2011 Seahawks Week 12: Five observations

Five things I noticed while watching the Seattle Seahawks' most recent game, a 23-17 home defeat to the Washington Redskins:

  • About those young safeties. The Redskins enjoyed early success against Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor when Rex Grossman found Fred Davis for a 31-yard gain to the 2-yard line on Washington's first drive. Thomas blitzed and got into the backfield quickly, only to chase a ghost. Grossman faked a handoff inside, then faked one to Jabar Gaffney on an end-around. Thomas followed Gaffney long enough for Grossman to find Davis. Chancellor, having already leveled Santana Moss earlier in the drive, whiffed on Davis when trying to hit him instead of wrapping up. These were errors of aggression.

  • Competitive battles on the lines. The Seahawks' left tackle, Russell Okung, continues to play better as his ankle injuries fade from memory. He faced difficult matchups against the Redskins' Stephen Bowen and Brian Orakpo. All parties made positive plays. Okung stood out early when the Seahawks got the Redskins' front flowing to the offensive right, setting up Marshawn Lynch's cutback for a big gain. Okung drove Bowen across the formation and landed on him. Okung took an awkward hit from teammate Breno Giacomini late in the game and was limping. Trent Williams, the Redskins' left tackle, was jabbering at various Seahawks throughout the game. He was the aggressor and seemed to get the better of his matchups. Two young Seattle linemen, center Max Unger and defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, looked good.

  • Guards were hustling. Robert Gallery and Paul McQuistan made excellent blocks well downfield to spring Lynch's 20-yard scoring reception.

  • Redskins' trippy field-goal team. Red Bryant's power was part of the story behind the field-goal attempt he blocked in the second quarter. The Seahawks bunched defenders over the right side of the Redskins' protection. A twist left the Redskins' Will Montgomery trying to block two players at once, including Bryant. He had no chance. The tighter splits linemen use when blocking for field goals prevents them from moving backward freely without tripping over teammates' legs. Montgomery tumbled over backward as Bryant rushed through.

  • Sprinting through the whistle can help. The Seahawks allowed their first rushing touchdown since Week 4 when Roy Helu sprinted around the left side for a critical 28-yard run with 9:57 left in the fourth quarter. It's unrealistic to expect every player on defense to run his absolute hardest throughout every moment of every play. The Seahawks would have been better off her if Leroy Hill had done that on this play, however. Hill let up when Chancellor appeared likely to make a tackle near the line of scrimmage (after Helu hurdled Roy Lewis). Hill accelerated when Helu broke free, but he let up again when Helu reached the 10-yard line. Hill was a couple yards behind and to the inside. He wasn't going to catch Helu, most likely. This was the signature play in a poor tackling game for Seattle.

That's it for now. I'm heading to Qwest Field early for the Thursday night game.