GLENDALE, Ariz. — Richard Sherman ruptured his Achilles tendon and is out for the season. The three-time All-Pro cornerback finished the game dragging his right leg along the sidelines coaching and cheering his teammates.
“A bastion of consistency and competitiveness and toughness,” coach Pete Carroll said after the Seahawks didn’t win as much as they survived this Thursday in the desert, 22-16 over the Arizona Cardinals.
Duane Brown and Jarran Reed left injured, too.
C.J. Prosise also left hurt. No surprise there. It’s another ankle issue, a continuation of the high-ankle sprain he’s had for parts of two months.
Shaquill Griffin went into the locker room and with a dislocated shoulder, but he had it popped back into place and returned. Sheldon Richardson exited and returned, then exited and returned again.
Kam Chancellor, late in the game, went into the sideline tent for evaluation.
Even Russell Wilson, of all people, exited briefly for an injury evaluation — after getting nailed in the chin.
And then, this happened:
After two more penalties gave the Seahawks a second-and-21 with a 15-7 lead over Arizona in the fourth quarter, Wilson rolled left to pass. He spun away from one free-rushing Cardinals defender at the 40. He ran back to the 30. He spun away from two more flailing defenders.
Meanwhile, Doug Baldwin came across the field and ran one of his signature improvisational routes to the left sideline. Wilson spun again, threw against his body and uncorked a jump ball. Baldwin caught it inside his falling defender. Baldwin ran most of the way for a 54-yard catch.
Wilson connected with Jimmy Graham on the next play for a touchdown pass that clinched Seattle’s event-filled victory.
The Seahawks survived. And not at all completely intact.
“This (expletive) is not OK. You can quote me on that,” Baldwin said of Thursday-after-Sunday games.
He played through an injured groin he got in pregame.
Good thing, perhaps, that the Seahawks (6-3) don’t play again until Monday, Nov. 20, at home on a Monday night against Atlanta.
Sherman’s injury and not returning for the rest of the third and fourth quarters of his 105th consecutive game played was bigger news than the win, or anything else that happened on Thursday.
Bigger than Seattle getting its second safety in two games. Bigger than two field goals from rebounding Blair Walsh.
Bigger than more shut-down defensive work against overmatched Arizona quarterback Drew Stanton, and than the 12 more penalties these Seahawks committed after 16 last weekend.
Seattle leads the NFL with 94 penalties in nine games this season.
Sherman, the three-time All-Pro cornerback, entered the game questionable to play because of an Achilles-tendon issue for which he’s been limited from practicing on-and-off since September. In the middle of the third quarter he fell face-down into the turf then left the field with trainers dragging his right leg behind him.
He angrily pulled away from medical attention. He accepted a hug from Wilson in front of the bench. Sherman spent the final quarter up dragging the injured leg as if it was made of wood and congratulating teammates, shaking and clapping hands.
Brown, the Seahawks’ big trade acquisition two weeks ago from Houston as an accomplished addition to the offensive line, left in the first half with an ankle injury. Matt Tobin replaced him the rest of the game.
Prosise had three carries for three yards in his first action in three games. Then he left with another ankle injury.
Richardson left in the first half with a leg injury, returned — then slammed into teammate Frank Clark while both were chasing after Stanton. Both went down. Richardson came back in on the drive. Clark stayed out with a thigh injury.
Outside linebacker Michael Wilhoite exited with a calf injury.
Reed stayed out the final three quarters with an injured hamstring.
And Arizona lost three players to injury, including starting left tackle D.J. Humphries and safety Tyvon Branch. Branch got hurt when Graham pummeled him to the ground in the end zone while catching his first touchdown pass. That made it 7-0 late in the opening quarter.
Arizona tied it on a screen-pass touchdown on which Bradley McDougald, the fill-in free safety for injured three-time All-Pro Earl Thomas, ran away from a tackle instead of making it.
Then the Seahawks took the lead in the second quarter the best way they know how — with their defense. And with their new scoring weapon, the safety. Seattle got one for the second time in four days.
Jon Ryan boomed a punt 57 yards to the Arizona 2-yard line. The Cardinals’ Kerwynn Williams inexplicably returned it instead of a likely touchback. The Cardinals’ Justin Bethel was caught holding as soon as Williams caught the punt, negating his short return and putting enforcement spot of the foul back to the 1-yard line to start that drive instead.
On the next play, Seahawks outside linebacker K.J. Wright went free on a rare inside blitz. That forced Arizona running back Adrian Peterson to cut right immediately after getting the handoff — and right into Chancellor for the safety. That gave the Seahawks the lead for good, 9-7.
The last time, and only other time Seattle had safeties in consecutive games was 1993.
Walsh kicked two field goals to end the half, after missing all three of his tries in the first half in the rain, wind and cold in Seattle last weekend. What a difference a desert makes. Walsh giving the Seahawks a 15-7 lead meant he felt more comfortable to go inside with his teammates at halftime instead of staying outside to practice more kicks during the entire break as he did last weekend at CenturyLink Field.
Seattle gained 190 yards in the half, and limited the Cardinals to just 90.
The Seahawks got a first-quarter touchdown .For one of the few times this season, Wilson and the Seahawks successfully exploited Graham’s size advantage over nearly every cover man in the league in one-on-one coverage near the goal line.
For the first time since he began protesting mistreatment of minorities and the need for police reform at the preseason opener in mid-August, Michael Bennett stood during a national anthem at a game. All Seahawks did, after his fellow defensive linemen had joined him in recent weeks.