Instant reaction: Seahawks vs Cardinals

September 9th, 2012 | Written by Rob Staton

- Russell Okung left the game with a twisted knee, although it’s unknown at this stage how long he’s going to be missing. This is becoming a familiar story with Okung unfortunately. Since being drafted with the 6th overall pick in 2010 he’s injured both ankles, torn a pec and now suffered a twisted knee. He had a long streak of starts at Oklahoma State but was injured (knee) just before his final college appearance – a bowl defeat to Ole Miss where he struggled badly in the second half. Tonight was probably his worst individual performance since that game. Yet even a below-par Okung is better than no Okung at all. The Seahawks come up against DeMarcus Ware, Clay Matthews and Chris Long in the next three games. The starting left tackle could be Frank Omiyale. And if he misses considerable time again this year with injury, there’s going to be understandable concern. At what point does he earn the injury prone tag? We won’t break out the Brennan Williams (OT, North Carolina) tape just yet, but Okung needs to get back on the field quickly.

- It’s no big surprise that tonight’s game flashed up Seattle’s need at receiver. What is more concerning is the lack of fight among the group. How often did a Seahawks receiver complete a route and give up on the play? It wasn’t difficult to notice, given the number of times in the second half where Wilson was protected well but had nowhere to go. The TV replays zoned in time after time on a receiver that didn’t fight to come back to the quarterback, they were giving up on the routes and quitting. This has happened before in Seattle, most noticeably when Charlie Whitehurst played last year. They should be made to watch Larry Fitzgerald’s performance on repeat. That’s a receiver determined to drag his team across the line, whoever’s throwing the ball.

- Going back to the need at receiver, it’s telling that on the last play of the game Seattle was relying on Braylon Edwards to win the game. Perfect pass from Wilson, falling agonisingly through the hands of Edwards. Sidney Rice had a good performance overall but he can’t do it alone. I couldn’t help but think during this game that Wilson required a safety net. Rice is a capable option on the outside, he’ll make plays when he’s healthy. He’s earning the money of a #1 and hopefully he’ll prove he’s worth it with a big year. But who is Wilson’s version of Dallas Clark? Who is the guy that Wilson goes to when Rice and some like Edwards is covered? Who is Bobby Engram or Wes Welker for this team? At times last year it was Doug Baldwin, but he doesn’t look 100% after missing pre-season. I can’t help but feel for Wilson to succeed, he’ll need a consistent checkdown option, someone he can build real chemistry with. And that’s why I still kind of think a guy like USC’s Robert Woods is necessary for this offense.

- I wasn’t a fan of the play calling tonight, but it’s easy to sit at home and judge. There wasn’t much rhythm to the offense early and with Arizona blitzing and creating constant pressure, I was surprised they didn’t quicken it up. The Seahawks seemed to stick by a lot of longer, developing routes rather than just three-step drop and throw. It would’ve been nice to see a few slants and developing RB screens to try and slow down the pass rush, rather than testing deep to keep the defense honest. I’m not sure why Darrell Bevell flirted so often with the lateral-style pass that eventually led to a turnover. And it’s also disappointing the team couldn’t kill off a drive at the end despite multiple plays and chances in the red zone with the game on the line. I’m still at a loss as to why they didn’t run at least one boot leg at the end in the red zone – let the play develop, a guy might get open and you’ve always got Wilson’s running ability. Tight end option anyone? I think they made life easy for Arizona.

- Russell Wilson wasn’t spectacular, but it was a solid start. Despite a lot of hype in pre-season (some over the top and unfair) he’s very much a young guy learning his trade. It was a good first game for experience because the Cardinals defense put on a clinic. There were some negatives. I wasn’t keen on two occasions where he chose to run on instinct instead of looking upfield. You can forgive the guy given his success running the ball against Kansas City, but hopefully that’s an area for improvement. There were also three plays I noted where he rejected the inside option, preferring to throw outside in the red zone. I’d like to see him show more willing to look inside – I’m not sure if this is a total play call thing, but if they have guys running inside routes you presume he is allowed to look their way. Even so, it’s tough to judge a guy against this defense on debut, especially considering the play calling and supporting cast.

- Bruce Irvin struggled tonight. At one point he got so frustrated rushing the edge, he dipped inside and wasted at least 2-3 seconds looking for a suitable hole to rush. By that point John Skelton had thrown from a clean pocket to Todd Heap for a first down en-route to a touchdown. Of most concern is the way Arizona ended his challenge at the point of contact. He’s going to need to show more when a tackle gets the hands up – even if it’s a counter move. Irvin doesn’t want to get so wide he’s rushing from a difficult angle, and he doesn’t want to start dipping inside trying to squeeze past a guard. He was drafted for elite speed off the edge and the Seahawks need to back up their investment by finding ways to make that speed a factor. Tonight he was a complete non-factor.

