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Seahawks shut down Cardinals, rally for first win of season

Posted By Erik Olsoy On Sep 26 2011 @ 3:10 am In Seattle Seahawks | No Comments

Despite spotting the Arizona Cardinals an early 10-3 lead, the Seahawks defense stifled the Cardinals the rest of the way, and Seattle fought back for a 13-10 win.  The Cardinals were just 3 for 14 on third downs in the game, and could manage just 3.2 yards per rush against the stingy Seattle defense.

Things started off well for the Seahawks as they took the lead through a Steven Hauschka field goal near the end of the first quarter.  However, the Cardinals responded with a field goal of their own to tie the score.  After quickly forcing Seattle to punt, the Cardinals then took the lead on an improbable pass from Kevin Kolb to Larry Fitzgerald.  Kolb, facing heavy pressure, spun around in the pocket and began backpedalling while throwing the ball almost thirty yards to Fitzgerald, who out-leaped the two Seahawk defenders who were double-covering him.  It simply was a case of an elite receiver making a big play.

Late in the second quarter, the Seahawks managed to pin the Cardinals deep in their own territory and forced them to punt.  After one first down, the Seahawk drive stalled, but Steven Hauschka connected on a 52 yard field goal to cut the Cardinal lead to 10-6 at the half.  Tarvaris Jackson had an interception in the game, but it came on the last play of the first half on a Hail Mary pass into the end zone.  Jackson has done a nice job of limiting turnovers this season, and has allowed the stellar (so far) Seahawk defense to keep the team in games and win the field position battle.

Seattle took the lead the first time they had possession of the ball in the second half, fighting their way down the field on a 14 play, 77 yard drive that lasted for 6 minutes.  Jackson converted a crucial 3rd down and 15 play on a pass to rookie receiver Doug Baldwin who continues to impress this year with his good play.  Jackson scored the touchdown as well, eluding several defenders on an 11-yard run that finished with Jackson taking a violent hit as he barreled into the end zone.  Click here to watch Jackson’s game-winning touchdown run. [1]  Jackson also was the recipient of 12 hits that the Cardinals landed on him while he was passing, including 4 more sacks.  Though his toughness has undoubtedly won him the respect of his teammates, coaches, and more and more fans, I worry that he is needing to rely on it too much.  It’s not necessarily a good sign that the first adjective you can think of to describe your quarterback is “tough.”  That’s not a word I associate with Tom Brady or Peyton Manning.  I just hope his protection improves before he gets injured.

The rest of the game was a defensive struggle, as neither team managed to score again.  The Seahawks defense made some of its biggest plays of the season, sacking Kevin Kolb three times, and intercepting two of his passes.  They have improved vastly from last season, and look like an upper-echelon run defense with better and better pass defense.  As the young unit plays more together, they should only get better.

[2]

Chris Clemons records one of three Seattle sacks against the Cardinals.

One more thing to take out of the Seahawks’ win:  newly-acquired receiver Sidney Rice, playing in his first game for Seattle, had 8 catches for 109 of the team’s 171 receiving yards.  He’s a big-time player that should dramatically bolster the Seattle’s passing game.  Whether he’s catching passes, scoring touchdowns, or drawing double or triple coverage (which would open up more space for Seattle’s other players), Rice’s presence on the field will mean more points for the Seahawks.

Though the game wasn’t pretty, there wasn’t a ton of offense, and the Seahawks failed to fix many of their reoccurring blocking problems, they found a way to get their first win of the season.  It was nearly a must-win game, and the Seahawks have now put themselves in back in the middle of the race for the division championship.

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[1] Click here to watch Jackson’s game-winning touchdown run.: http://www.seahawks.com/videos-photos/videos/Jackson-evades-the-Cards-for-a-TD/21057ecd-b9a8-49ac-bed8-4fa24c7677d9

[2] Image: http://www.prosportsblogging.com/psb/uploads/2011/09/kolbsack.jpg

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