Sunday, September 11, 2005

Somehow I Knew This Would Happen
By Zach

So if Ben can be optimistic about his team getting thrashed in Week One, I suppose I can be somewhat ok with the Seahawks being mediocre. Considering the fact that they had to fly cross-country to face the Jaguars, with temperatures on the field at 120 degrees during the game, I suppose they didn't play too badly. Additionally, since the Rams lost to the 49ers (I don't even have a joke for this...that's how unprepared for that outcome I was) and the Cardinals got blasted by the Giants, what I've said about the Seahawks for weeks still holds true: they're not very good, but they're still going to win the NFC West.

What, in particular, is not very good about them? Their defense. It all starts with their front four, which was yet again underwhelming against the Jags. They recorded three sacks but rarely pressured Byron Leftwich outside of that. More to the point, they couldn't generate any pressure while only rushing 4, which forces them to either sit back and let the QB pick them apart or blitz frequently, which makes me want to commit certain crimes. Their run defense was mediocre as well.

But the sad thing was, this wasn't a game to blame on the defense. Not when the offense and special teams committed 5 turnovers. Hell, when you fumble the opening kickoff it's a bad sign. Matt Hasselbeck also threw one of the worst non-Jake Plummer related interceptions I've ever seen, blindly chucking the ball towards the sidelines in a futile attempt to avoid a sack.

As Ben put it in his post, it's Week One. There's still time for this team to play they can blow a fourth-quarter lead.

Beyond the Seahawks, here are a couple of other things I noticed around the league:

-Of the four teams that pulled off big upsets in my mind (Tampa Bay, Miami, San Francisco, and New Orleans), it's the two from Florida who intrigued me the most. If Gus Frerotte can be a decent QB for the Fish, they have enough talent at other positions to be a much improved team. They've got good wideouts in Chris Chambers and Marty Booker, a very good tight end in Randy McMichael, and if rookie Ronnie Brown develops, they might be a decent offensive squad. Their defense still looks good, which should worry the rest of the AFC East. They're not a playoff team, but they could play spoiler.

The Buccaneers, on the other hand, looked like a legit playoff team with a dominating performance on the road in Minnesota. They frustrated and confused Daunte Culpepper, and were efficient enough on offense. Plus, Cadillac Williams had a great first game in the league. They might be able to make a run in the NFC at a wild card.

-Watching the Sunday Night game, needing a big game from Jamal Lewis to try and win my fantasy game, I couldn't help but wonder what the hell Brian Billick was doing. Let's put it in Hubie Brown terms: "You've got a running back who ran for 2000 yards two years ago, an offensive line that works a lot better going forwards than backwards, and a quarterback whose career highlight is still throwing a football between the goalposts from his knees at the 2003 Scouting Combine...maybe you should run the football." Besides that, you're also facing the Colts and their vaunted offense, so maybe trying to control the clock and keeping the ball away from them might be a good idea. So what happens?

Lewis carried the ball 11 times in the first half. No, he didn't have great numbers, but still, at that point the game was scoreless and he was a valuable asset in trying to win the field position game. Of course, he carried the ball less and less as the half went on. But the worst moment was early in the second half. The Colts went three-and-out on their first possession, meaning that the Ravens got the ball at midfield trailing by a field goal. So what do they do? Give the football to their best player? I'll let the Game Log tell the story:

1-10-BAL49 (14:03) K.Boller pass to D.Wilcox to IND 45 for 6 yards(L.Tripplett).
2-4-IND45 (13:26) K.Boller pass incomplete to C.Moore.
3-4-IND45 (13:20) K.Boller pass to M.Clayton to IND 37 for 8 yards (N.Harper).
1-10-IND37 (12:51) K.Boller pass incomplete to D.Mason.
2-10-IND37 (12:48) K.Boller pass to D.Mason to IND 32 for 5 yards (N.Harper).
3-5-IND32 (12:20) K.Boller pass to D.Mason to IND 29 for 3 yards(D.Strickland).

This resulted in yet another Matt Stover missed FG.

My favorite football writer, the Tuesday Morning Quarterback, loves to rip coaches for abandoning the run too early. Clearly, the Ravens did this in the second half. Yes, they did go down by as many as 17, but for much of the third quarter the game was still fairly close. Besides, you should never let the other team work you out of your preferred style of play.

Lastly, about the US Open: while I don't share Ben's hatred of Andre Agassi, I do agree that it was a shame to have to wait until near the end of the match to hear from the announcers that Federer was really playing well. I grew up in a family that loved tennis, and it was a treat for me to get to watch such an entertaining match on what was otherwise a lost weekend.

How so, you ask? Besides the Seahawks losing, my fantasy team also lost, the UW Huskies got destroyed by Cal, and King Felix got shelled by the Orioles. Oh yeah, and I've been maybe it's time to move on to Week Two.


Post a Comment

<< Home