Seahawks take over NFC West
SEATTLE — No matter how unimpressive, Pete Carroll’s Seattle Seahawks are leaders of the mediocre NFC West after seven weeks.
Olindo Mare kicked five field goals, Matt Hasselbeck threw a 2-yard touchdown to Mike Williams, and the Seahawks took advantage of five Arizona turnovers in an unimpressive 22-10 win over the Cardinals on Sunday.
At 4-2, Seattle staked claim to the top spot in the lackluster NFC West in so-so fashion when plenty of opportunities were wasted.
If Carroll needed teaching points moving forward, he just can show film of Sunday.
Seattle had 10 penalties, many coming in key moments that forced it to settle for Mare’s kicks. Mare even got some extra work, having four made kicks taken off the board by some type of penalty, three by Seattle and one by Arizona.
Mare made field goals of 20, 31, 51, 24 and 26 yards, stretching his consecutive field goals streak to 30 dating back to last season. Hasselbeck threw for 192 yards and avoided throwing an interception for the second straight week. Unlike last week against Chicago, Hasselbeck was hit this game, sacked five times, partly due to the loss of left tackle Russell Okung on the first drive with a right ankle injury.
Coming off a career day a week ago, Williams topped himself with 11 catches for 87 yards and his first touchdown since the 2006 season. In his second game since arriving in a trade with Buffalo, Marshawn Lynch carried 24 times for 89 yards. He had 39 yards in runs called back on holding calls against Seattle right tackle Sean Locklear.
But Seattle was very much given this victory through Arizona’s mistakes.
Rookie quarterback Max Hall struggled as expected making the first road start of his career before leaving in the third quarter with what the Cardinals announced as a “blow to the head.” The culprit was Chris Clemons’ jarring sack early in the third quarter when Hall was blindsided and fumbled at the Arizona 11.
In a week of heightened awareness on big hits, Clemons’ sack looked like a legal shot to Hall’s back. Seattle’s Raheem Brock had a form tackle sack on Hall in the first half, while Arizona cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie chose to lay a shoulder into Brandon Stokley after a first-half reception.
Clemons’ forced fumble led to the second of Mare’s field goal, a 31-yarder forced after Joey Porter sacked Hasselbeck. Seattle got another gift on the ensuing kickoff when Jason Wright booted a skipping kick and Kennard Cox dived on the loose ball.
But Seattle got only another field goal, from 51 yards, after two holding calls against Cameron Morrah backed up Seattle 20 yards. Seattle had a total of minus-19 yards on the two scoring drives to start the second half.
Mare added a 26-yarder in the fourth quarter to push Seattle’s lead to 12 after yet another drive stalled inside the Arizona 10. Williams had four catches for 38 yards on the drive.
That was all Seattle needed on a day where downpours of rain mixed with brief glimpses of the sun.
Hall finished 4 of 16 for 36 yards with a passer rating of 13.5. Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells combined for 113 yards rushing, the most allowed by Seattle this season.
Hightower lost a fumble on his way to the ground at the Seattle 28. After the Arizona defense sacked Hasselbeck for the fourth time in the first half, rookie Andre Roberts muffed a punt. The ensuing scrum ended with Seattle’s Roy Lewis falling on the rolling ball at the Arizona 2.
Hasselbeck then hit Williams on a back-shoulder throw for a 10-0 lead.
Larry Fitzgerald, who had 13 catches in Seattle a year ago, finished with just three for 30 yards.
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