Arizona Cardinals 27, Seattle Seahawks 3
That was about the worst game I have ever sat through. If it weren’t for the warm beautiful blue skies, the beautiful Emerald City scenery and the massive consumption of alcohol, this could have been the game that finished me off once and for all.
It may have finished the Seahawks post season hopes as well. Yes, it’s early, only the sixth game after all, but this game was earmarked as big from the moment the schedule came out. Facing the division winner, and Super Bowl loser, from last year was supposed to be a statement game. Unfortunately, the statement yesterday was “Thank God for the bye week.”
The bye week can’t come soon enough either because Seattle needs a chance to regroup. It seemed impossible that the team lined up across from Arizona was the same team that blew out Jacksonville just the week before on that same field. Matt Hasselbeck said in post game comments that the problem was with consistency. He has a point. You can’t get more inconsistent than those two games. Watching the Jacksonville game was like watching on the best HDTV in the world. The Arizona game was like watching a fuzzy black and white TV through a fishbowl.
The play of the game is actually the first quarter. Arizona opened the game with a 10:42 drive that Seattle’s defense was powerless to stop. The book on beating the Cardinals hasn’t changed. You hit Kurt Warner early, late, and often. Keep hitting him, pressure him, take a roughing the passer call even because if you don’t, he will carve you like a plump Thanksgiving turkey with an chain saw.
Warner went 9-for-9 on this drive. Seattle’s defensive line brought pressure but Warner was able to avoid it long enough for his huge receivers to finish their routes against the midget cornerbacks. Short 3rd and 2 passes are easy to complete when your receivers tower over their defenders.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Arizona pooches the kickoff. Seattle fails to cover it and Arizona gets great field position. Same song, next verse and the score is now 14-0.
Finally Seattle’s offense gets their hands on the ball but not for long. Seattle’s patchwork offensive line, which had held up so well with spit and duct tape so far, finally blew up and couldn’t stop the Arizona defensive line. On the third play, Hasselbeck fumbles as he gets sacked. Arizona recovers. That’s the total amount of offense for Seattle in the first quarter.
Here the Seattle defense finds its feet and holds Arizona to a field goal. From that point on, the defense plays a better game. Arizona only scores 10 more points but the damage was done in the first quarter.
1. Fake punt. This play went beautifully. In the second quarter and down 17-0, Seattle was facing a 4th and 3 from their own 38. Seattle punter John Ryan fakes the punt and passes to a wide open John Carlson in the middle. The Seattle tight end rumbles down the field for 42 yards and renewed excitement from the stands. The Seattle offense rushed on the field to capture that momentum. Unfortunately they didn’t get a play in and had to call time out.
2. 12th Man. I have to give props to the fans. You could tell Arizona expected the early lead to quiet the crowd but the fans were into the game, loud and raucous until the end.
3. Cheerleaders. I try to make sure I have at least three things in each category. Last week was hard to find bad things. This week it’s good. At least the cheerleaders looked good in those pink “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” uniforms.
1. Defense. Where to start? It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where this was going wrong. Seattle got pressure on Warner but not enough. The corners and safeties played okay, after they got out their step ladders. The linebackers were not great. Arizona used a lot of underneath routes that were the perfect outlets for Warner.
2. Play calling. Arizona came into the game with the worst pass defense and a top 10 rushing defense. Seattle comes out running the ball. Are you serious?
3. Offensive line. Has the Seahawks offensive line really been able to plug in players and get decent results or has it all been smoke and mirrors. Arizona rushed 5 the majority of the game and got pressure to the tune of 5 sacks and tons of hits on Hasselbeck.
1 .Injuries. How could this get worse? Try taking the heart of the defense, middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu out for the rest of the season with a torn pectoral muscle? The hope was to get into the bye week and come out a lot healthier. That hope is a lot like the Seahawks playoff chances right now. Dimmer and dimmer.
2. Offense. The offense goes from bad to ugly this week. For every type of situation in football, there is a way to counter attack. Seattle’s offense could not find that way and it was ugly.
3. First Quarter. That had to be the ugliest quarter of football from Seattle in my memory. Pure and simple, getting three plays, and turning the ball over on one of them, is no way to play a football game.
So, where do we go from here? Better yet, how did we get here? In 2005, this team hired Tim Ruskell and went to the Super Bowl. How did it go this way in four short years? Simply put, this team has not done a good job in preparing for the future. Cornerbacks are too short, David Greene was not the quarterback of the future, Walter Jones has not been getting any younger and finally, that Steve Hutchinson situation killed the line.
Jim Mora may be getting the heat, and I feel he deserves some too, but in reality, he’s the front man for Ruskell’s mistakes.
Mike Holmgren is a much better coach than Mora. That’s no knock on Mora, it’s the truth. If Mike Holmgren was having a hard time winning with the diminishing resources that Ruskell was giving him, how could Mora be expected to do anything better? The core is rotting and these are the results.
Much like the Mariners with Lou Piniella, the Seahawks could be entering the Bob Melvin years. Now that is a depressing thought.
How to change that feeling? For this season, come out of the bye week healthier and put a whipping on the Cowboys. For the future, I think it’s time to look at Mike Holmgren from a general manager position.