I want to be optimistic. I feel optimistic. I don't feel beat down by this game. So I am going to be optimistic. There truly is a lot to be optimistic about, but before I tap that, let's take care of a few things.
The long pass attempt directed at Deion Branch on fourth and two was suicidal. Whether it was play call or read, that decision was aborted in the tube.
Walter Thurmond had a rookie moment. Now that it's over, I think we can accept that. Kid was nervous. Kid screwed up bad.
Seattle does not have a functional pass rush. I know people want more blitzing. The Seahawks do blitz, just not terribly often. They do not have a ton of talent to send on a blitz. Lofa Tatupu is not a great blitzer. David Hawthorne has shown flashes. Aaron Curry has shown flashes. Who do you send? Blitzing reflexively, blitzing because you are desperate for pass rush, is cutting off your nose to spite your face. The Seahawks have a quality secondary. Keep it stacked, and find some pass rushers. Find a starting Leo end.
Matt Hasselbeck is brutal. I know we all had a holding hands, better together moment with our foregone greatest quarterback ever, but every opponent from now until he retires will sit on routes. Double moves will not work forever. Better teams have better safeties that stay over top. Everything Hasselbeck spins hangs. Receivers are consistently caught playing defensive back. It would be one thing if there were picks and only picks, and there are picks for sure, but there's so many near picks. It's hard to see the interceptions going away. It started last season, it started in 2006 if we want to be honest with ourselves, and I think today is the death gurgle. Hasselbeck is everything you want in a quarterback, but when the arm goes, it's like a great junk baller with a batting practice fast ball. You're going to get some outs and you're going to give up some bombs.
On to the good stuff.
This run defense is legit. Yawn. I don't think I need to keep typing that.
Brandon Mebane was dominant. He generated interior pressure, recorded two tackles for a loss and another for no gain and was, all game, quintessential Me! Bane!
The defensive line was mostly good. Colin Cole showed some range. He manages playing nose. Sometimes he's kicked back. Rarely does he generate pressure, but as a pure nose, playing over center and controlling gaps, he's good. He is good enough.
Aaron Curry made small strides towards his potential. He blew up two pass attempts in the back field. Those are awareness plays, and that's welcome. His ability to pressure is improving ... maybe. It's game to game with Curry, but this game felt like improvement.
Deon Butler had a nice little start to the game. He gets pounded running short routes, but that's where he excels and that's where he needs to be targeted. Hopefully his later game disappearance is nothing significant, because wringing value out of Tim Ruskell's big wager would be nice. If Butler can be Eddie Royal-like, however reduced, it would be another talent added to a talented, young wide receiver corps.
Golden Tate is awesomely athletic. It's crazy, on the one hand, he looks so so lost. He looks like he is absolutely stumbling through the play. And then, when you look up, he's fifty yards down the field. Tate is potential personified. He's in over his head, but with talent like his, strides will come in leaps (and screw ups will feel like slow death.)
Seahawks fans complained about Niners fans complaining about the Niners defeating themselves. Well, shoes on the other foot. San Francisco did own a good bit of Seattle's week one stomping, and the Seahawks own a good bit of this blowout loss. Turnovers are deadly. Stacking them, especially early in the game, especially early in the game with an offense that can not produce explosive plays, is efficient suicide. And so Seattle plunged the tanto in their abdomen and all that was left was the bleeding out.
Game Ball: Mebane. Some guys control like Cole. Some guys knife in like Clemons. Few can do both, and fewer still do both simultaneously. Mebane is a weird profile. You wouldn't expect him to be good at basketball or tennis or track and field. He doesn't blow doors off with his generic tools. Brandon is purest of the pure defensive tackle. If you wanted to build an under tackle for an under system, you build that mother like Brandon Mebane.