The Seattle Seahawks find themselves alone atop the NFC West today, after downing the Arizona Cardinals in a sloppy game at Qwest Field. Behind outstanding defense and special teams, the Seahawks did enough to come away with the win, thanks in large part to Olindo Mare's five field goals.
The Mike Williams reclamation tour continued against the Cardinals on Saturday. Williams, out of the NFL before head coach Pete Carroll swooped in and added him to the roster this offseason, has become a go-to target of Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck this season. The Seattle Times' Danny O'Neil added some perspective to Williams' performances over the last two weeks.
Williams caught 11 passes Sunday for 87 yards and scored the Seahawks' only touchdown. Seattle didn't have a single receiver catch 10 or more passes in any game the past two seasons. Williams has done it each of the past two games.
Williams was a bright spot for a Seahawk offense that couldn't get anything going, despite playing with excellent field position for most of the day. The Hawks lone touchdown of the day came after Michael Robinson stripped Arizona Rookie Andre Roberts after a muffed punt, setting Seattle up at the two yard line.
Seahawks rookie left tackle Russell Okung went down with another injury early in the game, this time spraining his left ankle. The No. 6 pick in the 2010 NFL draft has been plagued by injuries from the start, missing the first four games with a left ankle sprain. Field Gulls' John Morgan says not to worry, we've seen this before with a legendary Seahawk left tackle; Walter Jones.
That's right, Walter Jones, megastud and everything and more we hope for Russell Okung to become, suffered two separate sprained ankles his rookie season and missed four games. Jones missed time with both a right ankle sprain and a left ankle sprain and his left ankle was "so sore that Jones [couldn't] put any weight on it." Neither injury was classified as a high ankle sprain, but that might just point to the evolving nature of jargon.
On the first drive, with Okung in the game, the Seahawk offense was moving well, amassing 55 yards on the ground as they marched the length of the field. O'Neil looked at three questions that were answered during Sundays game, one of which had to do with the left tackle.
It wasn't a coincidence that when he left the game, the Seahawks stopped running the ball successfully. With Okung in the game, Seattle gained 55 yards on six carries. After he left, the Seahawks gained 91 yards on 30 carries. Is it too simple to say the Seahawks offense started skidding once Okung left with an ankle injury? "I don't know that," Carroll said. "I think it is (too simple to stay that). We might have lost our thought that we could stay with it because he wasn't in there more than that."
We don't, however, know if Okung is injury prone or just suffering a run of bad luck.
The Seahawks played a physical ballgame, highlighted by Williams' catches in traffic and Marshawn "Beast Mode" Lynch's hard-nosed runs. Lynch was pleased with the effort of the team, telling reporters the whole team was "beast-moding" after the game. Hasselbeck again praised Lynch, noting the difference in the offense with the power back in the fold (via The Seattle PI's Greg Johns)
"Marshawn is physical. There's no doubt about that," quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said. "He added a dimension we didn't have necessarily, just in terms of a big, power back.
The Seahawks turn their attention to the Oakland Raiders this week, traveling to the Bay Area to take on the newly revitalized Raiders on Sunday. Oakland make a huge impression last Sunday, blowing out the Denver Broncos, 59-14. Darren McFadden made his return in a big way, rushing for 159 yards and three touchdowns.
The Seahawks take on the Raiders this Sunday at 1:15 p.m. on Fox.