26-yard field goal that would have given the Texans a 27-0 lead. But defensive tackle Craig Terrill got such a good push that he was able to deflect the ball with his elbow. The Seahawks took over at their own 16-yard line and drove 84 yards in six plays to their only touchdown – Hasselbeck’s 4-yard pass to tight end John Carlson.
“It gave us a spark,” Terrill said. “But it was just one of those days.”
At most NFL stadiums, they unfurl a huge American flag on the field before the National Anthem is sung. Not at Reliant Stadium. They had a Texas state flag – in three sections – as three sisters sang “God Bless Texas.” Then it was time for the National Anthem, with just a regular-sized flag held by a member of the color guard.
What was up with the center exchanges between Chris Spencer and Hasselbeck? The snap was fumbled twice, and others were, well, less than ideal. Spencer is snapping left-handed, because he has a cast on his right hand to protect a fractured thumb.
“Which he’s had on for what seems like forever,” Mora said of Spencer’s cast. “I’m not quite sure why he’s still got a cast on his hand, but he does. And that is a factor. That is a big factor. You see it affecting our shotgun snaps. You saw it affecting a lot of running plays today. The timing of our offense has to be crisp and when you can’t get the snap to the quarterback you’ve got no chance of having a successful play.”
Mora’s entrance – and exchange – to start his news conference. First, he emerged from behind a black curtain. Then, before taking any questions, he said he’d spend the next two days looking at making changes on the starting offensive line and the remaining three games evaluating which players deserve to be part of the team next season.
“We going to take a microscope and look at everything,” he said.
Wide receiver Nate Burleson (ankle) and linebacker Aaron Curry (hip) had to be taken off the field on a cart. Burleson is scheduled to have a magnetic resonance imaging test Monday to determine the extent of his injury and how long he might be sidelined.
Curry said he was feeling better in the locker room. Asked if he has ever had a hip pointer before, he offered, “If this is a hip pointer, no.”
Curry was injured when middle linebacker David Hawthorne slammed into him while both were trying to make a tackle.
“I’m just glad he didn’t break my hip,” Curry said.
Wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh also had to leave the field after being drilled by Texans strong safety Dominique Barber. But Houshmandzadeh was OK in the locker room.
Then there was Hasselbeck, who had a huge ice bag strapped to his right shoulder and a wrap on his writs in the locker room.
“We didn’t protect Matt a lick,” Mora said. “I’m not going to say he’s OK, because no one can stand there and get punished the way he did and be OK.”
YOU DON’T SAY
“Our execution right now is just not very good. If you come out and play like that you’re going to get embarrassed, and that’s what happened today.” – Hasselbeck
Peephole perspective: The Seahawks were stopped on downs three times. The Texans’ offense went into snooze-control. Texans, 34-7.
Player of the quarter: Brice McCain. The Texans’ nickel back was all over a Matt Hasselbeck pass to Deon Butler in the end zone and also broke up a pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh – also in the end zone.
Play of the quarter: On a third-and-1 play, Texans RB Ryan Moats lost the ball and Seahawks MLB David Hawthorne scooped up the fumble and returned it to the Houston 26-yard line.
Line of the quarter: 0-3. The Seahawks went for it on fourth down on three consecutive possessions, and failed to convert each time.
The bigger picture: The Seahawks got another turnover on the sixth play of the quarter, when Hawthorne recovered Moats’ fumble and returned it to the Texans’ 26. But the Seahawks couldn’t score, as McCain broke up Hasselbeck fourth-down pass to Houshmandzadeh in the end zone.
The Seahawks also were stopped on downs on their next possession. They had a first-and-10 at the Texans’ 16, but then came a pass interference call on Houshmandzadeh and two false starts against RT Ray Willis.
Burleson never returned from his ankle injury, and Houshmandzadeh was drilled by SS Dominique Barber on an incomplete pass late in the fourth quarter and left the field.
The Seahawks next possession? It also ended on downs.
Before the game could end, however, until rookie LB Aaron Curry was taken from the field on a cart.
Peephole perspective: The mauling continued. An interception return for a TD. Another field goal. Texans, 34-7.
Player of the quarter: DeMeco Ryans. He was only credited with two plays, but it seemed like the Texans linebacker was in on just about every play. He knocked Hasselbeck out of the game briefly. He also got to RB Julius Jones for a 2-yard loss.
Play of the quarter: On first-and-10 from the Texans’ 31, SS Bernard Pollard jumped Hasselbeck’s pass to FB Justin Griffith and returned it 70 yards for a TD.
