Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks: 10 Things We Learned

Jack London@@Londonbridges21Correspondent IOctober 26, 2010

Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks: Ten Things We Learned

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    SEATTLE - OCTOBER 24:  Running back Justin Forsett #20 of the Seattle Seahawks rushes against the Arizona Cardinals at Qwest Field on October 24, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Just when you think you know it, you find out that you don't. 

    That's what it felt like watching the Cardinals play on Sunday. 

    Cardinals fans, including myself, thought that we might finally have an answer in Max Hall. 

    Nope. 

    We thought the division might finally be in our hands. 

    Nope. 

    But even though it wasn't a game that either team is going to want to watch the highlights of, there are things that Arizona did well. 

    There's just a lot of bad mixed in. 

1. The Defense Deserves Some Credit

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    SEATTLE - OCTOBER 24:  Running back Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Seattle Seahawks rushes against Joey Porter #55 of the Arizona Cardinals at Qwest Field on October 24, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    If this game were up to the Cardinals defense, they would've won it.

    They did a very good job of shutting down the Seattle offense, despite being put in bad field position several times by the offense and special teams. 

    They had five sacks, pressured Matt Hasselbeck constantly, and never let the Seattle run game gain consistently until the fourth quarter. 

    About the only thing they did not do was force more turnovers, which might have possibly helped the Cards win. 

    But still, I would give the defense a solid B grade for their efforts.

2. Alan Branch Will See More Time

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    GLENDALE, AZ - 2009:  Alan Branch of the Arizona Cardinals poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by NFL Photos)
    NFL Photos/Getty Images

    As good as the Cardinals defensive ends are, Alan Branch is going to press them for time the rest of the season. 

    Branch had 2 sacks Sunday, along with a couple of tackles for loss. 

    The biggest problem is that Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett stand in his way for playing time. 

    Branch, who has been considered a big draft bust (including by yours truly), finally played like the early second rounder he is on Sunday. 

    Let's hope this continues. The pass rush could use it. 

3. Daryl Washington Is Learning Quickly

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    SEATTLE - OCTOBER 24:  Tight end John Carlson #89 of the Seattle Seahawks is driven out of bounds by linebacker Daryl Washington #58 of the Arizona Cardinals at Qwest Field on October 24, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Washington has been accused of being a detriment in the run defense for Arizona and rightly so. 

    But he shed that criticism on Sunday and had himself quite a game, as he seemed to be everywhere for the Cards. 

    He also garnered his first NFL sack of his young career, coming up the gap on a third and short untouched to nail Hasselbeck. 

    It will be interesting to see if he keeps playing like this. For one thing, the linebacker core needs him to play this well, and also the question remains how Gerald Hayes will factor in with Washington and Lenon both playing well. 

4. Beanie Wells Finally Found The End Zone

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    SEATTLE - OCTOBER 24:  Running back Beanie Wells #26 of the Arizona Cardinals rushes against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field on October 24, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    This is really the last positive from the game. 

    Wells has struggled along with the entire Arizona offense this season, as he usually doesn't get in the end zone until the second quarter, and then is asked to carry the load for the run game. 

    This doesn't make it easy for Beanie. 

    Add to that Arizona's offensive issues, namely not scoring, and Wells had yet to find the end zone this year until Sunday.

    But it appears good news lies on the horizon for Wells, who may finally take the starter's job from the fumble prone Tim Hightower, even though Hightower ran better Sunday. 

    We'll see if that actually occurs, however. 

5. Max Hall Has a Lot to Learn

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    SEATTLE - OCTOBER 24:  Quarterback Max Hall #6 of the Arizona Cardinals passes against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field on October 24, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    This may be the most obvious slide ever. 

    But the truth holds. 

    Hall looked like a rookie Sunday. 

    Even if his stats were a little better, he still looked lost, as if he was a middle schooler trying to hang with the big boys. 

    Add to that his getting injured yet again, and suddenly all the shine is off the undrafted rookie. 

