Re-Focused – Seahawks @ Giants, Week 5

| October 10, 2011

Suck for Luck. After three defeats seemed to eliminate any hopes that the Seahawks might be for real, it seemed the best they could hope for was a high enough pick to help them snap up the top rated college football prospect.

Amazing how quickly things can change isn’t it?

With Seattle now sitting with a 2-3 record (two games off the surprising 49ers), who is to say that this team, led by some inspired play on defense, can’t shock everyone the way they did last year? You certainly won’t find the Giants saying anything of the sort after they failed to put any pressure on their NFC East rivals who either lost, or sat at home on byes. They found out the hard way that you can’t take victory for granted as their offense, led by ‘Bad Eli’, they struggled to take advantage of a defense that certainly presented them with opportunities. Let’s delve a little deeper with our performances of note.



Seattle – Three Performances of Note

1)  Road to Redemption

When Brandon Browner (+2.7) gave up 10/10 balls thrown his way for 194 yards against the Steelers you would have understood the Seahawks turning away from him. But they persisted, and to their (and his credit) there has been a continual improvement that peaked with him playing a pivotal role in their victory over the Giants. It wasn’t just the interception return for a touchdown, but plays like the one with 9:48 left in the third, where he made an excellent play to break up what would have been a chain mover on third down. His stat sheet read just four receptions allowed on the eight balls thrown his way. That’s progress.

 

2)  QB Controversy Brewing

How quickly things change. Those ‘Charlie’ chants may have gone, but after this kind of performance they may be about to return. You see Tarvaris Jackson (-0.9) made some nice throws, with his completion to Doug Baldwin with 13:32 left in the second as sweet a pass as you’re likely to have seen this weekend. But he made some terrible ones, and at times made you yearn for that cautious QB with whom we’ve become accustomed. Before throwing a ball he should never have thrown (that was intercepted by Aaron Ross), the former Viking had three potential interceptions dropped. Hardly vintage stuff, and what’s more when he went out, Charlie Whitehurst (+3.6) came in and did a decent enough job, avoiding bad decisions and bad throws (except for one underthrow and holding onto the ball too long which saw him take an unnecessary hit). He never wowed, but he never made you smack your head on the desk. There’s something to be said for that.

 

3)  Playing Hurt A Recipe For Disaster

Last week I spoke about how Jake Long was struggling after an off season missed through injury. This week I’m looking at Russell Okung (-3.7) and thinking the same. He wasn’t a world beater as a rookie, but he never looked this bad, and it seems a logical conclusion to draw that his ankle is still bothering him (as it was when he had to come off the field for one play). Okung gave up a sack and three pressures, while watching Osi Umenyiora breeze past him on his way to forcing a fumble. It was hardly vintage, and continues his tough sophomore season.

 

New York Giants – Three Performances of Note

1)  Pure Pass Rush

It says something about how the Giants DEs performed, that the only time you noticed Justin Tuck wasn’t playing was when the camera shot to him on the sidelines. Credit for that goes primarily to Jason Pierre-Paul (+3.2) and Osi Umenyiora (+4.5), who were both too much too handle for an overmatched set of Seattle OTs. Between them the pressure sheet ended up with four sacks, three hits and seven pressures, and when they weren’t causing havoc Mathias Kiwanuka (+1.3) was joining in on the fun with a sack, hit and three more hurries. Essentially the Giants got plenty of pressure on the Seahawks QBs, and with Tuck to come back, this is a unit that will only get stronger.

 

2)  Bad Eli

And there he is. After an impressive performance in rallying his team to victory against Arizona, this was quite the comedown. It won’t surprise anyone to see the two areas where Eli struggled the most; when blitzed and when pressured. Two of his interceptions came when pressured, and he was only able to complete 46.7% of passes when Seattle rattled him. Losing a fumble, almost having another ball intercepted and forcing a number of throws undid a lot of the good work Eli did in putting up points (his touchdown pass to Hakeem Nicks) and keeping drives alive (putting just the right amount of touch on a ball to Victor Cruz with 2:05 left in the fourth). Consistency is key, and Eli was anything but consistent in this one.

 

3)  No Diehl

Another day, another performance where David Diehl (-3.6) continues to try to prove those who said he couldn’t be worse at guard wrong. The Giants LG gave up an atrocious six pressures, so while the talk may have been of William Beatty (-2.8) surrendering two sacks and two penalties, Diehl was once again the lowest rated Giant in pass protection. At this point it’s not just a case of one or two bad performances, but consistently sub standard displays from Diehl who is not protecting his quarterback from pressure up the gut.

 

Game Notes

● It was an interesting day for Deon Grant. He almost picked off two balls, notched a sack and missed three tackles.

● Tony Hargrove lined up at every spot on the defensive line, with four snaps at DLE, four at DLT, two at DRE and 15 at DRT. His versatility in playing two spots makes him a perfect fit for the Seahawks.

● Whitehurst didn’t complete any passes on the seven plays he was pressured (two sacks and one run), but did complete 11/ 15 when he had time.

 

PFF Game Ball

Brandon Browner, CB, Seattle Seahawks

It’s also nice to see a player come good, and Brandon Browner continued his improving displays with his best yet in this one.

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