The Five Plays that Defined the Half:
- Beck faced a lot of heat, from the middle and occasionally around right end. In such circumstances in 2006, Beck lost his head, but he was in rare form tonight as nearly every pass he threw was accurate (14/17). The play that many might critique him for is Antoine Winfield's interception. Warren Moon said he stared down his receiver; He didn't. Someone else I read said he misread the coverage, I don't really agree with that. Plainly, Winfield is an elite corner who made an amazing play. The pass was accurate, he looked off the coverage (he was surveying the right side of the field up until less than a second before he passed) and though he threw into the Viking's most dangerous DB's zone, the pass was properly placed to the receivers left-side shoulder. Sometimes, no matter how well you play, someone very good gets the better of you.
- On the third play of the Vikings second drive, Jackson tossed a high pass to Sidney Rice, Marcus Trufant, playing at the first down marker, closed the gap and threw down a mean tackle. This is Tru at his best: Good field awareness, good closing speed and a good open field tackle. Trufant recorded 6 "Good Coverage", but also two "Blown Coverage". The worst was clearly the 35 reception to Bobby Wade where Trufant badly bit on really half-hearted play fake by Jackson. Wade was wide open for easily ten yards. I hate to see Tru bite on any sort of fake, but it hardly undoes a very solid half. The unheralded star of the half? Undoubtedly Kelly Jennings who disappeared his man like few cornerbacks I've seen. While Trufant was racking up tackles, Jennings was quietly shutting down his half of the field. He recorded one blown coverage on an otherwise sparkling half of work.
- Marcus Tubbs didn't come out and dominate, but he didn't look hurt which is a colossal step forward. In his sub-optimal state, Tubbs looked more like a quality one gap defender, rather than the two gap force he's been. On his first play he slid Vikings center Matt Birk across the line and stuffed the run. It was a good play, but he hardly knocked his man two yards back as the announcers claimed. Tubbs wasn't alone though, the Vikings front five shut down most of the Hawks' line pressure. In the entire half I recorded only one FDT, courtesy of Chartric Darby, who's having a very nice August. Rocky Bernard isn't a well known name outside the PNW, but few tackles knife through the line with as much regularity as Bernard.
- Finally, the play I've been dying to write about. On the 8th play of the Hawk's penultimate drive of the half, Beck took three steps and zinged a screen to Deion Branch. In the slot was Bobby Engram who recorded a "good block" (one of two for Bobby). Branch cut upfield and who was two yards ahead of him but frickin' Sean Locklear! Watching it several times on replay, this was an absolute thing-a-beauty from start to finish. Lock chipped his man, the right defensive end, and Sims cleaned up. Lock then pulled out and negated a DB clearing the lane for Branch. Whether Branch crossed the goal-line is debatable, but who cares? Lock is such an asset for his pulling ability and I can't sing his praises enough for his performance on this play, but what impressed nearly as much is the blocking of Engram. Branch also recorded a "good block" on a previous play and for the first time in as long as I can remember, the Hawks have a group of competent blockers at wide receiver. Don't be surprised if the WR screen is used to get Burleson more involved, dude's deadly in the open field.
Hasselbeck: 14 accurate, 1 underthrown, 2 overthrown
Blown Blocks: Sims 2, Willis 2, Alexander 1, Strong 1
No Hole: 3
Good Block: Locklear 3, Strong 2, Engram 2, Alexander 1, Willis 1, Branch 1
Combo: Locklear/Sims 2, Gray/Spencer 1,
3 WR: 18
Forced Double Team: Darby 1
Penetration: Darby 3, Kerney 3, Bernard 2, Wilson 1, Tubbs 1, Tatupu 1, Bentley 1
Missed Tackle: Laury 1, Russell 1 (On back-to-back plays no less.)
Coverage: Trufant 6, Jennings 1, Russell 1
Blown Coverage: Davis 1, Bentley 1
HiZ: 3 (including the Vikings' gadget play TD)
5 DL: 2