As with all wins or losses, its rarely all good or all bad. You could say that about the Seahawks/Cardinals matchup on Sunday. Yes, it was a loss for the Hawks. And yes, there is a lot of disappointment. So after we’re done crying in our beer, let’s take a step back and try to figure out what happened and where the team goes from here.
Special teams, especially the work of one Mr. Leon Washington. His two long returns of punts kept the Seahawks in the game and clearly inspired the team in the second half. The kicking game was pretty good, not excellent. Missing a field goal in the first half created the situation at the end of the game where the only way to win the game for the Hawks was to get the touchdown. But having a long field goal attempt blocked by the player with the longest arms in the NFL is probably nothing to be concerned about.
Also in the “good” category is the way the team bounced back from a miserable first half, somewhat figured out the Cardinals blitz package, and gave Russell Wilson a little more time in the pocket. While it wasn’t a flawless performance, at least it was enough to put them in the lead and have a chance to win the game.
You have to like the way the offense took the ball down the field on the final drive with the game on the line. That was like the chocolate shake with whipped cream. All that remained was to put the cherry on top with a Doug Baldwin catch for a TD but the gods of friction and gravity intervened to pull the ball away from Baldwin and give him a set of sore ribs and lungs devoid of oxygen for a few breathless moments. Also good is he walked off the field on his own afterwards.
The defense looked mostly pretty solid. The Cardinals did seem to have them figured out on a pair of drives in the first half until Seattle turned the tide and had everything going their way, right up to the point Cardinals QB Skelton got hurt. As sometimes happens when the starter has to leave the game, the backup comes in and gives his team a different look and feel, a little lift, and suddenly they’re back in it.
Russell Wilson had a miserable first half but the good part was how he kept his composure and bounced back in the second half, made some great throws and got the team a couple scores.
The offensive line. Especially in the first half but also at key moments in the second half. There were a lot of times when they allowed unblocked runners into the pocket to harass Wilson. This disruption of the pocket made Russell Wilson look like the rookie he is. But you can’t lay the blame on Wilson. The O line was simply terrible. The second half was better, but there is clearly still a LOT of work to do for that unit.
The Cardinals had the Hawks blitzes well blocked. Pressure on the Cardinal’s QB was practically non-existent.
The Cardinals had 3 long drives for scores that were fueled in part by the fact that both their QB’s had enough time to find Larry Fitzgerald who somehow found himself one on one against a Seahawks’s linebacker more than a few times.
Two backwards passes to covered receivers in the flank. They did it twice, and both times the Cardinals defense sniffed it out and one time recovered the fumbled lateral. It would have been two times had the first pass not gone out of bounds. The players seemed not to know it was a backward pass and didn’t make an attempt to fall on the ball, which makes me believe the play was not run properly. Pete Carroll needs to banish that play from the play book, or re-design it to make it a little less obvious.
8 Shots at the end zone from inside the 15 for the offense and they couldn’t come up with a score. The Hawks have to get one of those, they just have to. The didn’t so they lost.
Penalties!!! There were several drive killing penalties, and WAY too many penalties total. I lost count after 13 penalties. That’s just unacceptable. If the Seahawks have HALF as many penalties, they win this game.
The Officiating. It was just horrible. Too many pass interference calls and what the heck happened on that late game time-out??? Very inconsistent, and they seemed to be listening to all of Larry Fitzgerald’s whining every time he claimed interference on an incomplete pass.
Maybe we can chalk this game up to the inability of Carroll to find a starting QB until after week 3 of the preseason. The team looked unprepared for the blitz and Wilson could have used another week of practice as the designated starter. The O line will have to start gelling sooner than later. Their next opponent, Dallas, just beat the Super Bowl Champs on their home field, and San Francisco just beat Green Bay in Green Bay, so the Seahawks have their work cut out for them. Other teams studying this game’s film will undoubtedly keep on blitzing Russell Wilson until the Seahawks figure out how to turn those blitzes to their own advantage. Until then, expect more of the same.