Sunday, December 26, 2010

Freeman throws for career high five touchdowns as Bucs crush Seahawks 38-15

By Kshell

The Tampa Bay Buccanears(9-6) who are fighting for a playoff berth took care of business by destroying the Seattle Seahawks(6-9) in a game that ultimately didn't mean anything for the Seahawks. When the San Francisco 49ers(5-10) lost earlier to the St.Louis Rams(7-8) that clinched that next week's game between the Rams at the Seahawks will be for the division title. Despite the game not meaning anything for the Seahawks they still suffered a pretty big injury. Pete Carroll decided early in the week to start Matt Hasselbeck over Charlie Whitehurst. Hasselbeck was hurt early and Whitehurst got to play the last three and a half quarters while not looking good. The Seahawks must recover from this disastrous loss which has seen the team lose seven out of their last nine games.

The Seahawks just like last week began the game up 7-0. The Seahawks were helped out by Marshawn Lynch rushing for 29 yards. After a few Hasselbeck completions including a six yard pass to Mike Williams which put Hasselbeck over 3,000 yards passing. Hasselbeck set a Seahawks record with his seventh 3,000 yard plus passing season. Facing a fourth and inches the Seahawks decided to do a wild cat formation. The formation had fullback Michael Robinson as the quarterback which Robinson ran to the left and was blown up but spun around and went to his right to get the first down for a gain of three. After two failed short run attempts on the goal line the Seahawks called a bootleg from the one which Hasselbeck ran in the touchdown. That touchdown was costly as Hasselbeck came up hurt. Hasselbeck had hurt his back and since this game meant nothing to the Seahawks he didn't return.

On the ensuing kickoff the Seahawks gave up a 79 yard kickoff return to Micheal Spurlock which set up a Tampa Bay field goal. The Seahawks led 7-3 at the end of the first quarter. With Whitehurst at quarterback the Seahawks would see many three and outs. While the Buccaneers would start heating up with another good field position due to a poor punt. Josh Freeman would hit Kellen Winslow who was defended by Marcus Trufant for a 10 yard touchdown pass. Then Freeman would hit the Buccaneers Mike Williams down the middle for a 20 yard touchdown once again was defended by Marcus Trufant. The Buccaneers had a 17-7 lead heading into halftime.

The Buccaneers continued to look like a team who wants to play in the playoffs in the second half. They began the second half when Freeman would throw for his third touchdown of the game when he hit Winslow once again for a 21 yard touchdown pass which saw Winslow bounce off Seahawks defender Lawyer Milloy for the touchdown. On that drive the Buccaneers drove 98 yards down the field. The Buccaneers took a commanding 24-7 lead at that point in the game. The Seahawks continued to do nothing under quarterback Charlie Whitehurst.

The Buccaneers were also rushing on the Seahawks as well as passing. The Buccaneers featured running back LeGarrette Blount who as we all know went to Oregon last year and was suspended for most of the year. Blount had a sportscenter top plays type 53 yard run on the Seahawks. Blount had a 12 yard run then hurdled Lawyer Milloy and ran for an additional 41 yards. That run set up another Freeman touchdown pass to Mike Williams from seven yards out which was once again defended by Marcus Trufant. The Buccaneers took a commanding 31-7 lead.

The Seahawks finally got on the scoreboard with Whitehurst under center. Whitehurst completed six of seven throws on the touchdown drive for 31 yards which set up a Leon Washington 16 yard touchdown run. Whitehurst then hit Ben Obomanu for the two point conversation to cut the lead to 31-15. The Buccaneers would get one last touchdown pass from Freeman when he would hit Maurice Stovall from two yards out to give the Buccaneers a 38-15 lead. Freeman would throw five touchdown passes on the day in which seems to be a theme for the Seahawks defense.

