Max Hall showed his age when he made some rather unwise (read: completely idiotic) pre-game comments when asked about playing at Qwest Field. So, Max, aside from your undoubtedly bleeding eardrums, have you heard the phrase “shit the bed”? Well, using it to describe your performance on Sunday would be a glowing compliment. Welcome to Qwest Field, the Seattle Seahawks defense, and the NFL.
The Seahawks won in a sloppy game with an Arizona team that has been very poor on both sides of the ball this season. And despite the score, the game was not a runaway victory. The Seahawks offense sputtered once Okung left the game, only scoring one touchdown in seven red zone appearances. Matt Hasselbeck played some of the most conservative football I’ve seen all year; I think he took my post about being careful with the ball a little too far. The Seahawks should have won by 20+ points.
A high level glance at the stats would indicate that the offensive line did a poor job of protecting Hasselbeck: he was sacked 5 times. And this is partly true: losing Russell Okung in the first drive caused a personnel shuffle and a lot of undue strain. (Can people stop falling on his ankles, please? Sweet Jesus.) Re-watch the sack plays and you’ll see that at least three of them were Matt’s fault: he held onto the ball for far, far too long. And I don’t blame him.
The Seahawks were protecting a lead and everyone, Matt included, knows what happens when he attempts to force throws. I still have nightmares about that Tampa Bay game from last season. Throw into the mix a Cardinals secondary that almost single-handedly beat the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome, and his decisions to take sacks appeared wise. Could he have thrown the ball away? Maybe. But a few of the sacks came with Hasselbeck on the move, in bad position to throw at all.
Time for some bullets, because hell, everyone loves bullets:
- How about that Marshawn Lynch ? I bet a few of those Cardinals defenders are a bit tender today. The guy ran like a demon. Had the refs opted not to penalize the Seahawks offensive line every other play, Lynch would have finished with over 100 yards rushing and a touchdown, at the very least (two holding calls negated a pair of 20 yard runs, one of which looked like a TD). He is the player I’m almost single most excited to watch every single game. What an amazing acquisition.
- I could talk about Mike Williams, but it’s just too easy. He’s damned talented, just about as reliable as they come on 3rd down, and quickly developing a helluva rapport with Matt Hasselbeck. Pay the man, Schneider. Don’t let him walk. But, Deon Butler! He is very quietly becoming one fine receiver. His mitts impress me; I haven’t seen a lot of receivers catch and secure a pass so quickly, especially during contact. Another year or two, we’ll see this guy’s hands bleeding glue.
- The defense sorely missed Brandon Mebane. Creative pressure schemes worked against a completely disoriented Chicago offensive line, and they quickly abandoned the run. But it didn’t against the Cardinals, and they ran the ball successfully with two backs that barely crack the top 50 in EPA. Also, despite both notching a sack, Raheem Brock and Chris Clemons both struggled to consistently pressure the passer throughout the game. In Mebane’s absence, Seahawks defensive tackles are not being double teamed; thus leaving and extra man to defend the Seahawks’ ends. It showed. Get healthy Brandon.
- I won’t credit the Seahawks secondary with holding the Cardinals to 132 yards passing; that lies on the shoulders of two utterly awful quarterbacks. But I will admit that Thomas is looking much better at reading the play and getting to the ball and Walter Thurmond looked just fantastic. He man Fitzgerald work very hard. Personally, I’ve seen enough: it’s time to give Thurmond the nod to start.
- Russell Okung’s ankle injury was not as severe has his last, in August. But it’s unclear if it’s a high ankle sprain or not. Pete Carroll, this morning on the Brock and Salk radio show, said he’s walking, albeit a little hobbled. Although his mouth spoke the words “day to day”, his tone and delivery suggested week-to-week. I don’t think we’ll see him back until the Giants game, at the earliest.
- Oline Mare is a stud.
A win is a win. The Seahawks are 4-2. Despite playing some sloppy ball, the Hawks remain undefeated at home and firmly hold the lead in the NFC West. Next up: the Raiders on Halloween.