On the Road Again...

Seahawks.NET's Steve Utz regales us with his impressions from Qualcomm Stadium. A SoCal resident who has spent some serious time in Washington State as well, Steve braved the freeways down south and came away with some thoughts.

In an odd twist of fate, the Seattle Seahawks are undefeated on the road, and have no wins at home in this promising off-season.

There are a lot of Seahawks fans in Southern California. A lot of us made the trek to San Diego for perhaps our best and only chance to see the Seahawks perform in person this season. We were rewarded.

Some personal impressions:

I never imagined that the drive down form where I live would take as long as the game. Yep, 3 hours to drive 90 miles. Yikes. Luckily, I left early and made it in time. San Diego County has some serious traffic issues.

The field looked great. Thankfully, they don’t play baseball there any more. The ugly and dangerous infield was nowhere to be found. It held up nicely as the game went on, too.

Amazingly, the Chargers still have fans. For the most part, they were friendly. They seem resigned to another mediocre season, but they were excited about seeing Phillip Rivers for the first time. We had some fun teasing them, of course, but all in fun. You can attend a Charger game as an opposing fan without fearing for your life, unlike some other venues in the NFL.

The offense is nearly in mid-season form. They made some mistakes, to be sure, but they also made some plays. Pre-season rankings would have one believe that Seattle should have dominated the Chargers, which they did, at least until the starters sat down in the 3rd quarter.

There were some heartwarming moments for both teams, as both had fan favorite quarterbacks play. Trent Dilfer made his first appearance of the 2004 season, and did respectably. He was obviously shaking some rust off, and our second string line had him scrambling more than desirable, but he made some plays and even engineered a FG scoring drive. Nice to have him back on the field.

On the other side, Doug Flutie made an appearance to scattered cheers from the home town fans. He also made some spectacular plays in helping the Chargers get back into the game. But even the Flutie magic could not overcome the first half deficit his teammates had built up. In the end, he did what he always did best, which is play exciting football.

Phillip Rivers is the real deal, which is why Rhodes seems to have changed the game plan a bit for him. After his first drive came a bit too close to scoring for comfort, Rhodes threw a couple of wrinkles at him. Once we started applying some pressure, he started to look like the rookie he is. I’m sure glad that San Francisco and Arizona didn’t get a shot at drafting this guy. He looks like he will be the real deal in a year or so, if he gets some help around him. I’m glad he’s tucked away in another conference.

Our younger, more aggressive defense is showing promise. We can only hope that adding Wistrom when he gets healthy will add that last bit of pass pressure we’ve needed for so long. Three picks from three different DB’s is certainly a good sign. The whole thing looks to be coming together nicely. It’s not even certain that we will miss Chad Brown all that much. His teammates look like they will be able to cover for his absence while his leg heals.

On offense, Koren Robinson looks ready to repeat or exceed his 2002 performance, leaving his slightly disappointing 2003 season a vague memory. Given our talent at WR, though, he may be hard pressed to exceed 1000 yards receiving this year, but it doesn’t appear that it will be due to lack of effort on his part. Jerramy Stevens had a good game, too, making several catches. On the whole, it was good to see that we tried several times to complete long passes. Hopefully, our completion percentage will increase, but it’s good to see them trying, at least.

So things appear to be coming together for our Seahawks. It is still the pre-season, after all. It might be a concern if we didn’t have something to work on. Apparently, last week’s debacle of a game served as a wake up call. The team looked ready to play at San Diego.

Hopefully, the success we’ve had on the road this pre-season will extend into the regular season. After all, if we can manage a .500 (or better) record on the road this year, we could win 11-12 games, given our recent home field winning habits.

Steve Utz writes a column for Seahawks.NET every Sunday. Send your feedback to Steve at wisecoyote1@cox.net.

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