- There will be a lot of overreactions to this defeat, which’ll be harder to take given the nature of the loss and the fact it was against a division opponent. The first defeat is always the hardest. The 2011 season ended 7-9 rather than 9-7 or even 10-6 because the Seahawks couldn’t win close games. Cleveland, Arizona, Washington – three games in 2011 that ended in defeat that probably should’ve been won. That’s how close the Seahawks were to 10-6. If they’re going to avoid another 7-win season they need to start winning a few of these. Even so, getting to 5-5 at the bye would be far from a disaster. The schedule after the bye reads: Miami (A), Chicago (A), Arizona (H), Buffalo (Toronto), San Francisco (H), St. Louis (H). There are opportunities to end strongly within that run. The team just has to make sure it doesn’t give itself too much to do with a slow start.

2013 prospects that look good for Seattle tonight:

Sylvester Williams (DT, North Carolina) – the Seahawks struggled for pressure in the first half, but the edge rushers didn’t get a lot of help inside. Williams has the potential to be a top-end interior pass rusher.

Robert Woods (WR, USC) – Marqise Lee would’ve been even better for those red zone plays, but the Seahawks lacked a guy they could rely on to run good routes and provide a safety net for Russell Wilson. There were a few occasions in this game where I pictured Woods in motion, taking a quick pass and exploiting the blitz to break off a big run. At the very least, he’ll fight to come back to the quarterback.

49 Responses to “Instant reaction: Seahawks vs Cardinals”

  1. AlaskaHawk says:

    Should be obvious by now that we should have drafted a wide receiver instead of a light weight edge rusher. With OKung out again, PC is batting 1 out of 4 on first round picks so far. Oh well.

    There were a lot of break downs on the offensive line, I hate to see the defense getting unblocked shots at Wilson. He also had a few bone headed plays, including the intentional grounding call, and some lame throws to the corner at the end of the game. Unfortunately his receivers didn’t help him any at the end. Two dropped balls by Baldwin and Edwins that were difficult catches but in their hands. Also the Sydney Rice drop that was called pass interference, we would have had the ball on the 3 instead of the 15.

    Marshawn had a good game, but no breakout runs.

    Not much to say other than Russell Wilson looked ordinary and our receivers still need help, and now our offensive line does too.

    • MJ says:

      Okung was terrible today. He’s living off that Chicago game versus Peppers. Irvin was non-existent. They are doing poorly in Round 1.

      Unfortunately, the offense is terrible. Need a new LT and WRs. RW was average today, but the drive down the field was very promising. Somebody has to make a play.

  2. Colin says:

    Darrell Bevell screws us AGAIN. I don’t like being an armchair QB, but you can’t be so conservative in the 1st half that you are constantly digging out of holes.

    We lost it more than they won it.

  3. Stuart says:

    Never before have I been so into a Seahawk regular season game. I was going crazy. During the 4th I could not sit down, too intense. No doubt Russell Wilson is our QB of the future. After next week he will have as many NFL starts as Matt Flynn. It was a winable game and it hurts to lose one like that. My season prediction was 9-7 and the #2 Wildcard but I had us winning this one. This lose will hurt even more at the end of the season if we dont beat say New England, Detroit or Chicago.

    • Belgaron says:

      I expect this will improve quickly. It wasn’t just having a rookie running this offense for the first time in a regular season game, it was that they spent a large part of camp wasting 1st team rep swaps between 3 guys. SF used those reps all for Smith to prep for Green Bay, the difference showed today.

  4. Jarhead says:

    Rob has pretty much surmised this game. Seattle looked like a team that had never seen a blitz before. Arizona was blitzing at least 6 on almost every play and guys were getting by without even being blocked. We looked sorry. Russell Wilson is never going to exceed getting pressured like that. And we barely got a sniff at their QB. Once again Clemons was the only guy getting remotely close. Irvin is sowing his seed as someone who will make no impact as a rusher. Let me put it like this, between a legit pass catching threat and a pass rusher what do you see as what could have impacted this game more? This was a tough defeat. This is a team that we should have beaten. With Dallas and Green Bay coming, were are looking up at a pretty stern challenge. And St. Louis played like beasts today on the road against a playoff team, so that may be walk in the park. We had better get this thing locked up and fast, before we do some irreparable damage. There is no excuse for what happened today

  5. James says:

    A few things to like, a whole lot of things to dislike:

    Like:
    - The run defense was stout.
    - Leon Washington was superb.
    - Marshawn Lynch ran hard and seemed healthy.
    - Russell Wilson played well enough to win.
    - The pass defense was OK until… Kevin Kolb shredded it by doing nothing more than throwing to Fitzgerald on every play, whether he was open or not.

