SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 25: Strong safety Kam Chancellor #31 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates as he leaves the field after defeating the Arizona Cardinals 13-10 at CenturyLink Field on September 25, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
The game as a whole could probably be chalked up under the 'Ugly' section but there are some good things to talk about after this win. Let's start with those.
The defensive secondary. Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor continue to play well and improve, and both ET and Bam Bam had interceptions in this game (though Earl's was called back). Also recording an interception and just playing an all-around solid game was the wily vet Marcus Trufant. He did a great job in the second half to take Larry Fitzgerald largely out of the game, and that's no small feat. His interception came at a very opportune time and as I've said before -- teams that win in the NFL do so on big-time plays by big-time players. That was a big-time play by Troof.
On the other side, Brandon Browner had a much-improved game. He and Trufant did a decent to solid job matched up against Fitzgerald, but also held the Cardinals other receivers in check. The Cardinals' longest receptions came to Larry Fitz and Todd Heap for 28 yards each -- the Fitz catch on the sideline was an absolute dime by Kolb to the soft spot in the cover-2. So, perfect throw to the NFL's best receiver to the weak spot in the defense - Chancellor hadn't come over in time to help and Browner was trailing in good position. Sometimes plays like that happen. I'm over it.
The Heap catch a breakdown at some point, a busted coverage. Take those two plays away and you're looking at some very encouraging numbers from the secondary. The next longest reception was a 16-yarder to Andre Roberts and from there on you're looking at dink and dump by the Cards offense. For a team that gave up a near league worst number of passes over 20 yards last season, it's reason to be happy. Hopefully the calls for Browner's head can rest for a week or two.
One of the intangible "goods" I also took from this game was Kam Chancellor laying out Todd Heap after that 'called-back' interception by Earl Thomas. We've seen Kam hold up on a few kill shots thus far, and this type of hesitation can be quite detrimental as a safety. It's good to see him put those hesitations behind him and just light a dude up. From what I can tell, and I know I'm biased, but his block looked legal to me.
Heap needed to have his head on a swivel and Kam hit him right in the chest for a legal block. I dunno -- either way, it sure got under the skin of the Cardinals for some reason and this type of anger and passion on both sides is really making this Cardinals-Seahawks rivalry more compelling.
The front four held up well against the run again but I was more excited about the pressure they were able to bring. Chris Clemons played out of his mind on Sunday, 7 combined tackles, 3 tackles for a loss, 1 sack, 1 quarterback hit, and one pass batted down. I know it was a home game, but if he can keep any consistency in that type of play, the Seahawks defense will be in good shape.
The linebackers played solidly but didn't stand out particularly. I thought Leroy Hill had a solid game. The K.J. Wright Aaron Curry thing was overblown. Both played a lot. Neither played better than the other, upon first glance.
The run game finally had some effectiveness. 4.1 yards per carry isn't all-world by any means, but it's an improvement. You can say what you want about Marshawn Lynch's running style, but he got a bulk of the carries and looked solid, not spectacular. Leon Washington got three carries and ran for 29 yards, which should tell you one thing. (He needs to get more carries). Washington is becoming the Seahawks version of Jamaal Charles -- a talented and explosive running back that inexplicably gets far too few touches.
Sidney Rice looks pretty awesome. Hopefully that shoulder/hip can hold up and he can build on this first game.
My final good? 8 out of 9 Jon Ryan punts.
That ninth punt. As Davis put it in a tweet last night, Ryan's growing legend took a hit with that nine-yard net shank, especially considering the time and game-situation. I'm a forgiving person, and still love the guy -- the rest of his punts averaged 49+ yards and he placed them behind the 20 on three of those punts, including one downed at the four yard line, one caught and returned 9 yards from the five yard line, and one caught and returned 12 yards from the eight yard line.
Zach Miller and Anthony McCoy were nearly invisible in this game, save for a great fumble recovery by McCoy on a bad snap to Tarvaris Jackson that could have made a huge difference in the game. The non-factor the Seahawks' tight ends have been in the passing game is a little disconcerting up to this point and is something that I hope improves as the line improves.
Along those lines, another 'bad' is the complete disappearance of Mike Williams. We all knew that Williams' targets and catches would decrease with Jackson at the helm but ONE target for no catches yesterday? At some point you're going to have to just start force feeding him the football.
The quarterback situation. I think, if I were being honest, I'd describe the Seahawks' quarterback situation as 'annoying.' First -- Tarvaris Jackson looked better in this game than the first two and he displayed the toughness that has allegedly won over the respect of his teammates. He stayed in there, displayed some mental toughness as well and kept relatively calm despite a large part of the game for the fans dedicated to "Charlie" chants. Mixing boos and Charlie chants to your home quarterback is annoying to me.
It's also annoying that we don't know if Charlie Whitehurst could do better. It's annoying that it wasn't an open competition to start the year. It's annoying that Matt Hasselbeck is enjoying the best start to a year in his career over in Tennessee. It's infuriatingly annoying hearing the broadcast announcers tell us how spoiled we were having Matt Hasselbeck as our quarterback these past few years. Having one of the statistically worst quarterbacks in the NFL over the past three seasons was getting 'spoiled' when compared to what we're seeing now. Sigh.
It's annoying that Tarvaris Jackson couldn't shut up those booing fans and terrible announcers yesterday. It's annoying that he completed just over 56% of his passes for no throwing touchdowns and what should have been three picks to the worst pass defense in the NFL - (the Cardinals' defense only caught one of them). It's annoying that he never targets Mike Williams. It's annoying that we have to think about the "Suck for Luck" campaign. It's annoying that I like Jackson as a person so much after watching his post-game press conference, that now I'm pulling for him to really shut up his detractors (me included). Dammit, why do you have to be so humble and likeable!!?? Why can't you be an unlikeable stooge like say, Jay Cutler for instance?
All this is football, of course, but it's really annoying. I guess I should get used to it though, because the quarterback discussion isn't going anywhere.