After the Seattle Seahawks win over the Arizona Cardinals Sunday afternoon, head coach Pete Carroll remarked that Sunday was “a really good day for us in a lot of ways.” Indeed, Carroll is correct. With the win, the Seahawks reclaimed NFC West supremacy in convincing fashion, doubling-up on the Cardinals, 36-18. Matt Hasselbeck, back after missing last week’s shellacking at the hands of the New York Giants due to a concussion, engineered an offensive attack that accumulated nearly 500 yards of total offense. The Seahawks dominated all facets of the game and now, at 5-4, hold a legitimate shot at earning a spot in the postseason.
Wide receiver Mike Williams continued to dominate, catching eleven passes for 145 yards. Across the NFL, Williams resurgence is being heralded as the comeback story of the year. After his eleven catch performance Sunday, Williams has 46 catches on the season, seven for 20 or more yards. And he’s making catches in a variety of ways: down the sideline, over the middle, in front of press coverage, and over-top of smaller defensive backs. Standing at 6’5” and weighing 230 pounds, Williams has the prototypical size, hands, and physical ability to dominate like many of his counterparts – Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald, Baltimore’s Anquan Boldin, and New York’s Hakeem Nicks. However, unlike all these similarly sized and talented wide receivers, Williams is not producing in perhaps that most important aspect of the game: the end zone.
Williams has only one touchdown catch. Compare that to his counterparts: Fitzgerald has four touchdown catches, Boldin has six, and Nicks is leading the NFL with nine. And it’s not as though Fitzgerald, Boldin, and Nicks are simply catching more balls than Williams. In fact, only Fitzgerald has more catches than Williams at this point (he has 49).
It’s problematic when a team’s leading receiver, who absolutely has the ability to dominate offensively, like Williams, is not scoring touchdowns.
Considering Williams total catch numbers, it is mind-boggling that he has only found the end zone once – a touchdown catch in the first-half of their first win over the Cardinals. Why can’t he find the end zone?
The answer lies in the Seahawks inability to convert in the red zone. Olindo Mare, the Seahawks field goal kicker, kicked five field goals Sunday. He converted from 41, 34, 19, 23, and 19. He also missed a 29-yarder late in the game.
On the season, Mare has attempted field goals of 29 yards or less eleven times, converting nine of those tries. In other words, the Seahawks are relying on their field goal kicker to convert points in the red zone rather than their most dominate receiver.
Failing to connect with Williams in the red zone is, perhaps, the Seahawks most glaring offensive weakness at this point in the season. Williams is catching balls all over the field, in many different ways. There’s no good reason why he isn’t catching more balls on his way to the end zone.
‘Tweet’ thoughts –
Does Brian Billick even watch the game?
Forget Defensive Rookie of the Year: Earl Thomas is a Pro Bowler.
Matt Hasselbeck looks TERRIBLE; where’s Touchdown Jesus?
Greg Tolar sucks.
The Seattle Seahawks finally capitalized on an Arizona Cardinals miscue under six minutes to go in the second quarter. Cardinals rookie Andre Roberts muffed a punt (and really, that’s an understatement) and two plays later, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck found Mike Williams on a fade route – Willliams’ first touchdown catch since 2006. Olindo Mare added the extra point for a 10-0 Seahawks lead. Capitalizing on a Cardinals mistake was the exception in the first half for the Seahawks rather than the rule.
Cardinals quarterback Max Hall (everyone’s favorite Mormon) is playing like garbage. He looks overwhelmed nearly every play. Early on, Seahawks Safety Earl Thomas ran underneath a Hall pass downfield and appeared to be the intended target. I doubt Thomas will have a simpler interception all year.
Cardinals punter Ben Graham, known league-wide for his penchant to drop the ball inside the opponent’s twenty yard line, shanked one for seven yards and put another in the end zone for a net of twenty yards. Both times, however, the Seahawks failed to respond on the ensuing drive.
Both offenses look extremely anemic and Hasselbeck was sacked four times in the first half, and clearly held on to the ball too long on two of those sacks.
Again, the Seahawks lead 10-0 at the half but, considering the awful mistakes the Cardinals made in the half, should be leading by a much larger margin.
On the bright side, Walter Thurmond – starting in place of Kelly Jennings – is playing phenomenally occupying the corner opposite Marcus Trufant. He broke up two passes intended for Cardinals electrifying receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Rookie defensive back Roy Lewis had a solid first half as well, and Trufant forced a Tim Hightower fumble in the second quarter and recovered it.
Marshawn Lynch ran well in the first half, carrying the ball 10 times for more than sixty yards. Justin Forsett has not been a factor.
Brandon Stokely caught a Hasselbeck pass to extend a drive and Deon Butler has two catches as well.
Devastatingly, Russell Okung, coming off a remarkable performance last week against Julius Peppers, left the game and will not return. No word yet on the extent on the injury but he did have that, “my season just ended” look on his face limping off the field.
