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Seahawks-Cardinals Replay: The 10 biggest plays based on EPA

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday’s Seahawks-Cardinals game was a dominant performance by Seattle where the final score was closer than the game indicated. This week’s edition of EPA replay is the tight end edition, with both Jimmy Graham and Jermaine Gresham appearing twice.

For an overview of EPA and this series, see my intro article here. Onto the plays:

#10. Q2 4-9 SEA 38: (:52) (Shotgun) Drew Stanton pass incomplete deep left to J.J. Nelson.

EPA:2.36. Score before play: ARI7, SEA12. SEA WP change: 63-> 71. TD% before: 7. TD% after: 3

#9. Q4 4-8 SEA 15: (4:20) (Shotgun) D.Stanton pass incomplete short middle to Jaron Brown (Bradley McDougald).

EPA:2.41. Score before play: ARI10, SEA22. SEA WP change: 92-> 95. TD% before: 9. TD% after: 15

McDougald’s diagnosis and break on the ball isn’t anywhere near as fast as Earl Thomas (no one’s is), but against Drew Stanton it’s good enough.

#8. Q3 2-10 SEA 20: (8:24) (Shotgun) Russell Wilson pass short left to J.Graham to SEA 24 for 4 yards. PENALTY on ARI- Karlos Dansby, Roughing the Passer, 15 yards, enforced at SEA 24.

EPA:2.52. Score before play: SEA15, ARI10. SEA WP change: 64-> 74. TD% before: 27. TD% after: 42

It’s kind of unfortunate that the Seahawks might be getting in trouble for a play in which their quarterback got speared in the head, but here we are.

It feels like Seattle has had more protection issues against these types of blitzes in the past couple weeks.

#7. Q4 3-1 SEA 9: (:28) (No Huddle, Shotgun) D.Stanton pass short middle to J.Gresham to SEA 1 for 8 yards.

EPA:2.63. Score before play: ARI10, SEA22. SEA WP change: 98-> 98. TD% before: 25. TD% after: 79

On ominous beginning to this play, with KJ Wright yelling at Justin Coleman to get over to the other side of the field. Coleman is then running the wrong way when Gresham catches the ball in front of him, allowing a gain down to Seattle’s 1.

#6. Q2 2-6 SEA 14: (15:00) D.Stanton pass short left to J.Gresham for 14 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

EPA:2.68. Score before play: ARI0, SEA7. SEA WP change: 61-> 53. TD% before: 49. TD% after: 100

Kam nearly had this one sniffed out but a last-second block on his shoulder pad was enough to ensure the Arizona TD.

#5. Q4 4-4 SEA 45: (6:43) (Shotgun) D.Stanton pass short right to Larry Fitzgerald pushed ob at SEA 31 for 14 yards (J.Lane).

EPA:3.05. Score before play: ARI10, SEA22. SEA WP change: 92-> 86. TD% before: 19. TD% after: 47

This should have been called offensive pass interference as the receiver initiated contact with the defender and made no effort to run a route until after the contact was made.

#4. Q1 3-3 ARI 6: (5:11) (Shotgun) R.Wilson pass short middle to J.Graham for 6 yards, TOUCHDOWN. ARI- Tyvon Branch was injured during the play.

EPA:3.06. Score before play: SEA0, ARI0. SEA WP change: 62-> 72. TD% before: 37. TD% after: 100

Nice job by Wilson to throw it up where Jimmy could use his body to box out and by Jimmy to come down with the catch.

#3. Q3 3-12 ARI 16: (5:30) (Shotgun) D.Stanton pass deep middle to John Brown to ARI 34 for 18 yards. SEA- Richard Sherman was injured during the play.

EPA:3.50. Score before play: ARI10, SEA15. SEA WP change: 75-> 63. TD% before: 20. TD% after: 39

This was good coverage from Sherman until his achilles gave out.

#2. Q4 2-21 SEA 44: (13:21) (Shotgun) R.Wilson pass short left to Doug Baldwin pushed ob at ARI 2 for 54 yards.

EPA:4.57. Score before play: SEA15, ARI10. SEA WP change: 73-> 86. TD% before: 34. TD% after: 85

#1. Q1 1-10 SEA 48: (13:10) Adrian Peterson up the middle to SEA 47 for 1 yard (Kam Chancellor). FUMBLES (K.Chancellor), RECOVERED by SEA- Sheldon Richardson at ARI 48.

EPA:6.18. Score before play: ARI0, SEA0. SEA WP change: 42-> 58. TD% before: 46. TD% after: 13

Watch Kam toss a blocker to the ground and then come back into the play to force the fumble. We don’t appreciate what he does as a safety enough.

Looking ahead

538 projects the NFC West race as a dead heat, with Seattle having a 51% chance of winning the division and the Los Angeles Rams a 47% chance. The Rams advantage in the standings is balanced by the Seahawks’ earlier victory in LA and the Rams still facing road games against the Vikings and Seahawks (both Seattle and Los Angeles will host the Eagles). Seattle now has to run the gauntlet of their schedule, with 5 of their next 6 games coming against very good teams (Atlanta, Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, and Dallas). This is the stretch that will determine whether Seattle will host any playoff games in January.