Sportspress Northwest Seahawks writer Doug Farrar gives you the as-it-happens view from the pressbox.
Back to playoff football, and welcome to the first Sportspress Northwest Game Thread! Well be adding observations and commentary through the game, so visit often.
Today’s Seahawks inactives: Josh Pinkard, Marcus Brown, Joe Pawelek, Lemuel Jeanpierre, Paul Fanaika, Breno Giacomini, and Amon Gordon.
Today’s Saints inactives Malcolm Jenkins, M. Giordano, Joique Bell, Danny Clark, Anthony Hargrove, Charles Brown, Jimmy Graham, A. Arrington
Darren Sharper starting for Malcolm Jenkins — should be an interesting battle between Sharper and Hasselebeck today. Hasselebck was able to get the ball downfield with Jenkins and Sharper out in the Week 11 game.
Okung runs out with no limp — he’s a huge factor for the Seahawks against Gregg Williams’ multiple fronts.
Forsett and Lynch come out togther. Hasselbeck comes out looking as geeked up as I’ve ever seen him.
Cortez Kennedy in the press box, y’all. And Walter Jones raising the 12th Man flag. Seattle’s two greatest linemen are in the house.
Opening kickoff out of bounds — Saints will start at their 40. Not an auspicious beginning.
Saints starting off with short stuff; they seem to be adjusting their protection concepts with starting RBs out.
Brees gets the long pass to Colston again. Bush with a key red zone drop — Seattle not getting enough pressure. Brees able to go through his progressions. Saints limited to a FG. 8 plays, 52 yards, 3:17 scoring drive ending in a 26-yard FG. Seahawks said that they had to be the ones not trading TDs for firld goals this time. Now, they need to establish their offense.
The motto for this game early on: “Kickoffs: You’re Doing It Wrong.”
Seahawks with a little swing pass away from the slide — good offensive concept, but Obomanu can’t bring the next play in and Jabari Greer gets the pick.
Saints with a good job of getting active after the catch. Few quarterbacks are better at throwing their guys open in short spaces than Brees.
Good scheme and coverage by Trufant — made Brees extend the play.
No argument on the interference call on Thurmond, and Heath Evans gets the one-yard TD pass on the next play. Jones and Evans — it’s like old home week, but in a really boring way.
If the Seahawks have any chance of winning this thing … well, the first 8:30 of the game was not supposed to happen.
Saints really kicking away from Leon Washington, but setting up at their own 43 is kind of a questionable strategy as well.
We’re wondering in the press box — is there a rule where a return man has to stay set as the kickers running up to kick the ball? Or could Washington just run upfield at that point?
Ben Obomanu down with 5:10 left in the first quarter, but runs off the field. He’s jogging to the locker room.
A little Beast Mode for 10 yards behind slide protection. More of that would be a good thing. Then, a little screen to Stokley. Seattle’s receivers very aggressive after the catch — kind of a turnover watch point there.
There was a prairie between John Carlson and any Saints defender. The gentleman was wiiiiiide open. Great recovery by the Seahawks to close the score and stay in the game, 10-7.
Something tells me that the Saints will now decide to take the risk on Washington as opposed to squibbing everything.
Seahawks playing some under — two-deep looks at times out to Cover-3. They don’t want to give the Cover-3 look pre-snap because the Saints are so good at beating it.
Whiffing a tackle on Julius Jones is like giving up a two-run homer to Eric Byrnes.
False start #1 with 0:19 left in the first quarter. Seahawks finish the first quarter with a good combo of coverage and pressure. Saints have second-and-15 at the Seattle 30. If they can hold the Saints to a field goal here and right the ship, it’s a great recovery.
Ben Obomanu has a shoulder injury; his return is questionable.
My buddy Brian McIntyre of Mac’s Football Blog reports that Saints LT Jermon Bushrod has gotten away with at least two holds, and was several yards upfield on the Reggie Bush screen pass.
Jones’ touchdown was the result of several Seahawks getting blocked into oblivion.
From Matt Bowen’s Twitter on the Saints TD: “Good call vs Cover 2 in the red zone… safeties will run out at the snap and you can work the draw vs. a 7-man front.”
And that’s why you kick it to Washington. Dude’s great, but New Orleans’ return teams are not San Diego’s.
Great throw by Hasselebck to Obomanu there — threw it just where 87 could catch it, though it was just on that boundary.
Julius Jones becomes 1st player in NFL history to score TD vs team he played for earlier in season.
That pass to Morrah was one of those where Mike Holmgren would have said, “Great play, Matt — now don’t EVER $%^&*( do that again.”
Saints fell for the roll-right, throw left just as the Rams did last week on TD to Carlson.
Hawthorne almost had a pick — nice job coming back in the flat. And there’s False Start #2.
Nice call to being three and drop eight on third-and-12 with 10:03 left.
Common problem with Walt Coleman — I think he and I are watching the same game, and then I start to wonder.
Seahawks punter John Ryan is looking more and more like an ancillary keyboardist for Spinal Tap. (Viv Savage’s replacement?)
And … Julius gives one back.
