Nine games into the season and the Seahawks figured out how to run the ball. Losing their top rusher in Julius Jones early in the game led to a break out game for a player that had previously been on the waiver wire; Justin Forsett.
Forsett rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown. Despite a loss that put them three games back in the NFC West, coach Jim Mora and the Seahawks feel that there are reasons to be optimistic.
It is great that we are finally starting to see positive signs from this season, but it is getting dangerously late in the season to be optimistic. What the Seahawks need to be right now is confident. If anyone on the team understands this, it is brash wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who has been quoted as telling his coach, “We are not losing another game.”
You have to like that confidence coming from T.J., and hopefully the team can pick up on that as well. He has reason to feel a little more confident coming out of last week. Having only put up 169 yards and three touchdowns in the previous four games, he broke out against the Cardinals putting up 165 yards. It wasn’t a break out performance in the way that Forsett’s was though. This is expected of T.J., and was the reason he was a huge offseason acquisition.
The big story for the Seahawks, however, was their ability to get solid production on the ground. Coming into the season, it was a noted goal for the coaching staff to be a running team. With the talent at wide receiver and the offensive line having struggled, the team fell into its default passing attack.
Make no mistake about it though; the Seahawks are still a team that favors the pass. The key going forward will be to balance that powerful passing attack with a resurgent running game. Forsett is an impressive young runner, who, while shorter in stature, gets the tough yardage and is showing durability. This could be huge over the next few weeks as Jones appears to be out, and to be honest has not lived up to expectations since arriving in Seattle.
Whether that is on him or the injuries around him is open to interpretation, but one must remember that Dallas drafted a replacement for him, showing that they didn’t have one hundred percent confidence he was the man for the future.
Speedy back in Louis Rankin will be the backup this week for the Seahawks as they put their growing running game to the test. Forsett will have ample chance to prove he is capable of being the every down NFL back I think he can be.
With all the optimism coming off the loss, which is tough to swallow for any fan anyway, the upcoming game does not look good on paper for the Seahawks. Going on the road, which is never friendly to the Hawks, they are facing up against a NFC power in the Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings come into this game with an 8-1 record, boasting arguably the most talented running back the league in Adrian Peterson and a first ballot half of fame selection in Brett Farve. The Vikings are an immensely talented team who many had as a preseason pick to make it to the Super Bowl with the addition of Farve.
With the playoffs looking to be out of reach, the Seahawks need to build for the future and use the final stretch of the season to look at the strengths and weakness of the squad. Julius Jones injury may be a blessing in disguise as it gives the Hawks a chance to see if they are stocked well for their running game in the future.
There is little doubt the offensive line needs work, but now is the time to start looking at the future. It is too late in the season to be "optimistic" about this year, but we can build and look towards the future so next season is not spent home for the playoffs.
The Vikings on the other hand are rolling, and it doesn’t appear the Seahawks at this point will be able to pull off the upset. Still, I expect the Seahawks to play with fight and continue to look better as the season goes on. The Vikings are just too strong of a team this week however.
Vikings 35-Seahawks 21.
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