Hits - Seahawks vs. Cardinals, 9/16/07
the Seahawks fumbled a Matt Hasselbeck-to-Shaun Alexander exchange with less
than two minutes left in the game, Arizona simply ran
the ball down Seattle's throats,
got in field goal range, and Neil Rackers' winning
field goal with mere seconds remaining left no time for the Seahawks to mount
in this week's "Quick Hits", we'll start with Seattle's esteemed coach.
- Holmgren Hears a "Huh???"
- From the very first drive, when he called running plays on first-and-20 and second-and-18, Mike Holmgren seemed outmatched. He wasn't helped by
the performance of his offense, but there seemed to be a disturbing tendency
on Holmgren's part to … well I won't say, "give up", but I will
wonder about certain strategic decisions.
Certainly, his refusal to give his offense more time as the
clock ran down seemed to be a statement to his offense - "I don't think
you can tie this thing up again". With that offense firing and misfiring
as it was, there was still the matter of Josh Brown on the sidelines. We'll
never know what this team could have done with an extra 30 seconds, and that's
- Branch's Arrival - Since my questions
about the value of Deion Branch's contract has generally been met by the
.NET faithful with the same sort of disdain one would expect to be saved
for puppy-kickers, you'll all be happy to know that I was impressed by Branch's
7-catch, 122-yard performance.
He was shut out early and dropped a crucial pass, but he eventually
got on track with Hasselbeck, and his ability to gain yards after the catch
was impressive. If this is what we can expect from Branch the rest of the
season, I'll gladly put forth an admission of "Muy
Incorrecto!" For now, I'll just say, "Good
- Line Stunts - Both Seattle lines had problems. One week after
harassing Tampa Bay's quarterbacks ceaselessly,
the Seahawks' defense was only able to sack Matt Leinart once, though pressure
was fairly consistent and Leinart did sail several throws as a result. The
offensive line was atrocious in the first half, as Alexander could only
gain 10 yards on eight carries, and Hasselbeck was frequently flushed from
In the second half, the run-blocking seemed to improve, especially
on Alexander's touchdown, when left guard Rob Sims pulled left and established
a perfect seal with Walter Jones taking the inside.
- Losing the Special Teams Game
- Though Nate Burleson got off a couple of good returns, Josh Wilson was
shut out on kickoffs, as Neil Rackers planted four touchbacks on five boots.
The Seahawks were wise enough to keep the ball away from returner Steve
Breaston, but it was Rackers who decided the game.
- Secondary Concern - Lofa Tatupu's
amazing interception aside, this simply isn't a ball-hawking defense. The
Seahawks have made their bed and they're intent on lying in it - the market
hadn't been there for shutdown corners, with the exception of Nate Clements
and his Gross National Product of France contract with the 49ers.
So, Tim Ruskell beefed up the pass rush as much as possible,
and gave Ed Reed money to Deon Grant, and hoped against all hope that the
liabilities in the defensive backfield would be mitigated by pressure from
the front four. When that happens, as it did against the Buccaneers, it’s
a feasible plan. But it's a tremendous amount of pressure to put on one part
of a defense as the expense of another. As such, it won't always work.
23-20 loss in the Valley of the Sun was an indicator of things that this team
must fix, not an aberration for a Super Bowl contender. Mike Holmgren must
set things right before next Sunday.