Glendale, Arizona. –At this point, after Sunday’s decisive 31-21 win in Arizona against the Cardinals for their fourth consecutive win by 10 points or more, the Seahawks are probably a lot better than everyone thought.
And the timeline suggests there’s no good reason to change anything anytime soon.
Consider what awaits the Seahawks – next Sunday’s game in Munich against a Tampa Bay team that beat the Rams on Sunday but doesn’t look close to their Super Bowl-winning standings two years ago; at home against the Raiders which is one of the biggest disappointments in the NFL; The Rams against another team is one of the biggest disappointments in the league; And then at Carolina’s home before the December 15 game against the 49ers who suddenly looks like he could decide the NFC West.
Who’da thunk that?
And on that happy note, to some degree.
Gino Smith made a huge mistake on a pick-six throw by Zaven Collins which for a brief second looked like he might swing the game. To be fair to Smith, this was a good play for Collins. Smith was somewhat lucky that another pass in the end zone was not picked up by former Husky Byron Murphy. Other than that, this was Geno Smith MVP-style that Seattle has become this year’s host. His bouncing off that interception to drive three straight TDs for 75 yards or more — including seven consecutive conversions for the third — could be a defining moment of the season.
Class: B Plus.
Kenneth Walker III has already proven a lot this season. But Sunday was perhaps as impressive as any game he’s played as he finished his career with 109 yards on 26 loads, earning 78 of 17 strokes in the second half after having only made 31 for nine in the first half, when the Arizona defense was. It looks like Seattle’s running game has popped up. Walker now has seven touchdowns in his last five games in Seattle and is more than halfway for his 1,000-yard season with 570 yards on 111 coaches, 5.1 per carry. Who says running doesn’t matter?
Well, Tyler Lockett came up a few yards off the first pass on the third pass and 15 in the second quarter. And DK Metcalf was held at just 37 yards in five receptions, with no more than 9. But when counting, the two major receivers in Seattle made the plays needed to win the game—Metcalf tiptoes into the back of the end zone to catch TD 4 yards in the first quarter and Lockett 9 yards in the third. All of them came in third downs. Seattle got nothing else out of its receivers as Dee Eskridge had no grabs, and Marquise Goodwin sat with a thigh injury. But on this day, two were enough.
Class: B Plus.
This was a good game for tight ends as Seattle’s tight end trio combined 10 times for 126 yards, led by Noah Vant 96 yards on five catches—most notably his catch and his 51-yard run to create the final TD in Seattle in the fourth quarter after he cut Arizona score to 24-21. Credit Offensive Coordinator Shane Waldron for the perfect gaming call there too. Colby Parkinson once again demonstrated his greatly improved blocking skills during the match, in particular helping pave the way for Walker’s TD finish.
The running game has been arduous for a while. But then you look up and you see Seattle rushing for 158 yards, the third highest dash of the season. While Smith was hit a few times, he was only fired twice — in back-to-back plays in the third quarter — he had the time he needed. Arizona has eight QB hits, but none of them were from JJ Watt, who made three tackles but didn’t seem to have much of an impact on the game. The Seahawks went again with a rotation in the right guard with Gabe Jackson starting at the start, but Phil Haynes came in in the third series and Seattle used both of them throughout.
line of defense
The Seahawks’ first task is always to make the enemy’s running attack irrelevant. And the Seahawks largely did that Sunday, despite Arizona starting back James Conner, who missed the first game against Seattle through injury. Conner had 45 yards in seven campaigns, but the Cardinals only had 59 yards off their backs in 12 campaigns as defensive tackles in Seattle played well again. And for the second week in a row, Shelby Harris showed why the Seahawks made him a target to trade Russell Wilson as he had three handlers and a sack.
Class: B Plus.
Seattle’s outside backers had another really good day, led by Oceana Noso’s two bags – now with what are already seven career ranks – and Bruce Irving achieving his first position since 2019 in his first game as a full member of the 53-man roster. Rookie Joshua Onogyugo also fought two steps into his NFL debut. As for the inner backers, Jordyn Brooks led Seattle with 12 tackles and Cody Barton had three, with Seattle doing a good job packing the running game in Arizona. But someone blew something to allow TD in Arizona in the first quarter on Kyler Murray’s 22-yard pass to DeAndre Hopkins.
Class: B Plus.
Not only to keep giving compliments, but it was another good day for high school as well. Safety Ryan Neal turned in one of the highlights of the game with his forced stumble to Keeler Murray in the second quarter to keep the Seahawks ahead 10-7 before halftime. Rookie Tariq Wolin had a great game when he faced Hopkins – none of Hopkins’ four goals were conceded against Wolin. And carrying a supposedly explosive offense like Arizona’s to no more than 14 yards in the second half speaks volumes about how well the secondary handles its assignments and doesn’t miss out on interventions.
Rookie receiver Dareke Young played two beautiful games in a game with an interference in the first quarter and then assisted with a kick at the 3-yard line in the second quarter. Dejay Dallas, who appears to be in charge of returning punts for good, had 19 yards while Jason Myers had a 49-yard field goal in the first half.
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