Seahawks a bit more persistent in the red zone with the run game. They couldn’t convert after the fumble, but it’s important to not give up on that. The Mare firld goal makes it a 17-17 tie with 7:03 left in the first half.
Raheem Brock with official credit on the Julius Jones forced fumble.
Good pressure by Balmer on the pass to Thomas — stopped Brees from going to his deeper reads.
And Raheem Brock just FACED Brees on the sack on the next play.
Great adjustment on the pass to Ruvell Martin — Saints ran back into deep thirds and Hasselbeck had the underneath throw all the way.
Extra time for Jeremy Bates to be creative on third-and-1. Maybe not a good thing.
A blast play on third and short? How unusual!
Hasselbeck with the celebration injury — what we might call a “Gramatica”.
LOVED the bunch formation and the route concept on the Stokely TD — he’s the last guy you’d expect to be clearing out of the three.
Apparently, the halftime show will feature an “Army of Guitars”. I’m afraid for a “Louie, Louie” sighting.
Good cover-2 set up on the sideline route to Colston — Brees had nowhere to go.
Brees gains 6; Saints may take one more shot with nine seconds left.
Will Herring breaks up the pass intended for David Thomas, and the Saints have to settle for a field goal. Seahawks head to the locker room up 24-20.
The challenge now for the Seahawks is to get this momentum going into the second half. We’ve seen them hang with teams in the first half (hello, Falcons) and fall apart later. Huskies had the same problem at times this season. Could this be Seattle’s Holiday Bowl?
The 45-yard pass to Stokley was Hasselbeck’s first postseason pass of 40 yards or more in his career.
One underrated aspect to Seattle’s first half is that they are pinning the Saints back. Once again, wonderful special teams. It’s been that way all season.
Seahawks did a nice job of catching up on first downs and time of possession in the second quarter. 7-6 in first downs.
Average Seattle drive has started at the SEA 42. Average New Orleans drive starts at the NO 29. That, ladies and gentlemen, is special teams.
In the second half, I’d like to see Lynch get the ball on quick blasts, and Forsett on plays that take longer to develop.
That 18-yarder to Obomanu was surgical. Interesting call to run out of the bunch right — Steelers do that a lot.
If you look up the word “touch” in the dictionary as it applies to passes, you might see the Hasselbeck pass to Williams for the TD. That was a thing of beauty. And it shows Williams’ value as well — he’s that guy that allows a quarterback to hang it out there with that risky throw.
Raheem Brock has been off the hook today, and great in the season’s second half.
Outstanding tweet from Deion Sanders: “I love it Seattle came to play today. coordinator Jeremy Bates use to get my yoohoo drinks m keep my golfcart charged in dallas. He’s grown!”
Seahawks have been so good this year covering the underneath stuff. Probably best against the Falcons, but these Saints WRs are build for YAC and they’re getting shut down.
Awe. Some. block by Michael Robinson on that Lynch run right. Tool the defender out so fast, I couldn’t even identify him.
Roman Harper’s just having a reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally bad day.
From our own Steve Rudman: Hasselbreak’s got the franchise record for touchdown passes in a postseason game with his fourth. Old record by Dave Krieg, 3 vs. Denver, Dec. 24, 1983″
A Jerramy Stevens-level drop on third-and-1 by Obomanu there.
Mare’s field goal makes it the two-touchdown game everybody expected. Or not.
Hasselbeck’s career high is five TDs, and he’s done it twice — once against Baltimore in 2003 (the Tom White game), and once against the Giants in 2006.
The last time Roman Harper had a game this bad: http://tinyurl.com/2wnqxko
So now, the Seahawks are expecting the Saints to throw everything under, and they’re playing off to come up and tackle. Saints inexplicably playing right into their hands.
Julius Jones on fourth-and-1. DID. NOT. GET.
Get the press box announcer a sandwich: He just called Marshawn Lynch “Lunch”
Delay of game turns a possible game-clinging FG into a punt. Whoops!
Ooooooh … that Tatupu interception would have been six.
Saints now getting their under receivers in motion to counter the little stuff Seattle’s allowing.
Start of the fourth quarter…here we go!
First rule of football – the second guy to give a hit always gets flagged.
Another rushing touchdown by Jones (I believe he’s come close to his Seattle total overall) makes this anyone’s ballgame.
Julius Jones’ entire Seattle career: four rushing touchdowns. Julius Jones today: two rushing touchdowns.
Seahawks got a HUGE break on that Obomanu play — he had control of the ball and had turned his body. That was a fumble.
Reggie Bush suffered a leg injury and has been taken to the locker room.
What an important stop on third-and-3. Brock again!
Now would be a good time for a re-run of that first drive against the Falcons. Stokley with the HUGE conversion on third-and-8.
Tatupu helped off the field — Hawthorne in the middle. False start, Saints.
That was the first juke of Heath’s Evans’ entire career. And it looked like it was.
Yet another great deflection and stop by Seattle’s defense. Saints punting with 4:21 left.
OH/ MY. GOD. Heading down to the field.
The time is now to eat the clock like the Cookie Monster.