A look at the week that was, and the week that will be, for the Seahawks:
Anatomy of Sunday’s 27-3 loss to the Arizona Cardinals
Jon Ryan’s arm: Yes, his arm. Ryan is the team’s punter, but he also helped produce the Seahawks’ biggest play against the Cardinals by passing out of punt formation to tight end John Carlson for a 42-yard gain that set up the team’s only score – a 28-yard field goal by Olindo Mare.
“It was a play that we had in this week,” said Ryan, who grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan, and played two seasons for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the CFL before coming to the NFL in 2006. “Coach Bruce (DeHaven, special teams coach) saw something in the film and drew up a good play and they called it at the right time and we executed it well and it worked.”
It wasn’t quite as simple as Ryan made it sound, but it definitely worked, as Carlson was able to come off the line and float uncovered into a wide-open area on the right side.
“It was the front that we wanted and Jon made a nice pass,” Carlson said.
The play worked, in part, because Ryan’s previous punt was a 54-yarder, so Cardinals return man Steve Breaston was deeper and the Cardinals stacked their front in an attempt to put more pressure on Ryan.
The play also was the capper to what was a busy day for Ryan. In addition to his 118.8 passer rating, Ryan averaged 45.0 yards on eight punts, got off a 62-yarder and made the tackle at the end of a 36-yard return by Breaston.
Lofa Tatupu’s pectoral. The Seahawks’ middle linebacker tore his left one and will have season-ending surgery. It’s a blow to the defense, the team and Tatupu.
Just how much does the defensive co-captain mean to the Seahawks? He had eight tackles in 27 minutes before leaving the field. No one in the game finished with more, despite playing the entire game.
Matt Hasselbeck’s resilient body: In his second game back after missing 2½ games because of a fractured rib, the Seahawks QB was under assault the entire game – once he finally got into the game. After the Cardinals put the Seahawks in a must-pass situation by dominating the first quarter and jumping to a 17-0 lead, the Arizona pass rush came after Hasselbeck.
The team’s fourth offensive line combination in six games – with the fourth starter at left tackle (Kyle Williams) and third at left guard (Steve Vallos) – was unable to stem the tide.
Hasselbeck was sacked five times and the Cardinals also had nine QB hits. The Seahawks’ execution on first and second downs left them in some precarious third-down situations – including third-and-31, third-and-19 and third-and-17. In fact, of their 11 third-down situations, seven were 10-plus yards.
Larry Fitzgerald’s hands: The Cardinals’ All-Pro wide receiver caught 13 passes for 100 yards. That’s only a 7.7-yard average, but seven of his catches produced first downs.
It’s not like the Seahawks allowed him to run free through the secondary. They covered him, they just couldn’t stop him from using his vice-grip hands to catch the ball. This was never more apparent than on his first reception. Fitzgerald slipped coming out of his break and had cornerback Kelly Jennings draped over him. But he reached up, while on the ground, to make the 7-yard catch on third-and-1.
The week ahead
The Seahawks have reached their bye, but they are not .500 and while they will emerge from their weekend off healthier they won’t be whole – which were coach Jim Mora’s goals.
The players will practice Tuesday and Wednesday, and cornerback Marcus Trufant, linebacker Leroy Hill and left guard Rob Sims are scheduled to participate. The impact of getting them back for the Nov. 1 game against the Cowboys in Dallas cannot be overstated.
Trufant has been on the physically unable to perform list since tweaking his back before training camp opened. His three-week window to begin practicing starts Tuesday. Trufant can be activated at any time during that span. Hill has been out since tearing a groin muscle in the season opener. Sims has missed the past two games with a sprained ankle.
Tackles Walter Jones (knee) and Sean Locklear (ankle), defensive end Patrick Kerney (groin) and cornerback Kelly Jennings (hip, ribs) are on the mend.