A look at the week that was, and the week that will be, for the Seahawks:
Anatomy of a 41-0 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars at Qwest Field on Sunday
The hearts of the entire defense: The coaches got back to basics, and the players got after it. From rookie linebacker Aaron Curry (nine tackles, a sack and a forced fumble), to defensive end Darryl Tapp (a sack and four QB hits), to rookie defensive end Nick Reed (a 79-yard fumble return for a TD and a sack), to middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu (eight tackles), to defensive tackle Brandon Mebane (whose disruptive presence helped set up many of the plays other made).
Coordinator Gus Bradley’s unit has sandwiched a pair of home-field shutouts around the team’s three-game losing streak. The Seahawks registered three shutouts in 1984 and had two in 1986. They had only six since then, until the first five games of this season.
But the domination Sunday wasn’t wire-to-wire. It didn’t start until the goal-line stand at the end of the Jags’ second possession, when Curry and Tatupu pressured Jags QB David Garrard into throwing an incomplete pass on fourth-and-1 from the Seahawks’ 2-yard line. Read more »
A recap of the Seahawks’ 41-0 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Matt Hasselbeck. On a day the Seahawks’ defense made its own, the nod still goes to the team’s sore-ribbed quarterback. Hasselbeck had not played since getting a rib fractured in the Week 2 loss to the 49ers in San Francisco and coach Jim Mora found him in “excruciating pain” in the locker room after a workout last Monday. But Hasselbeck not only played, he played beyond expectations.
He threw for four touchdowns – two each to T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Nate Burleson. He scrambled – three times for 23 yards. He finished with a passer rating of 125.1, before calling it a comeback of an afternoon in the fourth quarter.
Coach Jim Mora acknowledged the obvious, without overlook the big picture.
“Matt will be the focus of many of the stories tomorrow, and it’s huge,” Mora said. “When your guy that is under center, your point guard, shows the guts and the courage that he’s shown not just this week in playing, but through the last couple of weeks trying to get back to play. He’s really shown a commitment, and it means a lot to the football team.
“But, there were other guys on this team this week that stepped up and accepted a leadership role. I asked some guys on Monday to do that, and then I stepped back, and they did it. They did it. That’s what good teams do. Good teams have strong locker rooms with good leaders, and our leaders had a good week. They did a nice job.”
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: There are four touchdown passes from which to chose, but none was better than Burleson’s 44-yarder. He caught the ball against Jaguars cornerback Rashean Mathis – who also was beaten on both TD catches by Houshmandzadeh. Burleson then ran through an attempted tackle by nickel back Tyron Brackenridge, before running away from linebacker Russell Allen on his way to the end zone.
Oh, and Burleson was playing with tender ribs – complements of a hit in the first quarter.
“It was good to see Nate make a couple of plays for touchdowns,” Mora said. “He was out for awhile. He struggled through that. Fought through it.”
Defense: When a defensive player scores, it’s special. When that defensive player is a rookie lineman, it’s extra special. That’s what Nick Reed did, returning a fumble 79 yards for the Seahawks’ final touchdown. Reed got his big chance when defensive end Lawrence Jackson forced the fumble by slapping the ball from the grasp of Jaguars quarterback David Garrard.
“That’s why I picked it up. I kind of knew I was in the open field and there weren’t a lot of people around me,” Reed said. “Usually, I’m a dive-on-the-ball guy. But I had a good feeling about this one.”
Reed’s long run is a play that will keep on giving, because any fan who attended the game can take their ticket stub to a Puget Sound area Great Clips and get a free haircut.
Special teams: What’s better than a 54-yard punt by Jon Ryan? Nate Obomanu getting down field to drop the punt returner for a 1-yard loss. It happened on the Seahawks’ first possession of the second quarter.
Former first-round draft choice Manu Tuiasosopo was at the game collecting donations for the disaster victims in American Samoa. Former Seahawks guard Edwin Bailey raised the 12th Man flag above the south end zone before kickoff. Ring of Honor defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy also was in attendance.
But the past took a backseat to the present, when fullback Owen Schmitt bloodied his face by slamming his helmet to his forehead during the pre-game introductions.
“Did you the blood?” Mora asked, reversing the roles during his post-game Q&A session. “The thing is, he was our only active fullback. … So he’s running out on the field banging his head. And I said, ‘Hey pal, if you get hurt, we don’t have anyone else.’ That’s just his enthusiasm. He talked to me. He came up and apologized.”
On the Seahawks’ eight play, left tackle Brandon Frye finished the play face down on the Qwest Field turf. He had gotten a “stinger,” and the neck/shoulder injury sidelined him for the rest of the game. Frye was starting because Walter Jones and Sean Locklear are injured.
So that left … Kyle Williams, who was signed off the practice squad on Saturday. Williams finished the game, despite spraining a knee.
“With the adrenalin and everything, it just kind of went away,” Williams said of the pain in his knee.
Honorable mention, not to mention style points, to defensive lineman Cory Redding. As he was hustling to get off the field midway through the second quarter, Redding tripped and did a somersault before finally getting to the sideline – before the ball was snapped.
