Play Of The Day: 4th and 1 from the Arizona 16, trailing by 10 late in the second quarter, Mike Holmgren chooses not to kick the easy FG and calls an off-tackle left to Shaun Alexander who promptly dashes 16 yards to paydirt. I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't hollering at the television screen "Take the points!", but Holmgren evidently reads Gregg Easterbrook's excellent Tuesday Morning QB articles, including this one (http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=easterbrook/060926 ) from last year in which Easterbrook makes a quite convincing case that teams are way too timid on 4th and short.
WR Deion Branch nabbed 7 passes for 122 yards, but it was his effort on two
incompletions that elevated him to "player of the game" status. On second
and four from the
Lofa Tatupu played another stellar game anchoring the center of the
Things That Made Me Go "Blech": Obviously, the botched exchange between Hasselbeck and Alexander, that cost the Seahawks a shot at the go-ahead score late in the 4th, is the largest "Blech" of the game. For whatever reason, the Seahawks' two star players weren't on the same page and looked like a Pop Warner team in practice while attempting a handoff with under two minutes left on the clock. These things happen, but when the two players involved are paid millions and they botch the simplest of plays with the game on the line, they've earned their way into the goat column for the game.
offensive line's total inability to move the
Mike Holmgren's clock management at the end of the game. When you don't have the ball, and the clock is ticking, you need to stop it. Maybe it wouldn't have made any difference, but I'm thinking the defensive line could have used a little breather in between some of the final four runs that put the Cardinals into field goal range. Certainly, you'd like to give the ball back to Matt Hasselbeck and give him a chance to redeem himself, even if just for one heave-ho down the field.
Offense: For the second straight game, the Seahawks offense has stumbled out of the blocks but recovered midway through the second quarter to make a game of it. Matt Hasselbeck was given good time in the pocket all game and he managed to avoid throwing any interceptions, although we must credit WR Deion Branch for breaking up two potential picks with some outstanding defensive maneuvers for a wideout. Hasselbeck finished the game 22 for 36 for 281 yards and a score.
Branch, for this part, overcame an early drop to post an impressive 7 catches for 122 yards with several key catches on the scoring drives, not the least of which was a one handed nab on the sidelines on 2nd and 4 midway through the 4th quarter that was not only highlight material but kept the chains moving on a drive that would give the Seahawks the only lead they'd have in the game..
Shaun Alexander was tentative in the first half, not hitting the hole with much pop and falling down on his only pass reception of the game, but he rebounded nicely after reeling off a 16 yard touchdown scamper late in the first half to finish the game with 18 rushes for 70 yards and score. Leonard Weaver did spot duty on 3rd down and generally made a good showing in his limited time.
The offensive line did a respectable job in pass coverage, giving Hasselbeck a lot of time in the pocket, too much time perhaps, as the only sack surrendered was a direct result of Hasselbeck holding the ball for way too long. On the other hand, the interior of the line seemed unable to move the Cardinal tackles out of the way on interior runs during the first half, and were only marginally better in the second half.
Defense: For the second straight game, the
Daryl Tapp had another solid game, getting into Matt Leinart's grill on several occasions. Brandon Mebane and the rest of the defensive tackles started out strong but couldn't keep RB Edgerrin James in check at the end of the game when it mattered most.
Marcus Trufant played a solid game in coverage and punished the
Special Teams: Thanks to the hefty foot of Cardinals kicker Neil Rackers, the Seattle return game was totally non-existent on kickoffs, and Nate Burleson made each of his two short returns exciting but with, ultimately, pedestrian results. Josh Brown boomed most his kickoffs into the end zone and hit on all of his field goal and extra point attempts and Ryan Plackemeier once again delivered with accurate short kicks and booming long kicks … there's just the small matter of the blocked punt in the first quarter that led to the Cardinals first points of the game..
Additional Notes: One can only wonder the aforementioned TMQB article will make of Holmgren going for it on 4th and 1 trailing by 10 getting a touchdown, and then, later in the same game, opting for the FG on 4th and 1 in a tie game, getting the three, and then, ultimately, losing by 3.
Burleson fielded the first
The Golden Microphone Award: Kudos to the announcers, Terry Donohue
and Chris Rose, for not making the horrendous mistakes that Baldinger
Summary: The Seahawks let one slip away on
one bonehead play by two All-Pros late in the game. Don't get me wrong, I
want Hasselbeck and Alexander in the backfield in the same situation 100 out
of the next 100 times it occurs, but that doesn't undo the loss. One hopes
that this will serve as motivation for both players to sweat the small stuff
in practice this week and return ready to rumble against the Bengals next
Sunday at Qwest Field. If this team winds up 9-7 and in second place in the
division this December, this is one we will all look back on and wonder what
might have been.
Dylan Johnson is a die-hard Seahawks fan trapped in Eagles Country, who firmly believes that "Live At Leeds" is the single greatest live performance since a deaf Ludwig Van debuted his final symphony in