Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Hauschka stays perfect, wins NFC special teams award

By Darin Gantt

October 2, 2013

Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka stayed perfect on the season, but none of last week’s kicks was bigger than the final one.

His 45-yard field goal with 3:19 left in overtime helped the Seahawks to a come-from-behind win at Houston, and earned him NFC special teams player of the week honors.

He’s a clean 8-of-8 this year, and hasn’t missed from inside 50 yards since the 2011 season.

2013 Seahawks: Making the grade so far
The Seahawks are 4-0 for the first time in franchise history.

By Bob Condotta

Sunday’s 23-20 overtime win at Houston marked the end of the first quarter of the season for the Seahawks. And judging by the most important stat — wins and losses — it was the most successful first quarter of a season in team history. Never, since the team began play in 1976, had the Seahawks started 4-0.

The road to getting to 4-0, though, was hardly a straight line. Seattle needed somewhat unlikely fourth-quarter comebacks to beat both Carolina and Houston on the road, sandwiching easy home wins over the 49ers and Jaguars.

The end of the first four games, though, also marks a good time to hand out a few quarterly grades and awards for the offense, defense and special teams.

SPECIAL TEAMS: This area has been an underrated reason for the team’s success.

To list a few highlights:

• Kicker Steven Hauschka is 8 of 8, including the 45-yard game-winner last week at Houston.

• The coverage has been solid as Seattle has allowed just 8 punt-return yards — least in the NFL — and hasn’t been hurt in the kickoff game (Jeremy Lane has been a quiet standout on those units, leading the team with four special-teams tackles).

• And Golden Tate, while sometimes taking angst-inducing risks on punt returns, has statistically been just fine — he ranks fifth in the NFL with an average of 12.3, including his 32-yard return in overtime against Houston that helped set up Seattle’s winning field goal.

Grade: A.

MVP: Hauschka. He has been perfect and only one kicker has also made eight or more without missing (the Jets’ Nick Folk, also 8 of 8). Hauschka has 18 touchbacks on 24 kickoffs (Seattle’s opponents have had eight touchbacks on 14 kickoffs), a key reason Seattle’s drive start following kickoffs has been 3 yards better than its opponents.

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