Instant reaction: Seahawks deal with Cardinals

October 17th, 2013 | Written by Rob Staton

It wasn't a good day to be this man

This should’ve been an absolute stroll in the park. And for the most part it was.

Arizona couldn’t run the ball, they couldn’t throw the ball and Seattle were making just enough plays on offense.

At one point it looked like another 58-0 beat down in the making.

Yet just when you felt comfortable enough to consider getting another beer (and maybe even felt like doing a kind of strut thing to the fridge), the Seahawks said, “Woah…. where do you think you’re going?”

And if you’re anything like me, you stayed on the sofa and found something to clench.

Golden Tate had just run back a punt return to make it 21-0. Mike Morgan got called for a block in the back, but Seattle still had good field position on half way and a fourteen point lead.

“No problem!” a collective fan base cried.

“We’ve got this…”

And from the jaws of a beat down, they managed to snatch a close game.

There were a ton of positives in this game — and I’ll get to them. But I wanted to start by discussing why there are still, even at 6-1, a few things to clean up.

On 4th and short, the Seahawks went for it. They used an empty backfield, essentially tipping their cap on a quarterback sneak when Russell Wilson moved under center. They didn’t convert on a play everyone saw coming. It was as obvious and blatant as a Justin Smith hold.

Turnover #1.

A Cardinals field goal, the first of three Wilson fumbles and a short touchdown later — and it was game on.

Thankfully the Seahawks regained their composure after a little toiling and eventually waltzed to victory.

Once again, however, it was tougher than it needed to be.

On the quarterback fumbles, the pass protection was hideous. Michael Bowie had a nightmare. Wilson uncharacteristically didn’t feel the pressure. It was ugly at times.

What’s more, the repetitive bootlegs to the right and designed passes to the left played into Arizona’s hands in the second quarter. Bowie essentially became Wilson’s primary protector. And tonight, unfortunately, he struggled badly under constant pressure.

People writing off Breno Giacomini need to have a re-think.

Marshawn Lynch also had another fumble in the red zone. Once again, it wasn’t costly and Lynch recovered the football. Fumbles are a major problem for this team across the board for some reason, not just with Lynch. But it’s ten in one and a bit seasons now for Beast Mode.

He still does so much to help this team (as we saw in the drive to make it 24-13), but this is an area he needs to improve and quickly.

There were also the usual issues at the end of the half (fortunate to escape with a field goal for 17-10) and the decision making to throw at 31-13 and ultimately turn the ball over via fumble was incredible. There’s nothing wrong with three runs, time off the clock and a punt at 31-13 on the road.

Take away the errors and this is a surprisingly comfortable victory.

And that’s the frustrating thing. We’re seven games in and they’re so close — even with all the injuries — to being virtually unbeatable.

If they clean up and avoid the turnovers, they’ll get there. No doubt about it.

On the positive front, Seattle’s pass rush did what it simply had to do against a laughable Arizona offensive line. Everyone chipped in. It was a formidable display with seven sacks, two picks and two forced fumbles. The Cardinals managed 1.7 yards per running play and 30 yards total. They were 5/15 on third downs.

In other words, they were suffocated and dominated.

One huge improvement from last year is the interior pass rush. Michael Bennett had another sack and has been sensational from day one. Two other players — Tony McDaniel and Clinton McDonald — have also brought so much to the team this year and deserve credit.

Malcolm Smith had a terrific game and deserves to get snaps even when Bobby Wagner returns.

Offensively, Sidney Rice and Golden Tate both had big days. That was particularly important for Rice, who received some criticism recently.

Seattle managed 7/12 on third downs — a definite improvement.

I thought James Carpenter had a good game and it was a relief to see him return after hurting his ankle. Despite struggling to defend the edge, Carpenter and Unger did a great job in the run game. I didn’t see any obvious issues in pass protection. I know Carpenter gets a rough deal from some, but for me he continues to improve every week. Put him alongside Okung and he’ll go from strength to strength.

Russell Wilson — apart from the fumbles — was immense. A true franchise quarterback who will, without doubt, go on to become Seattle’s finest football player. The first touchdown was a thing of beauty and I’m still not sure how he generated enough velocity to pick out Rice with zero back lift. That might be the best throw we see by any quarterback this year.