    Dislike:
    - The OL seemed befuddled with the Arizona blitzes, and the line calls often did not seem to work.
    - As noted, Okung had a terrible game even before the injury.
    - The WRs had a least ten opportunities to make a catch to win the game and failed every single time except for Rice’s TD. Martin mistimed his jump on the 3rd down goal-line play, when a perfect play call should have been a TD, but Martin jumped too little and too late to go up and pluck the ball. Baldwin was the opposite of last year and we can only hope his timing will return soon. Edwards did not make any number of plays he should have. Golden Tate might have made the difference tonight, and the coach still hasn’t explained what his starting SE was doing returning punts in the 2nd half of the 4th preseason game.
    - The long field goal that was missed in the first half (was it partly blocked?) cost the game, because it would have been 20-19 and the Seahawks could have kicked a field goal at the end for the win.
    - I did not like the play calls on offense. There are so many better ways to attack a high-risk blitz package than Bevell employed.
    - As a Seattle coach once said, It is all about competition. The Seahawks competition in the NL West will determine their fate, and Harbaugh, much as I loathe him, proved himself again tonight that he is a superior coach to any of his competitors. Lest we forget, he took over a team last year that, at the beginning of the year, was widely considered to be on a par with the Seahawks in talent, and has done nothing but win.

    …Russell Wilson will have to shoulder a whole lot if the Seahawks are to turn this around, since the play-calling and his WRs are so weak. Let’s hope we see our team turn this around quick. The 12th man can get the Defense playing to the max, and maybe light a fire under the OL too?

    • Rugby Lock says:

      One point about Captain Crazy’s success… On paper the 9ers had the best team in the division for the 2-3 years prior to the Cap’s arrival. He does deserve all the credit for getting them to play at a level comparable to their talent which I believe is higher than ours still.

  6. John says:

    What shocks me is we shut down Arizona in the second half and then Kolb comes in an we turn super conservative. I just can’t believe we lost the SAME way as we did at the end of last year, i. e. shutting Fitz down until crunch time and then letting him own us.

    I genuinely feel bad for Wilson today. Not that I feel he is without blame, but that Bevell did nothing to help him out. 2 fades!? Seriously? No bootlegs? No attempts to take advantage of Wilson’s mobility? And our O-line looked AWFUL. Unger looked good, but Okung was flirting with false starts all night and was still getting beat. How many times did Wilson get sacked without even getting a chance to go through his reads.

    It’s really sad to see all that effort to improve the pass rush and still seeing Clem pressuring by himself. Thank god we paid the man. I did like Sherm tho. He matched up mono-e-mono with Fitz for 3 quarters and for the most part, shut him down. Props to Washington too for putting us into position to at least keep it competitive.

    What’s really bad about this loss, was now we go into a 4 game stretch against incredibly hard opposition, and if Seattle continues to drop games the more things will get hairy with the QB situation and Carroll’s seat will heat up. I am really hoping we can beat Dallas next week because if we don’t we could be off to a 1-4 start which will be so hard to swallow.

    On a side note, SF doesn’t seem to have missed a beat which means we can’ t be dropping winable games like this. And odds are we won’t be beating GB at home, and SF just beat them on the road.

  7. Belgaron says:

    The give ups by the receivers was inexcusable, often it was guys who had barely half a step on their coverage then finished their route and just stopped on the field and their coverage guy would almost run into them leaving Wilson hung out to dry with no broken play options but running. This is something they badly need to work on.

    Not having Rice and Baldwin for most of camp showed badly.

  8. ben-jmmin says:

    Really good, and I mean really good analysis. I especially completely agree with everything you wrote in the paragraph starting… “I wasn’t a fan of the play-calling…” This paragraph, beginning to end, nailed it perfectly. Good job Rob.

  9. ben-jmmin says:

    Nobody’s mentioned Mebane, but in the 1st half he kinda carried the d. Mebane doesn’t get enough credit. 3 goal line stands he penetrated low and blew up play (at least once and does this regularly), batted ball, nailed qb (hope it’s not too serious) along with Irvin (who did get some pressures, though no sacks).

    • AlaskaHawk says:

      Yes I thought Mebane speared into their backfield a lot and was disruptive. Clemons looked great also. I believe there was one LB blitz in the Kolb series but it was blocked.

  10. Darik says:

    Why are you guys already saying that Irvin was a bad pick? It’s been one game, he is still getting his nerves under control, and if you look at the top 14 games that rookies have had based on sacks in the opener, you won’t see anybody who you would consider an elite rusher. It takes time to adjust, we had already acknowledged that he was raw coming out of the draft and would need time at a spot with an already relatively steep learning curve and now when the season comes around you are already saying we struck out with him after him not seeing a sack week 1? Don’t jump to conclusions after one game because you will look stupid and narrow-minded when he turns out to be a great pass rusher. I am one (as were many of you) who believe that Irvin was the best pure pass rusher in last year’s draft. Let him develop, adjust to the game, and then after he has been given a true shot then you can start making judgments.

    • AlaskaHawk says:

      It’s not so much that he didn’t sack the QB – but he didn’t even get near him. No disruption, no chasing, was a complete non factor. He simply is not worthy of a first round pick. The way he plays is about 4 th round level. He is simply too light to be effective and doesn’t have the meanness of a Clay Mathews. I at least expect him to get into the backfield and make the qB move around to avoid him.

      The other part is that we needed two wide receivers and a tight end going into the draft. Who did we get? No one in the draft- we could have had Floyd or others. PC has ignored the receivers in the draft for three years – and it shows. The only high round pick is Tate and he hasn’t proven himself.

