The first week of the regular season presented a handful of surprises around the league. And while assuming after week one isn’t recommended, there are a few exceptions.
We weren’t surprised when Drew Brees threw for six touchdown passes and Adrian Peterson embarrassed the Cleveland Browns. But who expected San Francisco to defeat the Cardinals in Arizona? Who really believed that Mark Sanchez would have such a successful debut with the New York Jets?
In Seattle, a lot of fans weren’t too surprised; the Seahawks dispatched an inferior opponent at home. There are a few things, however, that were made clear after last Sunday’s 28-0 drubbing of St. Louis:
Fans around the NFL aren’t optimistic about the Seahawks … yet.
From a local perspective, it is easy to be happy about Seattle’s performance last weekend. They looked great on the field and effortlessly defeated a division rival.
From a national perspective, however, folks aren’t quite as optimistic.
National pessimists, already hesitant to give Seattle any credit, are more likely to blame the incapable St. Louis Rams rather than declaring the Seahawks a competent football team. Until the Seattle Seahawks defeat a more talented opponent, naysayers will point at the lack of competition.
But the Seattle Seahawks don’t build their own schedule. If they did, they would probably have scheduled a home game in the month of November.
The Seattle Seahawks played the St. Louis Rams week one. And the Seahawks did what any good team would’ve done: they looked superior on the field and took care of business.
You have to be a good football team to shut out an opponent in the NFL, bottom line.
Cynics will also argue that a better team would’ve capitalized on Seattle’s early mistakes (three turnovers). While this may be true, Seattle’s defense admirably held the Rams to zero points after the turnovers.
As inept at the Rams’ offense looked on Sunday, Seattle’s defense should be given at least some of the credit. Regardless of field position or time of possession, the defense shut down their opponent.
While I agree the Seahawks will have to prove themselves against a tougher opponent (the San Francisco 49ers), last Sunday’s performance against St. Louis should foster some optimism for the rest of the season.
Matt Hasselbeck is back.
Entering the season, there were a lot of questions regarding Matt Hasselbeck’s durability and ability to stay healthy. A lot of people didn’t believe he could return from a back injury suffered last season.
After Sunday’s performance against St. Louis, there is no reason to worry.
Matt Hasselbeck looked great, completing 69 percent of his passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns. He did throw two interceptions, but both were early in the game and he quickly recovered. After the first quarter, Hasselbeck completed 20/27 throws for 213 yards, good for a quarterback rating of 133.7.
And statistics aside, Hasselbeck showed no lingering signs of the back injury that plagued him the entire season last year. He looked strong in the pocket; all of his passes were thrown with good zip and a tight spiral. He had good accuracy and didn’t seem to struggle with any of his throws.
The offensive line didn’t give up a sack against St. Louis, but Hasselbeck proved he could take a few hits during the preseason. It will be important that the offensive line continues to protect him, however, because any quarterback will struggle with injuries if they’re abused in the pocket.
Hasselbeck may not put up the same statistics against a better 49ers defense this week, but a nagging back injury won’t be to blame. Last season, it was very evident that Hasselbeck was struggling with his throws because of the injury. This season, it appears he is healthy and primed for another good year with the Seahawks.
John Carlson has developed into a star.
Just imagine if Mike Holmgren had a tight end like John Carlson during his entire stay in Seattle.
Against St. Louis, Carlson caught six balls for 95 yards and found the end zone twice. He is quickly on his way to becoming one of the better tight ends in the conference.
Carlson has developed into a very good blocker, but he also has the pass-catching ability of a receiver. His routes are crisp, his hands are soft, and he is stronger than he looks. He appears to already have a rapport developed with Hasselbeck, and the two should be hooking up several times for six points this season.
Following up a rookie year where he led all Seahawks in receptions and receiving yards, Carlson is showing no signs of a sophomore slump. Last Sunday was no aberration; John Carlson is an absolute stud at tight end.