Seahawks vs. Cardinals: Final Grades and Analysis

Thomas HolmesCorrespondent IIISeptember 9, 2012

Seahawks vs. Cardinals: Final Grades and Analysis

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    The Seattle Seahawks first game of the season was an up and down affair, but one that kept us watching until the very end...before smashing our hearts into a million pieces.    

    Unfortunately the 'Hawks 20-16 loss at Arizona drops them to 0-1 on the season and with the upcoming schedule, this was not a game the 'Hawks could afford to lose...

    Let's take a look at the 'Hawks final postgame grades and evaluations.

Quarterback: C

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    Overall Game Grade - C

    Depending on your perspective this is either too high or too low, but when push came to shove Wilson finally looked a bit like the guy that we all fell in love with over the course of the preseason.  If someone, anyone had managed to catch the game winning touchdown on the final drive this could be a very different story. 

    For a rookie in his first game on the road, it was the kind of performance that left you wanting more in the sense of creating excitement, but at the same time falling short on delivering tangible results. 

    Can Wilson rebound next week against the Cowboys?  I think everyone will be waiting anxiously to find out for the team's home opener. 

    Q4 - B

    It all came down to the final drive.  What I liked about it was that Wilson needed to play for the win instead of the tie and rose to the occasion...until we needed to actually get in the endzone. 

    Q3 - C

    Heads up play by Wilson to chase on Lynch's fumble, but the backwards pass was brutal.

    Meanwhile the pass block by Calais Campbell was painful to watch, but the touchdown to Sidney Rice on the next play was clutch.

    Finally...he needs to watch the clock?!?

    Q2 - D+

    Wilson looked like a deer lost in the headlights especially when pressured.  So far the Cardinals have showed no mercy in attacking, but at least he's managed to stay upright and escape?

    Q1 - C

    Russell Wilson looked okay making 2 of 4 his passes for 20 yards and taking off on two rushes, but the sack at the end of the quarter had to be a bit of a wakeup call. 

Running Backs: C+

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    Marshawn Lynch gained 85 yards on 21 carries and he also caught two passes for 12 yards. 

    To me that's the bare minimum of what we should be getting from Lynch each week if he's healthy enough to start. 

    If his numbers were supplemented by a decent performance by Robert Turbin, Leon Washington, or anyone else this wouldn't be as troubling, but 115 yards total on the ground is troubling. 

Wide Receivers & Tight Ends: D+

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    Right now it's hard to think past the final drive of the game. 

    Sure Sidney Rice made a really nice play on his touchdown catch in the third quarter, both Braylon Edwards and Zach Miller came back from the dead with a couple of grabs, but the drops at the end were unacceptable.  

    Meanwhile where was Doug Baldwin all day?  I hope he's okay, but if not, let's give Charly Martin a shot. 

Offensive Line: F

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    Kudos to the Cardinals for basically throwing the kitchen sink at Russell Wilson.

    Jeers for the Offensive line that couldn't protect him.  Wilson was sacked three times in Arizona and pressured all day.  Making matters even worse, Russell Okung who is supposed to be the cornerstone at left tackle looked terrible as Samuel Acho forced one false start after another on him.

    Just really hard to watch this group revert back to where they were this time last year. 

Defensive Line: C-

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    Once again, this might seem generous, but the front line did do a good job of containing the run.

    At the same time it's not like Arizona forced the issue either having only run the ball 20 times.

    So while Brandon Mebane and Red Bryant held up their end of the deal, the pass rush we were promised only generated one sack and let John Skelton have his way in the first half and Kevin Kolb finish the game in relief with all day to throw the football.

    Chris Clemons for a short time looked like he might neutralize or at least slow Skelton down, but the final drive with Kolb took every last bit of momentum earned in the second half and threw it out the window.  

Linebackers: B-

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    I'll confess, I never felt like I saw either KJ Wright, Bobby Wagner, or Leroy Hill do anything extraordinary.

    While they did manage to tally a fair number of tackles, never once did I believe what they were doing was of any consequence as Skelton and later Kolb seemed to have their way with the defensive front and by extension the secondary.  

    Perhaps I missed something?

Defensive Backs: B-

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    Once this too high or too low?

    Holding Larry Fitzgerald to 4 catches for 63 yards with no touchdowns after being targeted 11 times should be seen as a success. 

    Add to that the the 'Hawks only gave up 215 passing yards in total with one touchdown through the air and along with an amazing interception by Richard Sherman that helped shift the momentum, the argument for this unit having a decent day makes some sense. 

    Unfortunately once Kevin Kolb came in the game, for an injured Skelton, things seemed to go downhill in a hurry as the pressure on the pass rush evaporated.

    Until then they had once again, played with a bend, but don't break mentality and almost pulled off a fine performance, yet I can shed the image of watching Kolb come off the bench and do whatever he pleased. 

Special Teams: A-

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    Final Grade - A-

    To me this group not only kept the 'Hawks in the game, but offered the kind of boost that neither the offense and defense could provide.  That shouldn't be the case, but for this particular Sunday it was almost enough.

    Q4 - A

    Repeat of Q3 with Leon Washington's punt return helping change the momentum and Hauschka helping put the 'Hawks back in the lead. 

    Q3 - A-

    Leon Washington's kick return was just the kind of momentum change the team needed and 47 yard field goal by Hauschka to tie the game was really clutch.  

    Q2 - B-

    Nice punting by Jon Ryan, but why punt to Patrick Peterson?

    Q1 - B-

    Steven Hauschka got blocked on a 50 yard fieldgoal attempt, but converted on a 27 yard shot.

Coaching: C

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    Final Grade - C

    Where to begin?

    Yes it's Week 1 and you have to anticipate there being a few issues, but what happened?

    The offense looked dull and stale; meanwhile the defense couldn't get to the passer as both Skelton and Kolb looked like they had all day to throw the football. With all due respect to Skelton and Kolb, they aren't in the same echelon as some of the quarterbacks scheduled for later this season. 

    If the 'Hawks can't put pressure on them, imagine what Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers will do in just a few weeks?

    Meanwhile the offense that all preseason looked loose never really showed up until it was too late.  All day if it was first down, Lynch was getting the handoff.  I can imagine that Pete wanted to keep things simple for Wilson, but with a buttoned-down approach coupled with the lack of protection along the line made watching this team painful for most of the day. 

    Still, at the end it came down to the fact that three different receivers couldn't make a catch. 

    Needless to say Pete Carroll has a lot of work to do this week...

    Q4 - C-

    The offense continued to open up, especially on the final drive in what seemed more like desperation than anything else.  Still the defense couldn't stop Kolb when it mattered which could have avoided the heart breaking finish.

    Q3 - B

    The offense has opened up a bit, but whatever he told the defense at halftime has made all the difference.

    Q2 - C

    Carroll continues to go conservative and the team looks tight.  Let's hope we see the team we all enjoyed watching during the preseason rather than what we've witnessed so far. 

    Q1 - C+

    Pete Carroll looked to go a bit conservative with Russell Wilson in Q1, but the field goal call with Hauschka early on seemed ill-advised.