Here’s how the Seattle Seahawks grade out in their 28-21 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday night at the rebranded Lumen Field:
There are those who dismiss the importance of having a strong running game, but Thursday’s game illustrated how useful a run game can be, as Carlos Hyde’s return from injury spearheaded a 165-yard rushing attack that controlled the clock. Quarterback Russell Wilson, as expected, fixed the turnover issues that plagued him the previous two weeks, and although he wasn’t as dynamic as he was earlier in the season, he took everything the defense gave him, particularly on third down. Rookie Damien Lewis was forced into emergency center duties, and his inexperience showed as he had a tough day.
While Seattle’s defense faded during much of the second half, it also produced its best half of football this season during the first half, holding the Cardinals to 107 yards and seven points to allow the Seahawks to grab the lead. Poor penalties, combined with Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray heating up a bit, were costly for the defense in the second half as the Cardinals pulled within two. But the defense also forced the fourth-quarter safety that gave Seattle a little breathing room and gave the Seahawks another possession, and it came up with the big stop at the end when Arizona was trying to tie it.
Seattle’s special teams have been difference makers this season, but they weren’t at their best in this one. Jason Myers has been perfect on field goals this season, but missed his second extra point. Punter Michael Dickson wasn’t his usual booming self, so the Seahawks didn’t gain their usual advantage in field position. Ryan Neal had one good moment in kickoff coverage, making up for a 15-yard penalty on punt coverage, but that was about it. Nothing was fatal, but special teams didn’t do a lot to help Seattle win this one.
A week after coaching arguably cost Seattle the game, Pete Carroll and company had a much better outing against the Cardinals. Defensively the Seahawks took away Arizona’s two most dangerous weapons, as Murray was never able to engineer anything with his legs, while receiver DeAndre Hopkins was limited to a handful of throws underneath. Seattle still didn’t get receiver DK Metcalf involved as much as it would have liked, but the early touchdown pass helped ease those concern. One or two of the play calls late left a little to be desired.
This was a huge victory for the Seahawks. Not only did Seattle move back into first place in the NFC West, the Seahawks have what appears to be a breeze of a schedule the next four weeks (opponents with a combined record of 8-28-1), putting the Seahawks in the driver’s seat for claiming the division title. Frankly, Seattle received plenty of help in this one as the Cardinals played a sloppy game from the coaching on down, while Murray appeared to be playing with a sore shoulder. But given the enormity of the contest the Seahawks will take it.