This loss is a total team loss but Whitehurst once again didn't take advantage of his opportunity. Whitehurst struggled moving the chains all day long. Whitehurst would finish completing 11 of 18 passes but for just 66 yards with a quarterback rating of 68.3. While Matt Hasselbeck was three for four passing for 24 yards with a rushing touchdown. The Buccaneers had great passing from second year quarterback Josh Freeman who completed 21 of 26 passes for 237 yards with five touchdown passes and a quarterback rating of 144.2.

The Seattle Seahawks despite being 6-9 control their own destiny. Pete Carroll in his first year has a chance to do what Mike Holmgren did in his first season which is win a division title. The Seahawks may have lost seven of their last nine games but with the Seahawks playing on primetime look for an electric Qwest Field atmosphere. If someone had told you before the season that all the Seahawks have to do is beat a team with a rookie quarterback, a team who has lost five years in a row at Qwest Field for a division title you'd ask where do I sign. For the Seahawks to win they must clean up a ton of areas and get Matt Hasselbeck back to full health.


- The Seahawks aren't trusting the run game. Marshawn Lynch carried the ball 14 times for 53 yards. While Justin Forsett who had just seven carries the previous three games had eight today for just 12 yards. Leon Washington who never carries the ball had a touchdown run from 16 yards out.

The Seahawks offensive line is bad in short yardage situations but they should trust the run. Part of Hasselbecks interceptions and Whitehurst being ineffective is the fact the Seahawks don't even try to run the ball. The Buccaneers have been killed on the run by Ryan Torain and then Maurice Morris the last two weeks. Just like last week when the Seahawks ran the ball well on the first drive I felt they got away from Marshawn Lynch. I want to see Lynch carry the ball 20 times, Forsett 10 times and Washington with five carries.

- Former Oregon Ducks running back LeGarrette Blount killed the Seahawks. Blount ran for 164 yards on 18 carries(9.1 YPC). Blount was an undrafted free agent who originally signed with the San Francisco 49ers but decided to sign with the Tennessee Titans.

I saw Blount play against the Seahawks in person score a rushing touchdown with the Titans in the teams first preseason game. I still remember at work watching live as Blount punched the Boise State defender and the whole room reacting to that punch. Unfortunately for Blount that punch will be his "defining" moment.

Like Mike Vick though he has shown a great job of overcoming adversity. Blount despite going from a projected late first round pick/second round pick to undrafted then being released leads all rookie running backs in rushing yards with 941 yards rushing on 182 carries(5.2 YPC) with six rushing touchdowns. You have to wonder with him being in the Seahawks backyard why not sign Blount on the cheap instead of trade two draft picks for Lynch? I know the Seahawks don't take risks on players like that but maybe they should.

- The Seahawks are struggling this year at staying competive. Last year the Seahawks turned a 5-7 season into a disaster 5-11 season which saw Jim Mora fired after one season.

The Seahawks in their nine losses this year have been outscored 313-124 which is an average loss of 34.8-13.8. In the past nine games the Seahawks are 2-7 and have been outscored 294-174 which is an average of 32.7-19.3 which isn't good at all. The Seahawks are playing like one of the worst teams in the league for a good stretch now of nine games. For the year the Seahawks have been outscored 401-294 which is an average loss of 26.7-19.6

Even with all that because of the NFC West though all the Seahawks have to do is beat the St.Louis Rams. The Seahawks if they win will be made fun of but that doesn't matter. What matters is winning the game which will bring home the fifth Division championship in the last seven years.

All in all, we all knew this was going to be a rebuilding year as nobody predicted playoffs from this team. After the Bears game which saw the Seahawks improve to 4-2 media analyst like Tony Dungy called them the best team in the NFC which raised expectations. The Seahawks are doing what everyone thought and because of a weak division have a chance at winning the division. Regardless if the Seahawks win or not they have a ton of work to do in the offseason. This next Sunday's game is for the NFC West Championship and I know that the 12th man will be the big "X" factor for the Seahawks.

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