Poor Steven Hauschka. He must feel like the one guy who goes 0 for 3 with three strikeouts in a game where his team bats around multiple times and scores 12 runs. Hausch-money had his worst game as a Seahawk, missing three non-chip-shot field goals of 52, 50, and 47 yards. The snap/hold combination looked good on all of them. Although most Seahawks fans are rightfully chalking it up to a bad night, it's worth noting that kickers generate most of their value on kickoffs. By that standard, Hauschka had a pretty good night overall. The coverage units kept Ted Ginn, Jr. from generating much field position. Other than that, and the penalties, there's not much to really get worked up about.
On the other side of the ledger, so many players made substantial contributions. At this point I think it's obvious that Russell Wilson was out there playing with a modified controller, and frankly I don't think it's right. Neither does Alex Okafor.
Robert Turbin and Christine Michael were fantastic, only to be upstaged by Beastquake 2. Add to that, the receiving corps was probably the best it's been all year from top to bottom in all phases. Paul Richardson had his coming out game, so to speak, only to be upstaged by the letter L. Then there was Doug Baldwin ruthlessly robbing Antonio Cromartie of his ankles. Come on Doug. He needs those. He's got mouths to feed. Tis the season?
With so many great offensive performances--I'm not even going to talk about the defense doing what it needed to do against a near fatally wounded opponent--it's hard to single one out. But, under the circumstances the guy who impressed me most Sunday night was center Patrick Lewis.
I don't know all the nuances of Seattle's offensive line calls, but I devote a fair amount of attention to line play. And I'll be doggoned if Lewis didn't appear to play a damn near flawless game. I just re-watched the game, and it's possible he missed a read somewhere but on the basic stuff--snap quality, effective double teams, anchoring in the middle on pass pro, and getting to the second level--I saw no glaring mistakes as well as some excellent play.
The Cardinals did what they do, but with rare exceptions was Wilson truly pressed. It appeared that Todd Bowles favored bringing pressure off the edges, and didn't look to ever really target Lewis. For his part he locked down the middle wherever it was threatened, and the offensive interior looked far better than what we saw versus the Cardinals in Seattle a few weeks back.
I was excited about the Lewis signing at the time it was made. I saw a decent number of Lewis' Texas A&M games and felt like he was the one fairly underrated player on that star-studded offensive line. A&M would pull him on some plays and move the pocket. He had some difficult blocks to make, yet I don't recall seeing snap problems.
Sunday night, despite not being officially named starter until late in the week, Lewis never looked out of place. He took up residence in front of Russell Wilson and the neighborhood got very quiet and calm. One cannot take the snap for granted with the backup center, and I don't recall seeing Wilson reach awkwardly for a snap even once. Every snap looked right on target, between the numbers and facemask.
I didn't hear a peep from Dan Williams, a very good NT, as Seattle rushed for 7.9 yards per attempt and passed for 10. Lewis' double-teams with Carpenter looked textbook, and he was active at the second level. Go back and watch Lynch's first touchdown (the 6 yard run).
Sweezy's block was great bordering on astounding considering it was goal line. Sweezy drove the lineman nearly to the end zone so that even when he contacted Lynch he had no power to finish. He was just kind of standing there and Lynch basically barrels him into the end zone. How many 6 yard goal line runs in the A or B gaps do you see where only one defender has a legit chance to make the play? That happened here, and it happened because Britt (playside) and Lewis (backside) cut off pursuit so that no other Cardinals could get in on the play.
So, here's to you Patrick Lewis. On a night of offensive performances that ranged from the extremely encouraging (e.g., Luke Willson, Richardson) to the sublime (Lynch's Beastquake 2) and the ridiculous (Baldwin's ankle snatching, Wilson's TD run), you get the game ball precisely because I never once noticed you or any of Arizona's interior defenders. You helped Russell Wilson, an East Coast kid, experience the wonders of the Big Sky (a view of the horizon unobscured by a natural tree line).