Fully Flawed Football Forecast!

Sometimes you just have to wonder if the computerized representations of your favorite players came to play. Perhaps they ate some bad virtual swordfish? In Week Two of Trav Flatt's "X-Box Files", the simulation isn't a happy event...

It’s time for another early look at this week’s Game To Be. Yes! It’s time again for the Fully Flawed Football Forecast. I am not very happy with the X-Box Hawks this week, as one can probably already discern. This particular simulation ran with one Shaun Alexander sitting on the sidelines as we took a look at a potential Worst-Case-Scenario of a full game with the second-string running back.

Was it to be Mo-Mo’s time to shine, or to fall short of his perceived potential?

Seahawks at Buccaneers

Immediately Chris Berman goes right into praising Mike Alstott. Truth be told, I do like the Stott. I wouldn’t call him a ‘Fullback’ without throwing in a few disclaimers, but I’ve always found the guy fun to watch. I’m mildly surprised to see Boomer (Didn’t he steal that nickname? Esiason really should wander onto the set one of these days and punch him in the neck…not that I’m biased) start ranting on about the Buccaneers’ offense as a Key Aspect to Watch.

Turns out, Berman knew what he was talking about. Other Aspects lacking in this game were the Running Game Aspect, the Scoring Aspect, and the Beer Aspect (Empty fridge).

Buccs won the toss and elected to receive.

Buccaneers ball, 28-yard line.

Exactly the way I expected this Bucs offense to start the game: A pretty ugly-looking three and out. When I was setting up the roster pre-game, I was hard-pressed to figure out just who Brad Johnson was planning to throw the ball to. After an incomplete pass to start the drive, Johnson connected with Michael Clayton for eight yards. Trufant utterly clobbers the guy, but quite a bit too hard. He’s down! He’s hurt! Women and children screaming! I later learn that he’s given himself a concussion and is flat-out gone for the rest of the game. Guess we’ll be seeing McBride earlier than I’d thought. Alstott gets smashed by Huff to end out the wannabe drive and the Bucs punt.

Seahawks ball, 31-yard line.

Back to back handoffs to Maurice Morris start out Seattle’s first possession. The announcer, obviously sniffing paint in the booth, points out that Mo-Mo is ‘Mostly a focal point of this offense’. 2nd and Inches, Matt finds Itula the Hun for thirteen yards and a first down. Mo-Mo gets another couple touches, but collects a total of three yards on them to make it 3rd and 7. And then… Matt throws a pick to Shelton Quarles. This is NOT the way to start a game against the Bucs, guys!

Buccaneers ball, Seahawks 43.

Brad Johnson insists that he has capable receivers and tries to pass on the first two downs with absolutely no success. A third attempt is complete to someone so far down the Bucs receiver depth chart that I don’t even know who it is nor do I care to look it up. Whoever the hell it is makes a twelve-yard reception for the first down. After another incompletion and a short hitch to Clayton, it’s 3rd and 4. B.J. tosses a quick swing pattern to Alstott on the left side, and A-Train rumbles across the first down marker, dragging Kacyvenski with him. Next play, Johnson finds Clayton open at the ten. The kid scampers directly into the end zone, hardly believing his luck. Touchdown, Bucs. Boo! Nobody wants to see the stupid pirate ship!

Seahawks ball, 43-yard line.

After a couple of meaningless drives and a facemask on the punt return, the Hawks find themselves in good field position. First play, Hass rolls out right and floats one right into the waiting arms of Koren Robinson for 28 yards and the first down. The next two passes sail incomplete, both with the help of a little bit too much pressure on the QB. On 3rd and 10, Matt Hasselbeck finds Bobby Engram over the middle, and Mr. Clutch gets the first down. Not much into screwing around, the Seahawks go for the gold on the very next play. Smack dab in the middle of the end zone, Hasselbeck finds Darrell Jackson for the touchdown! Brown dinks the PAT to tie it up at sevens.

Buccaneers ball, 22-yard line. 7-7.

The Bucs get the ball back after the kickoff (What is it with our kickers not being able to put one into the end zone? Get some leg into it, son!), and Johnson immediately fires off an incomplete pass to… Hell, I can’t even tell. I don’t even see a Buccaneer jersey anywhere near the ball. Alstott pounds one up the middle for a whole entire yard, making it 3rd and 9. Next play, Johnson drops back and fires a bullet directly to… Ken Lucas! Woot!!

Seahawks ball, Tampa 18. 7-7.

The Seahawks have the ball back and they’re going for the throat, baby! First play finds Hass dropping back to pass, he has K-Rob open in the end-zone, nobody around him… TOUCH-no, wait. Nevermind, Robinson dropped the (BLEEEEP)ng ball. Je(BLEEP)! What a (BLEEEEP)g (BLEEEEEP)! Oh, sorry. 2nd and 10, Ian Gold plants one Matt Hasselbeck directly into the field. So much for interception momentum. 3rd and 12, Matt rolls out left and finds Mr. Clutch again! First and Goal at the one! Next snap, play action pass, everyone bites on it. Touchdown! Hass finds Itoooooooola Miliiiiiiiii and the Hawks climb on top 14-7.

Second Quarter, Bucaneers ball. 14-7 Seattle.

