I could be wrong, but things in Seahawks-ville seem eerily familiar.
A 1 – 3 start…
Only win coming at home against an inferior Rams team…
An injured Matt Hasselbeck…
Man, haven’t we been down this road before?
Oh yeah…last year.
Last year? Oh great, this can’t be good, right?
Wrong, and here’s why.
Last year at 1 – 3, Seattle hosted the then 2 – 3 Green Bay Packers and Charlie Frye started under center for the Seahawks. Frye only completed 12 of his 23 passes for 83 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions en route to a 27 – 17 Green Bay beat down of the Seahawks.
This year at 1 – 3, Seattle gets to host the 2 – 2 Jacksonville Jaguars and, unlike last year’s fifth game, Matt Hasselbeck returns to the starting lineup for the Seahawks.
On Wednesday, Hasselbeck practiced for the first time since he fractured a rib in Week Two’s loss to San Francisco and, like I talked about Wednesday in my mid-week column, he is coming back just in time to face one of the worst defenses in the National Football League.
The Seahawks will need Hasselbeck to be able to capitalize on this matchup because Jacksonville is very talented in all other aspects of the game.
At quarterback, Jacksonville’s David Garrard is quietly having a pretty good season.
Last week, he completed 73 percent of his passes while totaling 327 yards and three touchdowns through the air in the Jaguars’ dismantling of the hapless Tennessee Titans.
For the season, Garrard already has 941 passing yards, five scores and only one interception.
Entering the season, Jacksonville’s top receiving threat was Troy Williamson, now Williams is out of the picture and the team is led by a guy by the name of Sims-Walker.
Since seeing his first playing time of the season during Week Two once Williamson went down with a season-ending injury, Mike Sims-Walker’s three touchdowns have outscored the likes of Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald, Houston’s Andre Johnson and New England’s Randy Moss, just to name a few.
Let’s just spend one more minute on that stat and one more that really shows what Sims-Walker has been able to do.
In only two-and-a-half games of play this season, he has out produced some of the league’s staple big-time receiving threats.
The other stat that is just downright scary for opposing defenses is that he’s been targeted 30 times and he’s caught 19 of those passes in just two-and-a-half games.
On the ground, the Jaguars tout one of the league’s top running backs in Maurice Jones-Drew.
The all-everything back is on pace for many, many touchdowns and over 1500 total yards from scrimmage this season, with a projected 1184 yards on 252 carries and 388 receiving yards on 64 catches.
Standing out on special teams is rookie wide receiver Mike Thomas.
Last week against Tennessee, Thomas took his first ever returns in the NFL, going 34 and 42 yards.
What’s more impressive than his return totals is that the University of Arizona product is extremely versatile.
Converting all five of his pass targets into receptions that amassed 31 yards and taking end-around handoffs for 9 yards on the ground, Thomas finished second to only quarterback David Garrard in total touches of the football last week with 13.
Think that Thomas was a one-week-rookie wonder?
Jacksonville’s success hinges on his performance this year, going 2 – 0 when he’s in the lineup and 0 – 2 when he isn’t.
With offensive weapons and poor defensive units on both teams, Sunday’s matchup between the Jaguars and the Seahawks could be a shootout.
If Hasselbeck is able to go (and all signs are pointing in that direction), I’ll give the ever so slight nod to the Seahawks playing in front of a rowdy, raucous Twelfth Man being what pushes them past the visiting Jaguars.
Seattle 31, Jacksonville 28.