It wasn’t just the three scores. His throw falling down to extend a scoring drive was another play only he can make. Wilson generally threw with accuracy and confidence.

There are still ways he can improve — but more importantly there are ways the team can make life easier for him. Namely, the offensive line getting healthy and the potential return of Percy Harvin against St. Louis next week.

Wilson really is two returning tackles (Okung, Giacomini) and a playmaker (Harvin) away from really exploding. I have no doubt about that.

I looked at this NFC West double header as a chance to show this team means business. Two road wins in the division on Prime Time would be a statement of intent. I also thought 1-1 wouldn’t be a disaster, with a virtual gimme at home to Tampa Bay the following week.

They’ve already got one win — and on this display should feel good about making it two.

All it takes is a clean game and they will beat the Rams. As they showed today, they can win even with all the mistakes.

It’d be nice to avoid the stress for once, though.

62 Responses to “Instant reaction: Seahawks deal with Cardinals”

  1. Kyle says:

    Great post. This was one of those wins that just didn’t feel satisfying, given all the mistakes. But there’s a lot of good in this team regardless.

  2. Colin says:

    It’s the kind of win you’re satisfied with when you’ve seen how this team has played on the road historically. But at the end of the day, this kind of performance won’t get you a win in SF or NO when it matters most. There are still many improvements to be made.

  3. Mark says:

    If I never have to see Seattle run a zone D again it will be way too soon.

    They could not beat us in normal D, why change?

    I just don’t understand that decision. The Hawks are 6-1 with things to work on, and I think Rob touched on them. For now I’ll take it.

    #3 is amazing.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Funnily enough I think they changed because they felt more comfortable with Arizona killing the clock than our own offense.

      • Mark says:

        LOL….

        On second thought…..

        That said, I still hate it. Worked out this time.

        Won’t later I would bet.

        • OakHarborHawk says:

          Yeah I think it only worked because Fitz was completely worn out and gimped at end of the game due to his hamstring issues. Left Arizona with no big play threats at receiver.

  4. OakHarborHawk says:

    Couple of quick thoughts after the win:

    Really looking forward to seeing what Percy Harvin can do in this offense. Poor Golden Tate with that stupid block in the back by Mike Morgan. Can’t believe that Kellen Davis had a TD catch and what appeared to be a heads up play on that squib kick.

    Normally I hate prevent defense on principal, but this game made me actually see how it is really damn useful when it works out. With no timeouts for Arizona they basically forced them to run the ball with all the little passes to the middle of the field. Now the previous Arizona drive though they should’ve at least turned up the pressure when Arizona got into the red zone.

    Can’t complain too much about 6-1.

    • CHawk Talker Eric says:

      Your point about the prevent D, I thought the same thing. Manage the clock by effectively turning their passing attack into a running game. Take away the deep ball and shut down the sidelines, force everything underneath and in the middle. Like punching a sack of gravel. Sure your fist might make a dent in the bag. But you’re not going to get anywhere, and your hand’s gonna hurt.

      Big game from Browner. He needed that. Malcolm Smith played the best I’ve seen from him. He was everywhere tonight. On a defense with some terrific performances, he was perhaps defensive player of the game. Also particularly impressed with Clint McDonald. What a season he’s putting together off the bench.

      Tough night for OTs Bowe and McQuistan. Both got beat off the edge regularly. The interior O line had a much better game. I just happened to be keying the left side when Carp went down – saw it happen in real time and thought that’s it, he’s gone for the season. So glad to see him return and play well, and sincerely hope he’s good going forward.

      • glor says:

        I’m really surprised Carp went back into the game after that injury, that looked like an MCL tear if I ever saw one, his knee really buckled at a bad angle.. this whole “shin” business is BS if you ask me, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him on the injury report. That be said, for all the crap I have given carp, he’s better than jp at this point at the LG position.

        When do we get Okung back??

        • Belgaron says:

          It’s a good possibility you will see Carp back next year. He has played above playing weight all year because he couldn’t run until after the season started. But he was crowned in the off season as the strongest guy on team and they will take advantage of the less than steller play to get a reasonable new contract and then try to get him in shape this off season so he can move better. He’s getting a ton of experience this year and by the end of the year will probably have improved a great deal, especially when he gets to play between Unger and Okung.