      • Darik says:

        Did you ever watch Irvin though during the game and focus on him? The play calling had him rushing inside and going on stunts more than they had him on the edge in space. We both agree that he is an undersized pass rusher and the only way for his speed to be utilized well should be to put him in space against a bigger and much slower tackle. My point isn’t to say that he is going to be an all-pro next season or any time soon. I am just saying wait more than one game to pass a final judgment on a rookie who has had one game to acclimate to the highest level of the game. Pass rush is a way more important factor than receiver play and if Irvin does end up playing well(which would require him to be used correctly) then he will have a way higher impact than Floyd or Wright would have.

  11. diehard82 says:

    Rob, agree with all your points. I was surprised to see Baldwin so much after having missed the entire pre-season. I thought it was telling that on the 2 plays I saw Martin, he caught a key 3rd down pass to keep the drive going and was targeted on a fade in the end-zone. I thought he could have been the safety blanket you referred to. He had rapport with Wilson in pre-season. And I repeatedly saw the receivers like statues with blank stares as Wilson scrambled. Even Baldwin. Dumbfounding.

  12. Steen says:

    Wilson was 18 of 34 passes for 153 yards, those are shitty numbers by anyone’s standards, save for the Wilson fanboys. He never once burned Arizona when they blitzed, nor did he consistently adjust the blocking for the A gap blitzes they were throwing at us all game. We’ll no doubt see a ton of those versus Dallas because of that.

    He didn’t play very well, and we lost. Lets take off the rose colored glasses.

    • Rob Staton says:

      He also had a fair few potential yards chalked off for PI flags and his one turnovers was a hail mary. It’s not about rose tinted specs, it’s about perspective. Arizona’s defense had a hell of a game. For the most part the Seahawks were second best on both sides of the ball. And if Braylon Edwards catches one simple pass with the last play, the Seahawks win and everyone goes stir crazy about Wilson’s game winning drive. Fine margins. Let’s not overreact either way.

      • Mtjhoyas says:

        I wouldn’t waste your time on this guy. Steen is stinking up Field Gulls too.

        Apparently RW and every other Seahawk is only allowed to have “the best game ever” or “worst game ever.” There’s clearly no way to have a mediocre day with some good plays and bad plays.

        And Steen…Of course Flynn would have smoked them! That’s why everybody and their mom wanted him BADLY this off season. If only his price tag wasn’t so high, right?

        • Steen says:

          Great strawman of my argument. Meanwhile our playoff chances are hitched to a rookie QB not playing like a rookie, good luck w/ that.

          • Mtjhoyas says:

            It’s your choice to be doom and gloom. It’s really easy to predict failure as a fan of a team because you are always going to win in this situation. If he and the seahawks fail, you can say, “I told you so.” Conversely, they do well, and you can hitch your wagon to “I am a Hawks fan and glad they won.” I am sorry, but I see it as a cop out to where you win no matter the outcome. I see a lof of Husky fans in a similar situation.

            That said, I do apologize for the petty remark towards you, as I was equally frustrated with people who think the season is over after one game.

          • Mtjhoyas says:

            I am neither a Flynn nor a Wilson supporter. I am a supporter of the Hawks. There’s far too many of you who have hitched their wagon to one guy and prefer the team lose/struggle to prove you right. Hugh Millen and Mitch Levy are the epitome of this. It’s confirmation bias.

            If Flynn was the starter and struggled, there would be a lot of people using the same arguments for Wilson. We went with the “game manager,” instead of the guy with high upside who can “win a game for you.”

            Neither side is doing any good as far as I am concerned. I am choosing to support the Hawks as a team, rather than trying to simply be “right” about a certain individual. There’s nothing easier in the world than hindsight. Any of us could be GMs or Head Coaches, if that was a viable way to operate a team.

          • Rob Staton says:

            Steen – on this blog we respect other people’s opinions even if they are different to our own. Nobody is going to stop you having your say, but cut the attitude.

    • John says:

      You’re saying that like Wilson was the only QB having a hard game. When Cowherd says he’s happy with Wilson’s play you should listen because he seems to hate everything Seattle tries to do (srsly he hates us haha). And the reason RGIII had such a great game was because the Redskins tailored that offense SO much to what he did in college. That’s a luxury Wilson didn’t have. Further Wilson has only had 2 weeks taking all the starter snaps while Weeden, RGIII, and Luck took starter snaps since training camp began. Was he really worse than Luck who had 3 picks?

      There is a MAJOR over reaction (over-reaction Monday) to Wilson’s performance right now. Maybe everyone was buying into the hype or maybe the Flynn camp is grasping at straws. Wilson is a rookie. And not only is he a rookie, he’s a short rookie. And not only is he a short rookie, he’s also a short rookie starter who took 1/3 the reps in the offseason. What did everyone expect? 300 yds 4 TDs on his way to a total domination of a top 10 Def on the road?

