Gameday diary: Seahawks at Bears

As the game goes on tonight, I'll post my thoughts on how the game is unfolding. Your thoughts encouraged! Just click on "comments" below to leave your own analysis.

5:14 p.m.: Just settling in here to catch the kickoff, and I know everyone wants to imitate Monday Night Football, but you'd think NBC could do a bit better Hank Williams Jr. impersonation than Pink. Let's just say it's a bad thing when your hip lead-in singer leaves you wishing for the upcoming booth shot of John Madden. It's like they're trying to be edgy, but she just ends up looking like an ugly stripper on top of a building that can't sing. The NFL rocks on NBC? This broadcast has nowhere to go but up at this point ...

5:35 p.m.: Good to see the Seahawks get on the board first, but it sure would have been nice to get a touchdown that deep. One of Tacoma News Tribune beat writer Mike Sando's favorite indicators of defense strength is red zone defense. It's how the Seahawks defense gave up so many yards last year, yet was strong enough to lead the team to the Super Bowl. For Chicago, that's now five times opponents have traveled inside their 20 yard line, and the fourth time they've forced a field goal. Look for that to be a deciding factor as the game goes on: The Seahawks must score touchdowns when they get the opportunity.

5:47 p.m.: Speaking of red zone touchdowns ... Bears 1, Seahawks 0. It came off a blitz, which is a bit surprising to me. It tells me the Seahawks were thinking the exact same thing I was before the game, trying to force Grossman into a mistake. No mistakes so far -- he's made the right decision at every turn. Now that he's proven he'll stand in there, I look for the Seahawks to try to generate pressure more exclusively with their front four.

6:03 p.m.: Did Al Michaels just say "Good as Gould"? C'mon Al! You're better than that! (Incidentally, Seahawks just got their first red zone stop. They look a little flustered at the moment; a decent drive from the offense here would stem some of this momentum.)

6:07 p.m.: Four minutes later ... so much for that. Three and out.

6:17 p.m.: OOOOOOooooohhhhh boy. We were counting on Grossman to make the mistakes. Manning jumped that slant like he saw something he recognized from film sessions. Good job to keep that from being a TD, I suppose, but this has to be the Seahawks worst nightmare so far. The Bears are doing exactly what Seattle hoped to do.

6:24 p.m.: For a while there, I felt like I was watching the Cougs against USC all over again. Before the Hawks stopped Chicago on third-and-goal, they had given up first downs on four of the previous eight third down opportunities. That will be a major problem if not corrected. By contrast, the Seahawks are 0-for-4 on third downs ... Again, holding Chicago to a field goal on first and goal from the one is an accomplishment, but let's be real: This team cannot continue to give up points, even field goals, when the offense is struggling this much against the stout Chicago defense.

6:28 p.m.: Faithful readers of Sports Illustrated will recognize this: This Week's Sign of the Apocolypse -- The Washington Huskies actually received votes in this week's Associated Press top 25 poll. What is this world coming to?

6.31 p.m.: This is an unmitigated disaster. I'm going to take a break for a bit ... I need to keep my head from exploding. Hasselbeck is trying to win this game all by himself, just like he did in the Super Bowl. And we all know how that turned out. I thought he had outgrown this. Maybe not ...

6:36 p.m.: OK, so I lied. Anyone else see Bryce Fisher get blown up by a tight end on that touchdown run? That was pitiful. The defense looks tired and slow and completely out of air. They shouldn't need the Seattle crowd to get them up for this ...

6:50 p.m.: Halftime analysis

Well, it's gut-check time for the Seahawks. We'll find out if this team has what it takes to mount a comeback against what sure is looking like the best defense in the league. The first half hardly could have gone worse for Seattle. The interesting thing for the Seahawks is that they've only been outgained by about 30 yards total, but the difference has been obvious: Two trips inside the 20 for the Seahawks have yielded only two field goals, and the defense has forced no turnovers. Conversely, in four trips into the red zone, the Bears have two touchdowns and two field goals. Ten of those points came off two very, very bad Matt Hasselbeck passes that were intercepted. Not what we've come to expect in the last year from him.

I think the Seahawks are playing right into the hands of the Bears defense. They seem to have completely abandoned the run; Maurice Morris has only six carries, and they didn't even try to run once on that final first and goal from the five.

I don't think the game plan changes much in the second half; I just think the Seahawks need to do what they set out to do initially. I'd like to see them run the ball a little more, trying to get Morris out in space. I'd like to see them take advantage of the Bears' aggressiveness with some screen passes. And I'd like to see the defense step up and make a play. That's the only chance they have.

7:24 p.m.: You know, somebody should tell Matt Hasselbeck that every defense has now seen that little check-down handoff to Mack Strong enough time on film that they're ready for it now. I mean, we've now done it twice on third down and neither time have we come close to converting. This is becoming incredibly frustrating to watch. We look completely outclassed and outcoached at this point. It's like the Bears know what's coming on virtually every play. Every time Hasselbeck checks off to a pass, the Bears back out and have every receiver absolutely swarmed. This is embarrassing. No other way to put it.

7:27 p.m.: Do you realize that that deep incompletion to Berrian was the first ball thrown Marcus Trufant's direction that wasn't completed or a pass interference penalty? Yuck.

7:34 p.m.: My buddy Jo-Jo just weighed in with this thought:

"I have a hard time with the fact that it looks as if no one is open, ever. Hasselbeck looks like he is short of options every time he drops back to throw."
What's frustrating is that we haven't been able to make any plays. It's like the Super Bowl all over again -- when there actually is a big play to be made against a tough defense, we can't seem to make it happen. Case in point: Wide open Darrell Jackson, streaking down the sideline; Hasselbeck throws the ball too close to the sideline and it rolls off his fingertips. Typical of tonight, and seeming to be typical of our team in hostile environments, taking into account the Super Bowl, the opener and Detroit, and tonight.

7:38 p.m.: Can't stop the run? Put 12 guys on the field! Just don't get caught like Seattle did.

7:41 p.m.: You know, if you're going to commit a penalty, you might want to make sure he doesn't catch the touchdown. Incidentally, anyone notice that it was once again our third string safety getting burned? Celestin, Pruitt, it doesn't matter ... the third safety on every team sucks. It's just that ours only seem to make their way onto the field in big games.

8:22 p.m.: Well, mercifully, it's over. Good thing it's just one game ... although that one game will really be like two games if it comes down to that for a home field advantage tiebreaker. I'm disappointed, but I'm also prepared to keep it in perspective. Yes, it sucked. Yes, it was embarrassing. But, yes, it's only one game. After four games last year, the Hawks were 2-2 coming off a tough loss to Washington. They won 11 of their final 12, a streak no one could have imagined at the time. Here's to keeping the faith.


Anonymous said...

I tell you what; it's been a long time since I've seen a Seahawks team this uninspired. Not to take away anything from the Chicago defense, they look awesome, but I have a hard time with the fact that it looks as if no one is open, ever. Hasselbeck looks like he is short of options every time he drops back to throw.

I think more disappointing is lack luster play of the 'Hawks D. Is Grossman really that good? Trufant is getting abused out there.


Anonymous said...

One word for the Seattle offensive line performance; STRUGGLE.


Anonymous said...

Tatle-tail, tatle-tail? I need a drink.

Ohp, . . . looks like Kelley Herndon needs a drink too.

This makes my heart hurt. I've got a buddy who went to H.S. with Grossman, I'm gonna hear 'bout this for a long time.