The Seahawks one crucial skill: winning

Oct 24, 2010, 9:20 PM | Updated: Apr 4, 2011, 7:52 pm

By Mike Salk

It’s been six games, do you know who your Seahawks are? I’m not sure I do yet either, but I’m zeroing in on a diagnosis. I think they are a rebuilding football team that has limited it’s mistakes and capitalized on the mistakes of others. And in the NFC West in 2010, that makes them a contender.

The NFL isn’t like college football. You don’t get additional points for dominating your opponent. It doesn’t even matter who you play – all you have to do is win. And in four of the Seahawks first six games, that’s what they have done. And winning in the NFL is a very real skill. Just as some teams are good at running or passing or blitzing, some are good at winning. Right now, that’s what the Seahawks seem to be doing best.

They haven’t necessarily gotten there by dominating anybody. In fact, the Hawks offense was anemic on Sunday. The managed just 302 total yards and saw their red zone offense go nowhere. It’s hard to imagine they would have scored 22 points without the FIVE Arizona turnovers. No, Matt Hasselbeck didn’t throw any picks, but he was not especially impressive either.

Sean Locklear had about as bad a game as I’ve ever seen from a single offensive lineman. He did everything a tackle can do wrong in one game! Holding? Check. False start? Check – near the goal line for good measure. Getting beat for a sack? Check – and it led to a fumble. Getting beat for a blown up running play in the backfield? Check. He was terrible.

Their defense was much better. They stopped Arizona 10 of 12 times on third down and held them to just 10 points. I’d feel even better about that effort if more than half of it had come against a legitimate NFL quarterback! I’m not sure what Max Hall is, but he is definitely not that. He looked like a 12 year old boy trying the shot put for the first time!!! U-G-L-Y.

And while the special teams certainly gets credit for a couple of turnovers, I’m not sure they did much more than show up. Cardinals rookie Andre Roberts should be embarrassed for the way he tried to pick up the ball with one hand and I’ve never seen a return man just kick a ball away like that.

I know what you’re thinking right now. I am reading your mind and you’re saying, “How can you be so negative after a win? This team is 4-2 and atop the division!”

Relax. I’m getting there.

The point is that the Seahawks survived a lousy offensive day by moving the ball effectively when the game dictated it. The 7:20 drive to start the fourth quarter was the backbreaker on Sunday and perhaps their most impressive drive of the season. While I don’t think any more of their defense for playing well against Max Hall, I do recognize that the other team is trying to win with MAX FREAKING HALL and that makes the Seahawks better than the Cardinals. It doesn’t matter if the Hawks are a great team – they were better than the team they played against four times this year, including Sunday.

That gets us back to the idea of winning as a skill. Sometimes it means controlling the ball and winning the turnover battle. Sometimes it means sitting back and waiting for your opponent to self-destruct. Sometimes it means making a few more big plays than your opponent. Look at the Seahawks four wins this year and you’ll see elements of those blueprints all over them. The Hawks sat back and waited while San Francisco self destructed. They made a few more big plays than the Chargers did. And they certainly won the turnover battle against the Cardinals. None of those three wins were aesthetically pretty, but they all count. And that’s all that really matters.

* * *

-What the heck was Arizona doing on Sunday? I mean, what an awful game! Why did they not start the quarterback who gave them the best chance to win? Say what you want about Derek Anderson, but he is a legitimate NFL player. He may not be a star (or even a starter), but he does belong in the league. Max Hall does not. He is not NFL material right now. He could not make the basic throws and the Arizona offense was not operating to its full capacity with him in the game. I don’t blame the wet conditions or the loud crowd. He simply is not talented enough to start for that team. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when these teams meet again and Arizona decides to play for 60 minutes instead of 25.

-Heckuva job by Walter Thurmond. I don’t care who was throwing the ball – Larry Fitzgerald caught three balls for 30 yards despite being targeted 10 times. That is pretty impressive.

-How about Olindo Mare? He made all five of his field goals but actually hit nine times because of penalties. I have never seen a player commit holding penalties on consecutive FIELD GOALS the way Cameron Morrah did. Ugh.

-On a day in which it seemed the entire NFL was fumbling away every opportunity, kudos to the Seahawks for keeping possession of the ball. I especially liked the play Leon Washington made on the first possession of the game when a swing pass to him was tipped. Rather than try to catch the ball and risk a loss on the play or let it go for a possible fumble, I liked that he knocked it out of bounds. Good, smart, safe play.

-Anyone catch Brett Favre throwing three picks in seven attempts to lose the game for the Vikings? How about Jay Cutler throwing a four pack of interceptions to DeAngelo Hall? I understand the frustration with Hasselbeck, but those picks will kill you. Cutler and Favre threw a combined seven picks in losses while Hasselbeck threw zero in a win.

Every Monday morning at 9:20 am, Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll joins us to break down the previous Sunday’s Seahawks game. Submit your question for Coach Carroll here and if we ask the coach your question, you’ll win a pair of tickets to an upcoming Seahawks game at Qwest Field. It’s the Pete Carroll Show every Monday at 9:20 am on Brock and Salk.

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