The Buccs, looking to answer back, are driving their way downfield. On 3rd and inches, Alstott barrels up the middle for five, keeping the drive alive. Next play from scrimmage, Charlie Garner bounces outside and finds himself with a lot of green in front of him. A 38-yard scamper has the Buccs with 1st and Goal. Johnson hands off to Alstott and… whoah. Alstott lowers his shoulder and hits Anthony Simmons squarely onto his buttular area before trotting in for the TD. Got to give it up to Mike for that one. Oh, the brutality of it all. Game is tied, once again.

Seahawks ball, 19-yard line. 14-14.

After trading three-and-outs, the Seahawks regain the ball inside their own twenty. Incomplete pass is followed by a ten-yard strike to K-Rob, who manages to catch the ball. This is followed by another pair of handoffs to Maurice, who supplies another three yards with them. After a couple early carries, it doesn’t seem to have taken the Buccaneers long to key in on whatever it is Mo-Mo isn’t doing. Another long strike has Jackson with a first down at the Tampa 47. A short pass to Jerramy Stevens fails to impress anyone, and then it’s D-Jack Time. First pass to Jackson is tipped into the air, but D-Jack still manages to reel it in. Next pass, fifteen-yard bullet, Jackson again. Third pass, Darrell Jackson pulls it down in the end zone while half-diving, half-falling. Touchdown, Jackson! Watch and learn, Koren, watch and learn.

Buccaneers ball, 30-yard line. 21-14 Seattle.

Johnson passes, Boulware intercepts it. End of drive. Har!

Seahawks ball, Tampa 34-yard line. 21-14 Seattle.

Seahawks have a chance to put some distance between themselves and the opposition. Hass finds K-Rob for ten yards and… (BLEEEEEP!) Robinson fumbles, it’s recovered by Quarles. KOREN!!

Buccaneers ball, 24-yard line. 21-14 Seattle.

Luckily, the Bucs can’t capitalize on their good fortune and are forced to punt. The Seahawks do nothing with the ball, either. Tampa Bay gets the ball back at their own 24. After an incomplete pass, Brad Johnson goes on a tear and completes four straight. Dave Moore for 29. Charles Lee for 22. Moore again for 9. Who are these people?! An incomplete pass gives the Hawks defense a false sense of security right before Johnson finds Clayton in the end zone for a Buccaneer touchdown. Everyone heads to the locker room with the game all tied up at 21.

HALFTIME: 21-21.

Buccaneers ball, 39-yard line. 21-21.

After a trio of three-and-outs with neither team looking remotely impressive, the Bucs get the ball with decent field position. After a pair of passes to Clayton chew up around thirty yards, the Buccs go to the ground. They grind out another fifteen yards over the next three plays. Inexplicably, Tampa then tries to work out the passing game a bit more. Back-to-back deflections by Boulware, and the rookie safety is really looking pretty impressive out there. Buccaneers settle for a 33-yard field goal and go on top.

Seahawks ball, 20-yard line. 24-21 Tampa Bay.

After another three yards by Mo-Mo, Matt Hasselbeck drops back to pass down the sideline only to find himself picked off by Corey Ivy. Oh, man. This does so not look good. He’s gone. Gone, man, gone. Ivy with the defensive touchdown and the Buccaneers put some space between themselves and the opposition.

Seahawks ball, 20-yard line. 31-21 Tampa Bay.

This is good to see. It seems that the Seahawks are coming out a little more fired up than they’ve looked for the entire third quarter. Left side pass to Koren for 18 and a first. Mo-Mo gets… Well, almost looks like a yard, after an incomplete pass. Matt manages to find K-Rob again for a gain of sixteen, but the next pass falls incomplete. It’s time to break out the D-Jack, again. Hass tosses up a floater to the right side and Jackson has nobody in front of him. Just try to catch the D-Jack, you wienerheads! Ha ha! 44-yard TD reception for Darrell Jackson, and the Hawks are right back in it.

Buccaneers ball, 23-yard line. 31-28 Tampa Bay.

Another deflection for Michael Boulware. That kid is all over the field, it seems. After a short dump to Clayton, Johnson tosses for some yardage to… Who? Lawrie? Who ARE these guys (again)?! A couple plays later it doesn’t even matter, as the next pair of hands Brad Johnson finds belong to one Todd McBride. Welcome to the team, McBride! Woot!

Seahawks ball, 24-yard line. 31-28 Tampa Bay.

This is where I’d like to say that we capitalized on the mistake and put the Buccaneers away, running onward toward the victory. Unfortunately, we’d already scored our last points of the game on that last Jackson TD. Two plays into the drive, Matt throws yet another interception to Dwight Smith, and… it was basically over from then on.

Buccaneers ball, Seattle 18. 31-28 Tampa Bay.

A left-right-left combo with Alstott and Garner, and the Bucs had the ball back into the end zone on the ground, never to look back. Seattle never even managed to get a convincing comeback drive together, even when Tampa’s iffy offense put together another insulting field goal for good measure.

Final Score: 41-28 Tampa Bay.

Player of the Game: Nobody cares.

The bright spot of the game, though, was one Darrell Jackson, who managed to snare 11 receptions for 163 yards and 3 Touchdowns. Unfortunately, Matt matched his 4 TD passes with 4 Interceptions. Mo-Mo? A mere 31 yards on 18 carries. Get well soon, Shaun.

Fire off your scintillating insights, inquiries, and X-Box Hawks hate mail to trav@spinn.net

Trav Flatt

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