Sept. 9, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Sidney Rice (18) is hit by an Arizona Cardinals defender in the second quarter against Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Hilderbrand-US PRESSWIRE
Seattle’s first game of 2012 was extremely hard for me to stomach. The Seahawks were given several gifts at the end of the game in pass interference calls but still somehow failed to score a touchdown in four downs from the six yard line at the end of the game.
I have serious issues with several elements of the game. I figure the most logical way is for me to bullet them. I’m not going to focus on the few things Seattle did well since I’m sure another writer will cover that and do it more justice than I can.
- The last sequence of plays. Two fades! TWO FADES??!!?! to the corner of the end zone. Not only is this a low percentage play with the best of quarterbacks, but running it twice with a rookie quarterback who doesn’t have an absolutely solid rapport with any of his receivers is ridiculous. Seattle gave the ball back to Arizona with 18 seconds left. The sequence of plays that would have made the most sense to me is:
- First and goal: Hand the ball off to Pro-Bowl running back Marshawn Lynch, possibly in a two tight-end set to provide some extra blocking.
- Second and goal: Spike the ball, stop the clock.
- Third and goal: Attempt a pass similar to the play to Doug Baldwin (which Baldwin has no excuse for not catching).
- Hand the ball off to Lynch one more time.
- I have had serious questions about the play calling of Darrell Bevell in the past and he has done nothing to change that in Seattle’s first game. We should have pounded the ball early and forced Arizona to respect the run and used that to open up down-field possibilities. Instead, Seattle attempted way too many passes and the Cardinals predictably pressured Wilson over and over again. Unless Seattle shows serious success on offense this season, I think it is time for Bevell to go.
- Two false start penalties for Okung. This is unacceptable.
- Non-existent pass rush in the first half.
- The refereeing was terrible in all aspects, as it was throughout the NFL. I blame the NFL instead of the replacement refs. The integrity of the game is suffering tremendously and the NFL has the money to pay the refs. If nothing else, the absence of the regular refs is making the refs case for them. Their return is needed, desperately.
- Russell Wilson has clearly come back down to earth. I don’t hold that against him, but I really hope it forces the Wilson fanatics to chill out and temper their advocacy a little bit. Ultimately, I still trust Pete Carroll in his decision that Wilson is the best option, but Wilson did not look supremely impressive today.
- Leroy Hill missed a tackle on Stephens-Howling for Arizona’s first touchdown. Hill should have plugged the hole in the line, but instead left his feet and flew right past Stephens-Howling allowing him to get into the end zone. In general, I was not impressed with Hill’s play and see a severe weakness at weak-side linebacker for the Seahawks.
- Seattle’s complete and total inability to SCORE A TOUCHDOWN in the red zone.
I think that’s enough for now. I can still see Seattle going 9-7 but if this is the product that is being produced, I don’t see the Seahawks making the playoffs. This was a division game that was needed by Seattle. Assuming the Seahawks sweep the Rams, (maybe) split with the Cards, and (just maybe) split with the 49ers that puts Seattle at 4-2 in the division. I think 3-3 is more likely. I also don’t see the current Seattle team beating the Patriots or 49ers in the first half of the season. That puts more importance on beating the other NFC teams on the schedule (Dallas, Chicago, Minnesota, Detroit, and Carolina) in the hope of having the upper-hand in a tie-break situation and getting a wild card spot.
If the first game is any indication, this will be a stressful season for fans and more likely than not result in missing the playoffs yet again.