Here’s how the Seattle Seahawks grade out in their 38-30 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at State Farm Stadium:
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson made two egregious errors, as his turnovers deep in Seahawks territory directly led to two Arizona touchdowns. However, Wilson was immaculate otherwise, throwing three inch-perfect touchdown passes and taking a hit on a scramble for the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter. Running back Rashaad Penny had yet another huge day, including the clinching fourth-quarter touchdown run when he burst through for 62 yards — and increased his free-agent cost even further. Add on 8-for-12 on third-down conversions and this is what Seattle envisioned its offense being all season long.
Sure, Seattle allowed 30 points, but the defense essentially bore no responsibility for two of Arizona’s touchdowns. The Seahawks did a tremendous job disrupting Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, sacking him five times (with a substantial assist to the coverage) and getting into his face to force dump-offs. The defense wasn’t great on third down (9-for-18), but was generally stout when the Cardinals drove into scoring position (1-for-3 in the red zone). Linebacker Jordyn Brooks punctuated his breakout campaign with 20 tackles to set Seattle’s single-season record (183).
Seattle’s special teams made one of the most important plays of the game when, with the score tied 24-24 in the third quarter, Travis Homer’s pressure on an Arizona punt resulted in a fumble and recovery, giving the Seahawks possession at the 10 and setting up what would be the game-winning TD. Kicker Jason Myers was good in all respects, converting all his field goals and extra points and being particularly effective on kickoffs. Seattle then easily secured Arizona’s late onside-kick attempt. A block-in-the-back penalty on a punt return was the only blip on the radar.
Seattle’s coaching was up for second-guessing all season long, but Pete Carroll and company got it mostly right in this one. The Seahawks, despite having nothing to play for and being forced to shuffle the lineup because of COVID-19 positives, left it all on the field in a game that had playoff consequences for several other teams. The offensive creativity that was often lacking earlier in the season showed up in a meaningful way. There was a slight hangover coming out of halftime as Seattle allowed a quick-strike tying TD. But the defense adjusted after that, and the coaches managed to keep the players engaged even after safety Quandre Diggs’ horrible injury in the fourth quarter.
This was a turbulent season for the Seahawks, who at 7-10 finished with a losing record for the first time since 2011. Seattle had a positive point differential, and with a 9-8 team making the playoffs in the NFC the postseason was there for the taking. But at least the Seahawks finished off on a high note, hopefully providing some positive vibes heading into an offseason where people are wondering about the futures of Carroll and Wilson. And this performance leaves fans wistfully wondering what could have been if Wilson hadn’t suffered his finger injury.