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 Pete Carroll era began Sunday afternoon at Qwest Field with a Week One victory over talented division rival, the San Francisco 49ers.
After a painfully slow start to the game for the Seattle Seahawks, including a Matt Hasselbeck interception on the first play from scrimmage, miscues and blown opportunities by the 49ers opened the door to a 31-6 season-opening victory and an early jump in the NFC West battle for supremacy.
Hasselbeck scored on a one yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter, capping a 64-yard drive and putting an end to the early frustrations of an inept offense. Olindo Mara’s PAT gave the ‘Hawks the lead 7-6, a lead they never relinquished.
Niners quarterback Alex Smith began the game hitting a slew of receivers, including tight ends Vernon Davis and Delaney Walker, running back Frank Gore, and receiver Michael Crabtree. However, it was the 49ers inability to finish in the red zone that led to opening the door to the ‘Hawks. Smith threw a fade route to an open Josh Morgan in the end zone in the first quarter that was ruled a touchdown on the field. After subsequent review – prompted by Carroll’s red flag – the touchdown was overruled and the Niners settled for a Joe Nedney field goal. Later, after driving 84 yards, Smith missed his intended target badly on fourth down from the six yard line, keeping Seattle well within striking distance.
Following Hasselbeck’s one-yard touchdown scamper, a Jordan Babineaux interception set up a 13-yard touchdown pass from Hasselbeck to Deon Butler. Mare’s extra point made the score 14-6, a score that held until early in the third quarter when Seattle’s Marcus Trufant intercepted Smith again and finished the play with a 32 yard return for a touchdown.
Seattle’s next drive saw Hasselbeck hit Deion Branch for a 3 yard touchdown. Mare’s extra point made the score 28-6 and the Niners never threatened down the stretch.
Hasselbeck finished his day 17 of 23 for 170 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Smith finished 26 of 45 for 225 yards with two interceptions. He was under consistent pressure from Seattle’s Chris Clemons, Red Bryant, and Aaron Curry. Smith, in his sixth season, is the quarterback of a Niners team touted widely as the most likely winner of the NFC West this season.
Carroll, coaching in his first NFL game since being fired by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft in 2000, was his usually effervescent self on the sideline. At one point, so exuberant over Trufant’s interception and return touchdown, Carroll had to be constrained by an official in an attempt to calm him down and return to the sideline.
Seattle receiver Mike Williams, playing under his collegiate coach and mentor at the University of Southern California, Carroll, continued his inspiring comeback to the NFL by catching three passes from Hasselbeck, including a 35 yard reception that set up Hasselbeck’s touchdown scamper. The 35 yarder was Williams first catch in an NFL regular season game since 2007.
‘Tweet’ thoughts – Tyler Polumbus played admirably at left tackle in place of the injured Russell Okung…Hasselbeck is completely healthy after injuring his back and ribs in consecutive seasons…Hasselbeck turns 35 later this month…Rookie Safety Earl Thomas, once again, looked like a future star in his first regular season NFL game, including knifing in for a tackle on a stretch play in the first half…for complete game stats, check out nfl.com, here.