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Rapid Reaction To The Seahawks' 22-16 Win at Arizona Cardinals
GLENDALE, Ariz.—The Seahawks won for the sixth straight time on Thursday night, defeating the Arizona Cardinals 22-16 at University of Phoenix Stadium. Another strong defensive performance and big plays by Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham highlighted a win that improved Seattle’s record to 6-3, but there will also be a number of injury question marks following this game.
Here are six rapid reactions to Thursday night’s win in the desert:
1. The Defense Came To Play.
Despite starting the game without Earl Thomas and finishing it without several other key players (more on that in a bit), the Seahawks defense was outstanding Thursday, holding the Cardinals to just 17 points and 290 yards, and the last seven points came in the final minute with the Seahawks ahead by two scores. Until that final drive, the Cardinals only managed to score on two drives during which they gained a combined six first downs via penalty.
Most notably, the Seahawks shut down Adrian Peterson, who was coming off a huge performance this past Sunday. Playing with a backup quarterback, Drew Stanton, the Cardinals were hoping to get Peterson going, but the Seahawks held him to just 29 yards on 21 carries.
“The defense did a fantastic job of stopping really what we felt like they wanted to do, which was run the football," said Seattle head coach Pete Carroll. "They were pretty dedicated to it and to play with that kind of consistency the whole time and give up 30 yards rushing when they really wanted to go was a fantastic effort by those guys. That’s the discipline, attention to the details of it, and just tough one play after another against an awesome, all-time back. So a really great job."
2. Kam Chancellor Was Outstanding.
With his longtime safety running mate Thomas out of the game, and with Richard Sherman leaving with an injury, Kam Chancellor was the last original Legion of Boom member standing, and he put on quite a show. In addition to having 10 tackles, Chancellor also had a forced fumble on Arizona’s first play from scrimmage, tackled Peterson in the end zone for a safety, and had a pass breakup in the end zone on a fourth-quarter defensive stand.
3. Wilson To Baldwin Remains A Very Effective Combo.
After catching seven passes for 108 yards last week, Doug Baldwin added five catches for 95 yards against Arizona. Wilson, meanwhile, bounced back from last week’s loss by completing 22 of 32 passes for 238 yards, two scores, no interceptions and a 111.2 passer rating.
Those two also combined for one of the biggest and most exciting plays of the game, with Wilson rolling left, spinning away from pressure twice, then heaving up a pass while running backward, a pass that Baldwin was able to secure with a spectacular leaping grab. Baldwin then sprinted down the left sideline for a 54-yard gain that set up Seattle’s second touchdown of the night and gave the Seahawks some breathing room.
“A phenomenal play between Doug and Russ," Carroll said. "I can’t wait to see it again. It seemed like it took forever. Just fantastic execution and chemistry between those two guys got that done."
4. Jimmy Graham's Becoming The Red Zone Threat Everyone Was Hoping He Could Be.
While Jimmy Graham has done a lot of good things in his time with the Seahawks, he scored only eight touchdowns in his first two seasons in Seattle, not the type of red zone production he is used to or that the Seahawks were hoping for when they traded for him. That has changed this season, with Graham hauling in two more touchdowns Thursday to bring his total to six through nine games this season. On Graham’s second touchdown, he used his size and strength to simply outmuscle safety Antoine Bethea, who had good coverage on the play.
“I know everybody’s been wanting to see that, and we’re seeing it," Carroll said. "Jimmy’s doing a great job and Russ is doing a great job with it. He’s just that kind of a player you can really go to, you know it’s coming and he can get it anyway. Pretty extraordinary."
5. It Was A Brutal Day For Injuries.
The Seahawks escaped Arizona with a win, but it was a potentially costly game in terms of injuries.
Most notably, All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman left the game with what was announced as a heel injury. The Seahawks also lost starting defensive tackle Jarran Reed to a hamstring injury early in the game, left tackle Duane Brown to an ankle injury and strongside linebacker Michael Wilhoite to a calf injury. Running back C.J. Prosise also left the game with an ankle injury. Prosise had missed four of the previous five games with an ankle injury. And if all of that wasn’t bad enough, two Seahawks left with injuries on the same play during the fourth quarter, with Sheldon Richardson and Frank Clark running into each other in the Arizona backfield. Fortunately, Richardson was able to return to the game. Read
It was a rough day for the Cardinals as well, who lost left tackle D.J. Humphries, safety Tyvon Branch and tight end Ifeanyi Momah to injuries.
6. Penalties Remain An Issue.
While it didn’t cost the Seahawks the game this time, they did continue to make things more difficult because of penalties. A week after being penalized 16 times against Washington, the Seahawks were flagged 12 times for 108 yards. Unlike last week when penalties kept the offense from getting on track, the penalties were particularly problematic on defense, with two of Arizona’s scores coming on drives aided by penalties. On the Cardinals’ first touchdown drive, they gained four first downs via defensive penalty, and gained two more via penalty on a drive that ended in a field goal.
But the Seahawks weren’t the only team hurt by penalties, as Arizona was flagged nine times for 58 yards.
- Dion Jordan recorded a sack in his first game with the Seahawks. Jordan, who was activated off the non-football injury list this week, had not played an NFL game since the 2014 season due to suspensions and injury, and that was his first sack since Dec. 21, 2014.
- A week after missing three field goal attempts, Blair Walsh bounced back by making a pair of a field goals and an extra point.