After a little deliberation Citizen K decided to bestow some Like Awards upon select Seahawks following their vanquishment by the 49ers. Considering the game's outcome, there seems to be little to like about the game. However, if you really look at the game as a whole, (and are myopic enough to be able to ignore that flashing yellow "24-14" on the scoreboard,) there were several positives to take from the effort.
Citizen K likes D.J. "DJ Hackett" Hackett, the Hawks' leading receiver each of the past three games. The coaching staff and quarterbacks are starting to believe in his abilities, and his play is justifying that confidence. He seemingly always makes great grabs, on a variety of routes; he's been sent in the flat, up the middle, on the fly patterns, and on the out routes, always managing to get great position and catch the ball securely with his hands. Hackett would make a great free-agent target by some club in need of a good wide receiver, and Citizen K predicts he'd have a breakout year if given a starting slot. The Hawks must lock him up this offseason, and use him as the third WR.
Thus, if this isn't Bobby Engram's last year in Seattle, well, something's wrong. With Jackson, Branch, and Burleson locked up for awhile, and with Hackett's emergence, the uncertainty surrounding Engram's "thyroid condition" can be a simple pretext for dismissing him for next season. No questions will arise, and the Hawks will get a new third WR with more speed and size than Engram, with similar route-running and catching abilities and a common discernment for the first-down markers.
Citizen K likes (liked?) the first half defense by the Seahawks. "Al" (nice one, Bryant Gumbel) Gore was totally stuffed, limited to less than 40 yards at less than 2 per carry. The passing game was in shambles, with the Hawks' D-backs playing relentless defense. Three-and-outs were the standard for the visitors. The defense did their part, however the offense was mired in a critical bout of dropsy. Without that crucial assistance from the opposite side of the ball, the undersized "pre-Viagra" D was typically unable to keep it up for the entire game.
Citizen K does not like Kelly Herndon. He gave up his usual huge pass play, and far more detrimentally, failed to finish his tackle, missing an easy sack on a third down, which directly benefited the 49ers when Smith subsequently tossed his first TD strike. He did have a big hit or two (which, to his credit, he normally performs in a game,) but overall his negatives far outweighed his positives.
Citizen K similarly did not like "Make A Play--Any Play" Babs. His undersizedness was totally exposed as he tried to make plays—kind of like that creepy old guy who used to frequent the area under the bleachers at the Little League field... Not that either the creepy old guy or Babineaux are truly that scary, though; when either of them get their hands or body on a guy, he inevitably finds a way to break away, so no worries, Little Leaguers...
Err... Citizen K likes the Offensive Line. This unit, for the most part, kept the 49ers rush well at bay throughout the game. Hasselbeck was given loads of time, and the rushing game was pretty good in the first third to half of the game. Unfortunately they were betrayed by their more speedy squadmates' inability to hang on to third down catches. Stevens, Branch, and Burleson each had at least one potential first down whiff through their fingers—Stevens, most egregiously, at least twice. If the Hawks could just quit turning the ball over and dropping it their record would likely be much, much better. Turnovers have played an even larger role than the drops, however. Last season the Hawks were +9 for the season, good enough for third in the NFC, whereas they're currently -5, at twelfth in the conference. That speaks volumes for the commonly-bemoaned "incosistency" plaguing the team. If they could just hang on to the ball--both on catches and while running, they'd be so much better.
That's all--gotta go watch "Talladega Nights."
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