The Seahawks' special teams crumbled and their new-look offensive line did not impress, but they earned their 10th victory of the season anyway.
Sunday’s regular season finale was far from a masterpiece for the Seahawks.
But they’ll be headed to the postseason either way.
Here are three impressions from Seattle’s 27-24 win over the Cardinals.
Seahawks unload a special teams dud
Michael Dickson will be the NFL’s first rookie punter to play in the Pro Bowl since 1985.
It might be a good thing the voting closed prior to the Seahawks’ regular season finale.
Seattle’s special teams left a lot to be desired on Sunday, almost singlehandedly keeping the Cardinals in the game. Dickson had two punts blocked, resulting in 15 Cardinals points. The second block occurred near the end of the third quarter, when defensive end Cameron Malveaux batted the ball down and linebacker Dennis Gardeck fell on it in the end zone.
A Dickson punt from the back of his own end zone midway through the second quarter was also partially blocked, giving Arizona the ball at the Seahawks’ 27-yard line. The Cardinals found the end zone three plays later.
The Seahawks’ next drive resulted in another 3-and-out, and Dickson’s 54-yard punt was subsequently returned 45 yards by Pharoh Cooper to the Seattle 21-yard line. Zane Gonzalez knocked through a 50-yard field goal four plays later.
This is how a team with a 3-12 record and the worst statistical rushing and passing offense in football somehow scored 24 points, despite gaining just 198 measly yards. Eighteen of those 24 points were spurred by Seahawks special teams disasters.
Seattle offensive line shifts, then struggles
If the goal was for the Seahawks to protect Russell Wilson’s health with a playoff spot already secured, they failed miserably on Sunday.
The team’s starting guards, right guard D.J. Fluker (hamstring) and left guard J.R. Sweezy (foot), both sat out with injuries. Instead, right tackle Germain Ifedi shifted to right guard, George Fant started at right tackle and Ethan Pocic plugged in at left guard.
The difference was noticeable.
Wilson was hit eight times and sacked six times (by six different players) on Sunday. An offense that racked up a season-best 464 yards against the Chiefs last week went 3-and-out on five consecutive drives. Prior to Chris Carson’s 61-yard romp in the third quarter, the Seahawks had rushed for just 69 yards and 3.6 yards per carry.
The Seahawks expect both Fluker and Sweezy to be back for the wild card game against Dallas next weekend. They’ll need them to be.
Frank Clark continues to prove his worth
Will Holden is 6-foot-7 and 312 pounds.
And yet, Frank Clark made it look like Holden was made of helium. Facing third-and-10 from their own 40-yard line in the fourth quarter, Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen took a snap and was essentially tackled by a teammate. Clark shoved Holden backwards into Rosen, who then fumbled as a result. The Seahawks recovered and quickly kicked a go-ahead field goal.
Clark finished with three quarterback hits, two sacks, one tackle for loss, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery. In a contract year, he produced 14 sacks in the regular season.
Sooner or later, he’ll get paid.