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Seahawks 36 - Cardinals 18

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Good to see the Seahawks punch their own weight. Much more enjoyable.

Not to discount the outcome or the rest of the game, but my enjoyment peaked watching Matt Hasselbeck step up and through a collapsing pocket, reset and find Deon Butler clearing triple coverage on a deep cross 40 yards down field. Butler then looped back and around Paris Lennon and Kerry Rhodes and outran Adrian Wilson for a touchdown. That's good football. That plays anywhere.

Hasselbeck was automatic through the first half. Not every pass was a heaven-sent spiral, but he made his reads and delivered and delivered down field. Good to see him succeed. Good to see him return in the second half. It doesn't decide anything or prove anything but fixating on the future cheapens fun. This was fun. This was fun football and no one had a better day than Matt Hasselbeck. I hope he keeps it up. It could mean the world.

Seattle beat a bad team on the road. That is the long and short of it. This wasn't a for sure outcome by any stretch. The Seahawks fell behind early. The Seahawks defense didn't do a particularly fantastic job of putting it away late. But while this win doesn't change Seattle's league-wide status, it does feel good.

For a day, we can be pretty happy that the Seahawks are probably better than Arizona, Carolina and Buffalo. The Seahawks are a step above the worst. That wasn't true last season and it wasn't true in Mike Holmgren's final season. It was barely true in 2006, and that depends on your definition.

It's nice to hand out real game balls again, and not ceremonial game balls.

Matt Hasselbeck

Jeremy Bates decided the Cardinals could be attacked deep, and Seattle did. But plan and execution are unequal partners. Plan is the territory of dime story geniuses. Execution is everything. Hasselbeck worked Bates plan to near perfection. He kept his cool under pressure and fired down field, and fired down field accurately. It wasn't fireworks. But it did win the game.

Chris Clemons

Aaron Curry had a couple nice plays. He should be lauded. Hopefullly, a day like today is just a stepping stone towards Curry reaching his potential. He deserves recognition, but Clemons deserves the game ball.

His speed around the edge is upper-tier. Whoever saw that tool, saw that it was underutilized in Philadelphia -- where Clemons often stood in a "joker" position and played quite a bit off of strong side -- deserves praise. Clemons is a decent linebacker-like run stopper, but the edge rush is his defining quality. As a Leo end he's really been a find.

When this season started and even after a few games and a few big showings from Clemons, we considered him a placeholder, but though Seattle needs to add to its Leo position, needs young talent, a future, Clemons should be re-signed. He has had his best year of his career. Clemons is not putting up empty numbers or accomplishing pressure through exotic packages or terrifically blown blocks. He is playing a quality right defensive end. Free agents are paid mega millions to fill that need.

The NFL is not the league of parity, however much the NFL loves to enforce that idea. It has tiers. Seattle was not a fundamentally different team this week than last. It just faced a much different quality of opponent. Last week didn't doom this team. This week does not influence how it will play next week. Nothing definitive happened today.

Strike that. The Seahawks won. The Seahawks reclaimed first place in the division. The Seahawks won, definitively.