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  • Seattle's mixed-up first play was bad omen

    Seattle's mixed-up first play was bad omen
    By Lori Shontz
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Sunday, Nov. 14 2004

    As a metaphor for what happens when the Seattle Seahawks play the Rams, it's
    hard to get better than Sunday's first play from scrimmage.

    The Seahawks' Pro Bowl running back and their Pro Bowl quarterback crashed into
    each other on the handoff, leaving QB Matt Hasselbeck with a charley horse and
    running back Shaun Alexander with a banged-up knee.

    At best, the play was inefficient. At worst, if either player had been
    seriously injured, it could have been disastrous. And that just about sums up
    Seattle's attempts to beat the Rams this season.

    "That's one of those things that's just weird," Alexander said. "I was
    (thinking), 'How many people start a game where the two key players knock
    themselves out with no one else touching them?' It was just kind of like a big
    joke. I was (thinking), hopefully we'll be able to tell this story with humor
    down the road. And you know ... not as funny as I wanted it to be."

    Because yet again, the Seahawks fell to the Rams, the team they need to beat to
    get control of the NFC West and to make their Super Bowl aspirations seem like
    more than a pipe dream. The final score was 23-12, but no one cared about the
    specifics.

    "We wanted this game," linebacker Chad Brown said. "It would have given us a
    nice lead in the division, and for us to blow it ... with all the games we've
    lost this year, we've blown it. The fact that we blew it, and it's against the
    Rams, that makes us look really bad."

    The Hasselbeck-Alexander collision turned out to mean little. But plenty of
    other things went wrong.

    The Seahawks failed to score a touchdown even though they ventured inside the
    Rams' 30-yard line six times. They played such soft defense early, giving up
    touchdowns on the Rams' first two possessions, that Seattle coach Mike Holmgren
    said it looked as if the Rams "were out there by themselves the first part of
    the game."

    Oh, and when Seattle finally appeared to be taking control, with Alexander
    shredding the Rams' defense and appearing headed for the end zone early in the
    fourth quarter, Rams safety Aeneas Williams punched the ball out of Alexander's
    grip. Inside the 10-yard line. That ended the Seahawks' last and best chance to
    score a touchdown.

    "We can compete with their team," cornerback Ken Lucas said. "Their team is no
    better than ours. We're probably more talented than that team, it's just ... I
    don't know, they just don't make as many mistakes as we have been making."

    Over and over, the Seattle players sounded the same theme, agreeing that
    there's some ingredient the Rams have that the Seahawks lack.

    "I don't think they're better than us," receiver Darrell Jackson said. "I just
    think they're more polished."

    Alexander, who posted his third consecutive 100-yard game with 176 yards, put
    the blame squarely on himself and his teammates.

    "They don't feel like they're going to get beat by us," he said. "When you're
    in a situation like that, the team that's on the other side has to step up and
    take the victory, and that's something that we're still getting to learn how to
    do - go out there and take victories, instead of just winning."

    __________________________________________________________
    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

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  • Nick
    What's wrong with the Seahawks?
    by Nick
    What's wrong with the Seahawks?
    By TIM KORTE, AP Sports Writer
    November 15, 2004

    KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) -- Last summer, the Seattle Seahawks were a trendy pick to reach the Super Bowl.

    As they keep reminding themselves, that goal remains attainable. Yet one day after their second loss to NFC West rival St. Louis, everyone from coach Mike Holmgren down was asking the same question.

    What's wrong with the Seahawks?

    ``Some of the things that happened yesterday, I'm struggling for answers,'' Holmgren said Monday. ``And I don't like that feeling.''

    This was one of Seattle's most celebrated games so far, a rematch with the Rams who struck for 23 unanswered points in the final eight minutes on Oct. 10, when St. Louis won 33-27 in overtime.

    This time, the Seahawks (5-4) allowed 17 quick points. Seattle's offense couldn't keep up, nor could it reach the end zone. Matt Hasselbeck was 15-of-36 for 172 yards with an interception, and was plagued by poor decisions and drops.

