The Seahawks have become a real wild card of a team, equally capable of laying an egg or dominating a game. There was a good chance that the NFC West could be put into some kind of order in this week’s games, but if anything the division just became more muddied.
Arizona have some major issues on both sides of the ball, and they just couldn’t match the pace the Seahawks began to put points on the board in this game.
Seattle now moves a game clear at the top of the NFC West, but not one of the teams in the division has scored more points this season than it’s allowed.
Seahawks: Three performances of note
It would be wrong not to start with the performance of “Big” Mike Williams (+5.0). BMW looked like the player from USC, not the bust at Detroit. Williams was a nightmare to cover for the Arizona defensive backs (who aren’t small themselves). He was thrown at 16 times, hauling in 11 of them for 145 yards, including one of the most ridiculous catches you’ll ever see on a play across the middle. Williams, with a defender draped all over him, was able to pluck the ball out of the air with one hand and maintain control of it as he went to ground.
Defensive End Chris Clemons (+6.4) maintained his excellent season, terrorizing the Arizona O-line all day to the tune of a pair of sacks and six more pressures. He also batted a pass and proved to be a tough player to contain because of his speed around the edge and between players in the run game. Clemons really is one of the remarkable stories of the 2010 season.
It wasn’t all rosey for the Seahawks, though, and Olindo Mare put in the kind of performance that makes personnel people grind their teeth. Mare had a fine day kicking off, averaging 65.2 yards on his kicks with a pair of touchbacks, but he also cracked the upright with a 29-yard field goal that you expect your kicker to make at this level.
Cardinals: Three performances of note
Bad, Bad Levi Brown, the baddest man in the whole damn town. Levi managed a -6.1 PFF grade for this game and surrendered a pair of sacks, and six further pressures (the mirror of Clemons’ stats — all of these went to him), as he spectacularly failed to contain the speed of Clemons. Brown isn’t a bad run-blocker, but the Cardinals need to address his pass-protection problems. He’s being paid a lot of money, and at the moment he’s a major liability.
Joey Porter rushed the passer 33 times and never registered a single pressure. That’s bad, but he made matters worse by being handled in the run game, and as often as not by tight ends rather than O-linemen. Porter’s -4.8 PFF grade represented a very bad day at the office, and it was nearly evenly split (-2.3 vs the run and -2.7 rushing the passer).
Porter may have gone AWOL, but there are some signs of life from the Cardinals’ pass rush — from the D-line in particular. Calais Campbell (+3.0) and Alan Branch combined for five pressures and a sack, and were both able to penetrate against the run.
The Seahawks’ rookie platoon was decimated by injury entering this game. Earl Thomas (+0.4), however, was ever-present on D, in on every one of its 70 snaps. … Fellow safety Kam Chancellor (+0.0) was in for 16 snaps as a sub-package defensive back. … Dexter Davis (+0.6) was in for just five snaps, but did register a pressure.
For the Cardinals, NT Dan Williams (+0.1) was in for 35 snaps and had a mixed day, registering three stops but also being moved around on occasion. … Linebacker Daryl Washington saw only five snaps of action, and Andre Roberts was only targeted once during the game, dropping a ball fired at him that he saw late.
Dan Williams was two-thirds of the way towards a goal-line stand all by himself at one point in the game. Twice he knifed through the Seattle offensive line to stop Marshawn Lynch for no gain, before another Arizona defender got the stop on third down.