Sunday the Seattle Seahawks evened their season record at 3-3 by defeating the Arizona Cardinals with a defensive performance that held the small beaked visitors to just 3 points on offense. The loss dropped the Cards into the cellar of the NFC West, where at 2-4 they are all alone in last place. The Hawks, meanwhile, are in a three way tie for first place, though tiebreakers would leave the team behind both the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams if the standing meant anything more than positioning at this point in the season.
Jumping right in to the snap counts, however, on the offensive side of the ball Marquise Goodwin appears to have reclaimed his third receiver role after returning from injury, logging nearly two and a half times as many snaps as second year receiver Dee Eskridge. Also worth noting at the receiver position is that rookie Dareke Young earned three offensive snaps, while Nick Bellore played a pair of snaps at fullback, his first action on the offensive side of the ball since Week 2.
On the defensive side is where things are truly interesting. There were significant concerns regarding the ability of the defense to perform in the absence of Al Woods, but the group put up its best performance of the season against the Cardinals. Credit for part of that is likely due to the fact that Arizona was without its regular kick, Matt Prater, who missed the game with a hip injury and left them relying on Matt Amendola, who entered the game just 17 of 25 (68.0%) on field goals to this point in his career. That is not to take away from a defense that stopped the Cardinals when they needed to on fourth down, and which did so by playing more defensive backs and fewer linebackers than they had so far during the 2022 campaign.
So, while Cody Barton played a season low 28 snaps, the defense played as whole lot of dime and nickel, averaging 5.07 defensive backs on the field per snap compared to just 1.39 off ball linebackers per snap. This is, as laid out at the end of training camp, the way the Fangio defense is designed to be run, and it worked as designed, encouraging the Cardinals to give the ball to their running backs 18 time for a total of 44 yards, or just 2.4 yards per carry. Kyler Murray obviously hurt the defense with his legs, but he also had the ball punched out by rookie Coby Bryant and at the end of the day the Hawks kept Murray and friends out of the end zone and came away with the win.
Moving on to special teams, there is little remarkable to report in this department. Those who have contributed the most on special teams so far this season continued to contribute, including Bellore, Cullen Gillaspia, Josh Jones, Joey Blount, Tanner Muse and Isaiah Dunn. It’s also noteworthy that on a day when he was active and the Hawks went heavy on defensive backs, veteran Justin Coleman played zero snaps on defense and only saw the field on special teams. Lastly, the recently added Tony Jones, who was claimed off waivers from the New Orleans Saints just this week, saw the field for four special teams snaps, his first action for Seattle, but his third game of the year.
And now it’s on to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 7, as I’m considering starting a pool for readers to wager on how many times I accidentally type San Diego Chargers between now and kickoff on Sunday.