  5. CC says:

    Okay, there were a few mistakes, but boy there were a lot of good things too! Russell played really well except he may have held the ball a bit long on two of those fumbles. That pass when he was falling was sweet. The D – well, they are really good! Nice to see Browner and Rice step up and make some play – fun game to watch. So happy!

  6. TylerG says:

    An overlooked positive by most our own pundits will be how well Wilson worked the short to intermediate pass. He hit Miller on quite a few quick slants to keep the chains moving on 3rd down (finished 7/12 overall). Without being able to see the full-22 it looked like the AZ defense also copied the success of defenses from previous games in planting deep safety looks to take away the deep pass.

    Other than overcoming the problem this offense has had with third downs up until this game, RW is more importantly showing he can adapt to defenses playing him differently.

    • glor says:

      I loved seeing him work in a short fast passing game.. that one fact made this game really enjoyable to watch.

  7. Donovan says:

    As great as the LOB is, the team’s run defense has been every bit their equal.

  8. AlaskaHawk says:

    An awesome win on the road. Defense played great, the line, linebackersand secondary all played great. Putting constant pressure on Palmer and stuffing the run.

    Offense looked raggedy again. Russell Wilson has a way of looking brilliant in one series, and then fumbling the ball away on the 5 yard line. At least when he was getting rid of the ball he threw it in the dirt instead of where it could be picked. Another great game by Marshawn and Tate. I can’t wait for our regular line to come back. Sweezy looked great, the rest of the line not so much.

    Overall it was a good game with flaws. But they won and covered the spread, good going Hawks!

    • rugby lock says:

      I firmly believe that getting Okung and Breno back will help solve a lot of those problems. Not to mention the addition of PH to the mix should open thing up all over the field.

  9. Darnell says:

    - Forget what his contract is going forward; Zach Miller is a highly irreplaceable pillar of this team. An outstanding all around football player.

    – JR Sweezy is as good an athlete gets for an interior olineman and is nasty with a bigtime motor. Best guard from that draft class is between him and Zeitler , who’d a thunk he’d be better than Decastro?

    • Miles says:

      i remember a couple of days after the draft, some caller on the radio saying, “Why didn’t we draft DeCastro in the first round, and then see if we could draft Bruce Irvin in the second?”

      That’s a really dumb comment in retrospect.

  10. Hawkspur says:

    Am I correct in thinking that most, if not all, of Wilson’s turnovers happen in or around our own redzone. I reckon a surprising proportion of the points we’ve conceded have come as a result.

    • williambryan says:

      It does seem like the only time the defense really gives up points is off turnovers and in garbage time (with the exception of the colts game)

    • PatrickH says:

      In this game, RW had 2 sack-fumbles in the redzone and the Cardinals got 10 points from them. There was another sack-fumble outside the redzone, but fortunately Bowie recovered the football.

  11. JP Nieves says:

    Great team win today. The defense look awesome today getting all that pressure. Hope they can keep improving on it game after game. If not for the fumbles this game would have been a pretty perfect win. The O-line needs better protection for wilson. Seriously can’t wait for Breno and Okung to get back. Mcquistan and Bowie are doing a solid job filling in the meantime. Having Miller in the game definitely had a positive effect on Wilson. He had an outlet to get those short yardages to move the chains. Lets get the next win at St. Louis and show that we mean business to the rest of the league. Go hawks!

  12. adog says:

    i also thought Carpenter had a good game. He looks like he’s in the best shape of his nfl career. I just noticed him…particularly in the run game making some key blocks for Lynch. On that note…i’m a bit concerned that Lynch is not getting the ball enough. I thought they could have spoon fed him on the second fumble by WIlson, however i thought Bevell called a great game tonight. It was refreshing to see some counter leads with Lynch…which is pretty much the only misdirection i’ve seen this year out of the Bevell offense. Perhaps he is waiting for Harvin before he opens this page in the playbook.

    • Miles says:

      I think the team feels, regardless of how good Marshawn Lynch is (and he is very, very good), that the Seahawks have the best chance to win games when the ball is placed squarely in Russell Wilson’s hands. Given some of the plays he made last night, I can’t say I disagree. But he needs to not fumble the ball especially so deep in our own territory. Those kind of mistakes are not going to fly when we’re playing Atlanta, the Saints, and our playoff foes.

