Practically Prescient Pre-game Prediction!!!

Unable to wait for the Seahawks to take the field, Trav Flatt ran a video simulation of the Seahawks-Saints season opener. Enjoy the recap of a game in which neither defense seemed to find their way to the stadium...

Well, happy readers, the time we have all been waiting for finally looms directly before us. Week One of the For-Real Actual Football Season! As promised, this week marks the inception of a new weekly feature, the Practically Prescient Pre-game Prediction.

I will be making use of some highly technical Football-Related Software, specifically ESPN NFL 2K5 for the Xbox, to gain some insight into each week’s upcoming game. This week, there are some definite concerns on defense with the loss of Chad Brown… The cats and I are fully expecting to see an offensive shootout in the upcoming rematch between the Seattle Seahawks and the New Orleans Saints.

Pre-game Analysis

The virtual Berman seems primarily impressed with Donte’ Stallworth, as his entire game introduction centers around talking about what a wonderful season the young wide out is going to have. Doubtlessly, one Mr. Hamlin is going to get a chance to be reunited with Donte’. I’m hoping to see Ken express his own opinion regarding Stallworth’s “Breakout Season”.

As the fans file into the stadium, the announcers have obviously been drinking large quantities of schnapps. Reason being: They’re talking about the defensive match up. Specifically, they’re telling me that I need to be paying close attention to the linebackers. I’ll personally be paying close attention to Huff and Kacyvenski and praying that they both manage to step up.

Coin Toss: Saints Choose to Receive

Man, I was really hoping for the chance to point out how we want the ball and we’re going to score.

Saints Ball, 27 yard line

New Orleans comes out to start the drive and manages to surprise the Hawks’ defense on the ground. I would have been surprised, as well. Normally when Deuce McAllister is lurking in the backfield you don’t expect to see back-to-back gives to Sam Gash. However, that’s exactly what happens, and Gash gashes up our defense for carries of 7 and 8 yards. Aaron Brooks follows up with an 18 yard strike to Joe Horn on first and ten. Deuce then promptly bangs his first carry of the day up the middle for 7 yards. On 2nd and 3, our defense finally realizes that the game has started. Another handoff to the Deuce results in McAllister getting drilled into the turf for a loss by… Wow! It’s Bierria. Bierria looks highly impressed with himself. On 3rd and 5, Bobby Taylor ALMOST picks off a quick pass to Pathon, but it falls harmlessly to the ground. The Saints opt for field position instead of attempting the absurdly long field goal and punt it away.

Seahawks Ball, 26 yard line

So much for field position game, huh? One of the Saints special teamers made a wienerhead move resulting in a fair catch interference call, giving the Hawks the ball at the 26. The Seahawks don’t start off too impressively. 1st and 10 is an incomplete pass intended for Darrell Jackson. This is followed by a sack as Charles Grant gets to the quarterback and rubs his face in the turf. This turn of events seems to irritate Matt Hasselbeck as the next two plays generate 47 yards through the air. Quick strikes to Jackson and Robinson chew up half of the field in two plays before Sullivan breaks through the pass protection… Hass finds himself planted yet again. A complete swing to Shaun Alexander gets nowhere, making it 3rd and long. Matt laughs in the face of 3rd and long. 3rd and long is Hasselbeck’s beeyatch. Hass to K-Rob for 18 yards gives Seattle the first down. 1st and 10 at the 16 yard line, Matt hands the ball off to Alexander off tackle left and… He’s in the clear. Shaun scampers completely unmolested into the end zone and the Hawks are on the board first. The PAT is good, 7-0 Seahawks!

Saints Ball, 21 yard line (7-0 SEA)

At the beginning of the Saints’ second drive, Aaron Brooks tries to go to the air again. Marcus Trufant knocks the holy hell out of Pathon, breaking up a would-be completion. This convinces Brooks that it’d be a good idea to go to the other side of the field, which results in a 12-yard completion to Horn. A couple fairly pointless plays later, Brooks connects with Horn again on a hot route and Horn breaks LOOSE! No! AAAUGH! Whew, he’s stopped, but not after a gain of 36 yards. After another feeble 1-yard stumble by Deuce, Brooks rolls out right only to find himself sacked by Anthony Simmons. Aaron will be picking divots out of his face mask for weeks, which is impressive considering that they’re playing on turf. 3rd and Long. Brooks finally completes one to Jerome Pathon for a first down at the 13 yard line. On the next play, Kacyvenski gets his hands up and bats down a pass. Go, Kaz! The announcer even manages to pronounce his name, impressing me. The next snap, Aaron Brooks drops back and launches a lob up-up-up… Stallworth is under it, Lucas swats at it and misses. Touchdown, Saints. The Saints even the score at 7.

Seahawks Ball, 19 yard line (7-7)

The Seahawk passing attack wastes no time on the next drive, collecting four first downs on the next six plays. Alexander runs a counter to the left side for about 3 yards, which sets up the Hawks with 2nd and 7 at the 17. At the start of the second quarter, Seattle is threatening to answer right back. Next play, Matt drops back and fires a BULLET over the middle directly into the arms of one Koren Robinson. That touchdown drive looked easy, the N’awlins defense might as well have stayed on the sideline and drank Gatorade. 14-7 Seahawks lead.

