The Seattle Seahawks were finding themselves in an unfamiliar routine this past week. They were coming off a very disappointing 17-14 home loss to the injury-depleted Washington Redskins while approaching a short turnaround week playing Thursday night in a divisional game with huge playoff spot implications on the line in the NFC West at the Arizona Cardinals. Seattle could not afford to overlook another injury depleted team like they did the week before. They already knew the Cardinals would be without star running back David Johnson and quarterback Carson Palmer due to injuries. The Seahawks would be without defensive end Cliff Avril, safety Earl Thomas, and running back Eddie Lacy themselves. Two injury-riddled teams who could use a win to keep up in the division with the fiery start the Los Angeles Rams have had.
Seattle pulled off a complete win in Arizona 22-16 to improve to a 6-3 record, a game where they led start to finish. First off, the Seahawks’ front seven defenders played great, holding Cardinals running back Adrian Peterson to just 1.4 yards per carry and just 29 yards on 21 carries. Seattle defenders Bobby Wagner, Michael Bennett, Kam Chancellor, and K.J. Wright made Peterson’s night miserable, destroying him most plays behind the line as soon as he touched the ball. He lost a fumble when Seattle defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson ripped the ball out on the Cardinals’ first play from scrimmage. He was also hit in the Cardinals’ own endzone for a Seattle safety by Chancellor. Arizona continued to try to get their run game going each drive they possessed the ball, but Seattle was not having that happen. The Seahawks defense only allowed Arizona 290 total yards and 16 points in another strong performance.
However, Seattle’s dominant defense lost a huge piece in cornerback Richard Sherman, who suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon and will miss the remainder of the season. Sherman was replaced by cornerback Jeremy Lane, who was originally traded to the Houston Texans as a part of left tackle Duane Brown‘s deal, but failed his physical with Houston and returned to the Seahawks. Lane and rookie cornerback Shaquill Griffin played well in Sherman’s absence Thursday, but cannot fill the void he leaves as the best shutdown cornerback in the NFL. Sherman leads the NFL in interceptions since his rookie season in 2011 with 32. The Seahawks have options to replace Sherman on the roster already with Lane, Griffin, Bradley McDougald sliding down to help once Thomas returns from his injury, and the eventual activation of 2016 starter DeShawn Shead from the physically unable to perform list. Seattle has also reached out to former Seahawk cornerback Byron Maxwell for a workout to possibly bring him back to the Pacific Northwest.
The Seahawks offense struggled to find consistency again on Thursday, only recording 287 total yards and 22 points. Star quarterback Russell Wilson carried his team once again, with 238 passing yards and two huge touchdown passes in the redzone to tight end Jimmy Graham. Wide receiver Doug Baldwin made a few key plays down the field to set up Seattle’s touchdowns and a field goal, recording 95 yards on five catches. Seattle still cannot find any positives in the run game, only totaling 75 yards rushing as a team. The offense showed to be one dimensional and depend on Wilson to make every play again. The offensive line play was better though, reducing their penalties from the week before and keeping Wilson from being hit too much. Although left tackle Duane Brown was shaken up a little bit with an ankle sprain, but should be good to return this week as head coach Pete Carroll mostly kept him out of the rest of the Arizona game as a precaution. Expect Seattle to continue to play a pass heavy offensive scheme this week against the Atlanta Falcons as they still experiment with which running back they want to give the feature back title to.
This was a huge win for Seattle to get on the road against a divisional opponent to keep their 2017-2018 NFC West record undefeated, but should be worried about the hole Sherman’s injury has caused to their defense moving forward. We all remember what happened last time a member of the famous Legion of Boom secondary was missing, when Seattle’s defense fell apart in 2016 when Earl Thomas went down. It looks as if the front seven of the Seahawks defense must step up along with safeties Chancellor and Thomas to keep them in the playoff picture. Wilson will have to continue his high-level of play throwing the ball down the field as well to make up for the undermanned defense. The loss of Sherman changes the outlook on Seattle as a championship-caliber team, but does not mean Seattle cannot re-identify itself to stay as a contender in the NFC.
If you would like to receive an email each time a new Seattle Seahawks article is published, fill out our email notification form.