A recap of the Seahawks’ 27-3 loss to the Arizona Cardinals at Qwest Field on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Kurt Warner. The numbers don’t lie: 32 of 41 for 276 yards and two touchdowns. What the Cardinals’ 38-year-old quarterback was able to do was enough to do in the Seahawks on this day.
Warner had help, of course, from ridiculously sure-handed wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (13 catches for 100 yards); the multi-faceted Steve Breaston (seven catches for 77 yards and TD, plus punt returns of 36 and 24 yards); and a swarming, aggressive defense (five sacks and eight tipped or deflected passes).
But, as is usually the case with the Cardinals, as Warner goes so goes his team.
“Kurt does such a good job of reading what the defense gives us,” Fitzgerald said. “He’s just so efficient with the football. He doesn’t make many mistakes. Those are the kind of games he’s going to play.”
Warner did throw an interception – on a heave into the end zone at the end of the first half that Seahawks free safety Jordan Babineaux picked off.
Middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu will miss the rest of the season after tearing a pectoral muscle in the first half of today’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
Coach Jim Mora made the announcement after the Seahawks were handed a 27-3 setback at Qwest Field. Most of Tatupu’s teammates were not aware of the severity of Tatupu’s injury.
“That’s terrible, terrible news,” quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said. “I don’t know what to say.”
Tatupu was injured making a tackle on Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald on a third-down play late in the first half. It was Tatupu’s eighth tackle of the game, which was a game-high total.
David Hawthorne took over at middle linebacker for Tatupu and will probably be the fulltime replacement.
Matt Leinhart finished what Kurt Warner started, as the Cardinals’ former first-round draft choice took over with 5½ minutes left and his team up 27-3.
Meanwhile, things went from frustrating to futile in the final quarter for the Seahawks. Their first possession ended when Matt Hasselbeck was sacked by OLB Bertrand Berry on third down – the Cardinals fifth sack of the afternoon. The Seahawks second possession ended when Hasselbeck overthrew T.J. Houshmandzadeh on third down and Cardinals CB Antrel Rolle intercepted the pass.
Four plays later, Neil Rackers kicked a 31-yard field goal to run the Cardinals lead to 27-3.
The Seahawks next series? Hasselbeck was chased from the pocket on second down by Rolle and then flagged for grounding because his pass did not reach the line of scrimmage.
It was that kind of day for the Seahawks QB, and his team.
Make it 24-3, Cardinals, as the Seahawks continued to struggle on offense and couldn’t get enough pressure on Kurt Warner in key situations.
The teams traded three-and-outs for most of the quarter, until Steve Breaston broke a 36-yard return of Jon Ryan’s 62-yard punt to Seahawks’ 41-yard line. That’s when Warner went back to work: 19 yards to Larry Fitzgerald on third-and-4; and then 16 yards to Breaston for the touchdown.
The drive – a five-play, 41-yarder – put Warner over 30,000 passing yards for his career and also allowed him to reach to reach 50 career 300-yard passing games faster than any QB in NFL history.
The Seahawks played the quarter without MLB Lofa Tatupu, who went out with a shoulder injury in the first half; and DE Patrick Kerney, who strained a groin.
The Cardinals continued to dominate the game, but this quarter ended in a 3-3 tie that gave Arizona a 17-3 lead at halftime.
The Cardinals scored on the fourth play of the quarter, but had to settle for a 29-yard field goal from Neil Rackers after DE Patrick Kerney sacked QB Kurt Warner on third down. On the second-down play, LB Aaron Curry tipped Warner’s pass – the first incompletion for Warner after hitting his first 12 passes.
The Seahawks finally got on the board with 3:57 left in the half on a 28-yard field goal by Olindo Mare. But it took a fake punt, with P Jon Ryan and TE John Carlson hooking up on a 42-yard pass play to get them close enough to do it. QB Matt Hasselbeck followed the big special teams play with a 15-yard pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh to the Cardinals’ 5-yard line. But Hasselbeck was then pressured into throwing the ball away on first down and sacked for a 7-yard loss on third down.
