Seattle, led by an unlikely offensive source, escaped Arizona with a win. But the victory came at a heavy price.
Mike Davis filled in admirably as a last-minute replacement for an injured Chris Carson, Russell Wilson engineered another game-winning drive and Sebastian Janikowski overcame two early misses to drill a 52-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Seahawks to a 20-17 win over the Cardinals on Sunday at State Farm Stadium.
Seattle again committed to its run game, and Davis was the main benefactor. The veteran back, who started the final five games for the Seahawks last year, ran for 101 yards and two scores on 21 carries, giving Seattle their second 100-yard back in as many weeks. Carson ran for 102 yards last week against Dallas.
The win improved Seattle to 2-2 after starting the year with back-to-back losses, but severe injuries to All-Pro safety Earl Thomas and rising tight end Will Dissly left a major stain on the victory.
“It was a bittersweet ballgame because of the guys we got banged up,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “It was a terrific matchup with the Cardinals. Everybody battled right down to the last second, and fortunately we were able to get Sebas (Janikowski) to kick another 50-yarder and win the game. But we are feeling for Earl. We are feeling for Will Dissly that got hurt also.”
Thomas’ injury happened midway through the fourth quarter as he tried to defend an Arizona touchdown pass. His leg was quickly fashioned with an air cast, and Thomas, who held out during the preseason hoping to land a new contract, flashed his middle finger toward what appeared to be the Seahawks’ sideline as he was carted off the field. Later Carroll confirmed Thomas suffered a lower-leg fracture.
“It’s a big stadium. I don’t know where it was aimed at,” Carroll said when asked postgame about Thomas’ gesture.
Seattle took an early 7-0 lead on a first-quarter, 20-yard touchdown run by Davis, but a Phil Dawson 23-yard field goal and a David Johnson 1-yard TD run gave the Cardinals a 10-7 halftime lead.
The Seahawks tied the game at 10 with a Janikowski 40-yard field goal at 7:24 in the third quarter. Davis put Seattle back in front on the Seahawks’ next drive, finishing a five-play, 47-yard drive with a 1-yard rushing score.
A 22-yard touchdown pass from Josh Rosen to Chad Williams tied the game 17-17 with 8:59 remaining in the fourth. After a missed 45-yard field goal from Dawson with 1:50 to play, Wilson moved Seattle into field-goal territory, setting up Janikowski’s game-winner.
Seattle’s first road win gets the Seahawks to .500 and gives them back-to-back victories. Seattle sits two games behind the undefeated Los Angeles Rams in the NFC West. Critical injuries to Dissly and Thomas surely will be felt moving forward. Dissly, a rookie fourth-round pick, has impressed through the season’s first three weeks. Besides his blocking ability, Dissly had been a surprise factor in the pass game. Who knows the fallout regarding Thomas’ injury and his subsequent gesture. Regarded as one of the best safeties in the game, Seattle will be without a cornerstone piece of its defense for the foreseeable future.
Mike Davis, Seahawks — Davis ran hard, finishing with 101 rushing yards, 23 receiving yards and two rushing scores. He quickly established himself as Seattle’s most effective runner, out-snapping Rashaad Penny, who finished with 49 yards on nine carries.
Tre Flowers, Seahawks — The Seattle rookie cornerback finished with a team-high six tackles to go with a forced fumble.
David Johnson, Cardinals — The Arizona back accumulated 112 total yards and a touchdown. His ability to run effectively took pressure off Rosen, a rookie who was making his first career start.
“The offensive line, they kept pushing. They are a big reason we were able to get these back-to-back 100-yard games. We got to keep relying on them.” — Mike Davis
“We had missed so many opportunities in the game that it had to come down to that drama. Fortunately we got a guy who has been there more than anyone in history, and he came through for us.” — Pete Carroll on the game’s ending
“He’s our brother. We have been through a lot together, and nothing is going to change that. So whether he is on this team or whether we are on opposite sides of the world, it don’t matter. He calls me, I’m picking up the phone. And I call him, I know he’s picking up the phone, because we are family now, so it doesn’t matter. Regardless of this situation, it’s never going to change.” — Doug Baldwin on Earl Thomas
PLAY OF THE GAME
While Janikowski’s 52-yard field goal won the game for Seattle, Mike Davis’ 20-yard touchdown run was arguably the game’s most exciting play. Davis took an inside handoff from Wilson and immediately cut back to the right side. He made a defender miss by bouncing all the way outside and got a block from Wilson before front-flipping over the goal line and into the end zone.
HOUSE OF HORRORS
While Seattle has won four of its past five games against the Cardinals in Glendale, Arizona, State Farm Stadium (formerly University of Phoenix Stadium) has left the Seahawks with painful memories. It housed Seattle’s brutal Super Bowl XLIX loss and claimed Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman to injury last season. It may have wiped out the entire Legion of Boom with Thomas’ injury Sunday.
ROSEN’S FIRST START
Arizona’s rookie first-round pick out of UCLA got his first NFL start, looking to resurrect a Cardinals team that was 0-3 ahead of Sunday. Rosen completed 15 of 27 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. He made several nice throws and would have had a more impressive stat line if it weren’t for several drops from his wide receivers.
Seattle’s biggest test of the season comes next week when the Seahawks host the undefeated Rams at 1:25 p.m. Sunday at CenturyLink Field.