      I don’t have rose tinted specs. Wilson has alot to learn. But Wilson didn’t have much help. What happened to the 15-25 throws with several easy completions peppered in (i. e. Alex Smith). Instead Bevell decided to throw it 34 times and most were not 3 step drops into easy completion.

      Wilson was not perfect. He was a rookie. And honestly, compared to the other 1st round rookies, he did fine. Coming in with around the same performance (if not better) as Luck. Look, he needs to develop better pocket presence. He needs to work on that habit of missing high. But he did almost win it for us down the stretch.

      • Bruce M. says:

        Agreed. The dude showed he was a rookie (those flat passes made me squirm), but a rookie with promise. I sincerely hope we can keep him off his back long enough for him to get better.

        Still very little tight end in this offense, especially in the red zone. Receivers–all of them–ran routes and then gave up if they weren’t open or didn’t get the ball. When Wilson wasn’t getting hammered or harrassed, which was rare, he was waiting for one of them to work free. Did not see proessional level effort to do so, to put in mildly. Even from receivers who don’t have the rep of dogging it.

        The Okung mystique I have never really bought into, because of bad physical and mental games like this. Let alone the stream of injuries. I can’t get over Walter. Probably never will.

        • Mtjhoyas says:

          Okung is a huge concern. It’s funny how much of a free pass he has received from Hawk fans, while a rookie QB in his first start gets crapped on.

  13. [...] I thought it was a sloppy performance from the receivers. As noted in yesterday’s reaction piece, I don’t think they did enough to fight for their quarterback. They rounded off routes and [...]

  14. jeff says:

    Winslow would have the difference all by himself. He was Wilson’s “veteran smarts” go-to guy.

    • JC says:

      You’re right. It’s too bad Edwards, Rice and Miller are
      too young and raw for rookie quarterback to rely on.

  15. A. Simmons says:

    I don’t feel too deflated after this game. Defense played well.

    Wilson learned as the game progressed. The film should be very interesting to watch this week as Arizona threw everything and the kitchen sink at Wilson. Should be good learning. He showed quite a bit of awareness. I loved the fumble recovery when Marshawn lost the ball and his movement downfield to make a tackle after the hail mary interception. Lots of positives from this game.

    We’ll see how they do against Dallas. If we don’t see any improvement, I’ll start to worry. But so far I’m satisfied the team is moving in the right direction. I think the QB position is manned by a player that will grow into our high expectations.

    I guess I was one of the few people that thought Arizona in Arizona would be a tough win. They are a division rival. They always seem to bring a little extra effort against us. We tend to make mistakes against them. More telling will be how the team bounces back against Dallas.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Good points there. I also didn’t feel too deflated, but only because we’ve been here before. And will be here again in the future. But the right people are running this team and deserve to avoid overreactions.

  16. James says:

    Watched the final minute one last time and then deleted it into oblivion.

    - You have to give props to the Arizona DBs. They played really tight coverage in the red zone and only an outstanding pass matched with an outstanding catch could get through the coverage.
    - That said, the Seahawks left about 4 TDs on the field. Russell Wilson actually made some very fine reads and throws, but just couldn’t mesh with his WRs.
    - The first down pass to Edwards in the left corner was actually right on, but Edwards mis-timed his jump. Russell threw it exactly where Edwards could high-point a catch, as in the preseason, but it just didn’t happen.
    - The Baldwin drop would have been a catch if Doug was sharp, but sitting out the entire preseason, he just wasn’t precise enough to make a tough but very do-able grab.
    - The pass to Rice on the right side, much criticized as a huge Russell error as an underthrow on what should have been a jump ball in the far corner, was actually Russell making an incredible read that Rice just didn’t see coming to make an adjustment. Russell correctly read that the DB was playing behind Rice all the way, anticipating a jump ball, and Russell saw that if Rice cut in front of the DB, he would have been wide open, and that’s where he placed the ball. Could have been a perfect play, but Wilson and Rice just aren’t on the same wavelength yet.
    - The Edwards slant on 4th down was a perfect pass into very tight coverage, and Edwards just has to go up and muscle the ball for the win. Most NFL WRs will make that catch most of the time.

    ….a very narrow gap between a win and a loss. We really should be celebraing today an amazing last-minute victory, but we missed it by inches over and over again. Hope the 12th man can be the difference and the Seahawks can get an inch closer and get the win over Dallas.

    • Mtjhoyas says:

      Great stuff James.

      I was thinking the same thing on the throw to Edwards. He timed the jump poorly.

      The thing that kills me with everybody yelling at RW for bad reads and poor throws…did he get picked off? Did he not give his WRs a chance to make a play? For the guy “playing terribly,” we were one play away from beating a very good defense.

      It seems that many fans don’t want to recognize that the Cards were in fact 8-8 last year with a top notch defense. And, this was a rookie’s first game on the road. We act like he lost to Mother Theresa’s School for the Blind.

    • Hawksince77 says:

      Just to add a few observations:

      1 – the deep pass to Obo that was out of bounds – did RW throw that away? Obo was covered, and the ball thrown way over his head. I have heard some people say he simply over-threw Obo, but I don’t know.