    Hall will be the starter this week if he's able to go, and he has a better matchup against Tampa Bay at home, but if I were Derek Anderson, I'd be ready. 

6. The Run Game Still Isn't Consistent

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    SEATTLE - OCTOBER 24:  Running back Tim Hightower #34 of the Arizona Cardinals rushes against Marcus Trufant #23 and Lawyer Milloy #36 of the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field on October 24, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Cardinals 2
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Sure, the Cardinals ran for over 100 yards. 

    But here lies the problem the stats don't tell: a lack of consistency yet again. 

    Sure, they ripped off a few big runs. 

    But they would inevitably follow those with a short run or loss of yards, leaving Anderson or Hall with second or third down and long. 

    I think this may be why Whisenhunt has yet to go to a run heavy offense, although there is talk of simplifying the offense after their performance against Seattle. 

    Either way, the Cardinals have to figure out what the issue is in the run game, because the offensive line is too physical and their two backs are too good to have this be a problem continually. 

7. Special Teams Was a Huge Letdown

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    SAN DIEGO - OCTOBER 03:  Running back LaRod Stephens-Howling #36 of the Arizona Cardinals carries the ball against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 3, 2010 in San Diego, California.  The Chargers won 41-10.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Get
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    As good as the special teams for Arizona has been this season, they were a big reason they lost Sunday. 

    The two fumbles on special teams were quite frankly inexcusable, and led to two Seattle field goals. 

    Jason Wright's fumble remains flabbergasting to me, especially coming from a veteran. 

    Andre Roberts' gaffe wasn't as surprising, given that he is a rookie, although it was rather stupid. 

    But Wright ought to know better. 

    The only thing that made up for it was yet again another great return from LaRod Stephens-Howling, who could be the only Cardinal to make the Pro Bowl at this rate. 

8. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie Is No Longer The Best Corner For Arizona

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    SEATTLE - OCTOBER 24:  Wide receiver Mike Williams #17 of the Seattle Seahawks rushes against Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie #29 of the Arizona Cardinals at Qwest Field on October 24, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    He may eventually return to form, but DRC had maybe his worst day as a pro Sunday, maybe after the Oakland game. 

    How you get three offsides calls on field goals is beyond me, but even more disconcerting was the fact that he was dominated by Mike Williams.

    The Seahawks were not afraid at all to throw at DRC, and when the Cardinals could have used his height on a goal line opportunity, they instead went with Matt Ware of all people, and of course Mike Williams caught a touchdown. 

    Add to that the fact Greg Toler had a solid game and is leading the team in tackles, and DRC's stock is lowering....

9. Derek Anderson Isn't The Answer

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    SEATTLE - OCTOBER 24:  Quarterback Derek Anderson #3 of the Arizona Cardinals looks downfield against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field on October 24, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    I'm going to get on my soap box here. 

    I did defend Anderson and the choice to cut Leinart at the beginning of the season. 

    I don't agree with many that it was a dumb decision. Leinart wouldn't be doing any better. 

    But Anderson isn't the answer anymore. 

    Sure, he came in and provided a spark. 

    But he was absolutely terrible after that first drive. 

    Sound familiar? 

    That's because he's done the same thing in every game--he starts hot, then he cools off, and the offense sputters. 

    Hall may be a rookie and look like it, but Anderson isn't the long term answer, and Hall may yet be. 

10. Larry Fitzgerald Has To Be The Most Frustrated Cardinal

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    SEATTLE - OCTOBER 24:  Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals looks on during the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field on October 24, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    It's sad. It really is. 

    How you don't get the ball into the hands of your all pro receiver is beyond me. 

    Maybe because I'm not an NFL quarterback I don't understand it, but I would think it would be the easiest thing in the world to throw to a receiver as big, fast, and with as great of hands that Larry has. 

    That's what really blows my mind. 

    For the Cardinals to win, they must get the ball to Fitz. Period. 

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