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Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Cardinals, Seahawks study in contrast

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Mike Holmgren's admission that the Seahawks might have to become a run-oriented team is a bad sign for Seattle.

Holmgren knows run-oriented teams have a hard time beating good teams without help from the passing game. It's nearly impossible for a run-oriented team to contend when its defense allows big plays, another problem for Seattle.

I'll contrast Seattle and Arizona for the purposes of this discussion. Seattle leads the division and ranks tied for fourth in the league with five rushing plays of at least 20 yards. Arizona has none. The Cardinals rank tied for sixth in the league with seven pass plays of at least 30 yards. The Seahawks are tied for 22nd with only two -- both to Billy McMullen, who wasn't even with the team when the regular season began.

The Cardinals' third receiver, Steve Breaston, has two receptions for at least 30 yards. Larry Fitzgerald has four. Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin have combined for 10 receptions of at least 20 yards.

The Cardinals' top three receivers each have receptions of at least 40 yards. McMullen, with a 34-yarder, is the only Seattle player with a reception longer than 22 yards. Last season, six Seattle players caught passes of 34 yards or longer. Three of the six -- Deion Branch, Nate Burleson and D.J. Hackett -- are injured or no longer with the team.