The most realistic assessment of Seattle’s 17-10 loss against Arizona came from offensive tackle Russell Okung.
While many of his teammates lamented missed opportunities and the failure to hit on big plays, Okung drove a stake into the heart of the way the Seahawks played offensively.
“We played terrible, man,” he said.
The Seahawks could point to many areas that came up short, but much of it started up front. Seattle lost the battle of the line of scrimmage, and the offense stalled as a result.
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The most damning evidence against the offensive line: Twice the Seahawks tried to punch in a touchdown from inside the Arizona 2, and twice they were stuffed.
“There’s not an offensive line in the country who doesn’t want to win on the goal line,” Okung said. “And we didn’t win on the goal line when it mattered.”
The Cardinals came into the game with a clear idea of how to beat the Seahawks. They knew they had to stop the run, and they knew the only way to corral running back Marshawn Lynch was to dominate the line of scrimmage.
“The only way to have success is to beat the guys up front, give him no lanes, no full speed ahead so he can cut out of the gaps,” Arizona defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said. “Our defensive line coach was on us all week: Knock these guys back and make (Lynch) bounce outside.”
Lynch finished with a respectable 71 yards on 18 carries, but 46 of those yards came in the first quarter and 35 of them came on two carries.
Lynch had nowhere to turn after that. His longest run in the second half went for just 4 yards, and even that comes with an asterisk. Lynch had to break two or three tackles on the play to get that far.
“We just manhandled the line of scrimmage,” Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer said. “We just won that fight.”
The Seahawks tried to counter by spreading the Cardinals out, using three- and four-receiver formations.
“That was part of the game plan because we knew they were going to try and stop the run, so we wanted to get them out of their base defense and let Marshawn do his thing,” receiver Doug Baldwin said. “But I think they anticipated that, too.”
Quarterback Russell Wilson and coach Pete Carroll agreed the offensive line did a good job protecting Wilson. Wilson even called it the “bright spot” for the offense. The Cardinals, though, still sacked Wilson four times and chased him around for much of the day.
“Well, the offense played terrible, so the offensive line has to play better,” Okung said. “I think the offense really goes on our backs and what we do. So we have to get better up front.”
Jayson Jenks: 206-464-8277 or firstname.lastname@example.org