Line of the quarter: 9:52 to 5:08. The Seahawks had the ball more in the quarter – a lot more. They just weren’t able to do much with it.
The bigger picture: Hasselbeck went down, and out, on the first play of the half, as he was drilled by Ryans as he released a 9-yard pass to Nate Burleson. With Hasselbeck being tended to on the sideline, the series fizzled as Julius Jones fumbled on second down and Seneca Wallace was flagged for grounding on third down.
Hasselbeck returned for the Seahawks’ next possession – which followed the Texans’ first punt of the game. But it didn’t last long, as Ryans dropped Jones for a 2-yard loss on second down and Mario Williams sacked Hasselbeck for a 10-yard loss on third down. Williams used a nice inside move off a stunt in getting to Hasselbeck.
The Texans stretched their lead to 27-7 on a 31-yard field goal by Kris Brown with 5:50 to play in the quarter. Schaub hit three consecutive passes in the middle of the eight-play, 36-yard drive for 19 yards.
The Seahawks finally got a break, when CB Marcus Trufant intercepted a Schaub pass intended for Johnson to give the offense the ball at the 50. Hasselbeck then hit T.J. Houshmandzadeh for a 19-yard gain. But his next pass, intended for Griffith, was intercepted by Pollard and returned for a TD that made it 34-7 Texans.
The Seahawks lost Burleson on their next possession, as he was taken off to the locker room on a cart. The drive also frizzled when Hasselbeck passed to Houshmandzadeh for 4 yards on fourth-and-7.
Player of the quarter: Matt Hasselbeck. He threw the Seahawks onto the scoreboard by completing 6 of 6 passes for 77 yards and the TD. Matt Schaub had more attempts (15), completions (13) and yards (182) in the quarter, but Hasselbeck had the better passer rating – 158.3 to 139.4. Andre Johnson also caught six passes for 107 yards and his second TD.
Play of the quarter: The Texans were about to go up 27-0, but DT Craig Terrill got a hand on Kris Brown’s 26-yard field goal attempt. The Seahawks then drove 84 yards to their only score – Hasselbeck’s 4-yard TD pass to TE John Carlson.
Line of the quarter: 336. It’s not a line, and not even from the quarter. But it is one staggering stat. That’s how many passing yards Schaub had in the first half – with 184 of it belonging to Johnson on 10 receptions.
The bigger picture: This quarter started the way the first one ended – with the Texans on the move. Their eight-play, 64-yard drive to Schaub’s 17-yard TD pass to Johnson included a 23-yard pass play from Schaub to Johnson on third-and-10. Johnson ended this series with six catches for 117 yards in the game, and the Texans with a 24-0 lead.
On their next possession, the Texans drove from their own 3 to the Seahawks’ 6 before Schaub fumbled the third-down snap and Terrill deflected Brown’s field goal attempt.
The Seahawks’ offense then got it going. Hasselbeck to Nate Burleson for 22 yards on a shovel pass. Julius Jones for 24 yards to the Texans’ 38. Hasselbeck to T.J. Houshmandzadeh for 31 yards. And, on third-and-goal, Hasselbeck to Carlson for the final 4 yards and the score. Hasselbeck was 4 of 4 – to four different receivers – for 60 yards on the six-play, 84-yard drive.
The TD was reviewed, but the call on the field stood.
On the first play after the Seahawks’ TD, the unthinkable happened: Johnson dropped a pass. But Schaub went right back to him for a 15-yard gain. But the drive – and half – ended with Brown missing wide right on a 48-yard field goal attempt.
Peephole perspective: 17-0, Texans. A long TD pass to Andre Johnson on the first play of the game. A Kris Brown field goal. A short TD run by Ryan Moats. All of 11 yards by the Seahawks offense.
Player of the quarter: Matt Schaub. The Texans’ sore-shouldered QB was 11 of 13 for 154 yards and the big TD pass to Johnson for a 141.7 passer rating.
Play of the quarter: The first play of the game. Schaub to Andre Johnson for 64 yards and a TD, as Johnson simply ran past CB Marcus Trufant.
Line of the quarter: 4-4-77-19.3-1. Schaub threw to Johnson four times, for four completions – and the 77 yards for a 19.3-yard average.
The bigger picture: Wow. One play – the first play of the game – and it was Texans 7, Seahawks 0. Johnson blew past Trufant for the TD. So much for containing Johnson. So much for starting quickly. So much for Matt Schaub’s ailing left shoulder affecting his accuracy and ability to throw the ball.
