Monday, September 10, 2012
Around the NFC West: Seahawks' struggles
By Mike Sando
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Seattle Seahawks knocked out the Arizona Cardinals' starting quarterback. Their defense and special teams produced four drives starting in Arizona territory. Officials even gave Seattle a fourth timeout with the game on the line.
None of it was enough for Seattle during a 20-16 defeat to the Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times gives rookie quarterback Russell Wilson an "incomplete" grade for his efforts. O'Neil: "Four yards were all that separated Seattle from the kind of comeback it never could manage last season. The proximity only made this loss more painful as the Seahawks ran seven plays from inside the Arizona 20-yard line in the final minute, including four from inside the 10. Wilson threw to four receivers but couldn't complete any one of them." Noted: Seattle quarterbacks have only one fourth-quarter comeback victory over the past three-plus seasons. That one belonged to Charlie Whitehurst against the New York Giants last season. Seneca Wallace had the previous one, way back in 2008. Matt Hasselbeck had 10 of them from the 2002 through 2007 seasons.
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times says the manner in which Seattle lost seemed all too familiar. Brewer: "This was neither the ending nor the performance the Seahawks had hoped for to start the year. They had become a trendy playoff pick. Wilson, a 5-foot-11 rookie quarterback, made national headlines after winning the Seahawks' well-publicized competition. If you closed your eyes and absorbed all the optimism, it would probably make you levitate. Well, now you've been reintroduced to gravity. Splat."
Mike Salk of 710ESPN Seattle offers positives and negatives for Seattle from Week 1. Salk: "Wilson was under serious pressure throughout the game, especially in the first half. He did look tentative early (especially on the botched receiver screen to Sidney Rice that should have been ruled a fumble), but he also showed some of the poise and decision making that won him the job. His touchdown pass was a thing of beauty -– changing the play at the line to capitalize on something he had seen, staying calm in the pocket and then firing a strike to Rice. Wow. Furthermore, he threw three balls on the final drive that hit receivers' hands in the end zone. If one of those three had been caught, we are having a very different conversation."
John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune thinks a designed rollout near the goal line could have put Wilson in position to win the game with his legs.