A look back and a look ahead to the week that was and the week that will be for the Seahawks:
Anatomy of a 32-20 victory over the Detroit Lions
Matt Hasselbeck’s hands: Frustrated over the Seahawks’ inability to run the ball, coach Jim Mora put it in the hands of Hasselbeck, who then put it up 51 times. Hasselbeck has had 50-plus attempts only three other times in his career, and this was the first since 2004 – as well as the first at home. But this wasn’t Hasselbeck as mad bomber. This was Hasselbeck running an up-tempo, ball-control passing game. He distributed his club-record 39 completions among nine receivers. He hit 15 passes in a row during one stretch. He threw the Seahawks back into the game, and a season that would have slipped away had the ball not been in his hands.
David Hawthorne’s head: Yes, there were his hands, too, which the second-year middle linebacker used to intercept two passes. Yes, there were his legs, which allowed Hawthorne to run down plays in making nine tackles. But the most impressive part of his game Sunday, and since he stepped into the lineup for Lofa Tatupu two games ago, has been Hawthorne’s increased knowledge of the game. All he has done the past two weeks is make 17 tackles, collect two sacks and intercept two passes. Hawthorne remains third on the team in tackles (42), but he is closing the gap on free safety Jordan Babineaux (47) and linebacker Aaron Curry (43).
Olindo Mare’s right leg: The Seahawks won by 12 points, as Mare kicked four field goals. When the offense stalled, he was there to make sure the possessions weren’t pointless – hitting from 37, 37, 24 and 20 yards at the end of drives that covered 54, 65, 72 and 54 yards.
Matthew Stafford’s right arm: The word on the Lions’ rookie QB entering the game was that he’d make one pass that would elicit a “wow,” only to follow it with one that prompted a “what is he doing?” That was Stafford on this Sunday, when he threw five interceptions – two by Hawthorne and one each by strong safety Deon Grant and cornerbacks Marcus Trufant and Josh Wilson. The picks came at the Seahawks’ 22, 9, 43 and 39 yard lines.
The week ahead
Another gotta-have-it game. As important as it was for the Seahawks to find a way to dispatch the Lions, it’s just as important that they come up with a way to upset the NFC West-leading Cardinals in Arizona.
Despite their 3-5 record, the Seahawks are only two games off the division lead with eight to play. The players continue to talk about how their goals still are obtainable, but an already tenuous grip on the situation will slip away if they can’t find ways to win on the road. After the game in Arizona, the Seahawks will travel to Minnesota and St. Louis before playing three of their final five games at home.
This week, they will have to accomplish what they couldn’t in losing 27-3 to the Cardinals at Qwest Field in Week 6 – match the Cardinals’ intensity, pressure Kurt Warner into making mistakes and sustain drives. In the earlier game, the Seahawks’ longest series lasted nine plays, covered 59 yards and ended in their only points – Mare’s 28-yard field goal. Other than that? Eight possessions that lasted three plays or fewer and trio of five-play series.
Despite the way they looked in back-to-back wins over the Seahawks and Giants (by a combined score of 51-20), the Cardinals are beatable – especially at home. While they are 4-0 on the road, the Cardinals have lost by four to the 49ers, 21 to the Colts and 13 to the Panthers at home.
Go figure. Which is exactly what the Seahawks must do – figure out a way to keep the Cardinals frustrated at home.