Did you see what I did there with the title? God I'm clever.
I feel like initial reactions to games, both positive and negative, might be best ignored. Not sure about you, but I did a little imbibing of Grandpa's old cough medicine during the game so emotions tended to run a little high. The bad things seem worse and the good things seem better. Well, I've sobered up completely, thought about the game more, dreamed about it a little, and now with sound mind and body hereby present to you my thoughts on the game. They're vaguely similar to last night, but with a little more thought and detail.
I'll start with the negatives so I can get those out of the way, and they're obvious:
First, the offense just didn't look good. It didn't look good to me last night, and it still didn't look good to me this morning. The reasons for this are multi-fold. The offensive line, as expected, didn't play well. They gave up too much pressure. They didn't get the run game going until the 3rd quarter. Even Russell Okung mucked up a couple plays.
The quarterback play wasn't very good. Blame can be placed on the line but blame can also be placed on the quarterback. Yes, I know, it's shocking. Seahawks fans are pretty used to blaming the offensive line for everything so I'm just going to go ahead and say it. Tarvaris Jackson didn't play very well. His statistics looked ok, I guess. People have pointed out that without that interception in the end of the first half, his QB rating would have been 90.
Well, to me, the eye test says otherwise. Perception is, by definition, subjective. My judgement doesn't matter any more than anyone else's opinion, but I just didn't see a confident, poised QB out there. He didn't have good pocket presence. He fumbled the ball three times, losing it twice, including a snap on a key third down late in the game. He missed a few open receivers. I haven't given up on Tarvaris but I don't think it's out of line to say that he didn't give me much confidence in this game.
My opinion doesn't really matter though because he's not getting benched, at least not for a while. I'm not listing Jackson's mistakes because I want Charlie Whitehurst to take over. I'm just trying to give you an honest reaction to the game. In reality, he could have played a lot better, but he could have been much, much worse. Middling is what we're expecting, and I feel like that's attainable. I'll talk about some of the good things he did later so you don't have a completely bad taste in your mouth about it.
It's too easy to blame either just the o-line or the just quarterback for offensive issues so let's just blame both. Tarvaris and company didn't get into a rhythm until the third quarter. While they were waiting to start playing football, the 49ers had built a 16 point lead. The good news? It should have been a 28 point lead but the defense stonewalled the Niners in the redzone three times.
People were panicking a little bit in the first half because the Seahawks offense looked so incredibly inept. Well... I think that's fair. The Hawks started out the game out with an 8-play, 34 yard drive. Not really, actually. They started with a three and out but then retained possession with a roughing the kicker penalty on Jon Ryan. Lucky there. They took advantage, and picked up two first downs before they were forced to punt. So... so-so. Not what you hope for, but not the worst possession ever.
After that first 'drive,' the Seahawks went into fetal-position-offense mode. Here's the rest of their first half drives:
-- 3 plays for -1 yards. Punt.
-- 3 plays for 4 yards. Punt.
-- 4 plays for 7 yards. Fumble, turnover by Jackson.
-- 3 plays for -5 yards. Punt.
-- 3 plays for -2 yards. Punt.
-- 1 play for 0 yards. Jackson Intercepted as time ran out in the first half.
37 yards of offense in the first half. Suckatude.
The second half was better, and the Hawks actually ended up outgaining the 49ers on offense. That's funny. But in terms of getting off to a good start, yeesh.
The defense looked pretty good, and I'll get to more of that later, but getting only one hit on Alex Smith all game is disconcerting. I'm not sure, but from what I've heard San Francisco's offensive line isn't exactly elite. The Hawks defensive line looked good in run stoppage, yes, and the Seahawks secondary looked pretty decent in pass stoppage.
I'm not trying to be an asshole here but they looked good against the 49ers offense led by Alex Smith. That's not a potent, high-powered offense. Smith had all day to throw and still couldn't do much. That's a testament to the play of our secondary, particularly Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, but it also won't happen that way against the elite QBs. Just saying. Things to be excited about yes, but I don't get the impression the Hawks are 'set' on the defensive side. We'll need to see growth there, obviously.
The penalties were annoying. The Seahawks jumped offsides on a 4th and 1 play where the 49ers lined up six offensive linemen and set the guy on the far right in motion, like a tight end would. The Hawks should have been ready for this but when he stepped back to go into motion, they thought it was a false start. It wasn't. Bummer.
There were a few big plays negated by penalties. There were a few plays where penalties really helped the 49ers.
Brandon Browner got called for a pass-interferance play in the endzone. I suppose it was close-- it wasn't exactly egregious but it was enough for him to get called on it. As commenters noted in the thread, we'll take a penalty over an easy catch for a touchdown. Browner also got nailed for a roughing the kicker penalty. That was dumb. Bad call, he didn't even touch him. He allegedly got called for a block in the back during Washington's negated 73-yard punt return but Pete Carroll came on 710ESPN this morning and said it was actually Bigby that got called for that one. So Browner is absolved of blame on that one.
We're getting from Browner pretty much what we all expected, so don't act surprised. He looks like a beast on the corner. He made some great tackles and some great stops. He also got flagged a few times. We all knew this would happen. Let's hope he can learn from it and move forward.
Penalties are a part of the game but the Seahawks need to be smarter. A few of the plays were just boneheaded. Need to rein that in. Pretty easily corrected.
The special teams were atrocious. Hopefully that's an aberration. What can you say about it? Maybe it's karma for last year's game against the Chargers. I saw someone say we got "Leon Washington'ed". Fair enough.
Ok, I suppose nothing new there but now I'll work on the positives, because I don't feel like being depressed on a Monday morning. Stay tuned, a lot more to come in the next few hours.