      2 – RW taking on Patrick Peterson while covering the INT. Pretty cool.

      3 – I also thought the throw to Rice was intended, when I first watched it. Had Peterson turned around, it’s a pick. If Rice cuts inside, a TD. I don’t think RW made a mistake in how it threw it. Perhaps one in his intent.

      4 – the lateral pass that resulted in a turn-over – that seems like a poor play on his part, both in decision and execution.

      5 – the other poorly thrown ball was one to Lynch over the middle, where RW threw it behind the RB and it was tipped up and caught by Rice. That’s a pick, 9 times out of ten.

      6 – I don’t consider the intentional grounding a mistake. If you watch it again, RW turns around after the play-action and will get sacked a micro-second later. He throws the ball to an empty part of the field, the only way to ensure he isn’t picked. If he doesn’t throw it, he gets sacked, exactly no different than getting the penalty called.

      7 – I have also read critiques of the hail-mary interception, and how RW should have been attemtping something shorter to get into field goal range. Two questions: how much time was left? A few seconds is all. Second one: who calls the play, and determines the end-of-half strategy? Bevell? PC? Not RW. He is executing the play that is called. The only chance to score is to throw deep, and the only way his WR has a chance is if RW actually throws the ball. Just don’t see how this is on RW.

      8 – How cool was RW on those third and fourth down plays? He looked like a seasoned vet coming to the line, and making those pressure throws. He had tight windows to avoid the CBs while giving his WR a shot, and he hit every one of them. The one to Edwards deep in the corner was perfectly thrown, and it took a second defender to come over and knock it away.

      9 – I would love to see a play-by-play analysis of RW’s performance. Did he bail too soon on some of the plays? Did he fail to climb the pocket and avoid the rush? Did he miss open receivers down the field? How many poor throws did he make (I count two for sure – see above)?

      10 – As Rob pointed out, if Edwards or Rice or Baldwin or Martin make one of those TD catches, the entire tone of the dialogue is entirely different. If you also take away the meaningless interception, and add a TD, his passer rating skyrockets, and he is deemed to have a successful game, notching the win and orchestrating a perfect late come-back.

      11 – if there is a silver lining, it may be this: losing a game like this is probably healthy for the entire team – including PC and RW, in that they take nothing for granted, get knocked off any high-horse they may have been riding, and come out next week better prepared. Or so we can hope.

      • Rob Staton says:

        Excellent write up, Hawksince77.

      • Sean says:

        The criticism I have seen on the throw to Rice is not that it should have been a jump ball but that it should have been a back shoulder throw. Thrown inside as it was, it was nearly a pick and forced Rice to come through the defender. If that pass is zipped to the back shoulder I am not sure Peterson could have made a play. That said, the back shoulder throw is typically the weapon of a savvy vet who reads the DB’s positioning and has good chemistry with the receiver for that exact situation. Who knows what the actual play design called for — we’re all just guessing.

  17. Rob Staton says:

    Every injury is unfortunate. It’s a relief Okung’s injury is just a bruise. But the guy needs to prove he can stay healthy and on the field. That’s just the way it is. I’m guessing Walter Jones took a few whacks to the knee, but he didn’t miss time.

    • glor says:

      I agree, you can justify all his injuries, but when you start adding them together you get a pattern. The guy isn’t doing something right.. It’s impossible to always be in the wrong place at the wrong time if you are a stud player: Walter Jones Exhibit A, all the other players in the league who seem to make it though a year exhibit B..

  18. Richard says:

    Ya, I think Russell can be an outstanding QB for this team but he needs to have a top shelf O-line protecting him. You can not let the defense push the line in his face at all. Sweezy is a neat story but what the …. did they think would happen ? With Docket and the rest of those guys focusing on him he stood no chance. I think it was Carroll and Cables big heads saying ,” we are so good we can draft a D-tackle in the 7th and make a starting guard out of him “. That was a really stupid move that handicapped the entire offense. Maybe against some teams but not one with a 3-tech the caliber of Docket. I re-watched most of Sweezy’s snaps and he was lost out there most of the time.

  19. Swamp_fox says:

    I personally thought A McCoy was going to be DangeRuss’s safety blanket. He seemed to disappear this game. I’m looking to see more of him over the middle this weekend vs Dallas LBs.

  20. Hawksince77 says:

    Charting Russell Wilson’s first professional start.

    (all time marks from NFL.com Rewind)

    Evaluation based on Russell Wilson’s play, not necessarily the outcome. The standard is based on any NFL QB, with no consideration given for this being his first professional start. I would use the same criteria with any starting NFL QB.

