Sleepwalking in Seattle

GameDay Review | The Advance Scout The Armchair Quarterback GameDay Preview GameDay Review NFL Draft: The War Room Post Patterns: BBS Forum Quick Slant Upon Further Review Site Archives Staff

October 18, 2005
Sleepwalking in Seattle

by Charles Spooner

You have seen games like these, normally played on the college gridiron, where Mega State schedules Little Sisters of the Poor Tech for homecoming. The big school’s offensive line pancakes their weaker opponents into the turf. Defenders hammer the small school ball carriers, and then pose for the camera as their favorite WWE wrestler. Their head coach screams at his quarterback, because the offense “only” scores on 6 of 8 possessions. But, this debacle was at the professional level, as the Division I-A-like Seattle Seahawks trampled the NAIA-esque Houston Texans by the score of 42-10.

The buzz during the week was that the Texans were looking at revamping their porous offensive front. The major overhaul on the Texans starting offensive line turned out to be moving left guard Chester Pitts to left tackle and Milford Brown taking Pitt’s left guard position. The opening drive is marred by penalties, with both teams not having had a clear understanding of where they should line up. Right guard Zach Wiegart left the game with an ankle injury. Drive statistics for Texan offense: Nine yards in total offense, two penalties on the offensive line, and one injured guard. The more things change…

The season long streak of turnover-less games for the Texans defense almost ends on the Seahawks’ opening possession. Outside linebacker Antwan Peek forced a Shaun Alexander fumble, but the Seahawks quickly fell on the ball. On the next play, cornerback Dunta Robinson nearly picks off a Matt Hasselbeck pass in the flat. The Seahawks were faced with a third-and-very long situation at Texan 46-yard line. No problem for the Men in Teal. Four punishing runs later, Alexander muscled his way into the end zone for the first of his four touchdown runs. To add injury to insult, Texans starting inside linebacker Kailee Wong is lost for the season with a knee injury.

As if the Seahawks needed help, the Texans defense handed Seattle three first downs with defensive penalties on Seattle’s following possession. Hasselbeck led a 96-yard scoring drive, highlighted by a 27-yard first down reception by Bengal castoff Peter Warrick. Alexander romped past out classed Texan defenders to extend the Seattle lead to 14-zip.

The Texans offense finally showed some life on their following possession, as David Carr connected with wide receiver Jabar Gaffney for 6 receptions. The drive stalled in part to a botched snap between Carr and rookie center Drew Hodgdon, inserted into the lineup after Wiegert’s injury. Kris Brown’s ensuing 39-yard field goal takes the Texans off the snide.

Seattle managed another touchdown drive sandwiched between two 3-and-out possessions by the Texans. The Seahawks got the ball with 47 seconds remaining in the half, but Hasselbeck immediately tossed an interception over the middle to reserve linebacker Troy Evans to the Seattle 48-yard line. It was the Texans’ first takeaway of the season, and the only turnover by either team in the game. The offense was unable to turn the miscue into points though, as Kris Brown’s 56-yard attempt sails to the right.

The Seahawks took the opening kickoff in the second half and drove 70 yards, culminating in yet another Alexander touchdown. The big play was a career long 23-yard scamper by Hasselbeck on a fourth-and-two where the defense looked very uninterested in laying a hit on the quarterback.

The Texans offense followed with their obligatory touchdown drive of the game. David Carr completed 4 of 5 passes, including a well-executed play action rollout pass to Domanick Davis. Davis’ 27-yard catch and run would end the scoring for Houston.

The Seahawks scored twice more, eating nearly 20 minutes of the second half clock. Seattle’s offensive line, led by All-Pro left tackle Walter Jones, brutalized the Texans defensive front as both Alexander and his backup, Maurice Morris, finished with over 100 yards rushing.

