With us moving, school starting, a 2nd job starting, etc.; there is no way I'll have the kind of time to write previews this week like I did last. I'll still do my best to spread the knowledge, but I can't promise any 11 hour post-a-thons. With that in mind, no time for an off day. We'll throw down the Tape for the first half today, finish up tomorrow, hopefully transition into some game previews, and continue those into Saturday. Cool? Let's get started.
- The words out on Mebane, but it doesn't matter: Very first play of the game, Hawks in base D, Gibbs calls for a run behind left tackle from a power formation. Rabach and Kendall double Bane, Bane turns his left shoulder in and splits the two O-linemen in what's truly an excellent pass rush move, gets behind the line of scrimmage, loses the tackle on Portis but blows up the play. Tats cleans up after a 3 yard gain. Bane declares: "I will not be contained;" Just an excellent opening salvo from Bane.
- Next play: Gibbs attempts a run to the right, Bernard reminds Gibbs that he too is an excellent run stuffer. Penetration, wraps up Portis after 1 yard, Hawks force a third and long.
- Factoid!: In the next series Alexander, Burly and Beck each break a tackle.
- Whoever screwed up, on a blown coverage Beck should have thrown it to Obomanu, not where he's supposed to be: Obo's just short of being a rook, that's on Beck for not adjusting.
- The Truth: On the Skins second rush of their second drive, the Hawks gang tackled Portis after 6 yards. The Hawks have Portis wrapped, so Tru, the freakin' brilliant player that he is, goes for the strip. Nothing came of it, but it's a really heady play, and a compliment to Jim Mora Jr's coaching.
- Tapp dislodges Ross Tucker, makes a great 3rd down stuff.
- Hooray, Babs!: I don't get to write that too often, and the guy's still miserable in coverage, but I have to applaud him for steering Torrence into the ball. It was a little gutsy, maybe too gutsy, but it ended up netting the Hawks 33 yards of field position. As Krusty's accountant said: "Gambling's the finest thing a man can do, if he's good at it."
- Mercury Rising: Lost in the mix, Morris' broken tackle to help Seattle convert a first on their first scoring drive was an excellent display of quick feet and efficient run route running. In Peewee they'd reward that effort w/ more touches. Stump? Stump?
Weapons Grade Plutonium: A lot of things went right to allow Weaver to rush 17 yards for the score. Foremost, Weaver is an excellent rusher for a fullback. After the snap, Spencer pulls out, but doesn't engage his man. Nevertheless, his presence still functions as a pick, with which Weaver exploits perfectly, running behind Spencer until he has a clear angle to the right, then cutting towards the sideline. That's where Engram is performing a very determined downfield block. Not dominant, and maybe not even legal, but the officials were extremely permissive of holds, and what Engram did was by no means the the worst display of holding I saw in this quarter. (That would be Stephon Heyer grabbing a hold of Kerney's jersey and then falling backwards to the ground, taking Kerney with him.) At this point it's all up to Weaver to smell endzone, and he's does so admirably. Even getting airborne to cross the pylon.
Here's something you might not have seen, though. Collinsworth noted that the Skins were playing pass. In fact, they had a defensive end, Demetric Evans, playing left defensive tackle opposite Gray. Evans is an end/tackle hybrid and a situational pass rusher. At the snap Evans gets a step on Gray, but Gray gives Evans a big push that knocks him back and away from the center draw. It looks like a week off helped Gray, but how long will it last?
- More love for Babs: That rarest of notes somehow etched into my notebook: GC = Babs. Not a Jennings tip, or a Trufant enveloping, but on the 4th play of the Skins 3rd drive, Babs used a well timed jump to screen Santana Moss and force the incompletion. Little things. Tats, likewise, harried Chris Cooley forcing an incompletion. Both Skins should have made their respective catches, though.
- Walter Jones looked fleet, spry.
- Weaver: Right now, Weaver is a better rusher and receiver than Mack Strong ever was. That's not dig on Strong either, who had some solid seasons. What Weaver can't compare to Strong on is awareness. As a blocker, Weaver runs readily and makes solid contact. Because of his feet and overall strength, Weaver has the potential to be a very good blocker, but he just doesn't always know who to block. That's pretty crucial, of course. On the 3rd play of the Hawks 3rd drive, Morris was dialed up to run off tackle. The Skins' Marcus Washington is walked up to the line, clearly positioned for a run blitz, or a read/react run blitz, but Weaver, whose lead blocking out of the "I", runs past Washington and engages an irrelevant DB. Washington shoots in untouched, and Morris must eat it for a loss of 3. Good discipline by Mercury here to not attempt to escape a broken play, but the result still effectively kills the drive.