Monday, October 3, 2011
Around the NFC West: Jackson's big game
By Mike Sando
Quite a few of us thought the Seattle Seahawks defense would keep them competitive during a low-scoring defeat to the Atlanta Falcons.
Instead, the Seahawks got blown out early, then rallied on offense before losing a high-scoring game, 30-28.
For the first time this season, the Seahawks showed how their passing game can perform under favorable circumstances: at home against a team that hadn't collected a sack in its previous two games.
I'd say Tarvaris Jackson in particular outperformed expectations. Even the often-skeptical QBR metric found significant value in the 319-yard, three-touchdown performance, ranking Jackson above Drew Brees and Matthew Stafford for Week 4 games.
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune also gave high marks to Jackson. Boling: "Jackson has been a polarizing figure among fans this fall, mostly for reasons that have nothing to do with him. Some believe the Seahawks should have tried harder to re-sign veteran Matt Hasselbeck, that they should have signed or traded for somebody other than Jackson, or they should have promoted backup Charlie Whitehurst. In the first three games, Jackson did little to convert the doubters, although his play was limited by the 14 sacks he absorbed behind spotty blocking. What we discovered against Atlanta was that when the Seattle offensive line allows him to play from a vertical position, it enhances a quarterback’s effectiveness."
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune saw progress as the Seahawks started the same five offensive lineman in the same spots in consecutive weeks, a firs this season.
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times questions coach Pete Carroll's decision to try a 61-yard field goal on fourth-and-8 with 13 seconds left, one timeout remaining and the Seahawks trailing by two. Brewer: "How about making an unlikely fourth down instead? That was the choice -- unlikely vs. unprecedented -- and while neither is an attractive option, Carroll made the wrong decision. Do something that the Seahawks have never done before, or reward Tarvaris Jackson and an offense that had exploded for 239 yards in the second half with the opportunity to make one difficult play? Unlikely trumps unprecedented." Noted: The question is whether one very unlikely occurrence was less likely than two unlikely occurrences (converting on fourth-and-8, then making a potentially long field goal). Much depends on the kicker, the conditions and the feel a coach has for his offense at that time. I'd have an easier time with the decision if Sebastian Janikowski were the Seahawks' kicker. Steven Hauschka has a strong leg, but this was a long-shot kick, at best.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times isn't sure what the Seahawks were thinking in how they played Aaron Curry against the Falcons. Noted: Curry's contract makes trading him a bit unrealistic, but if the team gives a motivated Curry shots at playing time, might Curry become more appealing to a potential suitor? It is one consideration and an unlikely one, but perhaps no less likely than making that 61-yard field goal.