    ``I expect us to be better than that,'' Holmgren said. ``We missed. We just didn't execute. We didn't catch it very well. We didn't throw it very well, as well as I think we can.''

    Shaun Alexander gained 176 yards rushing to put him over the 1,000-yard mark in the ninth game, but he had a key fumble after a nice 35-yard run in the fourth quarter when Seattle was trying to close a 20-12 margin.

    Nobody knows what's wrong.

    ``If I knew, I would tell you,'' Alexander said. ``Obviously, we haven't figured it out. We all have different ideas of what would help. As a team, we're not doing it. We'll eventually figure it out and go from there.''

    Holmgren said repeatedly back at training camp that a deep postseason run was possible, provided Seattle's best players all performed well throughout the season.

    So far, that hasn't happened.

    A Seattle defense that stormed its first three opponents has been up-and-down since. Marc Bulger made six straight completions on the Rams' opening drive Sunday, and he was 11-of-13 with a 14-0 lead after seven minutes.

    ``We made it too easy,'' Holmgren said.

    Hasselbeck -- a Pro Bowler last season -- has had some solid games, mixed with struggles that leave Holmgren scratching his head.

    ``We're not far from it really exploding and being good,'' Hasselbeck insisted. ``Just like the week before when there were a lot of good plays, it's just 6 inches and it's a good play. That's kind of where we're at.''

    Great, but they've been saying that for weeks now. Hasselbeck believes the Seahawks ``are on the other side of that fine line,'' and he maintains there's optimism flowing through the locker room.

    Seattle, though, is teetering -- poised to go one way or the other.

    ...
    -11-16-2004, 07:37 AM
  • RamWraith
    Seahawks overtake Rams as West bullies
    by RamWraith
    By Bryan Burwell
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Sunday, Nov. 13 2005

    SEATTLE A year ago, whenever the Rams came into this modern
    architectural marvel called Qwest Field, they were in the business of being
    rude and rowdy party crashers. They seemed to absolutely relish the physical
    and emotional demands of exposing fragile competitive egos and spoiling
    premature championship dreams.

    Yet as cold and miserable rain came drifting down Sunday through the stadium's
    arched, open-air rooftop, the Rams were in no mood to party. Shaun Alexander
    practically was dancing into the end zone for his third touchdown of the day to
    put the final touches on the Seahawks' 31-16 victory. He was looking up into
    that steel-gray November sky, letting the thunderous noise of 67,192 delirious
    spectators and that bitter winter drizzle sweep over him as though he was
    standing in the midst of a soothing summer shower.

    This was a defining moment these crazed Seahawk faithful had been waiting for.
    As Alexander glided into the end zone, he soothed the fluttering hearts in the
    Pacific Northwest who kept seeing unsettling flashbacks of another
    gut-wrenching, fourth-quarter St. Louis comeback. And as Alexander continued
    his impressive audition for league MVP, he presented evidence that a seismic
    shift has occurred in the power structure of the NFC West. The Seahawks, who in
    a previous life played the role of spineless whipping boys in this compelling
    competitive drama with their archrival Rams, were now officially the new
    bullies on the block.

    "It's a really cool thing when you can see the change of the guard, when you're
    the new big dog on the scene," said the Seahawks running back, who gained 165
    yards rushing and continued his march towards a 2,000-yard season. "Even though
    we won the division last year, we didn't feel like we took it from them. We
    feel like we almost got it handed to us."

    In the game's final moments, there was no doubt who had assumed control of this
    division, this rivalry, and this bitter psychological war. Just as the Rams
    were on the verge of overcoming a 24-6 deficit, after Marc Bulger dropped a
    beautiful touchdown pass into the arms of Torry Holt to cut the Seattle lead to
    24-16 with 7 minutes remaining, Alexander and the NFL's top-rated offense took
    the field.