    1st Half:

    2:30. Pass to Lynch behind, tipped up, caught by Rice. Should have been picked. BAD THROW

    3:45. Deep throw to Rice. Pass interference. OKAY

    5:60. Pass thrown high to Rice, incomplete. POOR THROW

    12:30. Quick throw to Rice for a first. NICE

    13:00. PA fake, no throw, runs for a few yards. OKAY

    14:30. Backwards pass, goes out of bounds. BAD THROW

    15:30. Deliberate QB run. OKAY

    30:40. Play fake, blitz, no time, no chance, sack. OKAY

    35:20. Quick pass to Edwards, complete, under pressure. Roughing the passer. NICE

    36:00. Deep pass thrown out of bounds to Obo, incomplete. If this pass was meant to be caught, it was a terrible throw. If thrown out of bounds, simply OKAY

    37:00. Play fake, under immediate pressure, eludes the rush, scrambles for a couple, holding on Lynch. OKAY

    38:00. Drop back, immediate pressure, eludes the rush, scrambles for a couple. OKAY

    52:30. Quick, accurate pass to Rice for a first. NICE

    53:00. Quick pass to Baldwin for a small gain. OKAY

    55:40. Drop back, pressure, throws ball away. OKAY

    1:05:00. Deep pass to Miller. EXCELLENT

    1:07:00. 17 seconds left in the half, blitz, breaks a tackle and throws the ball away. Offsides called. NICE

    1:08:30. Deep pass intercepted. After Peterson tripped up, he falls into Wilson, covering his own INT. OKAY (on the pass) NICE (on the coverage).

    2nd Half:

    1:16:00. Lynch fumbles, Wilson recovers. NICE

    1:17:00. PA fake, rolls right, scrambles for a first. NICE

    1:18:00. Backwards pass to Lynch, turnover. TERRIBLE

    1:25:00. Quick throw to Edwards for a completion. NICE

    1:26:00. Quick short throw to Baldwin for a short gain. OKAY

    1:27:00. Drop back, throws, ball batted at line. POOR

    1:27:50. Quickly comes under center for a quick snap. Goes through multiple reads, and hits Rice for a TD. EXCELLENT

    1:32:30. PA fake, has all day, doesn’t throw, scrambles for a couple. OKAY

    1:33:19. Tries to get Unger to snap the ball on a 3rd and five. When he does, Wilson hits Baldwin for a first, but delay of game called. OKAY (assuming it’s Unger’s fault, and not Wilson’s, but you can clearly see him calling for the ball well before the clock runs out)

    1:34:15. Blitz on 3rd and 10, Wilson quickly flushed, scrambles for a couple of yards but short of the first. OKAY

    1:41:00 On 3rd and 3, high pass to Edwards. POOR

    1:45:30. Play fake, roll out, complete to Miller for a few yards. OKAY

    1:47:00. Quick accurate pass to Edwards for a first. NICE

    1:48:00. Quick pass to Rice, off his finger-tips for an incompletion. Very very close. Rice acts as if he should have caught it. OKAY

    1:49:00. Drops back, has time, gets chased, avoids a sack, throws complete to Turbin for a short gain. OKAY

    1:58:00. Play fake, turns around a finds a blitzer in his face, throws the ball away. Called for intentional grounding, but his only other option was to take a sack. At least he gives himself a chance. NICE

    LAST DRIVE:

    2:15:30. Nice quick throw to Edwards for a first. NICE

    2:17:00. PA fake, Cards all over it, no time, sack. OKAY

    2:17:43. Under pressure on a 3rd and 14. Throws a clutch strike to Martin for a first. EXCELLENT

    2:18:28. Quick completion to Miller for a nice gain. OKAY

    2:18:30. Check-down completion to Lynch for a first. OKAY

    2:19:30. Cards bring the house, and as soon as Wilson takes the shotgun snap he guns it out to Baldwin, who drops it. Wilson knocked down. NICE

    2:20:00. Short drop, quick completion to Edwards. NICE

    2:20:30. Scrambles for a first on 3rd and 2. NICE

    2:22:00. Has time, throws it away. OKAY

    2:23:00. Has time, checks it down to Lynch for a short gain. OKAY

    2:23:30. Jailhouse blitz on a 3rd and 5. No time. Sacked in a second. OKAY

    2:26:00. Game on the line on a 4th and 5. Blitz. Wilson stands tall and throws a ball that Rice, despite the interference, could have caught for a TD. EXCELLENT

    2:27:00. Ball thrown in the corner of the endzone, perfectly placed to Edwards. CB makes a nice play to knock it down. NICE

    2:27:30. Bullet to Baldwin for a TD, the throw placed where only he could catch it, but doesn’t. NICE

    2:30:00. Hits Edwards dead center, who is interfered with for an incompletion. NICE

    2:36:40. Throws to Rice in the endzone. Either it was a poor throw or Rice didn’t make the move Wilson expected. Either way, POOR

    2:37:30. Fade to Martin broken up by the defender. Ball fairly well placed, but Martin may have fallen out of bounds if he held on. OKAY

    2:38:30. Game on the line, 4th down, not much time left, a clutch throw to Edwards, who can’t reel it in. EXCELLENT

    How it adds up:

    EXCELLENT: 5
    NICE: 17
    OKAY: 24
    POOR: 4
    BAD/TERRIBLE: 3

    • Rob Staton says:

      Excellent read – thanks for this Hawksince77. Great break down.