After the Texans forced a three-and-out on the Seahawks’ first possession – when LB Brian Cushing rocked Matt Hasselbeck on the first down, RT Ray Willis was flagged for a false start and Hasselbeck dropped a snap – two rights made for a wrong. P Jon Ryan kicked the ball right at Jacoby Jones, who broke it up the right side for a 22-yard return. Nine plays later, Kris Brown kicked a 29-yard field goal to make it 10-0.
Four of the Texans’ first six plays in the quarter produced first downs.
Another three-and-out by the Seahawks was followed by another scoring drive by the Texans – this one a nine-play, 56-yarder that ended with Ryan Moats leaving a trail of would-be tacklers in his wake on a 4-yard TD run. Make it 17-0, Texans – which his more points for them than yards (11) for the Seahawks at that point. Schaub was 4 of 4 for 46 yards on the Texans’ third scoring drive in as many possessions.
What else could go wrong? How about former Seahawk Kevin Bentley getting a hand on a Ryan punt – after yet another three-and-out. The 18-yard punt gave the Texans the ball at their 36-yard line.
Linebacker D.D. Lewis did make the trip to his hometown of Houston, but he will not play in today’s game against the Texans. Lewis sat out last week’s game with a sprained knee and had fluid drained from it on Wednesday. He practiced on a limited basis Thursday and Friday, but the decision was made that he wasn’t ready to go in the game.
Running back Louis Rankin won’t play, either. He had been the backup while Julius Jones was out for 2½ games with a bruised lung and also has been returning kickoffs.
Also inactive for the Seahawks:
- OG Mike Gibson
- OG Mansfield Wrotto
- DT Red Bryant
- TE Cameron Morrah
- DE Derek Walker
- 3rd QB: Mike Teel
Inactive for the Texans:
- WR Glenn Martinez
- SS Nick Ferguson
- RB Chris Henry
- CB Mark Parson
- OG Tutan Reyes
- DE Tim Bulman
- DT Frank Okam
- 3rd QB: Dan Orlovsky
Also, Antoine Caldwell will start at right guard for Chris White.
Greetings from Reliant Stadium. Or should that be “Howdy,” since we’re in fog-shrouded Houston for today’s game between the Seahawks and Texans.
These are a pair of 5-7 teams, but they’ve come at their matching records from very different directions. The Seahawks have won two in a row, while the Texans have lost four in a row.
The Seahawks are the last team in the league to visit Reliant Stadium, and the last time they played in Houston was in 1994 – against the old Oilers, who are now the Titans. The past six teams to play here for the first time have lost – the 49ers this season, the Lions and Bears last season, the Saints, Buccaneers and Broncos in 2007 and the Dolphins in 2006.
To snap that streak, and win their third consecutive game, the Seahawks need to start fast, protect Matt Hasselbeck and contain Andre Johnson.
They have not scored a touchdown on their first possession this season. But have scored first-quarter TDs in the past two games – wins over the Rams and 49ers; after doing it only once in their previous seven games – five of them losses.
Hasselbeck was sacked five times by the 49ers last week, tying his season high. He also got hit eight other times and aggravated a bruised right shoulder when he took a knee to the back while scrambling. It can’t continue against a Texans defense that has only 19 sacks — third-fewest in the league.
Johnson isn’t just a big-play receiver; he’s a big receiver – 6 feet 3, 228 pounds. Or as cornerback Marcus Trufant put it, “He’s a big guy who moves like a little guy, and that’s what makes him so dangerous.” The Seahawks can’t give Johnson anything cheap — and also need to pressure QB Matt Schaub, who separated his left shoulder last week.
As for running the ball, coach Jim Mora was somewhat vague about who will start at running back, but did say that Julius Jones and Justin Forsett will get carries after each has missed time recently (2½ games for Jones) or been limited (Forsett last week) because of injuries. The Texans are allowing an average of 118.9 yards rushing for the season, but have trimmed that to 90.2 over the past nine games.
Also keep an eye on No. 42 on special teams for the Texans – it’s Brian Russell, the Seahawks’ starting free safety the past two seasons when he was wearing No. 25. He was released on the final roster cut and then signed with the Jaguars, playing at Qwest Field in October and wearing No. 26. After the Jags released him, Russell signed with the Texans.
For those interested in such things, the roof will be closed at Reliant Stadium today. Presumably to keep the dense fog that is blanketed this sprawling city at bay.
We’ll be back later with the inactives.