It was a Thursday night thumping in the desert, provided by the Seattle defense and Russell Wilson. Wilson was absolutely locked in throughout this game; he was hitting his men in stride, scrambling around and making plays with his legs, and making the correct reads. He never made one throw that was even close to being picked off during this game. The one bug-a-boo that he had to overcome was a brief fumbling problem. He lost two fumbles, but was able to make up for it by throwing three touchdown passes and running for 29 yards. Marshawn Lynch chipped in with 91 yards on the ground as well as a touchdown. Overall, it was an impressive win for the Seahawks. The final score would lead those who did not watch the game to believe that it was pretty close, but in reality this contest was pretty lop-sided.
That Seattle defense is the #1 reason why this team improved to 6-1 for the first time in franchise history on Thursday. Seven sacks of Carson Palmer killed Arizona’s chances to sustain drives throughout the course of the game. Add two interceptions (one from Earl Thomas in the first quarter and one from Brandon Browner in the third; this one was nearly returned for a touchdown), and it is clear that the Seahawks “D” was able to have its way with the Cards. The Arizona offensive line was completely dominated in the game, especially on the interior. Seattle was bringing a lot of exotic blitzes and the protection for Carson Palmer was unable to hold up. Backs missed blocks, guards were confused and allowing free rushers at their quarterback, and the tackles were beat a few times to the outside. Pressure causes panic, and Palmer was never able to comfortably stand tall in the pocket and go through his reads (until the fourth quarter that is, when the Seahawks were up 31-13 and playing a soft zone). Larry Fitzgerald was taken away with a plethora of double teams and over/under coverage, so Palmer was forced to look elsewhere for production. The fact that Arizona could not get a running game going didn’t help their cause either. The Cardinals really need to work on that; a total of 30 rushing yards is not going to get it done in this league. Plus, they have only ran for over 100 yards once (against San Francisco). Better production out of the backfield is something of a necessity for these guys if they hope to hang in with the rest of the division.
Sure, the Seahawks put up 34 points on them, but the Arizona defense was not the reason why the Cards got knocked down a peg. After surrendering 34 points in the first quarter, Todd Bowles unit was able to tighten up. They were bringing so many different blitzes at Russell Wilson, some working to confuse him and others not (but that is the risk you run when you blitz a lot). The corners for the Cardinals did struggle a bit to man-up with the Seattle receivers, so getting pressure on Wilson was paramount. The thing that impressed me the most was the fact that this unit only allowed the Seahawks’ quarterback to run for 29 yards (that after an 11 yard keeper on the team’s first offensive play of the game). Also, the Cardinals had less than 100 yards of total offense going into the fourth quarter. At one point the game was 17-13 in the third, so you have to give credit to Todd Bowles’ pride and joy for keeping the team in the game. There is only so much they can do when the offense is committing turnovers and suffering from lapses in protection.
The Seahawks are legit, but we already knew that. They are still front-runners in the NFC west and are going to gear up for a Monday night war with the Rams in Week 8 (an eleven day rest ain’t too shabby for them). With their Week 2 win over San Francisco, the ‘Hawks have been able to stay one step ahead of the Niners for the entire season. Percy Harvin is coming back too, and when that happens I’d watch out for these guys. They have a strong rushing attack and have the potential to do a lot of damage through the air. This win is a trademark victory for this team. Defense dominated and the offense was sharp. The final score is much closer than the game actually was. All and all, this was a dominant win.