Seahawks 22, Cardinals 10; Can You Hear Me Now?

Max Hall Sacked by Raheem Brock

Max Hall is undoubtedly thinking "THIS PLACE IS FUN!" (Photo: Ted S. Warren)

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.

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About Nick

I'm a guy that loves the Seahawks far and away more than any other team in any other sport. I live in Seattle, I'm married to the perfect woman, I work in marketing and I'm nearly into my 30s. Scary. Find me on Twitter talking #seahawks @nandron.
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78 Responses to Seahawks 22, Cardinals 10; Can You Hear Me Now?

  1. Noah Fitterer says:

    I’m calling out the offensive coordinator. He is the reason why Matt held onto the ball forever and countless other horrible play calls. Like when we were 3rd -20 at one point in the game, instead of throwing we ran up the middle falling way short of the first down. And after many other 1st downs, the plays he would call went in the order of pass, pass, run, punt. Obviously it didn’t work out too well. If you don’t make that first pass then it puts a lot of pressure on the RB/HB to make up the difference as opposed to getting 4 yards on the first down from running.

    Eventually Matt went back to his normal quick passes and came into his natural grove and rhythm, for a short while anyway. The offensive coordinator still screwed things up for us, he needs to have more creative plays lined up. It seemed to me like in the first part of the game he started relying on Lynch too much then the Cardinals caught on, then in the second half of the game he relied on Matt too much and they caught on to that as well, and it is well known in football that whenever Matt calls an audible it is going to be a run up the middle 9 times out of 10, it has been that way ever since the Coach Holgrem days.

    I think they should of utilized Matt more by having him throw down the field to keep the defense honest. Matt was definitely not himself yesterday, and I think that is mainly because of the crappy decisions from the offensive coordinator.

    We did win but I think that was mainly because of special teams, and defense putting us in the redzone enabling Mare to put up 3 points. Besides the opening drive, the Seahawks offense was overall very weak in the game with the exception of Williams of course.

    I saw in an interview with Pete Carroll where he said he wants a different receiver each game to be the star of the game, or at least have the majority of the pass plays revolve around the same player. I’m not sure if that is a good strategy or not!

    • Nick says:

      Hey Noah! Thanks for commenting. Whew, that was quite the read.

      I’ve actually been really impressed with Jeremy Bates; he’s shown a bit of creativity. That run by Hasselbeck, for example, fooled everyone, and it led to an easy first down. Completely by design. The fourth down throw to Michael Robinson versus the Rams – PERFECT play call. Shame that Robinson dropped it.

      And the 3rd and 20 draw call was purely a field position move. I actually really liked that call, along with the rush play called on 4th down in the 4th quarter. On the draw, they gained 9 yards and thus were able to punt the ball from about the Seahawks 30 yard line instead of the 20. On the 4th down run, we didn’t convert and turned the ball over on 10ish yard line. Pete even said during the press conference that he’d rather take that field position with a 12 point lead, rather than be up by 15 and give their return team a chance to make a play. I mean hell, it’s not like the Cardinals offense was moving the ball down field very well.

      Also, understand that the offense suffered a huge hit when Okung left the game. Pass protection broke down much more quickly, and Hasselbeck has been coached to play more conservatively, to avoid turnovers (avoid last year). He’s even said this during press conferences. Also, Okung has been one helluva run blocker, so losing him made our game pretty predictable and the run game more difficult to execute.

      Hasselbeck isn’t throwing down field because Bates isn’t calling those plays, but because Matt’s not physically capable of doing so much anymore. Matt struggles to throw the ball 15 yards unless he’s firmly planted. He didn’t have much of a safe pocket for most of that game. Noticed Matt was on the move a lot because Arizona’s pressure schemes worked pretty often. When Matt has to move, he just can’t get enough air under the ball.

      Also it’s worth noting that Brandon Stokley was injured and left the game; he strained an oblique. The Seahawks are already a bit thin at receiver, so let’s hope he comes back for the Oakland game.

  2. Noah Fitterer says:

    Well said Nick, I am watching the Cowboys and Giants game right now and so far in the first 4 minutes of the game the Cowboys already have 2 interceptions and that reminded me of our game of how close we came to intercepting the ball multiple times but just couldn’t hang on to the ball. Although there is no real way to practice for that, I have noticed that there has been many chances for an interception but we have not been able to hang on to the ball.

    And God Okung, when he went out I thought we might be doomed. But ghez I didn’t know Matt was as weak as you are saying, that’s really sad! I always remember him as being a great passer while on the move! I did notice that at least twice in yesterdays game Matt threw a bullet to a man only 5 yards away causing the receiver to not catch the ball, but perhaps that is more on the receiver than Matt.
    I still wish we had Steve Hutchinson, Lynch could dominate even more with Hutch.

    • Nick says:

      The picks will come. The team is still figuring itself out and developing. I’ve seen a huge difference in just 6 games, the way the secondary has played.

      As for Hasselbeck – just watch him during the games. He doesn’t often throw tight spirals or strong, deep passes. Many often hang and come dangerously close to being picked. To his credit, he’s doing a better job attempting passes that he CAN make. Hell, no picks in two games!

  3. The Ryan McClintock says:

    Thomas if around the ball every play it seems…his timing will continue to improve and he’ll get more of those near int’s…In the last two games he’s been with 5 feet of at least 10 tipped balls as the hit the turf…

  4. Noah Fitterer says:

    Looks like we face the entire NFC SOUTH this season. That should be 3 wins guaranteed right there. Giants no longer have Tony Homo playing so that’s another win. Then another win against the 49ers and Cardinals. So I think at a minimum there are 6 for sure wins that will put us in the playoffs. Most likely scenario is we finish the season at 10-6 which isn’t a necessarily bad record, maybe 11-5 if we can beat the Rams this time.

    • Nick says:

      Wow! 11-6! That’s very ambitious!

      Just have to correct you on one point, though: Romo plays for the Cowboys; we play the Giants (who are led by the Emo Manning). That will be an exceedingly tough game, with or without Okung and Mebane. Funny enough, I’m really excited for that game. It’ll be the first truly semi-contender that the Seahawks will face this season. That game will give us our first real glimpse into what kind of team the Seahawks are growing up to be. I’ll be at that game, and will be screaming my lungs bloody.

      As for the rest of the season … those are certainly winnable games, but I try not to get too ahead of myself. A few key injuries can cause a good team to crumble. Hell, we’re already facing yet another week with the two arguably most influencial players on the team: Brandon Mebane and Russell Okung. Without those two, combined with playing on the road: Oakland will be a tougher game than you think.

  5. Noah Fitterer says:

    Thats right stupid Eli Manning! haha Oops I was thinking too fast!
    But yeah I never said Oakland would be an easy game.
    We lost horribly to the Broncos, and Oakland just crushed the Broncos so I am a bit concerned.

    There is only one team I hate more than the Raiders and that is the Steelers for obvious reasons, actually I hate Worhtlessburger more than anything, I actually like Troy Polamalu, he was going to be on the Seahawks but Mike Holgrem wanted him to cut his hair before playing for us but obviously he did not comply!

    • Nick says:

      The only saving grace is Denver’s terrrrrrrrible pass rush. Jason Campbell was comfortable all game, and when comfortable he can direct an offense well. The Seahawks will have him panicked within a quarter, and it’ll slowly go downhill for the Raiders’ offense. That and the Raiders’ pass defense is terrrrrrrible. As long as the o-line can hold up and protect Matt, the game should remain competitive. Richard Seymour lining up across from Stacey Andrews frightens me.

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