  13. Ross says:

    I’m extremely satisfied with this win. The game never felt in doubt to me despite the score – we were just dominating in all areas. In a nationally televised game on the road vs a divisional rival, you just cannot complain about this performance.

    -RW was amazing. His accuracy was incredible. He fit a ball in to Tate in the end zone that I wouldn’t have thought possible. The LB got his arm in there and knocked it out, but that ball was perfectly placed. He also had a perfect ball to Tate on the sideline vs Patrick Peterson.

    -Lynch is so fun to watch. He’s like the opposite of Shaun Alexander who always looked so easy to bring down. Lynch, at times, looks impossible to tackle. He’s, by far, my favorite Hawk to watch play. I loved him in Buffalo, but I had no idea that he’d be what he is today.

    -Sherman was so close to a couple picks.

    -AZ WR Michael Floyd is legit. I’m not looking forward to playing him twice a year for the next decade.

    Seahawks fans should feel so lucky right now. We have an amazing young team that is setup to compete for the next 5-6 years. The future is bright and JS/PC are the ones to thank. Now to get Okung, Giacomini, and Harvin back and completely curb stomp the rest of the NFC West!

    GO HAWKS

    • Aaron says:

      Good points. I made the same comment about that pass attempt – threading the needle to Tate in or near the end-zone. That was an amazing near completion.

    • glor says:

      We should have had a couple more picks in this game for sure, this was the most satisfying game for me of the year.

  14. Madmark says:

    Well I got to see a few I formation plays, which leads me to believe that Lynch just needs that little crease to pop off 5 to 7 yard runs. It was short lived with Coleman going down. I thought both sides played outstanding football up until the 4th and 1 attempt and you are totally correct that everyone knew it was going to be a QB sneak. I was completely amazed at halftime that the score was 17-10 and the Cardinals had only 69 yards of total offense. Many of the better teams out there you just can’t let that happen especially on the road. That’s twice in 2 weeks they’ve let teams back into the game just before halftime and I’m hoping they’ve got it out of there system.
    McDaniel sack on the Cardinals 1st possession set the tone for the defensive line the rest of the game for the defense. McDonald seems to have been taking his release and being brought back to heart and is playing exceptionally well that your not sure why they let him go. My favorite play was Kam knocking the ROT back an on the ground and then making the tackle on the running back. Class Act after getting block by Fitzgelald, Richard Sherman bounced up off the ground and patted him on the helmet for a good play.
    Rice had 2 really important catches and I’m starting to change my mind on Golden Tate who had a great catch slanting inside, catching the ball, then spinning outside to run and just turned Pedersen inside and out. Something I notice was when Turbin came into the game to spell Lynch I didn’t see any drop in the running game. Now as for fumbles I.m not that worried because I think Wilson will get it figured out and as for Lynch for how he runs I’m just amazed that he doesn’t fumble more being stood up and guys ripping at the ball.
    I like what I saw last night and was able to sleep like a baby, wasn’t that 12th man crowd on the post game great.

    • Ross says:

      Great point about Clinton McDonald – he was consistently in the backfield making plays. Great game for him.

  15. smitty1547 says:

    Was great to see the 12th man there in so force, they were as big time as the Hawks were last night

  16. Aaron says:

    My initial impression of last night’s game was that the Seahawks used the pass to set up the run game much more so than I’ve seen in the past. Generally it’s been the other way around. I’m wondering if this is going to be their answer to the adjustments teams have made recently to limit the play action passing game. I need to watch the game again with this in mind though since this was just a general impression I had.

  17. Colin says:

    What I loved the absolute most about the game was those first two drives- they were one step ahead of AZ on everything. Absolutely phenomenal coaching and gameplanning. They were getting blown off the ball and were totally out of sync against Seattle. After that 2nd TD you knew the game was over if Seattle wanted it to be over. AZ were helpless.

  18. Miles says:

    Love what everybody is saying here. Seahawks played a great game on a Thursday night, no less, despite some slightly concerning hiccups.

