A bit slower quarter, and I'm wearing down after gettin' kind of rowdy last night, so this might be a little shorter.
- Team effort: On the Skins 10 play drive that ended the 1st and opened the 2nd quarter, the Hawks were just tearing through Washington's line. And not because of any one mismatch, either. Mebane, Peterson, Kerney, Bernard, Terrill, Tapp again and Howard Green each recorded a penetration. Green's likely prevented a long reception.
- Burly just shed Shawn Springs on, get this, a really nice route run by Nate. Springs was clearly off yesterday, perhaps feeling his age, but the story for Hawks fans is that Burly has now shown clear, consistent improvement over the last few weeks. Good to see.
- Redskins rushing revisited: Since we spent so much time ripping through the Skins rush packages, I thought a follow up was in order. Portis rushed for 13 on this play.
- Hawks are in a base defense, The Skins 3 wide with an I-formation. At the snap, Heyer blocks out, Fabini and Rabach combo block in right, and Kendall and Samuels combo block in left.
- Grant is walked up. Fabini disengages and takes on Tatupu. Peterson hits Sellers just out of the hole.
- Portis gets skinny, runs between an almost invisible seem, breaks arm tackles by Grant and Tatupu. Is taken down after a gain of 13.
- The key to this run is Fabini being able to block, disengage and the seal of the inside edge on the second level. It helps that Portis is a really special back, if only his line could run block.
- Two plays later Peterson gives Fabini his paralysis stare, then runs untouched to Collins for a sack.
- Jennings was lined across from Reche Caldwell for most of the game. Caldwell caught one pass for 7 yards, and was the target of 3 incompletes. Caldwell isn't any great shakes, but Jennings is good. Real good.
- Beck just didn't have any touch on his short passes: I'm not an orthopedist, but that likely has something to do with the wrist. He had no feel for the underneath stuff, and in Holmgren's offense that's a capital offense. On the third play of the Hawks' final series of the half, Seattle set up a modest screen to Leonard Weaver on 2nd and 15. I say modest because only Spencer was out lead blocking, but, boy, what a determined, dominant block Spencer was dishing out. Spencer, quietly, has really improved. He's not falling over, he's diagnosing blitzes and disengaging combo blocks to pick up free blitzers, and he's beginning to show his huge potential as a pull blocker.
- All Hail Plackemeier!: Plack had a tremendous, tremendous half. In the 1st quarter he twice pinned the Skins behind the 5, and I say "he" pinned the Skins, when I almost never emphasize a player over a team, because Ryan Plackemeier pwned. The 1st hit within the 5 and just died. The second went out at the 2, and it was possibly the best punt I can ever remember seeing. I can't even fathom how someone drop kicks a ball so that it crosses out of bounds within the Skins five yard line, the margin of error there is non-existent. Plack wasn't done, though. In the 2nd he punted a ball from the Hawks 5 to the Skins 45, from the Hawks 10 to the Skins 35, and from the Hawks 35 to the Skins 9, that were each punted so high, that they were unreturnable. Distance doesn't mean shit if your special teams can't set up, being able to combine good distance with great height is how you shutdown the Skins 6th ranked punt return unit.
Finally, a blitz: I know we haven't talked about Kerney much, he had a good game and we'll get to him in time. He plays a bit part in this blitz, but Leroy Hill is the star and Lofa Tatupu the mastermind.
Tapp rushes straight ahead. Terrill, rushes hard right. Kerney drops into a short zone. Hill runs up behind Tapp and lets the play develop. Here's the meat: Tatupu engages his man, but stops attempting to rush the quarterback. Instead, he turns right and moves his blocker into the pile. That allows a lane to open for Peterson and eventually Hill. And the gravy: Pete ends up blocked out of the play, but Hill charges into Mike Sellers, pushes him into Collins, jumps above the staggered Sellers, grabs Collins by the jersey and curls him to the ground. That's a play for the highlight reel. From Tats unselfish execution to Hill's freakish strength and agility, an impressive display of team defense.