What we learned: Seahawks 13, Cardinals 10
Posted by Danny O'Neil
Three things we learned
- Looks like Seattle finally bought a top-shelf receiver in free agency.
Sidney Rice was every bit the instant offensive improvement the Seahawks hoped for when they signed him to a five-year, $41 million contract in July. He caught eight of the 18 passes Tarvaris Jackson completed, and he was responsible for more than half of Seattle's receiving yards.
- Golden Tate is coming around.
That isn't necessarily evident on the stat sheet considering he had only two catches, but to watch him in practice the past two weeks is to see a player gaining confidence and getting a swagger back. That was evident on Sunday because neither of those grabs was easy. But with Doug Baldwin's play, Rice's return and Tate's emergence, Seattle is getting more weapons.
- Kam Chancellor wields more than just a hammer.
His ball skills and ability to read the offense helped decide Sunday's game as he anticipated Kevin Kolb's pass to tight end Todd Heap, stepped in front and picked off the pass that preserved Seattle's victory. Chancellor is a safety who's as big as a linebacker, and he's a huge hitter, but he's more well-rounded than people think. Paired with Earl Thomas, the Seahawks have one of the league's top young safety tandems.
Three things we already knew
- Leroy Hill is a power hitter.
There has been so much uncertainty over Hill's future the past two years that those questions have overshadowed the fact he is an incredibly athletic linebacker who is a big hitter. He led Seattle with 11 tackles on Sunday, had a sack and punctuated the game by forcing a fumble on the final play with a violent collision with receiver Andre Roberts.
- Seattle's defense has staying power.
The most impressive thing about the Seahawks defense so far this season is that it has stiffened in the second half instead of withering. Seattle didn't allow a point in the second half against Arizona, the fourth time in the past 30 regular-season games the Seahawks shut out an opponent for the entire half. Seattle's defense has given up 43 points in the first half this season, and only 10 in the second half.
- Tarvaris Jackson isn't exactly comfortable with Mike Williams.
Jackson didn't throw a pass toward Williams in the first half of either of Seattle's first two games, and while Williams was the intended receiver on Jackson's second pass of Sunday's game against Arizona, that was the only time Jackson threw to him. Williams led Seattle with 65 receptions a year ago, but he has five catches so far this season.
Three things we're still trying to figure out
- How could anyone in Minnesota wonder about Tarvaris Jackson's toughness?
It's surprising this was ever question, but some in Minnesota questioned whether he was injury prone. Well, you can forget that noise. Not only has he survived being sacked 14 times in the fist 10 quarters of the season, but with about 6 minutes left in the third quarter, he scrambled his way to an 11-yard touchdown, diving into a pair of defenders in the end zone. Even if you're one of those who thinks Jackson has 99 problems, staying in a game isn't one.
- Will the no-huddle offense be a formula for Seattle's future?
The Seahawks stepped on the accelerator in the third quarter, eschewing a huddle for a good part of the 14-play touchdown drive. It was Seattle's longest touchdown drive of the season, and only the second time in three games the Seahawks sustained a drive for more than 10 plays. Could it be a sign of things to come?
- Whether that was in fact a bona fide NFL-caliber rushing attack?
It looked like one, but it's hard to tell given how long it has been since Seattle fielded a professional grade ground game. Seattle had two runs of 20-plus yards and finished with 122 yards rushing, a total that is above average in the NFL. Marshawn Lynch finished with 73 yards, and while that's not exactly an eye-popping number, it was his fourth-best rushing total in 15 regular-season starts for Seattle.
Dec 24 - 6:10 AM Looking back: Revisiting Sunday's scouting report
Dec 24 - 1:09 AM Seahawks' scoring binge
Dec 24 - 1:01 AM Video: Summing Seattle's victory
Dec 24 - 12:58 AM Video: Russell Wilson post-game comments
Dec 24 - 12:21 AM Rookie passing roll call