    We don’t know the severity of Derrick Coleman’s injury. However, if he’s out any great length of time this could be the opening for the return of Michael Robinson. Spencer Ware has been out quite awhile which begs the question of whether you would want Robinson or Ware to step in for fullback duties right now.

    This is highly speculative, of course. The prospect of bringing Robinson back assumes that he is willing to come back on a likely minimum-or-thereabouts deal to a team that spurned him instead of being loyal to him for the hard work and leadership he’s brought to the team. That said, it’d be great to have him back, as I miss the Real Rob Report, and his blocking ain’t bad either.

  19. Belgaron says:

    Wilson just pwned them on those options, he had them fully tackling Lynch without the ball. That was fun to watch.

  20. Jeremy says:

    Rob, I was wondering if you know anything about the “fine” the DB group hit BB with for not reaching the end zone. In his interview he said he was fined $100 by the DB’s. I thought this was pretty funny. Just wondering if anybody had any insight on this….??

  21. Nolan says:

    To be 6-1 with so much room to grow is really amazing. I would rather be 6-1 with room for improvement then 6-1 and playing at my peak performance. We have yet to play or A-plus game, but if we can figure out a way to fix the turnovers this would have basically be a A+game on the road in a short week against a division opponent. I am very very happy with the way this season is going. Now we just need to go to St Louis and beat those Rams on Monday Night, we will have plenty of time to rest and prepare for this road game, possibly even the return of Percy Harvin.

  22. Kenny Sloth says:

    Is Derrick Coleman ok.?

    Also. Earl Thomas Defensive MVP, perhaps? Might go to Resean Mathis or to Watt again.

    • Darnell says:

      It is an interesting debate to be sure.

      I’d say legitimately that Earl Thomas is having that kind of season and derserves to be in the running.

      Richard Sherman, though not having a DMVP type season just yet ,he is definately having a pro bow type season and given his name recognition and that he’ll probably finish with 7-9 picks – will get consideration.

      Mathis and Houston deserve a look.

      For my money, the award should be Watt’s until he retires. Hands down the best defensive player in the league from now until whenever. He’ll be hurt in the running by his bad team and having set the bar so high for himself last year.

  23. Jarhead says:

    I haven’t posted in a long time, but I have to say something. We are there. Thus is THE team. BUT, everyone pining for Christeen Michael and how “he would’ve done this…” and “he would’ve broken THAT run for a touchdown,” is kind of irritating. Not just because I’m a fan of Turbin and what he brings. But does ANYONE on this blog think that Carroll and Schneider wouldn’t put him on the field if they thought he could help them win? Of course they would. So maybe Michael just isn’t that great, and maybe he isn’t better than Turbin. Poor pass blocking aside, why wouldn’t he be returning kicks like Leon instead of Kearse who was an UDFA? Get over it Limers, the best players will always see the field with this team. And Turbin is a solid running back and contributor. Now Rob, I know you’re excited for Harvin to return but does he really improve THAT drastically in areas we really need? IE having. a go to long receiver for 3rd down or being an across the middle threat for scramble plays? I don’t how well that suits his game and I see him more of needing to have things schemed for him as opposed to bring a plug and play guy. What say you?

    • Jarhead says:

      correction- BEING a plug and play guy

      • Colin says:

        I couldn’t agree more about Christine Michael. His time to shine will come, it’s just not now.

        • robert0534 says:

          sorry, couldn’t find or remember my UN.
          CM is lightning in a bottle. I think they are keeping him under wraps while they teach him to block and trust the ZBS and hit the holes hard…it took Beast a half a year to hit holes the way Cable wants. By the time CM is ready and our OL is healthy and hitting their stride, I think CM will shock, stun and gash some opposing defenses in November or December. He is a ridiculously explosive special talent that can take it to the house on any play!

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      I think they’re using Michael as a late year breather. Marshawn’s been running all out. I think they told him to just run his hardest the idea being that Michael will get carries later in the year to rest him for the playoffs.

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      I think they’re using Michael as a late year breather. Marshawn’s been running all out. I think they told him to just run his hardest the idea being that Michael will get carries later in the year to rest him for the playoffs.

