What We Learned: Seahawks K Sebastian Janikowski saved his job with last-second FG
On one hand, Seattle needed a last-second field goal to beat the only team in the NFL that remains winless.
On the other, the Seahawks are at .500 in spite of playing three of their first four games on the road.
And as you debate whether the first month of this season was half full or not, here’s a list of other things we’ve learned at the quarter-pole of the season:
1) Seattle’s running game is no longer a running joke.
The Seahawks didn’t have a single player rush for more than 100 yards in a game last season. They’ve had two different guys surpass that mark in the span of eight days. With Chris Carson sidelined by a hip injury on Sunday in Arizona, Mike Davis carried 21 times for 101 yards and scored two touchdowns. The Seahawks gained 170 yards on the ground against the Cardinals’ defense, which by the way allowed an average of 76.5 yards rushing to the Seahawks in the four meetings between the teams over the previous two seasons. Also, Rashaad Penny showed remarkable burst in a second-half sweep that was his best run of the season.
2) The Seahawks fourth-down decision-making in the first half was absolutely indefensible.
If the Seahawks were going to be aggressive, they shouldn’t have hesitated to go for it on their opening drive when they faced fourth-and-1 at the Arizona 44. Instead, they punted. OK, fine. They were being (overly) conservative against a Cardinals team that was offensively impotent for the first three weeks and starting a rookie quarterback. But if Seattle was being conservative, why in the world did the Seahawks go for it near midfield with 34 seconds left in the first half? The Seahawks had no timeouts left and were only really playing for a field goal, and when quarterback Russell Wilson was sacked at midfield, the Cardinals had the ball with good field position and two timeouts remaining. In summary, the Seahawks punted when they should have gone for it then went for it when they should have punted and wound up with the worst of both worlds. The fact that Arizona kicker Phil Dawson missed a 50-yard field-goal attempt as time expired in the second quarter was all that saved the thing from being a total joke.
3) Sebastian Janikowski saved his job with that 52-yard field goal at the end of regulation.
He had already missed two attempts earlier in the game. He also missed an attempt in the Seahawks’ opening-week loss at Denver. Given that Seattle got burned sticking with Blair Walsh last season, it would have been hard to imagine the Seahawks not making a change if Janikowski had missed a third attempt in Sunday’s game. He has an incredible leg, but we’re only one-quarter of the way through the season and he’s plum out of mulligans.