Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 9/10/12
Any Given Sunday…

Arizona 20, Seattle 16
When: 4:25 PM ET, Sunday, September 9, 2012
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Phoenix, Arizona
Temperature: Dome

Boxscore |  Recap 

What can you say about a game like today’s matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals besides, “Wow…?” The season got off to a very rough start for the Seahawks, who dropped a tough one after failing to score with several opportunities in the last minute of the game.

The 20-16 loss had some good and some bad elements to it.

While there was lots to hate about this game, I was able to find some bright spots as well.

Here’s what I loved and hated about today’s game.

Love ‘em Leon Washington

Leon Washington was almost the saving grace in this game. He gave the Seahawks the best chance possible to win, despite the outcome. His  return ability put Seattle in very good field position more than once in this game. While he didn’t return any for touchdowns, although he came VERY close twice, Washington had huge returns that put the Seahawks into Arizona territory.

Washington had 2 punt returns for 56 yards, but one of those was a big 52 yarder. He had 3 kick returns for 133 yards including an 83 yarder.

He had 189 total return yards in the game which is a stellar number no matter how you look at it.

Red Bryant

Red Bryant’s determination is evident and I hope the team catches on. Last year he was known as a run stopping specialist and he excelled at it. In the offseason, he vowed to lose some weight and step up his pass rush game as well. He accomplished both and it showed today.

Several times, Bryant used his excellent awareness and batted down multiple passes from Arizona QBs.

He shoved his offensive linemen counterparts into the backfield and while he didn’t register any sacks or anything near it, he kept pressuring in other ways that made the quarterbacks scramble the other direction.

Last season he blocked kicks, this season he’s knocking down passes.

Sidney Rice & Braylon Edwards

A healthy Sidney Rice is helpful to this team. As we saw last year, he was not much of a factor due to nagging injuries. This year, he is 100% and churns outs a big chunk of our receiving productivity, including a touchdown. His big play ability and big frame will help this Seahawks offense where they were sorely lacking last season.

I realize he had a couple crucial drops, too, but with as much time as he has basically been out of the game for the season and a half, he is going to make a couple mistakes here and there.

Once he finds his rhythm and develops even better chemistry with Russell Wilson, those drops will turn to completions

Braylon Edwards proved Pete Carroll right in bringing him in and keeping him. He led the team in receiving with 43 yards on 5 catches. His big frame and height will allow him to outmatch several defenders as he showed today.

While his totals from today weren’t big, impressive numbers, take a look at several Seahawks box scores from last season and check out the receiving section.

My point exactly.

It’s good to see Sidney Rice healthy again.

Hate ‘em Penalties/Aggressiveness

The Seahawks racked up 13 penalties for 90 yards. This is the Seahawks team of old that we are used to, not the team Pete Carroll has been trying to build. Being aggressive is one thing, but overdoing it and costing your teams yards, especially on big stops, is detrimental to the team.

And it happened quite a few times in this game.

The main offender, though, was Russell Okung. I realize he is back from a long absence due to injury, but to come up with as many false starts as he did is absolutely uncalled for. Carroll wanted the team to cut down on the penalties, not try and get more than last the game.

The team was very chippy and overly aggressive again, much like the preseason game I chided them about.

Those penalties hurt and will eventually cost the team wins.

They need to clean it up and be aggressive only when it will help the team, not hurt it.

Lack of pressure

While the Seahawks indirectly put pressure on both Skelton and Kolb, they did not put the direct pressure on him that the team lacked last year. The Seahawks made many changes in the offseason to add pass rushing to their repertoire, but they did not pay off in this game.

Chris Clemons did make quite a few good plays and ended up with 1 sack late in the game, but the Cardinals quarterbacks had more than enough time to make the plays they needed to make in order to win the game.

The team registered only 5 QB hits in the game and the sack by Clemons. If they want to be efficient at stopping the pass, that number needs to come up big time.

Pass protection

The offensive line started this season much like last season. While Russell Wilson wasn’t running for his life as much as Tarvaris Jackson was last year, Wilson didn’t get much time on most passing plays to make the big plays.

Wilson had to take it upon himself to get away from the pressure because his line could not do it for him.

This was a big problem last season and it seems to be one again this season. The offensive line needs to give Wilson more time in the pocket. If they look at how Wilson excelled in the preseason, it was because he had time to stand and deliver good, solid, accurate passes to his receivers.

It’s always hard to write after a loss, especially when you can’t find much good to say about your team after the game.

Remember, folks…it’s week 1. The Seahawks have 15 more game to go. They’re young, semi inexperienced and anxious.

The losses hurt, yes, but as long as they learn from the losses and make the adjustments necessary, this team will do very big things.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE SEAHAWKS BLOG PAGE IN OUR CLUBHOUSE SECTION AT NWSB!

© Brandon Choate for North West Sports Beat, 2012. | Permalink | No comment |

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Post tags: Braylon Edwards, Love Em Hate Em, NFL recap, Russell Okung, Russell Wilson, Seahawks, Seahawks Blog, Seahawks vs. Cardinals, seattle, Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Seahawks Blog, Sidney Rice

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