Hasselbeck got another chance after DE Patrick Kerney’s fumble-forcing sack of Warner and DE Darryl Tapp’s recovery. But TE John Carlson could not hold a third-down pass that Hasselbeck threaded between two defenders and the possession ended in frustration.
FS Jordan Babineaux intercepted Warner’s final pass of the half – a heave into the end zone on a play that began with four seconds left on the clock.
How dominate where the Cardinals in the first half? Plays – Cardinals 38-19. Yards – Cardinals 224-90. Time of possession – Cardinals 21:48 to 8:12. Third-down conversions — Cardinals 5 of 7, Seahawks 0 of 4. Points – Cardinals 17-3.
Wow, oops and wow. The first quarter was all Cardinals, and in all three phases of the game.
The Cardinals got the ball first and went 80 yards in 15 plays, a precision drive that consumed almost 11 minutes. QB Kurt Warner was 9 of 9 – to five different receivers – for 64 yards, including 4 of 4 on third downs for 27 yards. The Cardinals’ longest play on the drive was Warner’s 18-yard pass to Anquan Boldin, who had three catches for 35 yards.
The Cardinals then had Neil Rackers bloop his kickoff and CB Greg Toler recovered the ball at the Seahawks’ 23-yard line. Three plays later, Tim Hightower scored on a 2-yard run to make it 14-0 before the Seahawks had time to utter, “What’s happening.” Warner hit his only pass – a 9-yarder to Larry Fitzgerald – to run his string of completions to 10 in a row.
The Seahawks finally got the ball, but it lasted only three plays as QB Matt Hasselbeck fumbled when he was sacked and the Cardinals recovered at the Seattle 23. The quarter ended with the Cardinals in a first-and-goal situation from the Seahawks 9.
Warner completed 12 consecutive passes in the quarter.
Rookie TE Cameron Morrah and second-year DT Red Bryant are the non-injured players who are inactive today.
Morrah also was inactive last week, while Bryant is inactive whenever the coaches feel they will need more of a pass-rush presence from the defensive tackles — which definitely is the case today.
The complete list:
DT Red Bryant
LB Leroy Hill
OT Walter Jones
OT Sean Locklear
TE Cameron Morrah
OG Rob Sims
S C.J. Wallace
3rd QB: Mike Teel
The Cardinals inactive players:
S Rashad Johnson
LB Reggie Walker
OL Herman Johnson
OL Brandon Keith
WR Early Doucet
TE Stephen Spach
TE Dominque Byrd
3rd QB: Brian St. Pierre
Anthony Becht will start for Spach.
Greetings from Qwest Field, where the Seahawks and Cardinals are preparing for what is a big game in the NFC West regardless of how you slice, dice, mince and shred it. The winner today makes up ground on the division-leading 49ers, and also makes a statement in what has become a pretty good rivalry.
The 49ers are 3-2 and have a bye today. So the 2-2 Cardinals can move into a tie with a win, while the 2-3 Seahawks can pull to within half a game entering their bye week.
Two big questions in this big game:
How will Seahawks’ quarterback Matt Hasselbeck respond in his second game back after missing 2½ games because of a fractured rib? Last week, he was sacked only once and hit just four times by the Jaguars, as the Seahawks rolled to a 41-0 victory, and Hasselbeck’s return provided an emotional lift for the entire team.
Will the Seahawks be able to get pressure on QB Kurt Warner to disrupt the Cardinals’ passing game, and do it with a four-man rush? Give Warner time and he will “pick you apart,” as cornerback Kelly Jennings put it. Blitz and he will more often than not exploit the vacated area.
Two players to watch today:
Ken Lucas. The Seahawks’ veteran cornerback spent the week in Mississippi, where his father’s funeral was Friday. He was working out. He has the game plan and video to study. But how much will the events of the past week play into how he plays? The Seahawks need his size and physical style to help offset the Cardinals’ duo of Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, who combined to catch 23 passes for 332 yards in last year’s game at Qwest.