The Cleveland Browns:Seneca Wallace didn’t work out, but Colt McCoy will – trust us.
The Seattle Seahawks were saved Sunday by a Pro-Bowl kick return specialist traded by the New York Jets following last season after breaking his leg.
After missing a myriad of opportunities to bury the San Diego Chargers in the first half, the Hawks’ Leon Washington received the opening kick-off of the second half and returned it 101-yards for a touchdown. Then, with 6:39 remaining in the game, after the Chargers tied the game at 20 with prolific quarterback Phil Rivers leading the charge, Washington received the subsequent kick-off at the one yard line, busted through one tackle, avoided two others, and sprinted for his second touchdown of the half, leading the Hawks to a 27-20 victory in front of 67,000 frenzied fans at Qwest Field.
Even with Washington’s exploits, the Hawks still had to brace for two more Chargers’ drives to end the game.
After Washington’s touchdown, Rivers methodically led the Chargers down the field hitting his big, versatile targets along the way. However, Rivers’ fourth down pass into the end zone was broken up by rookie Roy Lewis. Then, following a Jon Ryan punt, Rivers put the pressure on again but on fourth down, the drive ended in the red zone when safety Earl Thomas picked-off Rivers for the second time in the game, preserving the win and putting the Hawks atop the NFC West.
The Hawks defense played spectacularly in the first half. Defensive end Chris Clemmons and tackles Brandon Mebane and Red Bryant dominated the line of scrimmage, holding the Chargers high-powered offense scoreless. Clemmons used his speed and veteran guile to sack Rivers (one in the first half, another in the second) and Mebane used brute force up the middle to do the same. Bryant recovered an early Chargers fumble forced by linebacker Lofa Tatupu and the defense set the tone, allowing for an inconsistent offense to build a 10-0 halftime lead.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Hawks got on the board first following an eighty-yard drive highlighted by a 28-yard scamper from Justin Forsett and 37-yard pass down the seam to tight end John Carlson. However, the drive stalled and Olindo Mare was forced to come on the field to kick a 23-yard field goal. The disappointing finish to the drive was typical of the Hawks anemic offense. The Chargers turned the ball over three times in the first half but the Hawks failed to convert the turnovers into any points.
The special teams play – obviously highlighted by Washington’s return touchdowns – outplayed the Chargers special teams throughout the game. Cam Chancellor forced a fumbled on coverage, the return units opened holes for Washington and punt returner Golden Tate, and the Chargers return game was stymied throughout by aggressive.
The win puts the Hawks at 2-1 on the season and after three weeks, gives the Hawks the top spot in the NFC West – a weak division in disarray.
Rivers finished the game 29-53 for 455 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Hasselbeck finished 19-32 for 220 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.
For complete game statistics, visit nfl.com
‘tweet’ thoughts – Many fans had a terrible morning trying to get to Qwest Field…Portland Trail Blazers head coach Nat McMillan hoisted the ‘12th Man’ flag before kick off…CBS’s Dan Fouts used the word ‘misconnected’ in the first half trying to explain an incompletion between the Hawks Matt Hasselbeck and Carlson…Cornerback Marcus Trufant left the game with an ankle injury…Running back Julie Jones did not step on the field for the Hawks…Tate, once again, showed flashes of brilliance returning punts…The Seahawks had one first down in the second half.
The Seattle Seahawks lead 10-0 at the half at Qwest Field over the San Diego Chargers. Tight End John Carlson caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Matt Hasselbeck with :53 seconds remaining in the first half after kicked Olindo Mare put the Hawks up 3-0 hit a 23-yarder at the 11.28 mark of the second quarter.
Truthfully though, the Hawks 10-0 lead at the half is not the real story of the game. The real story is missed opportunities.
The Chargers turned the ball over three times, handing the Hawks very good field position on two of those fumbles. Unfortunately, the Hawks did not convert.
On the subsequent return following Carlson’s TD catch, Cam Chancellor forced a fumble and the Hawks took over on the Charger’s 25-yard line. Incredibly, the half ended with no point scored, as Hasselbeck inexplicably sneaked a third-down play from the two into a pile and then failed to get off the field – along with Center Chris Spencer – before Olindo Mare could kick a chip shot field goal.
On the bright side for the Hawks, their defense is playing phenomenally. Chris Clemmons had a first-half sack, Brandon Mebane had a sack of his own, and Red Bryant has two fumble recoveries.
Cornerback Kelly Jennings has two passes-defensed, both against Chargers number-one receiver Malcolm Floyd.
A 10-0 lead at the half for the Hawks should be a 24-0 lead. If the offense continues to make miscues and fail to capitalize on opportunities, an increasingly weary defense could easily buckle against Chargers quarterback Phil Rivers and the explosive San Diego offense.
UPDATE: Leon Washington with a 101-yard kick-off return for a touchdown to start the second half.