    In a previous life, this is where bad things usually happened to the Seahawks.
    Mike Holmgren would reach into his elaborate playbook and pull out some
    mind-numbing play that would kill their momentum. The Seahawks would fumble,
    crumble and expose themselves as pretenders to the division throne. The Rams
    would cackle at them, shove them...
    -11-14-2005, 05:52 AM
  • RamWraith
    Botched pass in end zone mirrors Seattle's season
    by RamWraith
    By Kathleen Nelson
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Saturday, Jan. 08 2005

    SEATTLE - The Seahawks' final play in a 27-20 loss to the Rams on Saturday
    encapsulated their season.

    On fourth and 4 at the Rams' 5 with 27 seconds to play, the Seahawks had one
    last chance to score a touchdown and send the game into overtime. Seattle
    quarterback Matt Hasselbeck looked to the end zone for wide receiver Bobby
    Engram, a play some of their teammates termed "money in the bank."

    Seattle coach Mike Holmgren said the pass protection seemed to break down,
    which forced quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to move in the pocket.

    "He had to change what he was doing," Holmgren said, "and that affected the
    throw."

    Instead of a completion in the center of the end zone, the ball nicked the
    outstretched arms of an off-balance Engram and fell to the turf.

    "It came in pretty hot, but I've got to find a way to make that play," Engram
    said. "It's a play we've run a few times this year and scored on. I thought
    Matt moved in the pocket a little bit. I was trying to locate him. He was
    trying to find me. We just didn't connect.

    "I just tried to get my hands down there. How clean I hit it, I'm not sure."

    The loss extended the longest active streak for playoff futility, stretching to
    1984.

    Near-misses characterized the season for the Seahawks, a team that some experts
    predicted earlier this season would make a run deep into the playoffs.

    Engram called the missed catch "a pretty good analogy. It's been a battle all
    year. The guys on this team are great. It's been a crazy year. A lot of ups and
    downs. We've just got to find a way to win games like this. That's continuing
    to mature. Any time you have a really good team, you have to go through a
    building process, but this is a game we could have won."

    Holmgren attributed another of the Seahawks' Achilles' heels, youth, to putting
    Seattle in an early hole.

    Two strikes of more than 50 yards to Torry Holt and Kevin Curtis keyed
    touchdown drives that gave the Rams a 14-3 lead early in the second quarter.

    "That's one area where our youth really shows up," Holmgren said. "You can
    coach it, you can talk it, you can drill it, you can bring them in at 6 in the
    morning and look at it, and then when they're out in the field, if you haven't
    seen it enough, sometimes you react in a different way. That's what happened
    today, and that's what happened this season, unfortunately."

    A couple of aspects of Saturday's loss proved uncharacteristic, however.

    Running back...
    -01-09-2005, 05:12 AM
  • Rambos
    Rams not so downtrodden anymore entering Seahawks rematch
    by Rambos
    By R.B. Fallstrom, AP Sports Writer
    ST. LOUIS Winning two straight games after an 0-8 start has given the St. Louis Rams a respite from the doom and gloom. A dose of cockeyed optimism, too.
    The Rams are still among the front-runners for the first overall pick in next year's draft, yet outside linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa found himself musing about somehow winning out, finishing at .500 and charging into 2008. Under his dreamy scenario, the Rams would be the talk of the NFL, even if the New England Patriots go 16-0.

    "That would be the story of the year, as far as I'm concerned," Tinoisamoa said. "Going from 0-8 to 8-8, that's better than an undefeated season to me.

    "There's a lot that goes with that as far as fighting back and being professional, and that's definitely my goal."

    Of course, it could all fall apart before they can run their back-from-the-dead winning streak to a modest three games. The Rams (2-8) were impressive in their first victory at New Orleans, but won no style points last week in an ugly 13-9 victory over the *****. On Sunday they'll play the NFC West-leading Seattle Seahawks.