Edgerrin James. The leading rusher among active players needs 18 yards to move into the Top 10 on the NFL’s all-time list, and he could accomplish this feat against the team he played for the past three seasons. If James is getting the ball – and the needed yards – it’s a good sign, because it will mean the Seahawks are not playing from behind.
Looking for an intangible in this one? It’s Betsy Hasselbeck, Matt’s mom. The Seahawks are unbeaten when she attends games at Qwest, and she will be on hand today. How do we know this? Matt tweeted it.
The Seahawks’ inactive list shouldn’t come with any surprises, because LB Leroy Hill, OT Walter Jones, OT Sean Locklear, OG Rob Sims and S C.J. Wallace are injured and will not play. But we’ll back later with the official list.
When: Sunday, 1:05 p.m., Qwest Field
Records: Seahawks 2-3, Cardinals 2-2
TV: KCPQ/13 (Chris Myers, Brian Billick)
Radio: 710 ESPN and KIRO-FM/97.3 (Steve Raible, Warren Moon, Jen Mueller)
Matchup micro scope
Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck vs. Cardinals SS Adrian Wilson. Hasselbeck has won seven of his 11 starts against the Cardinals, and threw for four touchdowns last week in his first action since having a rib cracked in the Week 2 loss to the 49ers. Wilson is one of two active safeties in the league with at least 18 career interceptions and sacks. Hasselbeck has been to three Pro Bowls, Wilson two. Each has played in a Super Bowl. And so it goes with these two. When they’re on their games, they are among the best in the game at their positions. That’s why the one who can get the upper hand in this game will help his team close ground on the 49ers in the division.
One to watch
CB Ken Lucas. This is why the Seahawks re-signed the veteran corner in free agency – to give them another big body to help cover Cardinals WRs Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, who combined to catch 23 passes for 337 yards in last year’s game at Qwest Field. But Lucas did not practice this week because he was in Mississippi after his father died last Friday. And, Pro Bowl CB Marcus Trufant remains on the physically unable to perform list because of a bulging disc in his back. So when wondering how Lucas will respond to the challenge, it goes well beyond his ability to cover Fitzgerald and Boldin.
Fun to watch
LB Aaron Curry. The Seahawks’ first-round draft choice is turning Qwest Field into his personal playground. The intensity, energy and even nastiness that he brought to the first three home games will be needed – and then some – as the Seahawks try to pull even, and lift themselves back into the NFC West picture, entering their bye week. The defense must find a way to pressure Cardinals QB Kurt Warner, and Curry is capable of providing that pressure point.
The Cardinals lead the league in run defense, but are last in pass defense. The dichotomy carries over to the offense, where they are No. 3 in pass offense but No. 31 in run offense. … Despite missing 2½ games, Hasselbeck has thrown more touchdown passes (seven) than Warner (six). … The injury-ravaged Seahawks will use their fourth offensive line combination in six games, with Kyle Williams starting at left tackle and Steve Vallos possibly getting the start at left guard. … Cardinals RB Tim Hightower is one of three players in the league who leads his team in rushing (126 yards) and receiving (25 catches). … The Seahawks’ Jon Ryan (50.8) and the Cardinals’ Ben Graham (50.5) rank 2-3 in the league in punting average. … MLBs Karlos Dansby (28) and Gerald Hayes (27) lead the Cardinals in tackles, while Curry and FS Jordan Babineaux (31) lead the Seahawks.
A recap of the day’s activities:
Ben Obomanu. Coach Jim Mora passed out game balls after practice for last week’s win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck got one – another one – for his courageous four-TD pass performance in his return after missing 2½ games with a fractured rib. Defensive end Darryl Tapp also got one for his disruptive and productive efforts in the 41-0 shutout.
The third one went to Obomanu for his special teams play, and it was the first for the backup wide receiver. Ever.