A few notes in this little space I reserve for commentary. Looks like DPOY belongs to Bob Sanders. I would agree that few players mean as much to their D as Sanders, who's a personal favorite of mine. Frankly, I don't think Kerney cares. Tom Hammond and Cris Collinsworth were a capable team. I was especially happy with Hammond, who sounded like a real football fan. Personally, I was dreading Hammond, because I don't even like his Kentucky Derby coverage. Something like enthusiasm bleeding into smarminess. Collinsworth was pretty eh with the occasional "galvanized" mixed it. I thought the officials did an excellent job.
- This is about as close as you'll ever see to me breaking news: Beck was playing hurt. Oh, you knew that? Well allow me to elaborate. On Beck's first pick, he sidearms the throw. An not just a little bit, but so that his arm is almost flat. I noticed a stretch of plays where he was throwing almost every pass this way. Beck does stare down Bobby Engram and that allowed Landry to jump the route, but the pass was slow, floated and so underthrown that Engram breaks his ankles trying to get back to it. Funny, too, because that's the last pass Beck threw like that. Maybe it just hurt less, and as a long as he could get away with it, he would.
- Beck's next pick is a little more complicated. Beck was back to throwing overhand, and suddenly the zip was back, too. A 1st down draw to Alexander put Seattle in excellent down and distance, 2nd and 2. What some commentator, years ago, described as "an offensive coordinator's dream." Seattle sets up 3 wide w/ split backs. One back is Weaver, natch, the other Alexander, er. The Skins send an outside blitz, Weaver wiffs his block allowing Marcus Washington straight to Beck, but Beck rolls right, Washington falls down, and - nope, Alexander trumps Weaver's sucky display of blocking by not blocking at all. No block, just stands, kinda moves out on a route afterwards. No block, none attempted. Then Beck has a meltdown, throws a duck off his back foot, Obomanu gets mugged, and Landry makes his name known to IDP players everywhere. Still, I'll take stupid over stupid and injured every day.
- On the very first play of the quarter, touchdown pass to Antwan Randle El, involved some pretty cool under the radar play by Julian Peterson. At the snap, he gets a real nice push on Chris Samuels, jumps, and by jumping blocks Collins passing lane, comes back to earth, pushes Samuels back again and then gets around the Pro Bowl tackle and provides pressure. Peterson’s value added as a nickel defensive end is another reason that he’s among Seattle’s least replaceable players.
- I don't think Burly committed offensive pass interference against Shawn Springs. I watched his leaping, 15 yard reception a few times, and at first, that is, on the first viewing from the long angle lens, it looks like Burleson pushes off. But on the replay, right up next to the two, you see a little hand fighting, but no penalty. That was maybe the most important offensive play of the game for Seattle, and it shouldn't be sullied if it's not deserved.
- Speaking of mis or dis-information (pick your level of paranoia), Landry may have bit on Beck's playfake right before Hacks' touchdown reception, but its sorta irrelavent. Hacks had about a 10 yard radius of open field all around him. Without question the blown coverage is on Pierson Prioleau, the man covering Hackett. If you've watched much of DJ, he does his stock and trade move, the same one he used on Trumaine McBride of the Bears, a little inside deek, then a two armed swim move. He hardly makes contact with the DB, but for whatever reason, DBs charge through it like a bull and Hacks gets unbelievable separation. The play fake looks nice to Seem Heads, but crediting it for the score seems like missing the forest for the trees.
- Two notes about Kelly Jennings, he had a real nice open field tackle (how often do I get to say that?), and the one reception Reche Caldwell did get, was against a prevent D.
- You know what's great? How much use Craig Terrill has strangled from that spin move of his. I've watched it all season, and yet, again and again he shoots past guards with that silly little spin move. When he sacked Collins, Kerney looked mad/confused, and even put a hand down on Collins, like he couldn't believe Guitar Man got the sack. Good stuff.
- Let's get to the play of the game. So, I've mentioned looking for a place where Rocky Bernard "breaks-out" and I think I found it, but it's pretty unconventional. In the second play of the Redskins 4th drive, counting the touchdown pass as a drive, 2nd and 12, Portis rushed for 2 yards. It was a messy run, with the Hawks having a couple shots to stop him for a loss, but him squirting out the right side after starting on the left. Bernard lunges for the tackle, looks real stiff, misses, and can be seen slowly picking himself up after the play. On the next play, Mebane runs to the sideline, Seattle is using a 3-3 Nickel formation, and Bernard or Terrell usually play the tackle, head-pin spot. But Bernard is out, and Mebane must rush back on the field to substitute. That's your breakout, I think, a chance to breath, followed by a brief Hawks drive. Because on the very next defensive play for Seattle, Bernard explodes through Fabini, using the guard to club his own quarterback and force the pick. It's priceless, too, the Skins have a back back to help double Kerney, but single block Bernard. He responds by employing one of the more novel pass rush moves I've seen: He puts his hands on the 6-7 guard's shoulders, squishes him down, and then walks him into Collins. It likely already has a name, but I want to call it the "crush" move, because it crushed Fabini, crushed Collins, and crushed the Skins comeback hopes. Tru, really, just moves under the floated pass for the pick. The rest is fun, and meaningful, but not terribly instructive. And, yes, Bane planted someone on the return.
- Finally, since we all like to talk about turning points and whatnot, what stands out most for me is that after a pick, a botched kickoff return and another pick, Seattle's defense took the field without a hint of defeat. Before the very first snap, every member of the Hawks D was rallying the crowd, especially Kerney who was giving that crazy eyed stare he gives, and the Qwest faithful boomed in response. It wasn't we're the Hawks and the league always shits on us. It wasn't we're the Hawks and we always choke. No it was a double barreled roar, and the very next play, the 12th man forced its first and only false start of the day.