- Many a Seahawks fan clamored for Seattle to draft Josh Beekman. Beekmen, a decorated lineman out of Boston College, fell to the fourth because of concerns about his size. Just 6'105, and without compensating tools, those concerns were not without merit. On the very first play of the game, combo blocking with Olin Kreutz, Beekman toppled Brandon Mebane with a vicious blindside block.
- Next play, 2nd and 6 on the Chicago 24. Bears break in a 3 WR, TE, Rb formation. Seahawks in a base 4-3. The Seahawks rush 5 on a zone blitz. Lofa Tatupu, showing exciting improvement as a blitzer - the logical next step after last season's gains shedding blockers - explodes down the right "A" gap and forces a panic throw by Rex Grossman. As far as panic throws by Grossman go, this one was surprisingly accurate, and doubly-surprisingly to an undermatched target. Earl Bennett against a defensive end is an exploitable misma - no. Lawrence Jackson blocks out Bennett and records his first of two good coverages.
- Seattle cashed-in on the next play, as the Troika, LeRoy Hill, Julian Peterson and Tatupu, convened for a sack. Hill, somehow, received sole credit, but by the time he arrived for the wipeout hit, Tatupu and Peterson had already corralled Grossman and Sex Cannon was in a standing fetal position. In that sense, Hill deserves the least credit.
- For those scoring at home, Steve Vallos blew the block that led to Charlie Frye's first sack.
- A little field leadership by Deon Grant: On Chicago's third play of their first drive, Grant adjusted Atkins, hitting him on the left hip and directing him to slide out wider right. It didn't have a direct result on the play, but Atkins did achieve better edge rush and that rush opened a pass rush lane at the right "B" gap.
- Two plays later, 2nd and 3 on the Chicago 34. Bears break in a 2 WR, TE, Hb, Rb formation. Seattle in a base 4-3. Jackson dominates Chicago's left side offensive line, ultimately drawing a triple team. Darryl Tapp exploits the attention, abusing John Tait, flying around the edge and forcing an incomplete.
- Next play, now third down. Bears 3 WR, TE, Rb. Seattle in nickel. Grossman gets time, targets a single covered Bennett streaking down the middle on a skinny post and delivers a catchable pass to Bennett's inside shoulder. Josh Wilson, playing man under coverage, reads the pass, breaks in and swats the ball away.
- Leonard Weaver, Mike Wahle and Sean Locklear each displayed good pull blocking. Locklear was then rolled up on from behind. It's some wonder he wasn't hurt worse.
- Preseason fumbles have become a bit of a tradition for Seattle. Weaver, recently T.J. Duckett and now Julius Jones has joined the party. Like Duckett last week, there're fumbles and there're fluke fumbles. On Seattle's seventh play of its second drive, Jones had broken containment, converted a long third down and seemingly put his team just outside the red zone. Sensing contact, Jones secured the ball, lowered his shoulder and put a clean, squared shot on Kevin Payne. And then the ball popped out. I really don't know how, as it didn't even look like Payne buried his helmet into the ball. Maybe Jones was just sweaty. Either way, I'm not concerned.
Even with the fumble, Jones had a very productive first quarter: Excellent blocking as always, two first downs, a 50% success rate and no rush for less than two yards, 35 yards on six carries and one reception of nine yards. Another reception targeting him was tipped away; certainly no fault of Jones.
- On Frye's first interception, the ugly one into coverage that looked better targeted towards Charles Tillman than Jordan Kent, it was Vallos who was beat back and allowed an open lane for Adewale Ogunleye to stunt through. Frye does not keep his head under pressure.
- Jackson at it again, pressing Kellen Davis and taking away Grossman's safety valve. Second play of Chicago's third drive. 2nd and 8 on the Chicago 22. Got to love the excellent field position courtesy of Olindo Mare. Bears in a 2 WR, 2 TE, Rb formation. Seattle in a base 4-3. John Marshall calls another zone blitz. Hill obliterates lead blocker Matt Forte. Tatupu, trailing Hill, shoots the exposed gap and pressures Grossman. Grossman heaves the ball towards Davis, who, pressed out of his route and bewildered, looks slightly more open than Jackson himself. Slightly. Jackson is exceptional on zone blitzes. His addition has and will change Marshall's play calling.
Do you like exotic blitz packages? I don't. Too many Three Stooges blitzes involving players running around, picking each other out of the pocket and wasting motion and time. Then again, maybe I'm all turned around on the idea.
Next play, Bears break 3WR, Hb, Rb, Shotgun. Seattle in a 3-3 nickel. God I missed the 3-3 Nickel.
Here's what happens:
And here's how it happens:
At the snap, ends Jackson and Tapp deke in and then fade into short hook zones. Rocky Bernard teams with Tatupu to splinter the middle offensive line left. Offensive linemen, like pawns, are strongest when contiguous. Hill and Wilson, in symmetrical positions left and right respectively, edge rush. Wilson destroys Greg Olsen, forcing an uncalled hold before easily slipping past him. Hill draws left tackle John St. Clair and running back Forte, eventually circumventing both. Tait, previously assigned Tapp, is shuffling alone, isolated between the Bernard and Tats havoc and Wilson's edge rush. That's when the keystone of this blitz arrives: Peterson shoots between Tait and Kreutz, providing inside pressure and cuing Grossman's retreat. Grossman, now nearly backed into his own end zone, facilitates Hill and Wilson's edge rush. Remember aspiring quarterbacks, 15 yard drops allow edge rushers to run straight past their blockers. In a beautiful culmination, Seattle's three blitzers simultaneously arrive, terrifying Grossman into a grounding penalty.
Let's end with Jordan Kent, who benefited from some blown coverage, but, at least on one play, put it all together.
Seattle ball, third play of Seattle's third drive of the quarter. Hawks break in a trips left, TE, Rb. Kent is the "headpin". Chicago is in a Nickel. Before the snap, Seattle motions Ben Obomanu out of the bunch, wide right. At the snap, Ricky Manning Jr. attempts a press on Kent but gets tossed aside. Kent then zips horizontally on a drag route, receives without breaking stride, hops over all-world tackler Lance Briggs, turns upfield and puts a pretty good pop on Tillman before being wrestled down after 8.
Heck of a play and great to see the drag executed to perfection.