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Seattle 35, Washington 14

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I watched the entire game to take a close look at Seattle. I'm not going to mention Washington much except to bring up two key points. First, Washington's offense was really bad. Seattle's defense deserves credit for a job well done, but Washington couldn't pass block, dropped passes killed them early, and they can't run the ball. Second, Washington's special teams were awful. Washington P Derrick Frost had an awful game, the missed field goal didn't help either, and Washington had awful field position nearly the entire first half while great starting field position for Seattle led to 18 points.

First Half

  • Mike Holmgren does not want to run the ball. If he still scripts his first 15 plays, well Seattle opened with four running plays and eleven passes on a windy day. Washington's run defense is above average, but it isn't listed in the top 10 by Football Outsiders (FO). He wasn't trying to exploit a bad pass defense either because FO had Washington ranked 7th overall.
  • Washington has a bad run offense, ranked 23rd by FO, but has Seattle's run defense ranked 5th best. DT Rocky Bernard made it back for the playoffs and he made a difference. Washington appeared to have some success running up the middle when backup DT Howard Green was in for Bernard. Otherwise Seattle's run defense was in complete control.
  • On Seattle's first TD drive, they had 3 rushes for 36 yards. Seattle only had 41 yards rushing the rest of the game. FB Leonard Weaver had some good moves on his 17 yard TD run, but it was the only time I saw Seattle's guards block Washington's tackles one-on-one and they opened up a giant hole for Weaver to run through.
  • P Ryan Plackemeier had two great punts that pinned Washington right against their own goal line and the bad field position was a major reason for Seattle's first 10 points.
  • Seattle is getting a lot of pressure on QB Todd Collins, but Washington deserves a lot of blame for it. Washington spent much of the first quarter trying to block Seattle's best pass rusher, DE Patrick Kerney, with a tight end or back, and it didn't work. Also, when Seattle's linebackers blitz, Washington's backs either miss it or are run over.
  • QB Matt Hasselbeck had some success throwing deep middle and sidelines passes, but early in the game he preferred throwing short, quick passes to avoid the pass rush and take advantage of Washington playing their corners back. He won't be able to do that with the Packers corners playing press coverage at the line of scrimmage and he'll have to make some deeper passes in possibly bad weather.
  • The only thing working for Washington is inside slant passes to WR Antuan Randle-El. Seattle's corners play the sidelines and they let their linebackers and safeties cover the middle. Getting WR Donald Driver and TE Donald Lee involved in the middle of the field should be a priority next week.
Second Half
  • Seattle looked a lot better with WR D.J. Hackett back. He's missed most of the season with a high ankle sprain and he's the only receiver on Seattle with any size. He's probably their best option on long passes and he should cause problems for the Packers too.
  • Washington got back into the game by getting the ball to their tight end and making Seattle's linebackers and safeties cover TE Chris Cooley and Randle-El in the middle of the field. Seattle's CBs Marcus Trufant and Kelly Jennings are good, so the Packers will have more success attacking the rest of the pass defenders.
  • Seattle's last offensive TD was set up by another awful punt by Washington and a long pass to Hackett. Special teams don't always play this big a role in the playoffs, but the missed field goal and this awful punt turned Washington's lead into a deficit. Just another lesson about the importance of special teams, and that the Packers will have to account for Hackett next week.
  • Turnovers will play a big part next week if QB Brett Favre throws as badly as he did at Dallas. He's been very good most of the season and it shouldn't be a problem. Seattle turned a close late lead into a big 35 point score with two TDs on INT returns.
Overall this game showed that Seattle has a one dimensional offense and Favre should have success passing against their defense if his pass protection is solid. The Packers have to put pressure on Hasselbeck, or maybe the cold weather will shut him down, and then they can shut down their offense. The Packers are much better at running the football than Washington and the Packers' five receiver sets should be a problem for Seattle.