For all the off-season buzz about the Erickson Air Express, the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday served up a slice of well-done Ground Chuck to the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
This does not exactly mark a return to the dive-dive-draw days of rightwing coach Chuck Knox, but the Seahawks definitely won Sunday’s match against Denver with a ground-control offense.
Not only did Chris Warren gain 115 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries, but three others also rushed for at least 20 yards: Joey Galloway (3-54), Steve Broussard (5-37) and Lamar Smith (6-21).
“I don’t know if we planned on running so much today, but if it’s working well, we’ve got to stick with it,” said Warren, whose three touchdowns were a single-game personal best. “The pass was going today, too, it was a combination today and everybody contributed.”
That was as it was outlined by Erickson and his staff in preseason - that a good passing game would open up things for the rushing attack.
Especially for Warren.
Erickson said there were no dra matic changes to the game plan, just a few subtle formation shifts.
“We ran what we call a power play where we pull the guard, but other than that, we just basically try to do the same thing all the time just so they know who to get hats on,” Erickson said.
Particularly uplifting was the insertion of Broussard, a Washington State darter who showed he still has sufficient quickness in the open field.
“(Running backs coach) Clarence Shelmon made that decision,” Erickson said. “He felt the change of pace could make a big difference. So we put Bruiser in and it was a big difference.”
Passing fairly fancy
Hawks quarterback Rick Mirer enjoyed his second straight strong outing, completing 16 of 24 for 222 yards and no interceptions, which, in comparison, was better than the day of future Hall-of-Famer John Elway (19-37, 209). Mirer had one pass intercepted, but it was nullified by a Broncos offsides call.
“He’s just seeing things better, and not making any bad decisions,” Erickson said. “At that position, you’re going to have your good days and your bad days. The real big thing is he didn’t throw any interceptions … that’s the real key to winning.”
The Seahawks defense, although rated 29th in yardage allowed heading into this week, is doing pretty well in touchdown-avoidance.
In the two preceding games, the Hawks allowed 14 points each time, and Sunday limited Denver to 10.
“To hold Denver to 10 points, I think that speaks enough about our defense,” linebacker Terry Wooden said. “Of course, we would have liked to have held them without a touchdown, but we came out with a win.
“Considering their quarterback (Elway) is a future Hall-of-Famer, it says a lot about us. With No. 7 out there, they could have 10 highschoolers out there and still challenge.”
Strong safety Robert Blackmon tried playing on his strained hamstring but didn’t make it through the first series.
Tackle Ray Roberts was expected
to get some work, but was left on the inactive list, although he should be ready for some action at Oakland next Sunday.
The Broncos weren’t so lucky. Already troubled by a Seahawks-like rash of injuries, they saw Shane Dronett, Ray Crockett, Steve Atwater, Britt Hager and Dante Jones suffer injuries of indeterminate severity.
Warren scored three touchdowns Sunday, but he didn’t get a chance to spike the ball in the end zone once.
Second-year tight end Carlester Crumpler took over those duties for him.
“I don’t know what it’s all about,” Warren said. “He’s just always saying to me before plays, if you score, let me have it so I can spike it.”
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo Graphic: Hawks 27 Broncos 10