Sunday, November 14, 2010
Wrap-up: Seahawks 36, Cardinals 18
By Mike Sando
Thoughts on the Seattle Seahawks' 36-18 victory over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 10:
What it means: The Cardinals have serious problems on defense, their starting quarterback remains prone to turnovers, the Seahawks cannot trust their backup quarterback and their starter, Matt Hasselbeck, can be the difference for Seattle -- in a big way. Hasselbeck played his best game of the season Sunday despite suffering a left wrist injury that sidelined him to open the second half. Arizona, having allowed more than 500 yards to Minnesota last week, had no answer for Hasselbeck's quick passes and increasingly accurate deep throws. Seattle helped itself tremendously within the division by sweeping the Cardinals. The Seahawks are now 3-1 within the division, 5-4 overall and feeling good about themselves after a brutal two-week stretch. Coach Pete Carroll couldn't have scripted this one much better for his team. Arizona has lost four in a row and is officially in free-fall mode.
What I liked: Both teams' quarterbacks started quickly. The Cardinals' Derek Anderson connected with Larry Fitzgerald for a 33-yard gain during a touchdown drive to open the game. Hasselbeck was at his best targeting Mike Williams on third down as the Seahawks answered with a touchdown drive. Anderson and Hasselbeck had combined for only 11 touchdown passes through Week 9, matching St. Louis Rams rookie Sam Bradford. The Cardinals and Seahawks needed to improve their passing games and they did early in the game. Hasselbeck kept up his stellar play the whole game, offering long-term hope for the Seahawks.
What I didn't like: Hasselbeck was outstanding, but the Cardinals' defense was far more generous than it needed to be. The secondary was no match from the beginning, with Arizona even replacing struggling cornerback Greg Toler. I put Cardinals defensive coordinator Bill Davis on the hot seat heading into the season because Arizona has had trouble finishing games on defense. The designation was arguably premature because injuries were a significant factor late last season. Injuries are not the only problem now. They are not even a primary problem. Davis' defense had trouble starting and finishing Sunday. This has to rank as one of Arizona's most disheartening performances on defense. Seattle hadn't done anything on offense recently, even when Hasselbeck was at quarterback.
Injurie(s) of note: The Cardinals played without starters Darnell Dockett (shoulder) and Beanie Wells (knee). Wells' absence meant even more when the Cardinals lost another running back, LaRod Stephens-Howling, to a hamstring injury. Fullback Jason Wright was also injured.
Big Revelation: Seattle's Williams is back after a couple unproductive weeks. He's healthier. The Cardinals had no answer for him. Williams burned the Cardinals on third down as Seattle's offense made a statement early. This was his third game of the season with at least 10 receptions. Williams might have again become the leading candidate for NFL comeback player of the year.
Hindsight: Seahawks coach Pete Carroll keeps making questionable decisions. His decision to go for it on fourth down late in the first half backfired.
Unsung Hero: Aaron Curry, Seattle's second-year linebacker, was around the quarterback. He hit Anderson hard. Chris Clemons was also a force at times.
What's next: The Seahawks visit the New Orleans Saints in Week 11. The Saints had a bye in Week 10.