Don't look now, but Pete Carroll's new-look Seahawks earned immediate respect leaguewide in Week One after one-upping the division-rival 49ers in a 31-6 thumping that few league observers can honestly say they saw coming.
That was especially the case after Seahawks veteran QB Matt Hasselbeck's first pass of the game was intercepted by Niners CB Nate Clements and returned to Seattle's 29-yard line. But Hasselbeck rebounded in fine fashion, completing 11 of his next 14 passes and taking total control with a pair of TD passes and a gutty one-yard TD run on a bootleg against a Niners defense normally considered to be one of the league's stingiest.
As it turned out the Niners' "D" wasn't nearly as stingy as Seattle's defenders, as CB Marcus Trufant and newly re-signed S Jordan Babineaux registered tide-turning interceptions, MLB Lofa Tatupu masterfully directed traffic with a team-leading eight tackles and Seattle's D-line did a number on Niners RB Frank Gore, limiting him to a scant 2.2 yards per carry.
The PFW Spin
It says here that, as good as the Seahawks looked against the team widely considered to be the NFC West Division favorites, it might be a good idea to not get too carried away. It's worth noting that the Seahawks had a similarly impressive beginning to their 2009 season, shutting out the Rams in Week One 28-0 before shutting down big-time and greasing the skids for their previous head coach, Jim Mora to be run out of town.
It's also worth noting that Carroll, who was deservedly awarded the game ball by his pumped-up troops, ran his record to 4-1 in NFL openers — a winning percentage that pales in comparison to his mediocre overall record in his prior stints as an NFL head coach. But if the Seahawks can keep the magic going in Denver this Sunday against a Broncos team that has won its last 10 home openers, then maybe it will be time to start paying real attention to this team.
Two things stood out to this observer: A terrific defensive game plan designed to shut down Gore, who had TD runs of 79 and 80 yards in his first game against Seattle in Week Two last season, and a surprisingly strong performance by a supposedly piecemeal offensive line that allowed the Niners only one sack. After O-line coach Alex Gibbs' surprising resignation just eight days before the opener, the odds seemed strong that the line would be just as big a problem as it was in 2009, when four different left tackles failed to replace an injured Walter Jones.
But in Week One, Carroll and the Seahawks defied the odds with great gusto — rejuvenating one of the league's great fan bases while making the Niners look like real chumps instead of division champs.