The two main ways 'êexecute'ê is defined: 'êto accomplish a plan'ê and 'êto put to death.'ê
Lately the Seattle Seahawks offense executes in the latter fashion: Play is called; play walks down the gridiron equivalent of death row; play dies.
Were it a Sean Penn movie, the Seattle offense would be called 'êDead Plan Hawking.'ê Accomplishment once was characterized by the Hawk offense in terms of scoring. When that went away, at least it could be said that the Hawk offense occasionally moved the ball to an opponent'ês side of the field.
Now the measurement standard seems to be earning the occasional first down. Today the Hawks had one first down the first quarter and got their second after 21 minutes had elapsed in Minneapolis, where the now 9-1 Vikings easily prevailed, 35-9. The third first down came late during the third quarter, soon to be followed by another on the Hawks'ê highlight play, a long pass that also landed Seattle in Minnesota territory for the first time. Three plays later the Hawks avoided the shutout with a field goal: Minnesota 28-3.
The first half saw the Hawks gain 67 yards in the air and lose 6 on the ground. It didn'êt quite define the futility of that 1979 home game against the Rams, when Seattle managed the unimaginable: one first down, two pass completions and minus-7 yards for the entire game.
Nor was the Hawk'ês awfulness on offense because of a lack of a game plan. But it'ês difficult to establish rhythm on either side of the ball when you'êre whistled for nine penalties the first two quarters, as the Hawks were. Several times the 'êO'ê tried a so-called 'êwildcat'ê selection featuring second-string quarterback Seneca Wallace in the backfield with starter Matt Hasselbeck. In Seattle vernacular it'ês more like 'êmild-cat,'ê and the Vikings weren'êt fooled.
Justin Forsett, stellar a week ago in a losing cause against Arizona, was the focal point of the Minnesota defense, and the young runner didn'êt get off a significant gain until he sprang a 9-yarder early in the third quarter. He later took a swing pass for a decent gain leading to Seattle'ês sole touchdown on Forsett'ês 1-yard plunge.
The TV broadcast team has been inept much of the season as aged Dick Stockton each week seems to hark back to his high-school French class (circa 1932) to find yet another way to mispronounce Olindo Mare'ês last name (it's MAR-ray). Admirably, though, Stockton and partner Charles Davis managed to lay off the deification of Viking quarterback Brett Favre. Fawning over the 40-year-old has seemed to be considered obligatory for every play-by-play tandem of the past 10 years.
Sunday, though, while his numbers (88 percent completions for an all-time Vikes record) were even more impressive than they'êd been all season, No. 4 was allowed to be just another guy playing football. His ample supporting cast was repeatedly given the credit due to a team that, but for a Favre gaffe toward the end of an Oct. 25 game with the Steelers, would be undefeated today.
Hawk partisans watched the televised game with horrified fascination, no doubt wondering anew how their supposed resurrected dream team of two months ago suddenly is a 3-7 nightmare. Alas, the remaining loyal fans have one more consecutive week to watch their Road Voyeurs (what else would you call football 'êplayers'ê who themselves seem merely to be watching the game?). Next week'ês destination is St. Louis, where the Hawks will look to win their first away game since the last time they visited the Rams (last Dec. 14).
Until then Jim Mora and his assistant coaches will spend much of the week asserting that the Hawks will have a good chance to win in St. Loo if only they, uh, 'êexecute.'ê