Sunday, October 24, 2010
Seahawks take division lead with 22-10 win over Cardinals
The Seattle Seahawks took a big step towards reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2007 with a 22-10 win over the Arizona Cardinals. The win wasn't pretty but in the NFL a win is a win. The Seahawks defense for the second consecutive week shut down their opponent. The Seahawks offense kept the turnovers down and with a new and improved running game with Marshawn Lynch they did just enough for the win. The Seahawks ended their four game losing streak to the Cardinals at Qwest Field. Mike Williams for the second straight week recorded double digit receptions. The Seahawks under Pete Carroll are starting to become a team that thrives on toughness.
The Seahawks on their first series started off with the run to newly acquired Marshawn Lynch. Lynch would bust a 39 yard run to get the Seahawks in scoring position. The Seahawks then had a first and goal from the one yard line but Sean Locklear committed a five yard false start penalty. The Seahawks then were stuffed and force to kick a field goal. In what would be the theme of the day Mare would have several field goal attempts and some of them didn't count. Mare's first attempt was blocked but the Cardinals were offsides then Mare drilled the field goal from 20 yards out giving the Seahawks an early 3-0 lead.
The Cardinals who have struggled on the road this season without Kurt Warner who retired in the offseason were starting undrafted rookie QB Max Hall. Hall was making his first career road start at Qwest Field. Hall was terrible all game with constant over throws and was ineffective. Hall would throw an interception to Earl Thomas who is now tied with the NFC lead in interceptions on the year with four. After a Hasselbeck fumble the Cardinals would again miss another great opportunity when Hall would over throw a wide open Larry Fitzgerald for a potential touchdown.
Turnovers would continue to hurt the Cardinals on the day. With the Cardinals driving while running the ball effectively against the number two rush defense in the NFL Tim Hightower would fumble on a 13 yard run. Marcus Trufant forced and recovered the fumble stopping the scoring drive. The Seahawks would again force another turnover on the Cardinals when the Seahawks punted the ball. Arizona punt returner Andre Roberts who was a rookie fumbled the punt then recovered the punt and as he was trying to run Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson hit the ball out of Roberts hands and then Roy Lewis recovered the fumble on the Cardinals two yard line.
The Seahawks trying to take advantage of the Cardinals third turnover of the game. With second and goal Matt Hasselbeck hit Mike Williams for a two yard touchdown pass. That would be Williams first touchdown reception since 2006. Williams the former first round bust has found new life for the Seahawks. The Seahawks went into the half time up 10-0.
In the second half the Seahawks continued to harass Max Hall. On third down Chris Clemons sacked Hall and forced the fumble which the Seahawks recovered on the 11. The Seahawks had to settle for a 31 yard field goal from Olindo Mare to increase the lead to 13-0. Then on the ensueing kickoff the Seahawks forced another turnover which set up a 51 yard field goal by Mare. Mare originally nailed a field goal but the Seahawks committed a penalty so Mare had to then kick a 41 yard field goal which again another penalty occurred by the same player which forced Mare to make a 51 yard in the rain giving the Seahawks a 16-0 lead.
Unfortunately for the Seahawks Clemons hit knocked Hall out of the gun. Normally it's a good thing when you knock the starting quarterback out of the game but in this case it wasn't. Hall was ineffective completing just 4 of 16 passes for 36 yards passing and an intercetpion for a quarterback rating of 13.5. Hall's replacement was former pro bowl quarterback Dereck Anderson who hit his first five passes of the game. Anderson led the Cardinals down the field and the drive was capped by a Beanie Wells rushing touchdown from two yards out cutting the lead to 16-7.
The Seahawks would respond with a long drive on their next series. The drive took over four minutes but once again the Seahawks would stall in the redzone and settle for another Mare field goal from 24 yards out giving the Seahawks a 19-7 lead. Anderson again led the Cardinals down the field and the Cardinals were getting some good runs from Hightower and Wells. The Seahawks defense got tough and held the Cardinals to a field goal which made the game 19-10.
The Seahawks fearing that the game was getting away from them rode Lynch and Hasselbeck was finding Williams early and often on the drive. Mike Williams would only have 87 yards receiving but grab 11 passes extending drives. The Seahawks would settle on another field goal in the red zone to give themselves a 22-10 lead. Seattle would hang on for a 22-10 win improving to 4-2 and are now in first place in the NFC West for the first time since 2007.
Seattle for the second straight week had a good defensive game. The Cardinals Anderson started off 5 for 5 but was just 8 of 17 passing for 96 yards passing and a rating of 64.8. Matt Hasselbeck was 20 for 38 passing and at times didn't look like his old self. The key though was Hasselbeck for the second straight week didn't turn the ball over. Hasselbeck threw for 192 yards with a touchdown. The Seahawks with Lynch and Forsett have a running game. Lynch would carry the ball 24 times for 89 yards while Forsett would run 9 times for 41 yards. The Seahawks are finally starting to be a tough team who stops the run, runs the ball well which is a recipe for success in this league. The Seahawks will take on Oakland next week but it feels good to see the Seahawks in first place again.
- The Seahawks secondary going into the year was supposed to be a huge weakness. The secondary is still a work in progress but they have impressed me a lot this year. Holding a perenial Seahawk killer Larry Fitzgerald to just 3 catches for 30 years was impressive. The Seahawks for the first time in a long time have really good safety play in Lawyer Milloy and the playmaker in Earl Thomas. The corners with Trufant, and youngsters Thurmond and Roy Lewis have played great as well.
- Under Pete Carroll the Seahawks have changed drastically. No longer can you out physical the Seahawks. The Seahawks can now get the tough yards on the ground. The Seahawks stuff the run forcing teams to pass therefore they send blitzes from the corners. The Seahawks have found their nitch which is a tough team.
- For the second straight week Matt Hasselbeck wasn't exactly on his "A" game but the important part is he is playing within himself. He isn't throwing bad interceptions which gives the defense a chance. The Seahawks defense especially against teams who have crappy quarterbacks will really be tough to beat.
- Mike Williams in the teams first four games had just 11 receptions. In his last two games he has had 21 receptions. Williams has been a huge pick up for the Seahawks. He gives the Seahawks a real #1 threat that they didn't have before. He is a safety blanket for Matt Hasselbeck especially on the third and shorts because of his size.
- The Seahawks I wish would run the ball more to Lynch in the red zone. I understand the Seahawks had problems especially when Russell Okung got hurt who was so effective last week. The Seahawks against a better passing team will lose a game like today. The Seahawks scored just one touchdown in six red zone trips.
The Seahawks this year are now 3-0 at Qwest so it's good to see the Seahawks making Qwest field a homefield advantage yet again. Pete Carroll changed the culture of this team. The Seahawks are no longer the team that you can beat up and push around. The Cardinals since 2006 have beat up the Seahawks even in the Seahawks wins it was because the Hawks were more talented. This game was the Seahawks matched if not surpassed the Cardinals physical edge. It was great to see the Seahawks play a meaningful game at Qwest Field. Hope this trend continues for the Hawks.