I don't get it, but I like it.
I'm not going to pretend one games means Alexander is back, but his showing today was heartening. The key, if I could hazard a guess without scrutinizing the tape, he hit the hole. Sometimes it wasn't there, but he trusted his blockers and exploded forward. Great rushers, and I'm not sure I've ever thought Alexander was a great rusher, but great rushers redefine themselves as their signature skills diminish. Alexander, in his prime, could weave between defenders using his smarts and agility to pick through a defense. On most runs, against most defenses, he no longer can. But, if today is an exemplar, a performance to build from rather than the flash and fizzle before the true end, it will be because he trusted his blockers, hit his hole, and kept the cuteness to a minimum. How much that could mean for Seattle can't be understated, and, as such, I'm excited, but counting on nothing.
Something we can count on is that this defense, in Qwest, is a force of nature. The Hawks' weakest link in the starting 11, Brian Russell, has performed ably the past few weeks. That's worth a lot, because the other 10 are kicking ass and kicking ass as a team. Because of their depth, their teamwork and the way they demand excellence from each other, saying that the Hawks' D is more than the sum of its parts is more than just a cliché. "Team" really defines this D. If Josh Wilson can stay healthy and assume Jordan Babineaux's duties, the Hawks will not only replace their worst defensive regular with a substantial upgrade, they will add a true pick 6 threat to a D that already panics quarterbacks and blankets receivers. Watch out.
Matt Hasselbeck may not have had his best game as a passer, but as a quarterback, a captain and play caller, it was among his finest.
The Hawks, unit to unit, coach and players look like they got it today. They looked like a winner. The rest of the contenders in the NFC are sputtering. The Pack was rocked by an average at best Bears squad. The Cowboys are without their best player for, well, however long the muscle bound and suspiciously fast healing Terrell Owens decides not to play. The Hawks have been a maddening team. Hot, cold, dominant and dumb, but this roster, Alexander, Babs and all, is among the class of the NFC. They are healthy and hot when it counts. That guarantees nothing, but it's all you can ask for, and it's pretty damn sweet.
Game Ball: Patrick Kerney/Matt Hasselbeck. I've spoken of Beck, but Kerney, who's been so good, who must now be a front runner for defensive player of the year, has been a season changing free agent addition. I truly hope he can defy the usual decline defensive ends of his age endure, because he's a great player, a great leader and truly at home among his teammates in Seattle.
I'll see you all after the holiday. Merry Christmas.