Saints Ball, 15 yard line (14-7 SEA)

After the next four drives in which both teams take turns punting (After Kaz manages to bat down a couple more passes. The guy’s really doing a good job holding down his zone), the Saints get the ball back at their own 15 yard line. The first pass is batted down by Bierria, but the second one is complete to McAllister out of the backfield. This looks bad. Hamlin tries to cut back, and manages to fall down. Bierria makes a lunge, misses, and suddenly the Deuce is Loose! Nobody can catch him from behind, and Deuce McAllister scampers all the way down the sideline for an 85-yard touchdown grab. Maybe we should have stuck with the zone. Seahawks defense looked downright stupid on that play. Saints tie it back up at 14.

Seahawks Ball, 25 yard line (14-14)

With 1:33 left in the half, the Seahawks get the ball back at their own 25. At first, it looks like Holmgren is going to go conservative and just draw the tie into halftime. First play is a 4-yard push up the middle by Alexander which is followed up by a short lob to Koren for a first down. Seahawks call a time out to figure out what they’re going to do with the last minute. It looks like an attempt to get on the scoreboard is in order (Thanks, Mike!). The first play results in yet another sack. Hass is starting to acquire visible dents in his helmet. The next three plays go better. First down pass to D-Jack, rush to the line. 8-yard pass to Jerramy Stevens, rush to the line. Another first down to D-Jack, rush to the line. The next pass falls to the turf, but there’s also a yellow hanky down there beside it. Defensive pass interference is called as Darrell finds himself accosted by the DB in the end zone. So, with only eight seconds on the clock, the Seahawks have the ball at the 1 yard line. Hass drops back and finds Stevens wide open on a quick hitch in the end zone. Touchdown Seahawks, and the game goes into halftime 21-14 Seattle.

Halftime Stats:
Seattle: 243 yards passing, 32 yards rushing.
New Orleans: 205 yards passing, 46 yards rushing.
Berman’s Halftime Hero: Matt Hasselbeck

Seahawks Ball, 29 yard line (21-14 SEA)

The Seahawks begin the second half with yet another sack. Sullivan beats Tobeck while Mack Strong moves to pick up the blitz and Sullivan racks up his third sack of the game. Matt probably doesn’t really like Jonathan Sullivan by now. The next play is a draw to Alexander, who chews up 5 yards to get back to the original line of scrimmage. Lot of work to make no actual progress, but it doesn’t matter. On the next play, Matt dumps a quick slant to Koren Robinson right behind a blitzing safety and Koren is –gone-. Nobody can catch the man as he streaks down the field 71 yards for another Seahawk touchdown. The score goes to 28-14 while the camera focuses on a very cocky-looking K-Rob. His running stat total demonstrates good reason to be cocky, though. So far, he’s had 7 catches for 169 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Saints Ball, 26 yard line (28-14 SEA)

In a mere six plays, N’awlins answers RIGHT back. Donte’ Stallworth breaks loose on a short pass play and manages to scamper down the field to the 12 yard line, setting up a quick toss into the corner of the end zone to Joe Horn. 28-21 and the Saints are right back into what is turning out to be a rather brutal offensive shootout.

Seahawks Ball, 28 yard line (28-21 SEA)

Neither team’s defense has been looking particularly effective, and both teams are snarfing up huge numbers through the air. The rushing game on both sides has been relatively quiet, but again… Neither team has really needed to bother with rushing. Hawks get the ball, and after a quick strike to D-Jack puts them at the 45, they try to start slowing things down a bit. Shaun Alexander collects another 19 yards over the next four plays. With the defense getting wary of Alexander’s feet, Hass tosses the next pass over their heads to one Darrell Jackson, who scuttles down the sideline for another Seahawk touchdown. 35-21 Seattle.

The next six drives pass with relatively little of interest going on. The rest of the third quarter brings us five punts, and one Saints interception. Matt Hasslebeck displays his thoughts of a Bellamy interception marring what is turning into a career day by throwing his helmet down and sulking. Relax, Matt! Scoreboard!

The fourth quarter turns out to be roughly as eventful as the third in as much as ‘Not Very’. There will be no miracle comeback for the New Orleans Saints as both offenses bog down to close out the game. A pair of field goals are exchanged, and Josh Brown manages to MISS a 24-yarder. The final score for the Seahawks Season Opener: 38-24 Seattle.

Player of the Game: Matt Hasselbeck.

Total offensive yards really told the story, and it wasn’t very pretty for either team, though the game wasn’t really as close as the yardage might indicate. Seattle had a total of 540 yards on offense, but they managed to give UP 492 yards.

Key Stats:

Matt Hasselbeck: 26/36, 72% Completion, 453 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT.

Shaun Alexander: 26 carries for 86 yards and 1 TD.

D. Jackson: 12-233, 1 TD
K. Robinson: 8-182, 2 TD
M. Strong: 2-26
J. Stevens: 2-9, 1 TD
S. Alexander: 1-(1)
I. Mili: 1-4

K. Hamlin: 10 Tackles
T. Bierria: 7 Tackles, 3 TFL
A. Simmons: 5 Tackles, 1 Sack

Local Interest Irrelevant Question of the Day: Okay, we have a bunch of ‘Horny Toads’ around here. I’m wondering; Is this not a misnomer, given that they are lizards and not even particularly affectionate?

Fire off your scintillating insights, inquiries, and shared surprise at Bierria’s performance to trav@spinn.net.

Trav Flatt


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