    The Seahawks (6-4) embarrassed the Rams 33-6 in mid-October, knocking them to 0-7, and have a five-game winning streak in the series. They have the inside track on a fourth straight division title despite an injury-plagued season for 2005 NFL MVP Shaun Alexander that has prompted an offensive shift to the passing game.

    "I hate to say it's their division, but they've been on top for quite a while," Rams running back Steven Jackson said. "And we do have to go out and beat them."

    The Seahawks dominated in the second half of the first meeting, and intercepted Marc Bulger three times in a game that might be the low point of the Rams' dismal start.

    "It was really a pathetic showing on our part as an offense," tight end Randy McMichael said. "We made some of their players look like Pro Bowl players.

    "It was just a bad trip all the way around."

    The wild card for the Rams is this time they'll have Jackson, sidelined by a groin injury in the first meeting. It's no coincidence that St. Louis is 2-0 since Jackson returned from back spasms.

    Second-round pick Brian Leonard was serviceable as the stand-in, but Jackson led the NFL in yards rushing and receiving last year and is a force when healthy. Plus, a banged-up offensive line with three starters on injured reserve is getting reinforcements with Todd Steussie back from a broken foot in preseason and center Brett Romberg also likely to return after missing three games with a high ankle sprain.

    Bulger was sacked six times last week playing behind a line composed mostly of castoffs. Asked whether he knew all of his linemen's names Bulger replied, "Yeah. I'm not going to...
    -11-24-2007, 02:18 PM
  • RamDez
    Seahawks/NFL: Hawks must stick to plan
    by RamDez
    Seahawks/NFL: Hawks must stick to plan

    By CLARE FARNSWORTH
    SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER

    KIRKLAND -- The obvious concern when playing the St. Louis Rams is defending their explosive and multi-tentacled offense.

    But the real problem concerns an implosion by your own offense. The destructive tendency when going against Marshall Faulk, Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, Marc Bulger, Orlando Pace and Mike Martz is to think you have to score every time you touch the ball.

    This just-trying-to-stay-in-the-game approach too often takes a team out of its plan.

    It has paralyzed better teams than the Seahawks, who play host to Martz, his pack of productive players and all the mayhem they can create tomorrow at Qwest Field.

    That's why Matt Hasselbeck's reaction this week to the panic-button question was revealing and reassuring.

    The job of the Seahawks' offense, according to their quarterback, is finding advantageous matchups and going at the Rams within the framework of the game plan coaches have had extra time to formulate because of last week's bye.

    "As we get older and more mature, you worry about yourself more than you do about the other team," offensive coordinator Gil Haskell said through a smile when told of his quarterback's assessment. "The most important thing is that we understand what we're doing and do it better."

    The Rams have been in a nirvanic offensive zone for several seasons. That will happen when you win one Super Bowl and play in another, as the Rams did between 1999-2001.

    There is no better indicator of the Rams' confidence -- which some consider arrogance -- than Martz's play calling.

    Asked if he was looking forward to matching wits with Martz, Seahawks coach and play-caller Mike Holmgren offered, "Nah. Mike's a lot wittier than I am."

    Just another indication that the Seahawks are coming at this important game with the proper perspective. When teams and coaches try to outwit Martz, getting away from their modus operandi, they get their brains beat in.

    The Seahawks have been guilty of this in the past. Not this time. Not in a game in which they have a chance to start 4-0 for the first time in franchise history and open a 2 1/2-game lead over the defending NFC West champions five weeks into the season.

    Smart? Or smug? Who are these guys to flaunt a take-what-they-give-us attitude with a team that already has been where they're hoping to get?

    The Seahawks' 3-0 start has been constructed on a series of big plays by their No. 1-ranked defense. The offense has been more opportunistic than efficient, and ranks only 16th in the league.

    All the more reason to jab away rather than come out and try to exchange haymakers with the Rams.

    The Rams' revamped defense ranks 27th in the league and 28th...
    -10-10-2004, 01:08 AM
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