Wednesday, October 12, 2011
2011 Seahawks Week 5: Five observations
By Mike Sando
Five things I noticed while watching the Seattle Seahawks' 36-25 road victory over the New York Giants in Week 5:
- Golden Tate showed up early, but you had to look closely. Doug Baldwin and Ben Obomanu caught the touchdown passes for Seattle, but Tate did his part as well. The scoring play Obomanu made on a receiver screen in the first quarter came together when Sidney Rice ran his defender out of the play, with Tate chopping down Giants safety Antrel Rolle on the perimeter. Without Tate's block, Rolle had a good shot at stopping Obomanu short of the end zone. Tate also got open for a key third-quarter reception to help the Seahawks improve field position in a close game. I'm not sure where or whether Tate fits in this offense for the long term, but he did make a couple contributions in this victory.
- Steven Hauschka played an important role. The kicker? Really? Yes. Hauschka had only one touchback on his nine kickoffs through the first three weeks of the season. He has eight touchbacks in 12 kickoffs over the past two weeks. Those touchbacks have helped Seattle ease lingering concerns over a kickoff coverage unit that had struggled amid injuries for a stretch. The Giants returned three kickoffs in this game, all from inside the end zone. Two of those produced drive starts inside the 20. Hauschka also made a 51-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
- Okung was struggling early. The first pressure Seattle allowed appeared to stem from a system-wide breakdown. Left tackle Russell Okung blocked no one, turning to the inside while Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora rushed unopposed. Marshawn Lynch tripped while reversing course to pick up Umenyiora. Tarvaris Jackson held the ball instead of dumping off to Michael Robinson. Strange. Later in the first quarter, Umenyiora beat Okung for a drive-killing sack. He also made Okung whiff on a running play, freeing Umenyiora to force a Lynch fumble. Okung did drive Giants defensive lineman Dave Tollefson across the formation to clear the way for Lynch's short scoring run.
- Chris Clemons was a big problem for the Giants. Seattle's best pass-rusher gave Giants linemen Will Beatty and David Diehl problems, and not just when he was sacking Eli Manning and forcing a fumble. One highlight: Diehl tackled Clemons on one play, drawing a penalty for holding. Clemons got up, realized Manning still had the ball and hit the quarterback from behind just after the throw. It's pretty clear Clemons has put behind him the ankle troubles that have bothered him at times. The bye week should only help him along those lines.
- Coaches need to protect their quarterbacks. Unless a Cam Newton or Tim Tebow type is on your team, it's tough to forgive a coach for getting his quarterback hurt on a designed run. The play that left Jackson with an injured pectoral was the type of play that leaves a quarterback with an injured pectoral (or something else). Backup Charlie Whitehurst also took some hits in this game, whether scrambling or absorbing the punishment that comes with playing quarterback from the pocket. I'd expect the coaching staff to minimize such risks to a greater extent.
The Seahawks are off this week. I'm heading out to their facility to catch their final practice of the week Wednesday. It's off to Detroit this weekend for the San Francisco 49ers' game at Detroit.