Before the game, Houshmandzadeh had joked that the best way to protect Hasselbeck’s ribs was to have him take three-step drops “and throw to me.” Perhaps he wasn’t kidding. Hasselbeck’s first pass, a quick throw, when to Houshmandzadeh. Before they were done, Hasselbeck and Houshmandzadeh had hooked up five times for 77 yards and the two touchdowns.
In the locker room, Houshmandzadeh couldn’t hide his pleasure over scoring his first two TDs as a Seahawk.
“We talked about if 27 (Mathis) was going to cover me, man-to-man, please let me beat him,” Houshmandzadeh said. “And they did. He won some of the battles. But it worked.”
In addition to Frye, Burleson and Williams, safety C.J. Wallace (hamstring), cornerback Travis Fisher (hamstring or groin) and guard Mansfield Wrotto (ankle) also were injured during the game.
All are scheduled for additional tests Monday.
The Seahawks already were playing without six injured starters who were inactive for the game: fullback Justin Griffith (knee), linebacker Leroy Hill (groin), guard Rob Sims (ankle), Jones (knee), Locklear (ankle) and defensive end Patrick Kerney (groin).
YOU DON’T SAY
“I wouldn’t wish this on anybody.” – Hasselbeck, of playing with a broken rib
The domination of the Seahawks’ defense was elevated to the only level remaining on the second play of the final quarter – a third-and-six snap from the Seahawks’ 8-yard line. Defensive end Lawrence Jackson, who left the game in the first half with a rib injury, returned and – as Annie Savoy would say – announced his presence with a fumble-forcing sack of Jags QB David Garrard.
Rookie defensive end Nick Reed scooped up the ball and returned it 79 yards for a touchdown that made it 41-0.
The Seahawks then turned the offense over to the backups – QB Seneca Wallace, RB Edgerrin James, WRs Deon Butler and Ben Obomanu. The line? The backups already were playing. But they still drove the ball from their own 26 to the Jaguars’ 19 before Wallace began taking a knee.
Different quarter. Different half. Same results.
The defense stepped up – again – as linebacker Aaron Curry swiped the ball from the hand of Jags QB David Garrard on the seventh play of the half and defensive end Cory Redding recovered the fumble and returned it 26 yards. Four plays later, it was “Housh” time – again – as Hasselbeck threw to WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh in the end zone. He beat Rashean Mathis on the play – again – to run the Seahawks’ lead to 27-0.
The next two series? Rewind – again. The defense held the Jags to another three-and-out, and Hasselbeck directed another TD drive – this one an eight-play, 48-yarder that ended with him lofting a pass to Nate Burleson in the end zone on third-and-goal for a 5-yard score that made it 34-0. Hasselbeck had a big pass on third down – again – as he hooked up with TE John Carlson for a 15-yarder on third-and-10. Hasselbeck also scrambled – again – for a 2-yard gain.
But the biggest play came when RB Justin Forsett took a handoff and headed to his right, looking to pass. When nothing was there, he reversed to his left and ran for 22 yards.
The Seahawks pushed their lead to 6-0 when Olindo Mare kicked a 27-yard field goal midway through the quarter. The kick capped an 11-play, 44-yard drive that was aided by two illegal-contact penalties against the Jaguars on third-down plays. Hasselbeck again had the big play on this drive, scrambling – and sliding – for a 12-yard gain.
Qwest erupted with a chorus of “Housh” on the Seahawks’ next possession, as Hasselbeck and Houshmandzadeh hooked up for a 34-yard TD that gave the Seahawks a 13-0 lead. Houshmandzadeh got behind CB Rashean Mathis to score his first TD as a Seahawk. Hasselbeck kept the drive alive with a 15-yard pass to Nate Burleson on third-and-11.
The Seahawks weren’t done, however, as they also scored on their next possession – this one a 44-yard pass play from Hasselbeck to Burleson, who beat Mathis to make the catch, ran through an attempted tackle by Tyron Brackenridge and then out ran Russell Allen to the end zone.
The defense, meanwhile, held the Jags to five consecutive three-and-out series in the quarter. Defensive end Darryl Tapp had a sack to stymie one possession.
But the Seahawks lost yet another player, as defensive end Lawrence Jackson went to the locker room because of a rib injury. He was replaced by Cory Redding, the player Jackson had replaced in the starting lineup this week.
The Seahawks held the Jaguars to 6 net yards in the second quarter, after yielding 86 in the first quarter.
The Seahawks got the ball first, as the Jaguars won the coin toss but deferred. More importantly, the Seahawks also got on the board first – as Olindo Mare kicked a 47-yard field goal with 6:19 left in the quarter to cap an 11-play, 54-yard drive.
Matt Hasselbeck, making his first start since fracturing a rib in the Week 2 loss to the 49ers, hit two of his first three passes for 33 yards and also scrambled for 9 yards – diving out of bounds, sore ribs and all. The big play on the drive was T.J. Houshmandzadeh’s nice reaction and grab of a 19-yard pass on third-and-17.
