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Justin Forsett's Untouched Touchdown Run and Other First Quarter Notes

  • Matt Hasselbeck threw the ball 38 to 40 yards in the air to T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Dick Stockton said that his shoulder and rib injuries had previously prevented Hasselbeck from airing it out. That's an interesting point. The pass was high angled and accurate, but slow. The angle gave Housh the best shot at catching it and unlike some Hasselbeck deep passes, it did not succeed solely because the defender did not anticipate it. Part of the value of the deep pass, beyond the inherent yardage, is that a deep pass can isolate a receiver on a defensive back, even a safety. 40 yards is not always enough to accomplish that isolation. Instead, a 40-yard pass risks arriving just as the safety and corner converge. However if Hasselbeck could consistently throw the ball 40 yards with as much arc and accuracy as he did this pass, it would open a whole new element to Seattle's passing attack. If injury prevents Hasselbeck from achieving even a 40 yard deep pass, then like Shaun Alexander before him, we are not dealing with one quarterback, but a potential and a beat-up reality.
  • Max Unger had perhaps his best game as a pro.
  • Justin Forsett was better at finding holes against Arizona than Julius Jones has been at finding holes against any opponent. We will see if that is Forsett or the line. In 2007, fans complained about Seattle's offensive line, claiming it could not open holes for Alexander. I countered that Alexander was slow enough and hesitant enough into the hole that good holes were wasted and anything but a good hole was certain lost yardage. I am not ready to say the same of Jones, but I am ready to say Forsett looks more forgiving.
  • He walked almost untouched into the end zone. It was zone blocking at its best. The play turned on three factors: the line call, John Carlson's ability to contain the end and Ray Willis' ability to dominate a linebacker. The line call directed Willis to pull straight ahead and engage and shove the Cardinals inside linebacker towards the right sideline. Carlson took on the end and held him long enough for Force to hit and run through the hole. Justin Griffith hit the hole and punished the defender's overpursuit, blocking the left outside linebacker right and extending the hole. From there Forsett was able to run north-south and behind Willis into the end zone.
  • The run featured end around motion that drew the corner away from the play.
  • I should count how often Colin Cole is shoved three or more yards back from the line of scrimmage. Brandon Mebane subbed out for the fourth play of the Cardinals second drive. Cole was shoved back three yards and through the resulting hole, Tim Hightower rushed almost untouched for eight. Hightower gets eight. Adrian Peterson batters his way to a touchdown.
  • Forsett's smallness shows itself in surprising situations. I noticed he struggled to fight his way through and pull out to receive. He's powerful for his size, but 190 is 190.
  • Seattle stopped Arizona at the one and scored on the ensuing drive. Marcus Trufant powered into and under the fullback to stack the pile and stop Hightower. It was an impressive display of stoutness from a corner. The unheralded catalyst was Cory Redding. Redding drove off the snap and churning, twisting and eventually running backwards, drove into the Cardinals right side, forcing the rush outside and disorganizing the offensive right. The big man got low and leveraged his way into the pile like a defensive tackle.
  • Louis Rankin was bowled over attempting to pull out on a screen right. Hasselbeck threw it towards his downed body.