Seahawks beat Cardinals 19-3

Despite surrendering seven sacks to the Arizona Cardinals, the Seahawks held on to win 19-3, keeping their hopes at winning the NFC West intact. Rob Rang provides his 10 Takeaways of Seattle's critical divisional win.

Win or lose, there is much to learn after each game. What happened on the key plays that turned the game? How did the team fare in individual matchups? Who, if anyone, was injured and how did his replacement(s) fare? These are just of the questions greater Seattle-area resident and football scout Rob Rang will tackle post-game each week for SeahawkFootball.com.

10. Rather than bask in the glow of pulverizing the NFL's hottest team and a squad that beat the Seahawks in Seattle last year, many will instead focus on the passing game's struggles. Given the Cardinals' size and ball-skills at cornerback, this wasn't the game to expect Seattle's wide receivers to step up. Instead, give credit to offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and Russell Wilson for incorporating tight ends Tony Moeaki and Cooper Helfet into the game. Moeaki served as an effective outlet receiver and Helfet scored the game's first touchdown on a 20-yard catch and run that put Seattle up 19-3 as the third quarter closed. In just his second active game in Seattle, Moeaki led the team with four receptions for 34 yards. The Seahawks made a similar adjustment to get the ball into the hands of Marshawn Lynch. Running was tough-sledding against Arizona, but Lynch caught three passes for 43 yards.

9. Prior to the 2014 draft, Brown and Paul Richardson generated a lot of comparisons. Each possesses lanky frames and spectacular speed. Whereas the Seahawks have generally used Richardson as a one-dimensional deep threat, the Cardinals featured their rookie in multiple routes, including on the drag across the middle and quick curl on Arizona's scoring drive late in the first half that cut Seattle's lead to 9-3. Brown made several significant receptions in this game, including a marvelous toe-tapping reception over Maxwell late in the third quarter for a gain of 33. Brown led all receivers with three catches for 61 yards. Richardson, on the other hand, wasn't targeted in this contest.

8. The Seahawks' third quarter block of a Drew Butler punt may very well turn out to be one of the biggest plays of the year. The Seahawks were fortunate to hold a 9-3 halftime lead and the Cardinals appeared to be on the verge of seizing momentum after holding the Seahawks to another three-and-out to start the third quarter. That all changed with DeShawn Shead's block (and tackle of Butler). The ball bounced away where Arizona tight end Rob Housler picked it up, only to be emphatically thrown to the ground by Cooper Helfet. The blocked punt won't register as an official turnover but it certainly was one and at a time in which Seattle felt lucky to be ahead. Steven Hauschka's fourth field goal put Seattle up 12-3 with 8:34 remaining. The Seahawks threatened sending extra rushers on a couple of punts Sunday, with Richard Sherman, specifically, sliding down before dropping back to block.

7. Lynch's value to the Seahawks' offense was demonstrated on their second series of the game. While he sat on the bench wearing a stocking cap (perhaps indicating that he knew he'd be out for the series), the Seahawks went three and out, losing seven yards. After missing the next series, as well, Lynch returned and played the rest of the game. Arizona's stout run defense, however, limited him to just 39 rushing yards.

6. Good to have you back on the field, Bobby Wagner and Kam Chancellor. Each made big, sure tackles that proved a stark contrast to last week's sloppy defensive performance against Kansas City.

5. On the subject of injured players, the Seahawks appeared to go relatively unscathed in the first half. The sore back for Lynch is certainly a concern. Nickel cornerback Jeremy Lane also was slow to come off the field following Arizona's scoring drive. Jermaine Kearse limped off the field in the third quarter and was re-taped by trainers.

4. Prior to the game, I felt that Michael Bennett and some well-timed blitzes up the middle might result in the pressure needed to rattle Stanton. Instead, it was speed rushes from Cliff Avril, who repeatedly burned Arizona's right tackle Bobby Massie. Avril recorded two sacks on the day to lead Seattle.

3. The Seahawks don't run as much play-action deep passes as one might suspect given their strong running game. A terrific fake from Wilson and Robert Turbin resulted in Seattle's biggest play from scrimmage, however, as the Wilson found Ricardo Lockette all alone for a gain of 48 yards in the first quarter. Cardinals' star cornerback Patrick Peterson appeared to get caught looking in the backfield, losing Lockette. The big play resulted in Seattle's second field goal of the day, giving the Seahawks a 6-0 lead in the opening moments of the second quarter. The Seahawks tried to take advantage of Arizona's hyper-aggressive defense later in the game with a rare flea-flicker. Peterson was in much better position this time to knock the ball away from Kevin Norwood.

2. It was great recognition and acceleration by Wilson that appeared to net the Seahawks their first touchdown of the game. Unfortunately, Kearse's arms were extended a little too far on his downfield block of an Arizona defender and the score was called back. Even worse, Hauschka's fourth field attempt of the first half was blocked by Tommy Kelly.

1. While Seattle's pass rush was noticeably improved against the Cardinals, the Seahawks inability to provide any pass protection of their own was the story of the first half. Center Patrick Lewis, in particular, struggled with Frostee Rucker's quickness and Dan Williams' power. That forced the guards and tackles to pinch inside in pass protection and destroyed running lanes for Lynch and Co. Calais Campbell, Arizona's best defensive lineman, recorded a career-high four sacks, including three in the first half.

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