The Seattle Seahawks are back to the old formula, which means more than just defense and relying on Marshawn Lynch to carry Russell Wilson. Both aspects of their game are still there, but their quarterback is finding his groove again, once again looking like the best and most important player out there for them.
The Seahawks continued their impressive run this season, beating the Arizona Cardinals 34-22 in an impressive defensive display, sacking Carson Palmer 7 times and intercepting him twice, while allowing only 30 yards on the ground for the offensively struggling Cards, who were too slow on defense this time to make it more of a contest like they did against the 49ers, although they lost that divisional game as well.
Wilson threw three touchdown passes after not throwing one in two of the last three games. He was hot early and often, finding Sideny Rice and Zach Miller for the first two scores of the game, making it too difficult for Arizona to go chasing them. Marshawn Lynch added 91 yards on the ground, while Michael Bennett, with a sack and three quarterback hits, seemed to be the one enjoying more than anyone else the fact that the Cardinals have a terrible offensive line.
Wilson completed 71% of his passes for 15 yards or more downfield, including two touchdown passes. That was probably the best indicator of the difference between the previous games, as Wilson completed only 31% of passes to that distance over the last three games, throwing one touchdown and one interception. Carson Palmer has already thrown 8 interceptions this season on such throws, more than anyone in the NFL.
And as much as Wilson is the offensive story for the Seahawks in this game, Carson Palmer’s season and specific performance in this loss, as the offensive line failed once again to show a sign or protection, was just as crucial to the final outcome.
Palmer was sacked 7 times, six of them coming with four or fewer pass rushers going for the quarterback, their second-most in the last seven seasons. Palmer felt the heat coming on 27 of his dropbacks (finished with 30-of-45), tied for most in a game this season, coming on 50% of his dropbacks, compared to 24% entering the game. When Palmer is hurried this season, he’s completing only 45.4% of his passes, with no touchdowns and four interceptions.
The interceptions are becoming more and more of an alarming matter, with Palmer reaching 13 this season. He has now thrown at least two interceptions for five straight games, something that hasn’t happened since Vinny Testaverde threw so much through five consecutive games in 2000.
Most of the blame, after the game, came directed at left tackle Bradley Sowell, who didn’t seem to be hiding from the attention or the criticism after the game.
I don’t know if they’re figuring me out or whatever, but you get into third-and-long all game, you get into the 2-minute drill in the middle of the third quarter, and it’s one-on-one battle. They don’t honor the run, it’s one-on-one battles. We’re passing every play, I’ve just got to buckle down and do a little bit better job.