Next Sunday is Battle Red Day at Reliant Stadium as the too perfect oh-and-5 Texans face the undefeated Indianapolis Colts. The Texans should now be circled on every opponent’s schedule, as no team will want to be the first to lose to this inept and uninspired group. Rumors that the Texans will hand out red paper bags have not been confirmed, so make sure you bring your own.

What Went Right?

Jabar Gaffney Cares It is not so much that Gaffney collected 10 receptions for a game high 87 yards. It was more the spring in his step, his attentiveness on the field, and his communication with Carr and the coaching staff. Jabar is now carrying himself like a player who has not quit on this season. And that’s rare among the Texans players.

The Turnover
Troy Evans’ interception was not big in terms of the outcome of the game. But, it could be huge in getting the defense over the psychological hump of not forcing a turnover. If the Texans have any hope of winning this season, the defense must begin to create turnovers. Hey, it has to start somewhere.

What Sunday Night Game?
What with the excitement of the Astros’ Game 4 win in the NLCS, the Chicago pale Sox Game 5 clincher of the ALCS, and a new episode of Desperate Housewives (that Eva Longoria is a honey), who even saw this nationally televised fiasco? Only the most hardcore, sadistic football viewers. Also known as the typical Houston Texan fan.

What Went Wrong?

Does Anyone Want to Tackle a Running Back?
The Texans run defense was not even a speed bump to the Seahawks rushing attack. 320 yards with a 7.6 yards per carry average. The five rushing touchdowns were one more than the Texans allowed in all of 2004. And that wasn’t a great defense. The first sign of a team that has given up is a defense that cannot or will not stop the run. The sign on Sunday read, “I Quit”.

“Max Protect” Scheme
The idea behind keeping additional blockers in to protect the quarterback is sound. And anyone who has seen a Texan game knows this offensive line needs all the help it can get. But the final result is the same. The Texans cannot move the ball consistently through the air. With only two or three receivers available, the defense is able to easily cover the routes. Plus, Carr is still getting pressure as the tight ends and backs are not adequate pass blockers. Maybe this scheme is necessary for Carr to survive the season, but it’s not the long-term answer to the passing game woes.

Dom Capers’ Gape
I can’t take looking at this man gawk for another eleven games. Either fire the guy or get his jaw wired shut. Capers’ sideline visage is more embarrassing than the Texans play on the field.

Key Play Of The Game

The Seahawks put their stamp on this game early in the first quarter. After nearly turning the ball over to the Texans on successive plays, Seattle faced a third-and-17 on Houston’s 46-yard line. Seahawk head coach Mike Holmgren calls for a surprising fullback draw. Mack Strong takes the handoff and rumbles, bumbles, and stumbles for 16 yards. Seattle converts the following fourth-and-short, and lets the Texans know that the ‘Hawks will take what they want on the ground, when they want it for the balance of the contest.

Week 5 Recap DE Grant Wistrom celebrates his second quarter sack of David Carr . Final Score Houston Texans 10 Seattle Seahawks 42 Lookin’ Good

Loser White Jerseys
Uh, I mean Liberty White jerseys. Hey, I still like them.

Oh, my eyes!

Marcus Coleman
I think the P-Buch tackling syndrome is contagious.

2005 Schedule Date Opponent Result 08.13 Denver 14-20 08.20 Oakland 19-17 08.26 at Dallas 9-21 09.01 at Tampa Bay 14-38 Regular Season 09.11 at Buffalo 7-22 09.18 Pittsburgh 7-27 09.25 Bye   10.02 at Cincinnati 10-16 10.09 Tennessee 20-34 10.16 at Seattle 10-42 10.23 Indianapolis 20-38 10.30 Cleveland 19-16 11.06 at Jacksonville 14-21 11.13 at Indianapolis 17-31 11.20 Kansas City 17-45 11.27 St. Louis 27-33 12.04 at Baltimore 15-16 12.11 at Tennessee 10-13 12.18 Arizona 30-19 12.24 Jacksonville 20-38 01.01 at San Francisco 17-20   Overall Record 2-14