Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Playoffs! Playoffs? PLAYOFFS? PLAYOFFS!!!???

Since my last SeaChicken related post, they have soared to a 9-1 record including a sweep of the hated St. Louis Rams and much ballyhoed rival Arizona Cardinals. At 6-0 at home, the SeaChickens truly are On-Fire-In-The-Coop and are rolling towards an NFC West championship and a first-ever first round bye in the playoffs. Many are wondering whether this is the year the SeaChickens finally throw off the Chicken mantle and emerge has Hawks again. Perhaps, but no matter the record, the SeaChickens still have work to do. The Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts are all going to try and upend the SeaChicken's plans, and they need to remain focused. This is Mike Holmgren's new challenge, having gotten the offense to finally play up to potential, can he maintain focus in the media maelstrom in these last few weeks.
This is where we have failed in the past. We have failed to keep quiet about our pursuit of personal records (Shaun Alexander). We have failed to move on after heartbreaking losses (3 times vs. the Rams). We have failed to keep our focus on the next opponent (1-6 after bye weeks). This is where I will give Mike a little credit. After last weeks victory, including a small scare from Bolger and co., The SeaChickens have shown they have put last year's failures behind them and are playing and coaching from the same perspective finally. Having a dominant offensive line and a bruiser of a running back in Shaun Alexander, the team has never seemed to be able to run the ball effectively when they needed to. This has led to errant passes and lost opportunities when Matt Hasselbeck is asked to do too much.
Coming off a bye week with an away game against the Division rival Arizona Cardinals, intelligent SeaChicken fans were a little nervous. After all, Mike Holmgren had been a woeful 0-6 after bye weeks and the Chickens had been poor at best on the road. Nevertheless, the Chickens came to play and whooped the Cardinals badly in a game where Alexander carried it a ton and Hasselbeck had only 20 attempts. This was exactly what they should have been thinking at home against the Giants. With great going on fantastic Defensive Ends the Chickens needed to run the ball, control the clock, and keep Strahan and the Rookie honest.
Can you say 7 carries for Shaun Alexander in the First Half??? Can you say 31 carries in a 70 minute contest? Only 33 total rushing plays! Technically, the Hasselbeck carries shouldn't count, since he is only running for his life on those plays. Once again, the other team dared us to throw by packing 9 in the box and we did. Nevermind this is the same Holmgren who has repeatedly claimed stacking the box is dangerous because that is when SA can break off huge gains. Nevermind that we need to keep teams honest by running the ball at home to help our defense get some breathers. Nevermind that we would be REACTING to NEW YORK instead of DICTATING the pace of the game at home.
Fortunately for the Chicken fans, the Giants kicker was asked to kick too many long field goals, and we eventually put the game away for good in the OT period. Unfortunately we had ANOTHER 4th quarter collapse, the second in as many weeks. This time we also blew the 2 pt conversion coverage and had to dodge multiple bullets at the end of the game and in OT.
So Holmgren ,for the love of all that is holy, RUN THE DAMN BALL.
Maurice Morris (sometimes I wonder if they name these kids like this to ensure they are tough... RB named Maurice would be a nice Johnny Cash song) has 30 carries this year. That is nearly 3 a game. He averages over 5 yards per carry. Now I grant you he is no Shaun Alexander, but he can certainly carry the ball. He should see AT LEAST 5 carries per half. 10 carries per game, with Alexander around 15 carries per half except in blow outs. Do we actually have to hire two fans and put them on the SeaChicken Staff now? A replay fan AND a run-the-ball fan???
Please Mike, I know you want to win your way. Can that wait for next year? Can we please try and win a Super Bowl with what we have first? When you have an Offensive Line this dominant and a RB this Exceptional, we need to go to them first. Run to set up the Pass. It has happened before. And it can work.

Especially in road games against bad teams. Like it did against the Cardinals. Like it WOULD have against the 49ers. Lets give it a shot Monday. Shaun plays extra hard in nationally televised games. Lets use him.... Lets win.... Lets pretend you're Chuck Knox next week.

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