This was a Seahawks performance that I love. It wasn’t perfect but they rarely are. Even the most pessimistic fan has to admit that Sunday in the desert was a thing of beauty, especially when you remember that Seattle was outscored 74-10 in the last two games.
Seattle came out on the first drive and answered the Cardinals opening scoring drive. Matt Hasselbeck was in prime form. Maybe the concussion he sustained against Oakland cleaned out some of those cobwebs, because we saw a Hasselbeck from 2005-2006 rather than 2008-2009 out there. His passes were on time and accurate, his decisions were right, and even his deep ball looked good. I haven’t seen him have a better game in a long time.
Part of his success is due to improved line blocking. Another part is game planning and play calling, while even more comes down to receivers actually catching the damn ball. Against Arizona, all those things combined to make Seattle, for at least one game, look dangerous and potent.
Play of the Game
With so many to choose from, it has to be Hasselbeck’s deep strike to Deon Butler in the second quarter. It started with good protection. Hasselbeck then stepped up in the pocket and threw a nice looking pass to the deep crossing Butler. The ball hit him in stride and was placed perfectly away from the double coverage of the safety and a linebacker. Butler caught the ball and kept running as the safety Adrian Wilson joined the others in pursuit.
Butler stopped by the left sideline while the Cardinals defenders stopped and looked at him, so he ran back to the right, outrunning the defenders until tight end John Carlson, who never stopped running on the play, delivered the key block to get Butler into the end zone.
That touchdown made the score 17-10, with the Seahawks on top. Seattle never lost the lead, and Arizona’s secondary spent the rest of the game missing tackles and pointing fingers as Hasselbeck piled up almost 400 yards through the air.
1. Matt Hasselbeck – After watching Charlie Whitehurst last week, it was night and day watching Hasselbeck this week. He hasn’t been great this season but he showed in Arizona why the team keeps starting him over anyone else. Given some time by his offensive line and some receivers hanging onto the ball and Hasselbeck will make any defense work for its paycheck.
2. Mike Williams – BMW showed up again after disappearing for two games. Against Oakland and New York, Williams had three catches for 52 yards. On Sunday against Arizona, Williams had another career high game with 11 catches for 145 yards. The game plan was obviously to work Williams against Arizona cornerback Greg Toler, and Williams succeeded so well that Toler was benched for Michael Adams.
3. O-Line – The offensive line has been horrible at times this year. Part of that is due to injury, of course, but against Arizona, the patchwork quilt came together beautifully. Hasselbeck was sacked twice but both came on blitzes. Other than that, Hasselbeck was not pressured very much and the results were there to see on the scoreboard. The downside is that Seattle had the ball in the red zone five times and came away with only field goal attempts. The run blocking definitely needs work despite getting over 100 yards rushing in the final tally. At halftime, the rushing yardage was eight yards.
4. Aaron Curry – I’ve been hard on Curry a lot because the expectations with being a top pick are to deliver right away. I’ve always felt Curry has a ton of talent but he isn’t able to translate that onto the field. Against the Cardinals, Curry led the Seahawks defense with seven tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble. The one nitpick I have with his performance is that Curry still has a tendency to play a little too wild and talk a little too much. He’s gotten better about it and it shows, but his focus needs to be on making the plays rather than talking about and celebrating them.