Counting up surprises from Sunday's game
Posted by Danny O'Neil
Week 3: The Seattle Times' blog now returns to its regularly scheduled programming with an enumerated list of just how surprising Sunday's game was. We'll have a Live Chat! on Tuesday at noon, and check back here at noon every day for a new piece of content.
1: The sun rose in the east.
2: Seahawks lose a starting player to injury
3: T.J. Houshmandzadeh believes more passes could be directed toward him
4: Brandon Frye starts at left tackle three weeks after being signed
5: ESPN led SportsCenter with Seahawks highlights
6: Seahawks drafted a corner who could be described as big or tall
7: Seattle plays a game without suffering significant injury
8: A kicker is told, "Oh, it's OK. We now you tried."
9: Matt Hasselbeck seen using a comb
10: We go a week without someone asking whether this is a must-win game (in other words, brush your teeth and tie your shoes, the apocalypse is upon us).
Seattle played Sunday's game with 16 Pro Bowl appearances on the bench: left tackle Walter Jones (9), quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (3), linebacker Lofa Tatupu (3) and Marcus Trufant (1). The Seahawks were missing eight starters by the time the fourth quarter rolled around.
A player Seattle signed three weeks earlier -- Brandon Frye -- started at left tackle and Travis Fisher -- who was signed to compete for a roster spot in training camp -- was playing right cornerback in the fourth quarter.
So when Jim Mora looked back at a six-point loss, saw two field-goal attempts missed and realized that had either one of them gone in, the Seahawks would have been in a dramatically different position on that final drive.
Not saying that singling out the kicker was right -- but as comedian Chris Rock would say -- "but I understand."
"Don't press the emergency button right now," cornerback Ken Lucas said afterward.
OK, fair enough. But when is it time to panic?
Feel free to submit your own submission for the Surprise Index in the comments section.
Olindo Mare's Seahawks career is alive and kicking -- Surprise index: 6
The players with the smallest facemasks can make the biggest difference, and a solemn coach Jim Mora was positively seething when he talked about the two field-goal attempts Mare missed during Sunday's game. Mare missed three field-goal attempts all of last season, and then he went out and missed two of the first four field-goal attempts on Sunday. Sure, he made two fourth-quarter field goals, but that might not Mare couldn't remember the last time he missed two field goals. Well, he did it twice in 2007.
Deion Branch runs a reverse on third-and-1 -- Surprise index: 7
Sure, Seattle lost its short-yardage specialist when it cut T.J. Duckett, but are the Seahawks so hard up for the tough yards that they're willing to run a reverse to a wide receiver with a rebuilt knee who hasn't played more than seven games in a row the past two seasons. "We felt like that was going to be a great play for us," coach Jim Mora said. "It just didn't work for us." Not at all.
Seahawks defense fails to make closing argument -- Surprise index: 3
The Seahawks showed signs of being a good defense. When Seneca Wallace fired that sidewinder of an interception from his own end zone, the Seahawks held Chicago to a field goal. Chicago began three drives on Seattle's half of the field and those three drives produced a combined total of 10 points. Chicago's only points in the third quarter were scored off turnovers, and then the Bears drove 71 yards in six plays for the go-ahead touchdown and never faced so much as a third down on the possession.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh loses a fumble -- Surprise index: 4
A receiver doesn't rack up more catches than anyone in the NFL over the past three seasons without having good hands, and Houshmandzadeh had lost exactly one fumble over the previous six seasons. But he lost the ball on his first catch of the game, a fumble that led to Chicago's go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter.
My high-def TV survived Seattle's lime green -- Surprise index: 6
I'm going to admit that I like the fluorescent green jerseys. Maybe it's my feeling that we're in the midst of an '80s renaissance. Kanye West is shaving designs into his head, people are wearing pastel polo shirts and the Seahawks have been seen sporting mohawks this season, but I was in the minority of people who believed it was an affront to their ocular senses. "I thought high def television had no down side. And then I saw those Seahawks uniforms," wrote Joe Posnanski of Sports Illustrated. "The Saskatchewan Roughriders of the neon '80s plugged in," said ESPN's Chris Berman. "Looks like Iran's nuclear facilities is the Seahawks locker room," wrote TheFish45 on Twitter.
David Hawthorne racks up 16 tackles -- Surprise index: 4
The quarterback of Seattle's offense was missing, but at least Seneca Wallace has experience having started 12 games over the previous three seasons. But without Lofa Tatupu -- the quarterback of Seattle's defense -- there was a question of just who was going to fill in. Well, David Hawthorne acquitted himself well with 16 tackles -- tied for second-most in team history -- and also intercepted a pass.
Dec 24 - 6:10 AM Looking back: Revisiting Sunday's scouting report
Dec 24 - 1:09 AM Seahawks' scoring binge
Dec 24 - 1:01 AM Video: Summing Seattle's victory
Dec 24 - 12:58 AM Video: Russell Wilson post-game comments
Dec 24 - 12:21 AM Rookie passing roll call