Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Seahawks win home opener vs Cardinals 13-10!

By Kshell

The Seattle Seahawks(1-2) won a very important divisional game at home over the Arizona Cardinals(1-2) 13-10 to keep their hopes of defending their division championship alive. The Seahawks defense didn't allow a single point in the second half as Pete Carroll won his homer opener for his second straight season. The Seahawks also welcome back Sidney Rice who had a big game catching eight passes for 109 yards in his very first game with the Seahawks. He was easily Tarvaris Jackson's favorite target as Jackson was 18-31 passing for 171 yards passing with a rushing touchdown. The Seahawks rushing game wasn't great but was also effective today as Marshawn Lynch ran for 73 yards on 19 carries. The Seahawks were led by their defense though recording three sacks with two interceptions. The Seahawks old friend from 2005 Jay Feely missed two field goals for the Cardinals. For those who don't remember Feely missed three potential game winning kicks against the Seahawks when he played for the Giants in 2005. The Seahawks win was like the weather during the game it wasn't pretty at times but at the end it was more than enough. The Seahawks defense stepped up and the offense did just enough for the Seahawks to earn their first victory of the season and are now just a game back of first place.

The Seahawks began the game with a nine play drive but were forced to punt. The Cardinals then went on an eight play 37 yard drive which ended with Jay Feely missing the field goal. That is when the Seahawks would go on a seven play 47 yard drive which would result in a field goal. The Seahawks would start off on the Cardinals 41 yard line when Tarvaris Jackson would hit Sidney Rice for a five yard pass. After the Cardinals committed a five yard penalty giving the Seahawks a first down, Marshawn Lynch would rush for five yards. That is when Jackson would finally go deep hitting Rice on the fade pass for a gain of 32 yards to the Cardinals 12 yard line. The Seahawks would complete two more passes that gained three yards total and would settle for a Steve Hauschka 30 yard field goal.

The Cardinals would respond with a 10 play 26 yard drive after a 51 yard kickoff return. This time Jay Feely would make the field goal to tie up the game at 3-3. On the following drive the Cardinals would go on an eight play 78 yard touchdown drive. The Cardinals would begin their drive with Kevin Kolb hitting Larry Fitzgerald for a gain of nine yards then would hit a 15 yard pass. Kolb would hit Fitzgerald again for a gain of 15 yards to the Seahawks 36 yard line. Kolb would hit Todd Heap for a gain of eight yards, then hit an 11 yard pass to the Seahawks 17 yard line. After a five yard run to the Seahawks 12 yard line the Cardinals would make the games first big play. Kolb rolling to his left would throw the ball in the back of the endzone in double coverage only for the Seahawks to see Fitzgerald jump up there to make the touchdown catch. The Cardinals would take a 10-3 lead with that catch as the fans were wondering what hit them.

The Seahawks would respond before halftime with good field position. They would only go eight plays for 16 yards. The Seahawks would receive a 52 yard field goal by Hauschka to cut the lead to 10-6. As the Cardinals were driving when Marcus Trufant intercepted the Kolb pass and ran it back 15 yards. The Seahawks had one last chance but Jackson would throw an interception at halftime. For the third straight week the Seahawks found themselves shut out of the end zone at halftime. The Seahawks were trailing 10-6 at halftime in a must win game.

The Seahawks would begin the second half with a 14 play 72 yard touchdown drive that lasted over six minutes. The drive would begin with Lynch having two carries for eight yards setting up a third and two. Jackson would hit Doug Baldwin for a gain of three for a crucial first down. On second down Jackson would hit Golden Tate for a gain of nine yards setting up a third and one. Lynch would record the first down with a three yard run. On third and 15 on their own 46 yard line Jackson would hit Baldwin for a gain of 20 yards to the Cardinals 34 yard line. Jackson would complete back to back six yard passes to the Cardinals 22 yard line. Jackson after a short run by Lynch would hit Rice for a gain of nine yards to the Cardinals 11 yard line. Jackson on the next play would show off his legs as he made several defenders miss as ran for an 11 yard touchdown to give the Seahawks a 13-10 lead over their divisional rivals.

The Seahawks offense would do nothing the rest of the game. The Cardinals would drive down to the Seahawks 31 yard line before settling on a Feely field goal attempt. Like he did in 2005 Feely missed the 49 yard field goal that would have tied the game up. After a Jon Ryan  punt of nine yards the Cardinals had the ball on the 31 yard line with 2:57 left in the game trying to send the game to overtime or win the game outright. Kolb would hit two passes for 21 yards to the Seattle 48 yard line. On fourth and 1 the Seahawks would be called for a defensive holding penalty which gave the Cardinals a first down at the Seahawks 34 yard line. After a Kolb incomplete pass, he would be sacked by Raheem Brock for a loss of two yards as Kolb fumbled the ball. The Cardinals recovered the ball to set up a third down. On third and long Kolb would throw a costly interception to second year player Kam Chancellor to clinch the victory for the Seahawks. The Seahawks offense would grind out some clock making the Cardinals use their timeouts. The Cardinals had one last shot but would fumble the ball after a 16 yard reception. The Seahawks would win the game 13-10. Like the weather the game started off ugly for the Seahawks but ended beautifully for the Seahawks to earn a much important division win.

