Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Holmgren Years: A Retrospective: 2001

I liked this team. After the catastrophic defensive performance during the 2000 season Holmgren went out, opened the wallet and brought in some defensive help. In came John Randle to provide an interior pass rush, and Chad Eaton to eat up blockers, and big Levon Kirkland, to stuff the run. Chad Brown woke up, and started playing like Chad Brown again. Reggie Tongue had one of his two good years in a Seahawks uniform and Anthony Simmons started to blossom.

Statistically, this defense wasn't great, they still bent a little too much, and every now and then gave up too many rushing yards. But they were better, and tougher. Their 3rd and 1 run defense was inpenetrable and only gave up more than 30 points once.

This season also marks the beginning of the Matt Hasslebeck era. Early on, he was terrible, but was welcome relief from the days of Jon Kitna(Out routes and corner routes were now part of the passing game. His first two starts were hideous including the atrocious affair against the Eagles where the Seahawks managed 21 yards passing. It wasn't entirely his fault, the Eagles defense spent much of the game virtually unblocked.

He got hurt, as well as Ricky Watters, and Dilfer and Shaun Alexander came in and righted the ship.

Shaun Alexander, in one of the "I was there" games, rushed for 266 yards against the powerful Raiders in an absolutely "Must win" game. Hasslebeck played perfectly, managing the game and not trying to do too much.

The Seahawks were 6-2 at home, using the poor weather to their advantage to unleash their physical running attack. This was the first year of the Steve Hutchinson/Walter Jones tandem on the left side of the line, and it showed.

With Hasslebeck plagued with injuries, Dilfer finished the season in style with two wins over the Chargers and Chiefs. The Chargers game memorable for being the game where the door reopened to the playoffs when the Bills beat the Jets that morning. Despite beating the Chiefs, the Jets beat the Raiders and the Seahawks missed the playoffs. That wasn't the most painful moment of the season though.

Holmgren's infamous "four point field goal" while down 24-20 to the Dolphins with just over two minutes left and facing a 4th and 4 caused everyone in attendance's head to explode.

The Seahawks played unbelievably at New York against the Giants and held a lead and had the Giants pinned inside their own 10 late in the fourth quarter. Unbelievably, the Giants converted third down after third down as they marched down the field. They were inside the ten when Anthony Simmons dropped a sure interception that would've iced the game. As things go, the next play, Kerry Collins, Ike Hilliard, touchdown. That game ruined my Christmas.

This team could've made some noise if they'd got into the playoffs, but thats the case without a lot of Seahawks teams, a lot of "ifs".

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