By Shannon Sanchez // @ShannonSanchez3
Seattle Seahawks 22 – Arizona Cardinals 16
The Seahawks won. It doesn’t feel like it though. They paid a high price. There was a sense that this was a must-win game after last Sunday, but no one could have expected this. At least 7 Seahawks were injured. The most notable, safety Richard Sherman out for the rest of the year with a ruptured Achilles. Strong safety Kam Chancellor left the game with a stinger, left tackle Duane Brown (ankle), defensive tackle Jarran Reed (hamstring), safety Shaquill Griffin (shoulder), and running back C.J. Prosise (ankle).
At the end of the first half, I was grateful that the Seahawks had a short week to flush the bitter taste of the horrible loss to Washington out of their mouths. Going in at halftime leading 15 to 7 over the Arizona Cardinals, the biggest concern was that the Seahawks’ reputation of being highly penalized was getting the best of them. Were they going to beat themselves again this week? Were the refs throwing flags for real and imagined fouls? Yet by the end of the game, I, along with every other Seahawks fan, was cursing that very same short week.
The Seahawks defense was dominant, beginning with the first Arizona carry. Chancellor forced a fumble by running back Adrian Peterson with defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson recovering. He then was credited with a Seattle safety after a punt that left Arizona on their own 2-yard line. They kept Peterson to only 29 yards rushing for the game.
Linebackers Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright along with Chancellor were making their presence felt all through the first half. The only Arizona touchdown came off of a drive that the Seahawks kept alive with penalties.
Seattle’s offense had their typical slow start. Three and out on the first possession. Tight end Jimmy Graham caught the first pass of the game and later in the quarter caught a 6-yard touchdown pass. The running game was a little more visible. And kicker Blair Walsh was perfect in three appearances.
Then came the second half. In the middle of the 3rd period, quarterback Russel Wilson took a hit to the jaw by linebacker Karlos Dansby. Dansby was flagged for the hit and Wilson had to leave the game for a play to get checked. He came back after a play but the remainder of that drive dissolved.
Thinking that we had dodged a bullet, we didn’t know what was waiting when our defense took the field. On a 3rd down play, Sherman went down to the turf holding the back of his ankle. He walked off the field under his own power but his frustration apparent when he shoved away the assistance of a trainer.
During the fourth quarter, Wilson found ways to move the ball. He rushed and executed more play action than before. On a 2nd and 21 play, “Old Time” Wilson emerged. Looking as though he was going to be sacked for a loss, he scrambled away with two defenders chasing him and found wide receiver Doug Baldwin near the sidelines. Baldwin was able to pick up 54 yards before being brought down on the Arizona 2, which led to another touchdown to Graham on the next play. At that point, the result of the game was no longer in doubt.
Once again Thursday Night Football comes under appropriate criticism. The product is unsustainable when the players do not recover properly. Seattle wasn’t the only team who lost key players. Arizona lost three and two of those look like they are serious knee injuries. This says it all. Player safety needs to come first.
Talk Seahawks with Shannon on Twitter // @ShannonSanchez3