For the Seahawks they were led by a defense who recorded three sacks and two interceptions.  On offense the Seahawks saw quarterback Tarvaris Jackson go 18-31(58.1%) passing for 171 yards passing with an interception. Jackson also ran for 20 yards with a touchdown which proved to be the game winner. His favorite weapon was his old teammate in Minnesota Sidney Rice. Rice would finish the game with eight receptions for 109 yards(13.6 YPC) with a long of 32 yards. No other Seahawks receiver would have more than two receptions during the game. The Seahawks running game was also better as Marshawn Lynch ran for 73 yards on 19 carries(3.8 YPC) with a long of 23 yards. Lynch would also add a reception as well. His backup Leon Washington had 29 yards rushing on three carries(9.7 YPC) with a long of 21 yards. The Seahawks offense still was struggling but the defense stepped up when they had to. The Seahawks held the Cardinals to 3.2 YPC on 28 rushing attempts and 5.6 YPA on 39 pass attempts.

All in all, for the Seahawks season to even matter this year they needed this win desperately. The Seahawks offense didn't exactly light up the scoreboard but in the NFL that doesn't matter. What does matter is wins and losses. The Seahawks won the game and the "Suck for Luck" chants will have to be silent for at least a week. The Seahawks under Pete Carroll are trying to defend their division title and surprise everyone like they did last year. The Seahawks have reasons to be optimistic since they were 0-2 without Sidney Rice and with Rice they finally have a go to receiver which they haven't had in a while. The Seahawks won the game when many of their own fans thought they would lose. The Seahawks at least made themselves still matter for at least another week.


- Lynch is still running east-west way too much but at least today he actually had some productive runs. Lynch ran for 73 yards on 19 carries good for a 3.8 YPC average. Not great numbers but considering he had 19 carries for 44 yards(2.2 YPC) coming into the game the Seahawks will take that. Lynch isn't running behind a very good offensive line either like he needs to. Lynch did run just enough to help out Jackson so the Cardinals couldn't just blitz every play.

I would like to see Lynch be more a part of the passing game. I look at Chris Polk of the Huskies who was shut down running the ball against California but still had 85 yards receiving and think to myself how Lynch would never do that.  Lynch if he is going to be an effective power back needs to run more north-south as he dances way too much. I'd like to see a game where Lynch can score a TD and average over 4.0 YPC with 20 plus carries. Although he ran decent I still expect better from Lynch or his days in Seattle should be numbered after this season.

- The Seahawks finally saw why they signed Sidney Rice. Without Rice the Seahawks would have had no offense. You can tell he was teammates with Jackson as that was the only receiver Jackson appeared to look at. Rice would finish with eight receptions for 109 yards with a long of 32 yards. The Seahawks a franchise who hasn't had a pro bowl wide receiver since Brian Blades in 1989 are hoping Rice can eventually be that guy. Rice is a tall target who is very fast as we saw on that fade pass he caught from Jackson.

With Rice that appears he will be Jackson's go to receiver which every quarterback needs. Hopefully in the future when teams eventually double up on Jackson other receivers will be open for Jackson to hit for big plays. Rice is only 24 years old as well so signing him wasn't a move for this season as that was a move for the future as well. With Rice the Seahawks have a play maker at the wide receiver position that they haven't had in a very long time. Now the key will be for Jackson to distribute the ball out evenly like you see Keith Price of the Huskies doing so well. At least now the Seahawks finally had a chance to see their very talented wide receiver in Sidney Rice.

- In his home opener replacing Matt Hasselbeck and hearing Charlie Whitehurst chants Tarvaris Jackson came out victorious for the Seahawks in his home debut. Jackson finished the game 18-31(58.1%) passing for 171 yards(5.5 YPA) with an interception. He also finished with 20 yards rushing with a touchdown. Jackson was also sacked four times as the line didn't help out but he also hangs onto the ball way too long. Looking at those numbers I don't think that will silent the Jackson bashers including myself. The Seahawks won the game because of their defense not because of the offense. Jackson had a solid debut in Seattle but he must do a better job if he wants fans to forget about Matt Hasselbeck. His YPA and completion percentage are both terrible and must rise or the Seahawks will need to make a quarterback change down the road.

- For Pete Carroll this was a huge win as going 0-3 in the NFL means NFL draft talk for the next 13 weeks. Carroll who took a ton of heat this offseason for letting popular veterans like Matt Hasselbeck and Lofa Tatupu walk will feel better about this win. Carroll saw his Seahawks win the game like he drew up which was good defense and an offense who moved the chains. An offense who played field position all game long but ultimately didn't do much. For Carroll his franchise quarterback isn't on this roster currently but the Seahawks after winning the division title last year at 7-9 know they are capable of repeating as division champs. The Seahawks will have a big game this week at home against the Atlanta Falcons a team who destroyed the Seahawks last year at home. For Carroll he is now 2-0 in home openers with the Seahawks. Now Carroll has to find a way to keep this season important or the fans will lose interest fast. This was a big victory for the Seahawks as they couldn't afford to be 0-3 and more importantly 0-2 in division.

In conclusion, the Seahawks had to win this game or else their season would be over. Starting off 0-3 in the NFL would be like starting off 0-30 in major league baseball, and 0-15 in the NBA. The Seahawks had to win this game and the defense came through all game long.  The offense still needs to do more if the Seahawks are to be taken seriously for the season. Scoring 10 points per game which is what the offense is currently doing won't get the job done. The Seahawks scored only 13 points today but thankfully the defense bailed them out. The Seahawks behind the 12th man recorded a much important victory. Now we'll find out this week against the Falcons if the Seahawks are ready to repeat as division champs or if the "Suck for Luck" chants will be creeping back up as the Seahawks have a tough next two games. For now it was nice for the Seahawks to record their first victory of the season and third straight win over the Cardinals.

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