Once again — for the last time, but once again anyway — a big win owes its bigness to various contributors who tend to pass under the radar. Putting 38 points on the board in Arizona and holding the Cardinals to 16 real offensive points necessitates heroes on both sides of the ball.
The Seattle Seahawks, who’ve had the most uneven season in recent memory, got those performances and more. Narrowing it to one most deserving individual is a fool’s errand, which explains a lot about how I find myself in this position.
Josh Jones could be this week’s UHPOG (Unheralded Player of the Game) to close out 2021. Elevated from the practice squad on December 21, he played 52 defensive snaps in Glendale. Kyler Murray completed two passes for more than 15 yards. When your fifth-string safety can come in and keep everything in front of him, your defense is in good shape.
Cody Barton isn’t Bobby Wagner but the defense didn’t miss a beat. Here, check out Barton and Jones combining to make a play that isn’t sexy, but is exactly what you’d want from the guys ahead of them on the depth chart.
Really, really cool to see two reserves (Cody Barton and Josh Jones) securely and quickly limit this play to minimal yardage, displaying the kind of awareness you'd see from the starters pic.twitter.com/TtxHoSSX9R— John Moderna Turbo Boosted Fraley (@johndavidfraley) January 10, 2022
I mean, Poona Ford had a sack and a half.
THIS IS A POONA SPIN MOVE SACK. THIS IS NOT A DRILL pic.twitter.com/kkGxiYdpMW— John Fraley (@johndavidfraley) January 11, 2022
Did anyone mention that Jordyn Brooks tallied 20 tackles? The thing I used to say all the time about Wagz is it looked like there were two of him on the field. Getting there with Brooks, who looks decisive in the first clip below and smart in the second one.
Underrated play by the second-year Seahawk here. Forced Conner inside and gave up his outside responsibility at exactly the right time. pic.twitter.com/OqIAdyXrpJ— John Fraley (@johndavidfraley) January 10, 2022
Travis Homer made a play or two. On the same play.
Love him. What an underappreciated workhorse he is.
Sidney Jones will be the season’s final recipient, however. The former Washington Husky and 43rd overall pick in 2017 arrived back “home” in Seattle to little fanfare. He took some time acclimating to the new surroundings and scheme. He’s good now.
Let’s start with an appetizer, a play on which Jones makes no tackle, no pass deflection, and doesn’t have to cover anyone.
This is a moment for Sidney Jones that won't show up in the stat sheet, but watch the bottom of the screen as he beats the block and sets himself up to make the third-down stop. Which he likely would've if a teammate hadn't pic.twitter.com/p39fiF0ZSR— John Moderna Turbo Boosted Fraley (@johndavidfraley) January 10, 2022
Pivoting from micro to the macro level, Murray got nothing going all day against Jones’ side of the field. Only one completion past six yards. Only 1-of-7 on throws past 10 yards. Jones (supported by Ugo Amadi and Josh Jones) forced Murray to seek success elsewhere. The Cards QB threw the ball to the right side of the field once in the third quarter. It fell incomplete. He didn’t complete another pass in Jones’ direction until the game was out of reach.
Jones is a physical tackler, especially for someone listed at 6-0, 181 pounds. We should all feel free to question the six-yard cushion on third and one here, but the suddenness of Jones’ tackling, and his impact point, right on the midsection, and his ability to hold on, are a welcome sight when many cornerbacks around the league will get shuffled off by bigger receivers.
Last highlight of the evening. It's fair to question this cushion on 3rd and 1, but there's something about Sidney Jones' tackling approach that's immensely satisfying. pic.twitter.com/7YxlJ530wK— John Fraley (@johndavidfraley) January 11, 2022
On the goal line, Jones sneaks in at the end of the play to make sure James Conner doesn’t get in on second effort. In the open field, he wraps up. Tackling is an underrated skill of corners. Remember how dominant Richard Sherman was in run defense?
Sidney Jones: good tackler (2/2) pic.twitter.com/z3UpWsulcC— John Fraley (@johndavidfraley) January 11, 2022
Sidney Jones is an attacking tackler. He’s an attackler. Good at attackling.
Moving on. Always nice to tally another pass deflection for the ol’ stat sheet, even if it’s late in the game.
Sidney Jones, master of timing (2/2) pic.twitter.com/fuBmVVmsAc— John Fraley (@johndavidfraley) January 11, 2022
Jones totaled 13 tackles and two pass deflections in the season’s final two games, as the Seahawks looked like the... Seahawks again. On both sides of the ball. For better or worse, depending on your opinion of the front office.
In a season that looked like it might feature maybe D.J. Reed, then maybe veteran Ahkello Witherspoon, then hopefully rookie Tre Brown long-term at LCB, only to have injury step in rudely, the job ended up in Jones’ steady hands. Wherever he plays in 2022, Jones stands to contribute. Might as well be in Seattle again, though, right?