      • Hawksince77 says:

        Rob, thanks.

        As far as conclusions, I came away with the following:

        1 – Wilson didn’t look like, or play like, a rookie. Nine times out of ten in the waning seconds of a game, the QB turns the ball over on downs, throws a pick in the endzone, or gets sacked and fumbles. Rarely do you see the last second TD for the win. A few examples come to mind: Santonio Holmes tip-toe catch from Rothlesberger in the Super Bowl. The amazing last second throw from Favre to some WR that just joined the team in Minnisota a few years ago. But it’s really hard to do, for any QB, and Wilson never flinched on those 3rd and 4th down plays.

        2 – lots of criticism of the play-calling, but I saw several quick passes that worked.

        3 – lots of criticism of Wilson scrambling too much, but I didn’t see any case where he wasn’t under direct pressure. Every sack was unavoidable (after the snap) and every scramble resulted in positive yards, in a couple of cases first downs.

        4 – I saw very few unadvised throws, the two most prominent the laterals. Poor play call, but even poorer decision to actually throw the ball, given the defense. Wilson otherwise never threw the ball into coverage; rarely threw the ball anywhere near a defender (the one throw to Rice with Peterson covering an exception); never threw the ball up for grabs (other than the hail mary at the end of the half).

        5 – to beat an excellent defense requires a great throw and a great catch. Wilson wasn’t going to find a guy wide open in the endzone, and he didn’t, so every play had to be spot on, and yes, his WR had to make a play. But there weren’t any other options. If Wilson throws it closer to the WR, the defender has a play on the ball. While I have read comments about his erratic accuracy, all I witnessed was excellent ball placement on several difficult passes.

        6 – several comments about Wilson throwing high. Without going back and counting, there were very few incompletions due to this. The pass to Obo was a throw-away (I believe). The hail mary was just that: a throw he doesn’t make otherwise. The worst over-throw was on a 3rd and 3 where he missed Edwards for the first. Another was a pass just out of range of Rice. But that’s it. A high percentage of his passes hit the WR in the hands.

        7 – Wilson never looked out of control, or indecisive, or rattled, despite being constantly under seige. He was hit something like 7 times, and sacked 3. He hung in the pocket on several occasions, getting nailed after delivering the ball. That was impressive.

        8 – on Wilson’s extended scrambles, and when he had plenty of time, I had no way to evaluate if he missed any plays down field. It’s quite possible that he did, and if so, would count against him.

        9 – on Wilson’s ability to read the defense and alter protections. Again, I am not qualified to judge, and this could be a place where being a rookie really showed up.

        10 – I don’t know how much lee-way Wilson had to alter the play at the line of scrimmage. I don’t recall seeing him audible, and without that weapon, he would be more vulnerable to what the defense did. A veteran QB would have more options at his disposal, so again, that’s where being a rookie showed up.

        11 – If someone did a similar breakdown of all the QBs who played this past week, Wilson’s results would rank somewhere in the middle, perhaps a little higher. If you factor in the quality of the defense and his first-time experience, he would rank near the top. If you did this for Weeden or Tannehil, the comparison would be shockingly painful for Browns and Dolphin fans.

        Final comment: having said all this, I worked hard to see Wilson’s game as objectively as I could. I have noted that several posters who favored one player or another see exactly what they want to see in this game: supporters of Flynn see a poor-playing rookie, and evidence that PC made the wrong decision. Those who favored Wilson (including myself) have tended to see the brighter side of the game. My goal here was to watch the game closely and attempt to keep an open mind and judge from that. Whether I have succeeded or not is hard to tell. I still see in Wilson the same excellence I watched in his college film. I still see an exceptional QB (taking into account that this was his first professional start) and all the fundamental ability that bodes well for the Seahawk future.

        If I can see it, so can the coaches. Baring injury, Flynn will never see the field in Seattle. Wilson’s the real deal, and we will see nothing but rapid improvement and QB excellence through-out the coming year.

        • Ross says:

          Thank you for this. I really like Wilson, but I did think he threw high too often. I’m not only talking about the couple high incompletions to Rice and Edwards. He also threw hospital balls a few times. Balls where it left the receiver open to being blasted by a safety. They were caught, but I wouldn’t call it a good throw. Also, I think the end zone throws to Baldwin and Edwards could have been placed better to not make them such difficult catches.

          That said, I believe in RW and think he’ll clean it up and make better throws going forward. He’s a sponge and Carroll and Cable are working hard with him.

      • Hawksince77 says:

        To complete the analysis, of the 39 throws I charted (this includes penalties, so won’t necessarily match up to the official stat line), I count:

        Poorly thrown passes that resulted in incompletions or turnovers: 8 (21%)
        Passes on target: 26 (67%)
        Passes thrown away: 5 (13%)

      • Hawksince77 says:

        In the final drive, there were 15 total passes:

        Poorly thrown passes that resulted in incompletions: 1 (7%)
        Passes on target: 13 (87%)
        Passes thrown away: 1 (7%)