After a pair of disappointing and frustrating efforts on the road to open the season, the Seahawks returned to CenturyLink Field on Sunday and claimed their first victory.
After the disappointment of a not-quite-enough loss to the 49ers in their season opener and the frustration of last week’s not-hardly-enough showing in a pointless outing against the Steelers, the Seahawks came into their home opener on Sunday with an enough-is-enough attitude.
It wasn’t artist, or overly impressive, but their 13-10 victory over the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field was needed – and overdue.
“Very happy to get the win,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We have a long ways to go. We have a lot of work to do. But we got a little better today. We did some good things and made enough plays.”
It was the tempo-setting effort by the defense that stood out on this day, but it was a tempo-dictating 14-play, 72-yard drive that ended with quarterback Tarvaris Jackson lunging into the end zone on an 11-yard run in the third quarter that gave the Seahawks their three-point margin that held up over the final 21 minutes of the game.
“We had some sets where we were able to get a rhythm and get some completions,” Jackson said of what he labeled “a hurry-up deal.”
“We talked about it during the week that we thought that we were going to do that … We had some success with it, so we stayed with it.”
Because, on that drive, they were walking the walk; not just talking the talk. And doing it quickly and decisively.
It was a game the Seahawks had to have, and even more so really couldn’t afford to lose – not after the road losses at San Francisco and Pittsburgh, and the Atlanta Falcons coming to town next week.
“We knew we couldn’t go 0-3,” said rookie linebacker K.J. Wright, who started on the strongside. “So we got a good division win, at home. The crowd got into it and helped us out a lot. We’re just trying to get this thing rolling.”
This was one of those games that wasn’t over until it was over, because Larry Fitzgerald plays for the other team. He made a typical Larry Fitzgerald play for the Cardinals’ only TD – going up between cornerback Brandon Browner and free safety Earl Thomas in the end zone and somehow coming down with the ball for a 12-yard score in the second quarter that gave Arizona 10-3 lead.
“I was hoping somebody would be able to get a hand on the ball,” said Seahawks wide receiver Sidney Rice, who finished with eight catches for 109 yards in his regular-season debut.
“But, as you know, Larry has done that throughout his whole career. Great receiver. Goes up and catches the ball at the high point.”
But rather than allow Fitzgerald to be a ticking bomb in the second half, the Seahawks used a frenzied pass rush led by end Chris Clemons and jersey-clinging coverage from Browner and Marcus Trufant to defuse the Pro Bowl receiver – who went without a catch in the second half.
“He’s just one of those guys – he’s an awesome player,” Trufant said. “You always have to know where he is. I give it up to the D-line. If the quarterback doesn’t have time to get him the ball, that’s the best coverage. So the D-line was up there pressuring and everybody was getting to the quarterback, so it made our job a little easier.”
There were a lot of reasons for the Seahawks to feel good about themselves:
A running game that had generated 95 yards in the first two games went for 122, including 73 yards on 19 carries from Marshawn Lynch.
“Marshawn ran really tough,” Carroll said. “He ran through some stuff to get to the second level. We’re just going to get a little bit better. We’re going to keep improving.”
After allowing Kevin Kolb to complete 14 of 18 passes for 139 yards in the first half, the Seahawks pressured him into an 11-of-21, 113-yard performance in the second half.
“Chris is a beast, man,” free safety Earl Thomas said of Clemons, who had the one sack but chased and pressured Kolb into other bad throws and decisions. “He’s valuable to the defense. He’s a great leader. He’s playing good ball right now.”
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Tags: 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, coach pete carroll, Completions, Disappointment, End Zone, First Victory, Frustration, Home Opener, Hurry Up, J Wright, Point Margin, Rhythm, Road Losses, Seahawks, Season Opener, steelers, Tarvaris Jackson, Walking The Walk
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