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Seahawks mercifully eliminated from playoffs despite 21-20 win over Cardinals

The Seahawks won, but their season is over anyway.

Seattle Seahawks v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks (9-8) were never going to make the playoffs as a result of the Green Bay Packers’ 17-9 win over the Chicago Bears, but they did their part in terms of controlling what they could control. I guess.

With the help of two missed field goals by Matt Prater, the Seahawks beat the Arizona Cardinals (4-13) by a score of 21-20. Geno Smith threw a game-winning touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett with under two minutes to go, and then converted the go-ahead two-point conversion to give Seattle the lead.

Don’t let the final score deceive you. It was a poor performance by a Seahawks team that had to win to have a shot at the postseason, and the win felt hollow relative to the performance. The defense was ripped apart against the run again, the offense struggled for much of the 2nd half, and the frustrations on both sides of the ball throughout the season persisted in this game.

In light of recent developments, It’s entirely possible that this was the final game of Pete Carroll as head coach.

1st Quarter

The Seahawks started the game on defense, as they have for a majority of the season. A Kyler Murray screen pass to Trey McBride on the second play of the game picked up 24 yards. The next McBride target was broken up by Jordyn Brooks, who was shaken up on the play. Brooks came into the game with an ankle sprain, and it showed. Seattle was able to put the Cardinals behind schedule and force a punt.

Backed up inside their own 10, the Seahawks moved the ball effectively on their opening drive. Geno Smith hit his first three passes for 40 yards, while Kenneth Walker gained 32 on the ground. Walker frequently created yards for himself when the OL wasn’t getting the job done. A 3rd and 4 drop by DK Metcalf on a Cover 0 blitz ended the drive, with Jason Myers hitting a field goal for the game’s first points.

Arizona went three-and-out on the following possession, with Devon Witherspoon making a superb play to stop Greg Dortch short of the sticks on 3rd and 7. Seattle got the ball back at its own 20, but after a 3rd and 6 conversion to Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Geno Smith misfired to an open DK Metcalf and nearly got picked on 3rd down.

2nd Quarter

The Cardinals offense finally got into gear thanks to Kyler Murray’s legs and James Conner’s ability to motor in the open field. Seattle’s defense looked stuck in the mud and the Cardinals marched to the Seahawks’ 2. Quandre Diggs and Riq Woolen strung out the Kyler read-option keeper to deny the QB on 3rd and goal. Matt Prater tied it up at 3-3 on a chippie.

Geno Smith hit Tyler Lockett for a huge gain for 37 yards on 3rd down to set the Seahawks up deep in Arizona territory. Two snaps later, a busted coverage by the Cardinals cleared the way for Washington’s own Will Dissly to get his first touchdown of the season!

Arizona, naturally, responded with points. James Conner converted on a 3rd and 6 run, and Kyler hit Michael Wilson deep down the field on a flea-flicker to put the Cards in the red zone again. Thankfully, Seattle’s defense stiffened up, Arizona false started, and they settled for another field goal with under two minutes left in the half.

Seattle worked its way into field goal range through Zach Charbonnet and a couple of Geno completions. With no timeouts left and :25 left, Seattle had to be smart with the clock. Smith scrambled out of a possible sack and scrambled for 21 yards to the 10-yard line. An end zone shot to Lockett was incomplete, and Jason Myers had enough time to kick a field goal to give Seattle a 7-point halftime lead.

3rd Quarter

Seattle started the 2nd half with the ball, but only managed one first down on a Kenneth Walker run before punting. Arizona was backed up inside its own 20, but James Conner broke one for 33 on a screen pass and left Jordyn Brooks in his wake. Following a 25-yard completion to Elijah Higgins, Conner got into the end zone on a 29-yard dash. Ugly.

The Seahawks again stalled out after getting a first down, giving the ball back to the Cardinals. Arizona ripped off another huge run with James Conner, only to punt it back after Murray overthrew an open receiver. The punt pinned the Seahawks at their own 2, and they went three-and-out.

4th Quarter

Arizona marched down the field but stalled out inside the Seattle 10. Time for another field goal—-oh wait, the Cardinals FAKE the field goal, line Matt Prater out wide, Seattle isn’t ready for it, and Kyler throws a touchdown to Trey McBride in the back of the end zone. Riq Woolen whiffed on the attempt to bat the ball away. This TD shouldn’t have counted based on Arizona subbing players and not giving Seattle an opportunity to match. Still, the Seahawks got punked.

Another three-and-out led to a loooong Cardinals drive. A 4th-and-1 end-around somehow converted because Devin Bush is not very good. At this point, the Seahawks were already eliminated from the postseason. After exhausting all 3 timeouts, the Cardinals settled for a 43-yard field goal, which Matt Prater missed wide right. Whoopty-damn-do.

Geno Smith led a go-ahead drive capped off with a 34-yard touchdown to Tyler Lockett. A two-point conversion to Lockett gave Seattle a 21-20 lead with 1:54 to go.

Sadly, this defense left too much time for Kyler Murray. It didn’t take long for the Seahawks to concede field goal range. Matt Prater missed wide right yet again, Seahawks win it!

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter: Jason Myers 34-yard field goal - SEA 3, AZ 0

2nd Quarter: Matt Prater 23-yard field goal - SEA 3, AZ 3

2nd Quarter: Geno Smith 19-yard touchdown pass to Will Dissly - SEA 10, AZ 3

2nd Quarter: Matt Prater 34 yard field goal - SEA 10, AZ 6

2nd Quarter: Jason Myers 29-yard field goal - SEA 13, AZ 6

3rd Quarter: James Conner 29-yard touchdown run - SEA 13, AZ 13

4th Quarter: Kyler Murray 8-yard touchdown pass to Trey McBride - SEA 13, AZ 20

4th Quarter: Geno Smith 34-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett (Geno to Lockett 2-pt conversion) - SEA 21, AZ 20

Seahawks Injury Report

LB Jordyn Brooks left the game on the opening series after apparently re-aggravating his injured ankle. He was replaced by Devin Bush but returned on the next series.

TE Noah Fant was ruled out with a hand injury in the 1st quarter.

OLB Darrell Taylor left the game with an undisclosed injury in the 4th quarter.

Next week’s opponent

The offseason.