      • Colin says:

        I kind of doubt that’s the case. I think if Michael was ready to contribute now, we’d be seeing it. There’s a reason he’s not getting carries. Pete hasn’t been afraid to play rookies when they’ve earned their stripes. My theory is they do not trust Michael to protect Russell- and with two better blocking backs ahead of him, why risk it?

        • CHawk Talker Eric says:

          It might be that they don’t want to risk him blowing an assignment with the O line in flux. It’s one thing to let him take snaps with Okung and the rest of the 1st team, but you don’t want his game experience to come at RW’s expense, especially considering how much pressure RW has seen so far this season.

          Mainly, though, they don’t need to play Michael. Lynch and Turbin have been highly effective; Turbin hasn’t taken many snaps, but he’s produced in key situations. And Lynch’s contribution goes beyond yards and TDs. The intensely physical way he plays the game, how he attacks a defense, sets the tone of play for the rest of the team.

          Nonetheless, I agree with Kenny in that we may see Michael in the coming games. Lynch has had “hip problems” for the last couple of weeks that kept him from practicing. So far, it hasn’t affected his game play, but it’s something to keep an eye on.

  24. Kenny Sloth says:

    MIKE EVANS THO.

    • Colin says:

      Manziel owes him for the rest of his life. Without Evans, I’m not sure there’s even a remote discussion of Manziel going in round 1.

  25. Cade says:

    Seriously I don’t get you guys!

    We played dominantly this game. Absolutely lights out.

    How the fuck can we be commenting things like that we “didn’t trust the offense to kill the clock” or “this game was ugly and one I wouldn’t want to rewatch”???

    – Wilson was better in this game in every area besides the fumbling that we have been concerned about: Short to intermediate passing game, passing downfield, converting 3rd downs, starting fast

    – Marshawn was pulling beast mode runs nearly every time he touched the ball. It was a disgusting display of straight dominance.

    – Our defense absolutely dominated against the run game and the pass game. Our pass rush got home baby

    – Legion of boom got 2 picks and we got to see Chancellor absolutely own a RT by plowing him on his back and then making the tackle on the RB at the line of scrimmage.

    Given all this, why would anyone not want to watch this game over? Yes our OL is still struggling and RW needs to improve his ball control. Besides the fumbles this game was an amazing display.

    Oh and there was the 4th and 1 we couldn’t convert. Remember that the Cards have a stout run D and while we didn’t convert, sometimes we just wont get it done. Its part of the game.

    If you cant be happy with anything less than perfection, I feel bad for your fan experience. Easy way to stay unhappy.

    So guys, revel in how this team is playing. Enjoy the ride. Even if we don’t win the Superbowl Ill enjoy every moment of this display we see. I love this team because of how we play. Its an awesome spectacle.

    • Colin says:

      It’s not that people aren’t happy. It’s that the Seahawks made it much harder to beat AZ than it needed to be, and in the process, they couldn’t protect Russell. Their performance will have to get cleaner to beat the better teams in the league.

  26. Brendan Scolari says:

    http://www.footballoutsiders.com/futures/2013/futures-arizona-state-dt-will-sutton

    I saw the article above from Matt Waldman on Will Sutton, I’m curious to hear your opinion Rob. I’ve not been impressed with Sutton this year either, but…

  27. Barry says:

    Watching the highly regarded Qb’s around the league, you cant help but smile and feel great about Wilson. We all know he’s special by now but today I can just sit back and watch the best of the rest. He is so far ahead of all the other young QB’s in the league with Luck being the only exception. I cant wait till we get Okung back.

    Also side note. I know he had a few really bad picks but Matt Barkley is a QB in this league. He was driving them before the pressure got to him. That just a hard spot to be in for your first action late in a game down two scores. Phili has a trade commodity if they are smart. Jacksonville would be smart to inquire about him.

  28. Barry says:

    Last year it was hard to watch that Chiefs team play with how great the team was and how the QB play just undermined the whole team. This year its the browns. Hoyer was a revelation and that might be the saddest story of the year “Home town hero leads team on three game streak”. His injury was just a bad thing to a great yearly season story. The Browns are ready to compete and the QB play is the worst I’ve seen this year.

  29. Miles says:

    For those wondering about what will happen with Derrick Coleman…

    http://www.fieldgulls.com/2013/10/20/4859916/seahawks-looking-to-bring-back-michael-robinson