GLENDALE, Ariz. – A recap of the Seahawks’ 20-16 loss to the Cardinals in their season opener at University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Leon Washington. The Seahawks didn’t win the game, but their dynamic returner did everything he could to make it happen. Washington not only produced two big plays; they came when the Seahawks most needed them.
With the Seahawks trailing 13-3 in the third quarter, Washington broke an 83-yard kickoff return that setup Russell Wilson’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice. With the score tied at 13 in the fourth quarter, Washington broke a 52-yard punt return to setup a 39-yard field goal by Steve Hauschka with 9:20 remaining the game.
Did someone say big plays?
“Huge plays. Huge,” said special teams co-captain Michael Robinson. “He totally sparked our second-half run. That’s what this team is about – picking each other up. If one phase is down, another phase picks them up. That’s what Leon did today.”
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: The game-winner, of course, which was Kevin Kolb’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Andre Roberts with 4:59 left to play.
Defense: On the Cardinals’ first play after Wilson’s TD pass to Rice, Chris Clemons pressured John Skelton into an ill-advised throw and cornerback Richard Sherman then made a sideline interception of that pass to setup a Hauschka field goal that tied the score at 13.
Special teams: Washington’s kickoff return, because it was longer than the punt return and setup a touchdown.
Left tackle Russell Okung injured a knee on the Seahawks’ final possession. Wide receiver Doug Baldwin also had to leave the field after attempting a diving catch in the end zone on the same possession, but coach Pete Carroll said last year’s leading receiver was OK.
Despite not playing since the second preseason game and being limited in practice all week because of back spasms, Marshawn Lynch started the game and carried 21 times for 84 yards.
Second-year linebacker K.J. Wright had a team-high nine tackles.
The Seahawks broke up, batted down, tipped or intercepted eight passes, including two each by Sherman, who had the only interception; nose tackle Brandon Mebane and lineman Jason Jones.
The defense held the Cardinals to 43 yards on 20 rushing attempts.
Clemons had the Seahawks’ only sack.
James Carpenter and John Moffitt, the starters at right tackle and right guard as rookies last season, were named inactive. Each is recovering from a surgical procedure.
YOU DON’T SAY
“I think he handled himself really well. He had a lot of pressure on him. He did what he could do back there. But there’s still room for not only him to get better, but the rest of this team.” – wide receiver Sidney Rice on Wilson