Feels a lot better going into a mini-bye week on a win, doesn’t it?
The Seattle Seahawks have still never lost three straight in a season under Russell Wilson. Their 28-21 triumph over the Arizona Cardinals temporarily puts them atop the NFC West again and they are headed for the “easy” stretch of the season that could see them potentially expand that lead. A loss would have been devastating, no doubt.
Here’s the Winners and Losers to wrap up your Thursday night.
The Seahawks could’ve re-signed Jadeveon Clowney, or signed Everson Griffen, or signed Robert Quinn, or traded for Yannick Ngakoue. They didn’t do any of those things and their major defensive end additions unfortunately have missed more games than played due to injury. In Bruce Irvin’s case he won’t play at all this season.
Enter Carlos Dunlap. A late-round draft pick and BJ Finney was all it took to get him and he already has 3.5 sacks in three games. He had two sacks, including the game-winner on 4th down when it was a three-man rush. Seattle needs someone who can reliably beat tackles off the snap, and Dunlap fits the bill. What an acquisition!
‘Twas a good night for anyone named Carlos. Running backs may be interchangeable but only up to the point. Having a good running back matters and Hyde was terrific outside of the fumbled toss. 95 yards on 16 touches plus a touchdown. By my count I believe he had a first down on at least half of his touches. He hits the hole hard, attacks downfield with speed and physicality that has been lacking in recent weeks, and it was a welcome sight to see.
This won’t be a game anyone remembers if he makes an MVP push, but it was a game of hitting singles and shooting for RBIs instead of swinging for home runs into the upper deck. 23/28 for 197 yards and 2 TDs with 42 yards rushing honestly looks like a statline from 2013 or 2014. There were few deep shots attempted and instead Wilson focused on getting the ball out quickly when blitzes came, and making the smart play without overthinking or forcing something out of nothing. He was crisp on 3rd down and was not sacked once in the 2nd half.
On a sore knee, Lockett once again proved too much for the Cardinals to handle. Nine catches on nine targets for 67 yards and a touchdown. Rest up and prepare for the home stretch!
Reed had one pretty bad series on the opening drive of the 2nd half, but beyond that he played well and had a critical pass defensed on Andy Isabella on the penultimate play of the game. He’s also clearly the best kick returner on the team and has good speed when he gets going. Between him and Ugo Amadi the Seahawks have good nickel and extra CB depth.
Well... he had two ugly moments. One was Kyler Murray spinning him around and the other was blowing the coverage on the Chase Edmonds touchdown. But overall I thought he played well. One standout play to me is his blitz that forced Murray into an intentional grounding penalty. There were also several instances where either him or Jordyn Brooks doubled as a spy to contain Kyler as a scrambler. Give him time in this system and with a more trustworthy pass rush and this trade could really be worth it.
Incredible individual efforts by KJ Wright and Jamal Adams in space vs Kyler Murray pic.twitter.com/Jt8AGU7G2J— Parker Lewis (@ParkerLewisJR) November 20, 2020
Yes, that personal foul penalty was needless but like Adams, the good outweight the bad. He was in on two passes defensed on the final drive, including one he could’ve picked off if not for Larry Fitzgerald getting his arms up too. He also jarred loose what would’ve been a big completion to Dan Arnold for a first down. Arizona punted instead.
The much maligned Collier had a sack on Arizona’s first drive and then got a safety thanks to former Seahawk JR Sweezy holding him in the end zone. Both plays came on interior rushes, which may be where he’s better suited.
It’s legitimately good. That’s the #1 run offense by DVOA you just saw get held to just 57 yards. Kyler Murray was held in check as a runner and the defensive line and linebackers (especially Bobby Wagner) should get a lot of praise for how they fared in this department.
Ken Norton Jr
If only for one week, this Seahawks defense looked prepared and and not out of sync in ways we’ve just not seen this season. The Cardinals have an elite offense and they got held to a joint season low of 21 points and their fewest yards all season. Five yards per play is an excellent average for any defense, let alone one that’s struggled as much as this one. This was also Seattle’s season-high in three-and-outs forced. Frankly it’s a more sustainable way to play defense than alternating between turnovers and getting styled on.
