The return of wide receiver Sidney Rice wasn’t the only positive development for the Seahawks’ offense in Sunday’s home opener against the Cardinals.
Rushing yards? Up. To 122, from a combined total of 95 in the first two games.
Passing yards? Up. To 171, from 159 the week before against the Steelers. But also down, from 197 in the opener against the 49ers.
Points? Also up, but down. To 13, after zero against the Steelers and 17 against the 49ers.
Marshawn Lynch’s impact? Way up. To 73 yards, after a total of 44 in the first two games.
Sidney Rice’s presence? Obviously up. To eight catches for 109 yards after not even playing in the first two games.
Tarvaris Jackson’s mobility? Also up. As in, scoring the team’s only TD on an 11-yard run.
Those were the checkpoints that coach Pete Carroll checked off Monday, less than 24 hours after the Seahawks had won their home opener 13-10 over the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field.
Connect the dots between all those numbers and it still creates a picture of an offense in its infancy, but it also points to the improvement Carroll and his offensive staff have been waiting to see.
“I thought we definitely had improvement on offense, because we had some balance to it and there was a little more rhythm,” Carroll said. “It just felt better.”
That was never more apparent than in the 14-play, 72-yard drive to Jackson’s TD run in the third quarter, which provided the final margin of victory. The drive included six Jackson completions – to four different receivers – for 53 yards and four Lynch runs for 13 yards.
“I think the ability to go into a game and see Marshawn gain some yards and run the football, then get the ball thrown to Sidney and saw the quarterback move, those are all stuff that gives us things to build on,” Carroll said. “As we include other guys, too, in the production part if it then I think we can put together a solid offense.”
None of the above would have happened, of course, without an improved performance by the young offensive line of – from left tackle to right – Russell Okung, Paul McQuistan, Max Unger, John Moffitt and James Carpenter.
“I think we did better,” Carroll said. “James played better for the second week, and that’s a good sign. He’s on the move. He played very strong and made most of his blocks.
“It was a pretty good, solid day in terms for making progress.”