The Preseason Begins Part II (The First Quarter)
As with any Seahawks game held at Qwest field the 12th Man flag was raised, something that Pete Carroll later confessed that he missed. The coin toss was won by the visiting Titans who elected to receive, setting up an initial drive that looked far to reminiscent of last year. They put together a 10 play drive that lasted 5:51 seconds and was capped off by a 1 yard touchdown run by defending NFL rushing champion Chris Johnson.
Despite the similarities to last years squad it was not all bad from the Seahawks defense. On the first play of the drive Aaron Curry got into great position to make a play before being tackled by the pulling guard but it forced Chris Johnson to the outside where Marcus Trufant had been moments earlier. Marcus flipped his hips as soon as the ball was snapped turning his back toward the play and ran down the field ten yards and basically out of the play before the WR caught up to him to apply the block. Had Marcus noticed the play he could have force the runner back inside to Will Herring, David Hawthorne and Lawyer Milloy.
Two plays later Marcus found himself playing what appeared to be Man to Man on the outside and while his man cut to the outside he had a TE running a streak to the other side and he seemed to be unsure which one to cover as he had help underneath from Aaron Curry, who fell behind the target while looking into the backfield. I’m not sure who was responsible on the play but one of those two blew the coverage. That play led to a 2nd and 1 hand off to Johnson Curry, Red Bryant, who would later get good pressure on the goal line stand, and Brandon Mebane all got good pressure and Red got away with tripping Johnson. Playing in the offensive backfield is a key to stopping a running attack and it is good to see that kind of penetration.
On the long screen pass Earl Thomas could not get off his block and was pushed down the field by the WR until the play ran into him. The next play was the pass to Justing Gage which was a nice job by Vince Young noticing the weak spot in the zone and throwing it between defenders but then Josh Wilson and Hawthorn gave up on the play and if it weren’t for Thomas Gage would have rolled into the end zone. The Seahawks defense would make two nice plays to deny Johnson’s touchdown before he ran off tackle for the Score.
The Seahawks offense started out with a play action pass attempt to Deion Branch who was double covered and the pass was batted away. Two consecutive pass completions from Matt to Deion led to a first down. On 1st and 10 they tried the first running play. It was to the right side between the Guard, Max Unger, and the Tackle, Sean Locklear. Max got shoved back about 2 yards and there was nowhere for Julius Jones to go. After two incompletions the Seahawks would punt the ball away.
As the Seahawks defense took the field for the second time Kevin Vickerson was in at DT to replace Colin Cole. On 3rd and 1 the Titans tried a play action pass that did not fool Chris Clemons and he pursued Vince Young as he rolled out forcing him to get rid of the ball without getting a chance to set his feet. Meanwhile down the field Josh Wilson was stuck to the WR like glue and did a nice job driving on the ball making an interception on the Seahawks sideline.
The first play after getting the ball back Locklear tried to push the rushing DE, Former Seahawk Jason Babin, past Matt but was unable to change the direction of the rush and as Matt stepped up in the pocket he was sacked. This was the second time in the game that Sean was beaten by Babin. Two plays later, on third down, Jones would short arm a ball and the Seahawks would be forced to punt. The fans at Qwest were booing Julius’ effort but the fact is that even if he had made the catch he would have been well short of the first down marker and in that situation I would like to see Matt try to squeeze a ball downfield. If its intercepted then it works just like a punt. Punter Jon Ryan made the perfect punt until Jordan Babineaux ran down the field and knocked the ball into the end zone for a touchback.
Kevin Vickerson created havoc on the next two running plays holding his position on the first and making the tackle for a short gain then beating two blocks to team up with Bryant, who beat his blocker, to drop the RB in the backfield. The very next play Chris Simms dropped back to pass and Clemons beat his man on a beautiful inside swim move and picked up the sack. The Titans would punt the ball away.
After a quick slant From Matt to TJ for a 1st down J. Jones gave a lot of effort after being hit in the backfield to pick up a couple. The next play Max Unger could not get to the second level fast enough to cut off the middle linebacker who was able to read the play and get around the outside of Russell Okung, who was already in-gauged, and made the tackle in the backfield. The next play was off tackle right side and Sean did a great job sealing the edge while Ben Hamilton pulled and open a big hole. Sean handed his guy over to Unger and was able to get to the second level and make another key block. That coupled with Unger pushing the DE up the field led to the first down. After an incompletion and a two yard reception by TJ the first quarter was over.
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