3 up, 3 down. Injuries take their toll.
by Mike Salk
I watched the game at the 13th Avenue Pub in Lynwood, which was very cool. I recommend it. Unfortunately, my DVR failed to tape the game (or more likely, I screwed up setting it) so these thoughts are from one viewing only.
All in all, the injuries were a killer. The good news is that Matt Hasselbeck could return by next week from what appears to be a â€œbruised rib.â€ Obviously, that’s tough (and sounds painful) but at least it isn’t anything related to his back!
The defense needed it’s full complement of players, especially up front. But operating without Leroy Hill, Lofa Tatupu and Brandon Mebane proved costly as they were gashed for 256 yards on the ground. Losing Josh Wilson didn’t help, especially as the 49ers converted a couple of 3rd and longs after he exited the game.
On to the good and bad from Game 2…
1. Justin Forsett. The diminutive third down back led the team with five carries for 35 yards and another 57 yards receiving. But the impressive part was the way he kept his legs churning to pixk up extra yards. That always earns extra points from me (as long as you hang on to the ball).
2. Brandon Frye. He stepped in at left tackle for Sean Locklear (who left in the second quarter with an ankle injury) and was virtually invisible. The run blocking was sub-par throughout the game so I can’t exactly rave about the offensive line. But credit Frye for filling in. Remember, it was just over a week ago that Jim Mora said the team could make a move at that position if Frye struggled to grasp the offense in short order (he was signed September 6th).
3. I give up. This is harder than you’d think!
1. Seneca Wallace. Tough to get too down on a guy who hasn’t had enough reps with the first team offense, but such is the life of a backup quarterback. The numbers aren’t all bad (15-23 for 157 yards, 1 TD, 1INT) and he actually had a higher QB Rating than Matt Hasselbeck, but he was unable to generate much spark. Accuracy and decision-making are always my top indicators, and he had some problems hitting his targets.
2. Steve Vallos. Still growing and still developing as a center who plays with an edge, but that snap over Wallace’s head was terrible. I did like that the next play had Wallace back in the shotgun, and that it was not a problem again.
3. Pick a receiver! The whole group struggled throughout the game. Not enough separation. They may not have been the problem, but they definitely weren’t the solution either!
1. Brandon Mebane, Leroy Hill, and Lofa Tatupu. I know they didn’t play (expect a few snaps from Tatupu), but you could see how much they were missed. I have to think that one of the three of them would have made a difference on the two long runs from Frank Gore. Lots of poor angles/decisions there.
2. Patrick Kearney. I’ve been waiting to see Kearney do his thing, and I think I saw it in San Francisco. Three tackles and a sack look nice on the stat sheet, but I thought he played with more energy than last week. Good sign for the future.
3. Lawrence Jackson. Another very solid game for the second year defensive end. Two sacks and four solo tackles. If one’s a point, two’s a trend, and three’s a pattern, we must be at the â€œtrendâ€ phase. He has been very active and impressive two weeks in a row.
1. Jordan Babineaux. He isn’t solely responsible for either of the two long TD runs, but his angles didn’t help. Jim Mora cut Brian Russell to get more â€œbig playsâ€ from his safety. Those big plays need to be for the Seahawks and not for their opponents! He led the team with eight tackles, but it’s hard to put this one in the â€œgood gameâ€ category.
2. Aaron Curry. I didn’t see the same edge as he played with against St. Louis. I wonder if he was spoken to about his â€œplaying through the whistle.â€ We’ve mentioned his overrrunning plays on the past, but it seemed to be more of an issue in this game. Also, what was with the missed tackle on fullback Moran Norris on a third down play inside the SF 20 yard line?
3. Everyone else. The defense did two things to lose this game.
a. They allowed two runs of over 75 yards for touchdowns. One play had eight in the box, the other had nine. You can’t get blocked/over pursue/fill the wrong hole like that. And you definitely can’t do it twice!
b. They allowed San Francisco to keep the ball for a 9:27 drive that started with 1:20 left in the third quarter but ate up nearly half of the fourth as well! The drive covered 67 yards on 16 plays and was a backbreaker both because the three points it netted put the game away, and because it left the Hawks with too little time to come back. They also allowed three 3rd down conversions on the drive. What’s worse, two of those conversions came on 3rd and 12 and 3rd and 14. Shaun Hill is not supposed to beat you in those situations!
Good: Deon Butler. Nice heads up play to down the ball on the 1 yard line. He also had a nice tackle of Alan Rossum on punt coverage.
Bad: Jon Ryan. His 52.1 yard average in this game is impressive. But it was his 36 yard shank in the second quarter that directly led to San Francisco’s second field goal which made the score 13-3.