Don’t let the actual pass-run ratio fool you. In neutral-game script the Seahawks still passed about 60% of the time. What’s different is that they eased up on extreme pass-heaviness on early downs and were more willing to run on 3rd down and short. There were some blitz counter rushes and a real push to get out on the perimeter. Seattle ran the ball effectively and it helped the offense significantly. The quick passing game was much better, there was more use of play-action, 3rd down was converted at a high rate, and it all led to a good day for the Seahawks offense.
It’s not his fault, really. But he’s not a center and the circumstances led to the Seahawks not trusting a hobbled Kyle Fuller to play and certainly not Phil Haynes when he has literally not even played this year. Lewis will be fine when he heads back to guard. The refs didn’t help either by calling that BS hold that erased a big Metcalf catch. He was merely pancaked, not holding.
Woof. That 3rd and 3 conversion failure was all on him. He spun for no reason and didn’t fight for first down yardage. Not one of his better days at the office. Kudos to him on the fumble recovery on the botched Lewis snap, though.
By his standards this was actually one of his better games and he did play a role in DeAndre Hopkins only having 51 yards on 5 catches. With that said he had a missed tackle on 2nd down that turned a short gain into a 21-yarder, blown past by Kenyan Drake on a 2nd and 16, plus he’s the obvious target on 3rd down routes because he’s positioned so far off the line of scrimmage due to a fear of getting beaten deep. I think the Seahawks need to take a look at starting DJ Reed at RCB when Shaquill Griffin comes back. Reed may be 5’9” but he’s a smoother athlete with better ball skills.
Tony Corrente’s incorrente officiating
There was a lot of undisciplined play by both teams and just some silly legitimate penalties. What was also silly was the holding call that Lewis got on the Metcalf catch, the false start Greg Olsen got away with on Moore’s failed 3rd and 3, the missed roughing the passer against Arizona on a play that shouldn’t have counted because Cedric Ogbuehi jumped, and just a lot of inconsistent reffing in general. They weren’t good.
Joe Buck and Troy Aikman
I confess that my opinion on Buck as a broadcaster has changed considerably in recent years and I think he’s genuinely very good and not as boring as he used to be. If you watch the television show Brockmire on IFC (and Hulu) you’ll realize he does a great job in his cameos. Those two were not an enjoyable listen tonight. Buck had some odd slip-ups like mistaking Brandon Shell for Jamarco Jones and calling Jacob Hollister’s 3rd down catch his first grab of the season. Aikman just kept obsessing over DK Metcalf like he was on his DraftKings team. And yet... the records indicate that the Seahawks have an outstanding record at home when it’s a Buck/Aikman day. Think about that!
- I’m being inconsistent here because I gave DK Metcalf a Winners tag earlier in the year when he scored a touchdown but also lost a fumble. In this instance he did get a touchdown early and had that aforementioned big play wiped out, but he also dropped a touchdown and had another drop in the 2nd half. With an easier slate of opponents I expect him to eat, so don’t worry. I also applaud him for coming to Tyler Lockett’s defense after that ugly looking hit by Dre Kirkpatrick... huh, maybe I should reconsider putting him in the Losers column. Actually I’m going to do this. He’s neither a winner nor a loser, but Patrick Peterson ought to ice up after what both DK and Lockett did to him.
- Jason Myers has now missed two PATs in four weeks but is still perfect on field goals.
- The injuries to Brandon Shell and Greg Olsen really hurt. Shell especially because I do not want a full game of Cedric Ogbuehi. Ever.
- Bo Scarbrough fared well in his limited carries but he’s also banged up. Good chance we won’t see him again this season with Carson, Homer, and Rashaad Penny all coming back soon but it was a solid outing in his return to Seattle.
- Kliff Kingsbury runs a boring offense. It’s just dull. Kyler Murray is exciting. DeAndre Hopkins is exciting. That offense is just a wave of sideways passes and similarly run routes.
- This felt like a classic Seahawks win. Russell Wilson didn’t need to throw for 350 yards and 5 touchdowns for the team to succeed. The passing offense was more than serviceable considering the lack of their preferred shot plays. The running game was effective and the defense played one of its best games of the season. Adjusted for opponent I’d say it’s their best. You can’t win the same every single time and the Seahawks turned back the clock to position themselves to win the NFC West.
- I did say temporarily atop the NFC West but it’ll be confirmed first-place as long as the Rams lose on Monday, so go Bucs!
- Enemy Reaction coming your way this weekend!