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Seahawks 20 Cardinals 17: Winners and Losers from another Pyrrhic victory in Arizona

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

A year ago when the Seattle Seahawks beat the Arizona Cardinals 22-16 but lost Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, I wrote a “Winners and Losers” post on Seattle’s “Pyrrhic victory.” I have to recycle the headline this year because Earl Thomas fractured his leg and his Seahawks career is almost certainly over, and Will Dissly has a patellar tendon injury that likely ends his season. Two key players for two different reasons. Thomas represented greatness while Dissly was the future. We might not see Earl again, while Dissly’s career may change substantially if the injury is as serious as it looked.

This is a Winners and Losers that is no doubt a rough one to get through.

Winners

Mike Davis

Undoubtedly the player of the game. Filling in for Chris Carson, Davis ran for 101 yards on 21 carries and had both of Seattle’s touchdowns, as well as 23 yards receiving. He was powerful, broke tackles, and showed great vision in open space. Seattle’s rushing game was largely inefficient last week, this week was something I hope we see more often, and perhaps Davis has earned more snaps on a regular basis even when Chris Carson returns.

Rashaad Penny

9 carries for 49 yards is the most productive showing from Penny by far, and he had a key 4th and 1 conversion to keep Seattle’s game-tying field goal drive alive. He needs to have more decisiveness in the open field instead of slowing down as if he’s Le’Veon Bell, but he looked quicker going downhill than in previous weeks.

D.J. Fluker

The strength of the Seahawks rushing attack has to boil down to D.J. Fluker. He’s no one’s idea of even a good pass blocker, but he’s a mauler in the run game and it’s no coincidence that both of Davis’ touchdowns came on his side of the field.

Jarran Reed

Another week, another sack for big #90, and the Seahawks front as a whole did much better in the 2nd half shutting down David Johnson and the Cardinals run game. Reed is a major reason for that, and he’s had a strong start to the year.

Tre Flowers

In effect, he had a forced fumble/pass breakup last week on ETIII’s first interception against the Dallas Cowboys. This week, he forces David Johnson to fumble deep in his own territory for the game’s only turnover. There will still be growing pains, and I suspect he will be torched by the Rams next week, but the potential is there!

David Moore

It was only two catches for 39 yards, but it’s his first two catches in the NFL. One was caught and them fumbled, and he picked it up for a first-down, while the other gained 30 yards and put the Seahawks in position to take the lead. This is an important development, considering...

Losers

Brandon Marshall

Cut. These drops are absolutely inexcusable. He had one that killed Seattle’s possession off the David Johnson takeaway. More David Moore, please.

Doug Baldwin

I didn’t think I’d ever put him on here, but Baldwin’s first game back saw him fall short of the sticks on three third-down conversions, and he had a holding penalty (albeit on Chandler Jones) that turned a promising Seahawks drive into a missed FG for Seabass. He’s still awesome and he’s still the best receiver on the team, but this wasn’t one of his better performances. I’m sure he’ll be up to speed (or as much as he can with the other injured knee) once he’s in the flow of things over the next few weeks.

Brian Schottenheimer and Pete Carroll

Props to Schottenheimer for finally calling more zone-read runs, but he has no feel for playcalling in game flow. Why on earth did they keep throwing it on 3rd and short? Of all the times when running the ball is just as sensible as throwing it, Schotty defaulted to throws all but once, and the Seahawks converted that 4th and 1 through Penny. They had more 4th down conversions than 3rd... because they converted on zero 3rd downs. Play-action inexplicably was scarcely used despite clear success on the ground. This is headscratching, it’s baffling, and a hire I was not really keen on in the first place looks like it’s not panning out. Kenneth certainly agrees.

As for Pete Carroll, he refused to go for it on 4th and 1 in Arizona territory on the game’s first drive, then did it again at his own 35 a couple of possessions later. Carroll used to be known as “Big Balls Pete.” Then when he does go for it, he burns a timeout and they dial up a pass play that ends in a sack. Schottenheimer’s bad playcalling is compounded with horrible game management by Carroll. Two timeouts burned in the 2nd half put the Seahawks defense in a tenuous position on the penultimate drive where a failure to get a stop meant the Cardinals could’ve run the clock out. The team as a whole feels poorly coached and disorganized.

Delano Hill

Hill saw limited action, then for like the 15th time dating back to just preseason, he had a chance to stop someone short of first-down yardage, and instead missed a tackle. David Johnson shed Hill and got a first-down on what proved to be Arizona’s unsuccessful final drive. What’s Jeron Johnson up to these days?

Winner and a Loser

Sebastian Janikowski

I had him in the Losers column and ready to cut him. Frankly I’m still nervous that he’s going to cost the Seahawks down the line, as his two misses led to 10 Arizona points. However, he shook off the struggles, made all of his 2nd half kicks, including the game-winner from 52 yards away as time expired. That might actually be the first “as time expired” game-winning field goal of the Russell Wilson era. Thanks to Seabass for saving the day, but he created his own situation with his two misses, and I’m still nervous moving forward.

Final notes

  • Dick Stockton and Mark Schlereth are the bottom-rung crew for the NFL on FOX. I understand that we shouldn’t expect them to be good, but they are terrible. Seattle will have Sam Rosen and Ronde Barber next week, and hopefully that’s an improvement. I’m tired of hearing about Rashard Perry, and beyond that, we might as well have been watching a Cardinals home broadcast.
  • Russell Wilson is a better blocker than Tre Madden. Other than that and the game-winning drive though, he was arguably outplayed by Josh Rosen, who was victimized by a series of wide open drops. Wilson barely went downfield, dinked and dunked, and while he finally kept on a zone-read, I fear he’s no longer in the prime of his athletic career. We’re not getting 2012 or 2014 Russ scrambling anymore, for better or worse. I would love for him to be coached by brilliant offensive minds before it’s too late. Look at this league! Wilson is getting left behind. He’s clearly not playing so badly that he needs to be benched or not re-signed or whatever, but he’s not taking that next step towards becoming a top-3 QB. There is absolutely no way he’ll reach that status with Carroll and Schotty.
  • Barkevious Mingo blew up a run play and Mychal Kendricks remained active rushing the QB and doing the dirty work. Seattle’s linebacker play has been a major positive in K.J. Wright’s absence. Bobby Wagner is Bobby Wagner, meaning that he’s great.
  • I think Josh Rosen has a bright future as long as he gets properly coached. Steve Wilks seems to be in over his head and Mike McCoy is pathetic, so it’ll probably be a different regime. Let’s hope the Cardinals don’t find themselves the next Sean McVay.
  • Injuries aside, I’m still happy enough that they’re 2-2. I’ll take 3-3 at the bye, but this offense needs to click soon or else the playoffs are a pipe dream.