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Before I begin, I'd like to start with a random thought. Back in the day, when Rick Mier was supposed to lead the Seahawks to slightly below mediocre the promised land, these two teams played each other in the pre-season.

Its the 4th quarter, Golden Boy is hungry. So is Cortez
Kennedy. So they hail down a hot dog vendor and split it. Dennis Erickson got mad, fined them each some extreme amount of money, and I think the Hawks won 3 games that year.

Isn't it great how much things have changed? And please tell me I'm not the only person who remembers this.

Anyways, this Sunday, its a game for real real, not for play play between the Niners and the Seahawks. Pictured is Lofa Tatupu, who carries the ball so often, he's practically Seattle's possession receiver. Why is he pictured? Because I think Seattle's defense is going to determine the outcome of this game.

The 49ers are currently ranked 31st in the NFL in total offense. I'm kind of
curious as to why no pub is given on this in the media. The Bears are ranked 30th and we get headlines that blare "REX TO BENCH". The Chargers have a rough three game start (against a brutal schedule) and the pundits cry, "Whats wrong with LT?"

Yet, when San Fransisco has a terrible start offensively, contradicting everything written about them since April and suddenly mum's the word? The amazing Frank
Gore and his 58.3ypg average? How about Alex Smith's 67.4 passer rating? I wasn't expecting eye popping numbers from these guys, but weren't we led to believe that this Niners squad would be decent on offense?

I don't throw these numbers out to make fun of San Francisco. (OK, maybe a little) but to demonstrate that this is an offense with talent that is being frustrated. Either that continues Sunday, or it continues.

Now, Vernon Davis has an MCL sprain, and his pass blocking abilities will be missed by Alex Smith. (So will that big target in the flat). Oh, and if I had a word of
advice for the Seahawks...attack from the left. Both LG Larry Allen and LT Jonas Jennings are banged up.

For the Seahawks, the emphasis has to be on getting Shaun Alexander going earlier. Yes Jerry Brewer, we know he's a game finisher. How about he finishes games off at halftime? If theS eahawks can move the ball well early and put up a big lead at half, then Seattle doesn't need Alexander to go off for 78 yards in the second half.

So, a few quick keys from my vantage point...

1) Use your veterans. This is a big early season, divisional game. Seattle's done this before. Take advantage of that to stay calm on the road.

2) Move the ball consistently at the start. It'll take the crowd out of it, and set people up for big days.

3) Pressure Alex Smith. The Niners have done a decent job of protecting him, but try to force some bad throws.

San Francisco:
1) Keep the Seattle offense off the field. Yes, its a fundamental of football, but given the two corners on the injury report this week...does S.F. really want to get in a track meet?

2) Force a turnover. S.F. is +2 in turnover differential...Seattle is +3.

3) Give Frank Gore the ball. He did his thing last year against Seattle, after all.

Should be a fun one in week 4.


[Comments taken in SeahawkBlue Forums]
      By albaNY Hawker

To paraphrase Shaun Alexander's good friend, the Buddy Christ, "From clutch you are and to clutch you shall return."

What does this have to do with the Week 3 Alba's Dark Angel Award?

Let's just say that the play of the Special Teams unit was a religious experience, or in other words, DeHeaven's boys were raising Hell! Sure, there were some offense and defensive players worthy of a week with Jessica, but the Yin and the Yang of the Special Teams unit is too much to ignore.

But to be fair, here's a shout out to Nate Burleson who made some pretty fancy catches including the game winning TD. And head-butts to Russell and Grant, each of whom pulled in a game changing INT, while harassing the Bengal receivers all day. And while I'm in the secondary, an autographed 8x10 of our favorite Dark Angel to Kelly Jennings, who tailed the Iranian T.J. Housh more closely than a Homeland Security agent, and Marcus Trufant, who spent most of the day draped all over Ocho Cinco like an over sized Future HoF sport coat.

But the one non-Special team player to get serious consideration for this week's award was linebacker LeRoy Hill, who in his first game back from injury provided a clear and undeniable explanation as to what we were lacking against the Cardinals. LeRoy was all over the field, dropping back in coverage, stopping the run, and chasing down plays from the backside. I'm very happy to see him operating back at full strength, as he's the silent steady force that allows Lofa and J-Pete the comfort to improvise.

No, yesterday's win was special, the kind of special that we remember from the 2005 season, so some lucky member of the Special Teams unit will be getting seven days with Jessica for his efforts.

The game started with an unbelievable 72-yard kick return by 2007 first round draft pick Josh Wilson. What made it unbelievable? Well, for one, DirecTV felt the last few minutes of garbage time of the Green Bay game was more important to broadcast in high definition than the most electrifying Seahawks kick return in the past decade, so I completely missed it when I started my DVR feed. But mostly the fact that there were no penalty flags on the field, a blight that seems to have affected every long Seahawks Special Teams play except for the Burleson punt return against the Rams last year. From the excellent field position handed over to the offense, Matt and the boys got to quick work of racking up first quarter points for the first time this season, and putting the high-powered Bengals offense on notice.

From there, the game was unfolding like a heavy weight fight, with both offenses throwing hay makers at each other, and both defenses doing enough to keep it from being a repeat of the Bengals-Browns game on the score board. The 12th man did its part in forcing the Bengals into procedure penalties, and it really seemed to be one of those games where the last team to have the ball would win. As a matter of fact, that turned out to be true.

After taking a 24-21 lead with just over a minute left on the clock, any Seahawks fans who have been following the team for more than a couple years were gripping. Our defense had been giving up the underneath stuff all day, and the Bengals only needed a field goal to tie.

Enter Alvin Pearman and Lance Laury. Both were roster bubble boys just about a month ago, and by converging simultaneously on the Cincinnati kick returner, forcing the game icing fumble, they will be sharing time with this week's Dark Angel.

Enjoy the show!

[Comments taken in SeahawkBlue Forums]