Report Card: Seahawks at Cardinals

Brian McIntyre grades the Seattle Seahawks after their 34-21 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, December 28, 2008.

Quarterback: B-

Immediately after the FOX announcers mentioned Seneca Wallace's accuracy, he threw behind Courtney Taylor on one play and then threw his first interception in 184 pass attempts on the next. Wallace was 28-for-43 for 250 yards with a pair of touchdowns and interceptions, and when given time, was very accurate with the football. His first touchdown pass to Deion Branch was a thing of beauty, and he used his athleticism to extend the play on his second touchdown pass to Branch.

Running Backs: C

Seattle did a fairly decent job running the ball in the 1st half, using Maurice Morris, T.J. Duckett, Julius Jones and Leonard Weaver to help control the clock. Seattle even used Morris, Duckett and Jones within the same drive, something they rarely did in the previous 15 games. The rushing attack went south in the 2nd half, gaining just 15 yards on 7 carries. The backs didn't have many lanes to run through, and when they did it was usually the result of a holding penalty, but between Morris' fumble and the 3.1 yards per carry average as a unit, it was an average performance from this group.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: B+

Deion Branch was phenomenal on Sunday, catching 6 passes for a team-high 90 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Bobby Engram had his steady 6 catches for 50 yards in what may have been his final game in a Seahawks uniform. Koren Robinson chipped in with three catches and 40 yards, but couldn't hang onto a sideline pass that was jarred loose by Cardinals' safety Adrian Wilson. Tight end John Carlson was rarely thrown to, which was disappointing particularly when Seattle had the ball in the red zone. Carlson needed one touchdown to set the franchise record for touchdowns in a single season by a tight end.

Offensive Line: D-

Playing with backups and practice squad guys prohibits me from issuing a failing grade. That said the offensive line did not play very well on Sunday. There were multiple false starts, holding calls and, of course, missed assignments. A week after being deservedly praised for how well they played against the New York Jets, going on the road against a team with an active front four was too much for this ragtag group to handle.

Defensive Line: C-

Arizona attempted 38 passes on Sunday and the Seahawks pass rush could only generate three hits on Kurt Warner and Matt Leinart. Darryl Tapp got the Seahawks only sack, and Rocky Bernard and Julian Peterson (the defensive end version) each batted down a Warner pass, but the lack of pressure allowed the Cardinals quarterbacks to pick apart the secondary. Seattle also struggled against the run, allowing a historically bad Cardinals running game to average nearly 6 yards per carry and, as a team, run for 40 yards above their per game average. Cardinals running back Edgerrin James, who had 80 yards rushing between October 12th and yesterday, ran for 100 yards.

Linebackers: C+

Middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu needed 7 tackles to reach 100 for a 4th straight season, but managed just one tackle on the afternoon. Tatupu did intercept Warner on the final play of the first half, giving him at least one interception in each of his four seasons in the league. Second-year linebacker Will Herring notched six tackles, and while he made a few assignment errors, he played fast and hard. Julian Peterson had 3 tackles, as well.

Secondary: D-

Just when people started feeling good about this team heading into next year, Seattle's secondary were the proverbial wet blanket on Sunday. Playing against a team whose passing game was in a "rut", and playing without one of their Pro Bowl receivers, the Seahawks allowed nearly 350 yards passing and four touchdowns to a pair of quarterbacks who combined for a passer rating of 116.8. No Seahawks cornerback was spared on Sunday. Marcus Trufant, who really did have a fine season, was 1-for-5 on deep balls against Larry Fitzgerald, lead the Cardinals with 5 catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns. Kelly Jennings struggled with Steve Breaston, while Josh Wilson was burned by former Seahawk Jerheme Urban for a second quarter touchdown. Safety Deon Grant dropped Seattle's best chance at an interception, which he could've possibly returned 100 yards for a touchdown.

Special Teams: C

Olindo Mare missed what appeared to be an easy 42-yard field goal, but had good depth on his kickoffs, putting 3-of-4 into the end zone, two of which were touchbacks. Punter Jon Ryan punted four times, with just two being returnable. His one punt inside the 20-yard line was returned for 21 yards. Josh Wilson and Justin Forsett combined to average 29.3 yards per kick return, with Wilson breaking returns of 36 and 37 yards.

Coaching: C

It would be hard to find fault with Mike Holmgren's play-calling on Sunday, particularly during a first half where Seattle controlled the clock for 20:27 and had drives of 69, 62 and 83 yards. Of course, one of those drives ended with a missed field goal and two of Seattle's other first-half drives ended with turnovers. After that first-half dominance, the Cardinals made some adjustments that the Seahawks didn't appear to have any answers for, and Seattle's offense struggled in the second 30 minutes. Their only scoring drive after the break for orange slices was aided by 35 yard in penalties against the Cardinals, including 15 yards on a play where Mo Morris appeared to facemask himself.

Defensively, the Seahawks were great early, but after the Cardinals made adjustments at halftime, the Seahawks were helpless to stop them. Aside from the final two plays and the end of the game, the Cardinals had five possessions in the second half and scored on four of them. Top Stories