Three immediate impressions from the Seahawks’ 28-21 home victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday night at rebranded Lumen Field, pushing the Seahawks (7-3) back into sole possession of first place in the NFC West:
That was more like it. That was the brand of football Pete Carroll wants to play — complementary football in which both the offenses and defenses did their part and helped each other.
Three things the Seahawks did well offense on Thursday night:
1 — They ran the ball. Even with star running back Chris Carson (foot) sidelined again, the Seahawks made a commitment — a recommitment — to the ground game. Yeah, yeah, they let Carlos cook. The Seahawks signed veteran Carlos Hyde for games like this — when Carson wouldn’t be available, when they needed some tough yards. Hyde gave them all that, rushing for 79 yards on 14 carries, including a 2-yard touchdown run. That’s the second-most yards a Seahawks running back has gained all season, just one yard shy of the 80 yards Carson had against Miami in Week 4.
2 — They took care of the football. This is the most important point. Russell Wilson had 10 turnovers in the Seahawks’ three losses — far too many, and he knew it. You could see right away Thursday night this was going to be a different game for Wilson. He was in control. He was methodical. He didn’t take any risks, and smartly took a couple sacks when everything else broke down. It led to an efficient performance from Wilson: 23 for 28 for 197 yards with 2 touchdowns and no turnovers.
3 — They helped the Seattle defense. This is an important point too. For all the success the Seahawks had early in the season in unleashing Wilson and the passing game — and make no mistake, it was past due for that and it produced awesome results — it did put the Seattle defense in difficult situations at times. Carroll, of course, is a proud old-school coach, and a defensive-minded coach. He wants to control the clock and wants his offense to mitigate risks. Thursday night, no doubt, was much close to the kind of balance Carroll will want to see play out going forward.
Safety in numbers
Give the Seattle’s defense credit too. The Seahawks looked relatively helpless much of the time in their first meeting against Arizona, an overtime loss on the road last month.
They were passive in that game. Thursday night, they were much more aggressive, not falling back on their heels, not wiling to sit back in a soft zone all game and let Kyler Murray pick them apart.
They got after Kyler Murray. L.J. Collier and Carlos Dunlap were credited with first-half sacks and the Seahawks finished with seven QB hits — seven more than they had on Murray last month.
Dunlap stood out all night, providing solid pressure, and then coming through with a fourth-down sack of Murray with 34 seconds left, sealing the Seahawks’ victory. Dunlap has been an encouraging addition since the Seahawks acquired him in a trade with Cincinnati last month — and they got him for moments just like that.
And Collier had perhaps his best play as a Seahawk in the fourth quarter, with an inside pass rush that forced a holding call on ex-Seahawk guard J.R. Sweezy — a penalty that occurred in the end zone and thus resulted in a safety to extend the Seahawks’ lead to 25-21 with 9:12 remaining.
The Seahawks, despite again missing both their regular starting cornerbacks, held DeAndre Hopkins relatively in check. Hopkins finished with five catches for 51 yards.
The Seahawks are far from perfect on defense — leaving Chase Edmonds wide open in the end zone early in the fourth quarter was certainly evidence of that. And, look, no one should expect perfection on that side of the ball the rest of the season. But this was a nice step forward for this defense against a high-powered offense, and as they did so often early in the season, the defense came through in the end when they had to. That, for this team, was enough to get back on top of the NFC West, and could be enough for this team to be a serious threat in the playoffs.
And now the Seahawks get a mini-bye week before their Nov. 30 Monday night game in Philadelphia.
Welcome back, DK
On the same day DK Metcalf was featured across ESPN’s platforms for a profile story — the writer, David Fleming, described Metcalf’s physique as “a human Batman suit” — the second-year receiver looked the part of a superhero again for the Seahawks.
His final stat line was modest, by his standards anyway: Three catches (on five targets) for 46 yards, which included a 25-yard touchdown reception from Wilson to cap the first drive of the game.
That final line did not include one reception in which he beat veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson off the line for a long gain. The play was negated by a Seattle penalty, but it was still important to see out of Metcalf after Peterson had effectively shut him down in their first meeting last month in Arizona.
Metcalf, of course, also struggled against the Rams’ Jalen Ramsey in last week’s loss in Los Angeles. This was the kind of performance — against top-flight talent — that this Seahawks offense needs to get consistency out of Metcalf.