Seahawks Knock Cardinals Out Of The Playoff Discussion

Not just because of the 3-game lead we hold over them (that 3rd game being our tie-breaking advantage since we won the season series), although that feels like a pretty insurmountable lead at this point.  Not just because of the fact that they’re 3-6 and would have to go 5-2 the rest of the way to get to .500 (assuming we only win 2 more games the rest of the way in that particular scenario, saying nothing of the Rams and 49ers).  But, let’s be serious here.  Let’s just take a look at what we saw yesterday:  Cardinals at home, starting the better of their two quarterbacks, at reasonable full-health (minus Dockett and Wells) … and they were PATHETIC!  There’s no WAY the Cardinals do any damage the rest of the way.  They’re too busy scouting Husky games and hoping Jake Locker falls to them!

First possession, right down they went for a touchdown; and I thought:  that’s a bad sign.  After the Giants last week, after the Raiders the week before, eesh!  But, then we came right back down the field, took more time off the clock, and tied the game; to which I thought:  all right, looks like we’ve got ourselves a ballgame!

It got a little uglier after that, as I predicted, but most of that ugliness was on the Arizona side of things.  They ended the game 2 for 11 on 3rd downs (and 0 for 2 on 4th downs).  They ran the ball for 41 yards on 14 carries (2.9 average).  They turned the ball over twice (both by Derek “Not Much Better Than Max Hall” Anderson), and only when the game was decided did they manage to get the ball to Larry Fitzgerald (who ended with 7 catches and 91 yards).

Meanwhile, Matt Hasselbeck was dropping some of the most beautiful passes I’ve ever seen him throw.  The touch he exhibited – especially on that 44 yarder to Chris Baker of all people – was absolutely awe inspiring.  Maybe we should sit Matt for the tough games more often; if he’s going to come back with a performance like this (22 for 34, 333 yards, 1 TD), then I’m in!  The Saints are coming up next week; maybe that wrist is bothering him a little more than expected …

I even liked our play calling yesterday (though, I can’t tell if it’s because of the plays themselves, or the fact that we actually executed).  I’m not going to get down on the team for going for it on 4th down in a 17-10 game; Matt just tripped, what are you gonna do?  I’m also not going to get too down on that goalline stand where Lynch was stopped three straight times with 1 yard to gain.  Essentially, going into that, I wanted three Lynch runs and that’s exactly what I got.  They just beat us, plain and simple.

What we did see that you can’t like too much is Too Many Field Goals.  Any time Olindo Mare is attempting 6 field goals in a game … yeah, I guess that’s kinda good because you’re moving the ball up and down the field, dominating time of possession (35 minutes to 25).  But, you’re not getting touchdowns and that’s a problem.  The good teams require you to get touchdowns to beat them.  That’s all I’m saying.

With Story A being Hasselbeck, and Story B being Mike Williams (who OWNS the Cards, this week with 11 catches and 145 yards), Story C is all about the defense.  Those 3rd down conversions and turnovers I spoke of earlier, the 5 sacks (2 by Clemons, 2 by Curry), 5 tackles for loss, and 5 QB hits, and just an overall toughness factor you can’t quantify on the stat sheet.  Earl Thomas was flying around all over the place, breaking up passes, hitting guys hard; I think he’s going to turn into one of my favorite Seahawks of all time when his career is up.  Brandon Mebane returned and gave us some much needed help in the run game, forcing the Cardinals to not only be one-dimensional, but forcing them to utilize their worst dimension (throwing the ball).

You want to see domination?  Take a look at that 3rd quarter.  On the surface, you’ll see the Seahawks out-scored them 9 to 0 and think, “What’s the big fuckin’ deal, bitch?”  But, dig a little deeper and look at Arizona’s four possessions:

  1. 54 seconds, 4 yards gained, 3 & Out
  2. 0 seconds, 0 yards gained, 1 play, Interception
  3. 50 seconds, -4 yards gained, 2 plays, Fumble
  4. 1:02, -10 yards gained, 3 & Out

That’s a total of 2 minutes and 46 seconds out of a possible 15 minutes.  That’s a total of 9 offensive plays with 2 punts and 2 turnovers.  That’s -10 yards net offense.  That’s a quarter that started out a 17-10 nail-biter and turned into a 26-10 blowout.  There’s no recovering from a quarter like that.  Unbelievable.

Player Of The Game:  Undoubtedly Matt Hasselbeck.  Want to know why?  Because for a few minutes there, at the end of the 2nd quarter and beginning of the 3rd, Charlie Ballgame came in while they tended to Matt’s broken left wrist.  He subsequently went 4 for 6 for 53 yards and an interception that killed a scoring drive.  I have a feeling I know what we’ll be doing with our first round draft pick next year.

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