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Points hard to come by in Seattle while breaking in rookie quarterback

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Quarterback Max Hall deals with the aftermath of a crushing blind-side sack while teammates go after his fumble during Sunday's 22-10 loss to the Seahawks.




SEATTLE – Maybe it was a fortuitous woozy.

Max Hall was belted from behind on a sack early in the second half Sunday, losing both a fumble and a chance to stay in the game. The rookie quarterback admitted afterward he felt woozy and nauseous after hitting his head, and coach Ken Whisenhunt said the Cards "couldn't take the risk" of Hall continuing to play.

Whisenhunt ostensibly was talking about the injury risk. He could have been talking about the risk of sticking with a quarterback that wasn't generating anything.

The Cardinals lost, 22-10, to the Seahawks, and the rain didn't help. Neither did the turnovers that nothing to do with Hall, like two special-teams fumbles and another lost fumble by running back Tim Hightower.

But the Cardinals' offense isn't doing enough. Sunday, the difficulty of breaking in a rookie quarterback on a division-contending team was on full display.

Hall completed just 4-of-16 passes, and the Cardinals were scoreless until he came out and veteran Derek Anderson found himself back in the lineup, quickly lending "a little bit of energy" to the offense in the words of wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

Anderson was just temporary, however. Whisenhunt said afterward Hall remains the starting quarterback, assuming he passes his medical reevaluation. Hall's education will continue on the field that counts, which likely won't be easy -- for Hall, his team or his team's fans.

"Let's be frank, you understand that with a young quarterback in this type of environment, you're going to have to grow and learn with some of those things," Whisenhunt said.

The Cardinals might simplify the offense, Whisenhunt said, cutting down on the volume of plays. It didn't go unnoticed that the Cards averaged 5.7 yards a carry against what was the NFL's second-ranked run defense, cracking the 100-yard barrier.

Without support from the passing game – despite his sizzling start, Anderson finished 8-of-17 passing – running the ball won't be enough. Points will be hard to come by, and solid defensive efforts like the one the Cards had will end up frustratingly immaterial.

(The Seahawks weren't much better offensively most of Sunday, actually averaging less yards per play than the Cardinals).

"We've lost some components from the teams that were able to put up those points up," Fitzgerald said. "We have to find ways to get it done. It's as simple as that. We have to find solutions and we have to find them quickly."

Hall, who isn't one to expound much anyway, acknowledged his disappointment in how he played (Despite the rain, "you've still got to be able to execute," Hall said).  

Anderson said the first step for a better offense will be to avoid turnovers, which sounds like a pretty good idea.

It would've been even more important Sunday the way they happened, breaking the Cards' collective backs a couple of times – especially on special teams.

"It's very tough to overcome the turnovers we had, not only from the standpoint of points but emotionally," Whisenhunt said.

Anderson tried. The veteran kept a low profile after being benched, and actually wore a small smile after the game. An Oregon native, he had a bunch of friends and family at the game for his first professional trip to Seattle, and circumstances allowed him to play. "I would have liked to have played a little bit better," he said. "I was fighting to get us back in the game."

Assuming Hall is cleared to play, he will have a home game next. He should have Steve Breaston – who sat again Sunday – back with Fitzgerald and Early Doucet. He should have a re-focused Tim Hightower along with Beanie Wells in the backfield.

Will that lead to his first touchdown drive? The Cardinals need it to -- very, very quickly.

"I don't have any doubt Max will bounce back from this," Whisenhunt said.

The offense depends on it.

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