It didn’t appear the lead would last long, however, as the Jaguars took the ensuing kickoff and drove to the Seahawks’ 2-yard line. But on fourth-and-1, linebackers Aaron Curry and Lofa Tatupu flushed Jags QB David Garrard, who lofted an incomplete pass out of the end zone. The big play for the Jags came from an old nemesis – former Rams WR Torry Holt, who caught a 25-yard pass on the second play of the nine-play drive. Holt and Garrard also teamed up for a 16-yard pass play.
But the Seahawks didn’t escape the quarter without yet another injury to their offensive line. LT Brandon Frye, who was starting because Walter Jones and Sean Locklear are injured, got a stinger and had to be replaced by Kyle Williams. Williams was signed off the practice squad on Saturday.
Injuries made it easy for the Seahawks to compile their list of inactive players, as six of the seven are injured or coming off an injury:
- FB Justin Griffith (knee)
- LB Leroy Hill (groin)
- OT Walter Jones (knee)
- DE Patrick Kerney (groin)
- OT Sean Locklear (ankle)
- TE Cameron Morrah
- OG Rob Sims (ankle)
- 3rd QB: Mike Teel
- Darryl Tapp will start for Kerney.
For the Jaguars
- WR Mike Sims-Walker
- CB Scott Starks
- S Sean Considine
- LB Adam Seward
- LB Justin Durant
- OG Kynan Forney
- OT Jordan Black
- DT Greg Peterson
Mike Thomas will start for Sims-Walker, Tra Thomas for Eugene Monroe at LT, Uche Nwaneri for Maurice Williams at RG and Brian Iwuh for Durant at LB.
Countdown to kickoff
Greetings from Qwest Field, where the quest today for the 1-3 Seahawks is to take the first step toward reaching their bye week at 3-3.
Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is expected to play for the first time since getting a rib fractured in the Week 2 loss to the 49ers in San Francisco. That definitely should help as the Seahawks try to snap a three-game losing streak.
Another needed step is for the defense to force some turnovers against a 2-2 Jaguars team that has committed only five – one more than the Seahawks have forced – and features the pick-your-poison duo of running back Maurice Jones-Drew and QB David Garrard.
Speaking of Garrard, he had this to say this week when asked about the crowd at Qwest, “It’s really hard for me to believe that this place is going to be louder than Indianapolis’ old stadium.”
Hmmm. Will the 12th MAN take that personally?
We’ll be back later with the inactives ….
When: Sunday, 1:15 p.m., Qwest Field
Records: Seahawks 1-3, Jaguars 2-2
TV: KIRO/7 (Kevin Harlan, Solomon Wilcots)
Radio: 710 EPSN and KIRO-FM/97.3 (Steve Raible, Warren Moon, Jen Mueller)
Seahawks MLB Lofa Tatupu vs. Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew: This is not a one-man task, but Tatupu will have to be the leaders of the Seahawks’ gang-tackling efforts against the Jaguars’ short (5 foot 7) but powerful and productive back. MJD is tied for second in the league with five touchdowns, seventh in the league with 296 rushing yards and 10th in total yards (393). The Jaguars get him the ball as often as possible, and in as many ways as possible. Tatupu has to make sure MJD doesn’t do as much as possible with his touches.
One to watch
Matt Hasselbeck. The Seahawks’ three-time Pro Bowl quarterback has not played since fracturing a rib in the first half of the Week 2 loss to the 49ers in San Francisco. He did practice this week, and looked better each day. Hasselbeck has yet to take a hit, however. But just getting him back will be a boost not only for the offense, but the entire team – especially tight end John Carlson, who had six catches in each of the first two games, but has a total of eight in the past two.
Fun to watch
Seahawks FS Jordan Babineaux vs. Jaguars QB David Garrard. Again, this is not a mano-a-mano matchup. But Babineaux cannot allow Garrard to go off on the Seahawks the way he did against the Titans last week (three TD passes, to tie his career high, and 323 yards). Garrard also usually finds a way to be at his best when playing against NFC teams. Since 2007, he has 11 touchdown passes and four interceptions against NFC opponents for an 89.4 passer rating. Babineaux needs to find a way to stem this tide and come up with a big play –or two – himself.
The Jaguars have forced nine turnovers, which ties for third most in the league, and are plus-4 in turnover ratio. The Seahawks have four turnovers, which ties for second fewest in the league, and are minus-4 in turnover ratio. … Marcedes Lewis, the Jags’ 6-6, 275-pound tight end, is averaging 16.3 yards on his 11 receptions. … In two home games, Seahawks RB Julius Jones is averaging 107.5 rushing yards and 5.7 yards per carry. … The Jaguars are looking for back-to-back road wins for the first time since 2007. … Babineaux leads the Seahawks in tackles (28), while MLB Justin Durant is the Jaguars leading tackler (35).
A recap of the day’s activities:
Josh Wilson. Last week, the third-year cornerback flirted with the possibility of an early return from his high ankle sprain. This week, it appears to be a done deal.
As coach Jim Mora said after practice, “Josh, while we’ve limited him, when he’s been in there he’s looked good.”