I just want to again say thank you to a couple of people for hooking me up with tickets to the Cardinals v Seahawks game before I get into my recap.
Thanks to@AZBirdgangMC for getting me in touch with @wildcard44 who was good enough to get me two lower level seats for the game.
I had a blast and was able to take my dad with me, so it made it even more enjoyable as I was able to repay him for the 3 LOOOOOOOONG seasons of bad Cardinals football he took me to growing up.
Anyway, the game was enjoyable for a couple of reasons, outside of the obvious, the Cardinals win, but it doesn’t give you much in the way of real time evaluations.
It is hard to gather much information from the game when watching in real time without the aid of replay, slo mo, and the ability to go to the bathroom or grab a beer and pause the game, but I went back and watched the replay, so here is my Arizona Cardinals v Seattle Seahawks Rewind.
As I said before, I went to two years of awful football at Sun Devil Stadium and one year of playoff caliber football in the same facility.
I have been to at least one game a season in the new stadium, but tonights game was the loudest regular season game I can remember.
The crowd was involved, engaged, and alive on throughout the game, but especially in the fourth quarter.
For the game though, the good was simply the defense for the Cardinals and Seahawks.
The Cardinals defense was not just stout, giving up only 254 total yards on 70 plays run by the Seahawks, for an average of 3.6 yards per play, but they were able to control the Seahawks offense to the point where they could only muster up scoring drives of 33 yards, 24 yards, 5 yards, and -5 yards.
The Cardinals were able to withstand an onslaught of Marshawn Lynch carries, after supposedly being close to a no go, he had 21 carries, but was only able to gain 85 yards on those carries.
More importantly than that though is the Cardinals were constantly harassing rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, causing the rookie to only connect on 53% of his passes for a paltry 4.5 yards per attempt.
Not only that, but they were able to sack Wilson 3 times, knock him down multiple other times, and just not let him get comfortable in the pocket the entire game.
On the Seahawks side of things, well their defense was even better at times, as they were able to completely shut down the Cardinals running game, as the Cardinals only were able to muster up 43 yards on 20 attempts, an appallingly bad 2.2 yards per carry.
The other good thing for the Seahawks was simply their return game. Again the Seahawks offense wasn’t clicking in their first game, but the return game and defense set up the offense, and it worked out perfectly.
Leon Washington had a kick return for 83 yards and a punt return of 52 yards, and was mostly electric on the day.
I’ll never understand the idea of kicking to these dynamic return men like Leon Washington. It is better to kick it out of bounds for only 30-35 yards.
The Seahawks and the Cardinals passing offense.
I know a lot of people want to tout what Skelton did in the first half, unfortunately for those fans there are two halves to the game and he played in the third quarter, and his third quarter performance was bad enough to do away with his simply above average first half that saw him go 11/17 for 124 yards and a 86.4 QB rating.
In the second half Skelton went 3/11 for 25 yards , threw 1 INT and had a fantastic QB rating of 1.7 before going out with an injury. As much as I called for Kolb to be the starter, I NEVER wanted him to get the starting gig this way, and hope that Skelton comes back strong and healthy.
For the Seahawks, Russell Wilson was mostly the opposite, going 6/11 for 59 yards and an INT with a 32 QB rating in the first half and 12/23 for 94 yards and 1 TD with a 77.1 QB rating in the second half.
You can call it strong defense, and both teams will end up in the top half of defenses in the league at the end of the year barring injury, but the overall QB play ranged from overwhelmed, to ineffective, to down right awful, with glimmers of good in the mess.
It wasn’t a pretty game to watch, nor was it necessarily a good game to watch, but a bad game in the NFL is still better than a good game in most sports.
The Seattle pass blocking and Cardinals run blocking were ugly as I have alluded too, but they weren’t the only thing.
First though, I’ve been over the stats, but the thing that stood out the most at the game, and again when I watched the tape back, was how bad each unit was in one aspect of the offensive game.
The Seahawks were driving the Cardinals defensive line back a solid yard or two consistently creating some very small running lanes for Lynch that closed quickly, but still opened up for a time.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals longest running play on the day was a 15 yard end around by WR Andre Roberts.
In fact, those 15 rushing yards were good enough to give Roberts the team lead in game one.
For the Seahawks, young Wilson was left dizzied at times with the varied blitzing schemes of the Cardinals, but his offensive line looked even more perplexed, leading to Wilson running for his life for much of the game.
It is amazing that the same units can be good at one aspect, and lack so much in another, but that’s what happened in this game.
No, the ugliest thing for these two teams was the impact, or should I say lack there of, of any draft picks outside of Russell Wilson and Bobby Massie.
Wilson was adequate, about what you would expect from a rookie in his first live action in a real game, and Massie actually stood up well for himself in pass protection.
Meanwhile first round picks Michael Floyd and Bruce Irvin were non factors in their limited snaps they saw. Jamell Fleming left the game with an apparent shoulder injury and never made it back on the field.
Meanwhile Bobby Wagner and JR Sweezy seemed to be, well rookies that hadn’t played in a NFL game before.
Sweezy was victimized multiple times on blitzes and when trying to match up with Dan Williams and Darnell Dockett.
Meanwhile Wagner was of little impact in the middle of the Seahawks physical, attacking defense.
For the Cardinals, well Floyd has been a slight disappointment, especially in his inability to breakthrough in the lineup as more than just the fourth WR on the depth chart.
Kevin Kolb coming in and lighting up the very good Seattle secondary.
Kolb was effective, played within himself, and looked calm in the pocket and delivering passes on the Cardinals game winning drive.
The key was simply that he was utilized in a way that suits him, and really this team the way they are structured, the best, in a quick hitting, up tempo offense that allowed him to see the entire field and make quick decisions as not have to think.
It was not the best of games, it definitely wasn’t the worst of games, hi there Cleveland and Philadelphia, but it was a bad game to watch.
I am just thankful the team I was cheering for pulled it out in the end.
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