And now everyone can exhale.
Russell Wilson proved he’s just fine, the running game felt imposing in a way it hasn’t for a while, and the defensive additions over the last weeks and months feel like they’re beginning to truly pay off.
Put it together, and the Seahawks got a 28-21 win over Arizona that felt like the best of the year.
Certainly, it was the most important in stopping a two-game losing streak and a skid of three losses in four games, and allowing Seattle to move back into first in the NFC West at 7-3.
On to some much happier grades.
Wilson threw for a season-low 197 passing yards (though another 46 were gained via a defensive pass interference). But he never put the ball in harm’s way, made two spectacular touchdown throws, and also ran smartly for 42 yards on 10 carries.
Carlos Hyde got the start with Chris Carson inactive and showed why Seattle wanted him — and had missed him the last three weeks — with a tough 79 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown to power a rushing attack that got 165 overall, second most this season with the Seahawks obviously trying to exploit a banged-up Arizona defensive line.
In something of a surprise, Bo Scarbrough — elevated off the practice squad before the game — was the second running back used behind Hyde, with rookie DeeJay Dallas instead serving the third-down back role.
But after chipping in a timely 31 yards on six carries, Scarbrough suffered a hamstring injury late in the game.
There maybe weren’t the huge numbers of games earlier this season. But plays were made when they were needed.
DK Metcalf did just enough in his touted matchup against Patrick Peterson to make a difference.
Metcalf got free behind a zone for the first touchdown of the game and also drew the defensive pass interference on Peterson late in the first half and also had a 43-yard completion against Peterson negated due to penalty (that would have made all the numbers look a lot different). Metcalf finished with 46 yards on three receptions but also had a drop.
Tyler Lockett shrugged off a bruised knee that had him officially listed as questionable for the game and had a TD grab and a gutty nine receptions for 67 yards overall.
And David Moore made a heady play to recover a fumbled snap on the second series but in the second quarter came up a yard short of picking up the first down on a third-and-3 completion when he stepped out of bounds instead of turning upfield into a defender.
The tight ends came up big on Seattle’s final offensive series with Will Dissly getting a 10-yard catch early on and then Jacob Hollister a third-down reception to the Arizona 15 on a night when the tight ends as a group had five catches for 44 yards.
The bad was a fascia injury to veteran Greg Olsen that could be serious.
The line had to adjust to yet another new lineup as rookie Damien Lewis got the surprise start at center in place of the injured Ethan Pocic and Kyle Fuller, moving over from right guard.
It was his first start at center at any level and there were some early predictable growing pains as Wilson mishandled a snap that Seattle was fortunate to recover, and then he also got called for a hold that nullified the long pass to Metcalf, though in fairness to Lewis, it looked like a pretty dubious call.
But overall, the rushing numbers (5.3 per carry on 165 overall) indicated that Seattle’s front largely got the job done, as did the fact Wilson was sacked just three times after a combined 11 the last two weeks.
This was the best game of the season for the defensive front as the additions of Carlos Dunlap and Snacks Harrison and the return of Rasheem Green and Benson Mayowa from injuries are starting to make a significant impact.
Dunlap made the biggest, with two sacks and three QB hits, while Harrison drew a hold on Arizona’s Justin Pugh in the second quarter and was part of a tackle trio with Poona Ford and Jarran Reed that clogged up running lanes most of the night as the Cardinals were held to just 3.2 yards per carry.
And 2019 first-round pick L.J. Collier may have played his best game as a Seahawk. Collier got a sack on the second drive and drew a holding penalty in the end zone for a safety in the fourth quarter.
The number that tells how well the linebackers played is this: 15 rushing yards for Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray, 14 yards fewer than in any other game this season.
Murray has been running wild on the NFL this year. But he rarely went anywhere Thursday night with a long gain of eight.
One really indicative play of how well Seattle kept Murray’s running contained was turned in by K.J. Wright when he tackled Murray on a 2-yard loss on a third-and-one in the second quarter. That came a play after Wagner dragged down Murray a yard short of the first down on a three-yard gain. Murray only ran two more times the rest of the night.
One of the better nights of the year for the secondary, even if not everything was a positive.
D.J. Reed played another nice game with a team-high 11 tackles and a pass defense on the final series.
Quandre Diggs made the kind of big hit that’s been lacking too often this season when he lined up tight end Dan Arnold from behind to jar the ball loose on what could have been a first down for Arizona inside the Seattle 30 late in the second quarter. Arizona punted a play later.
But Diggs needed to know when — and when not — to unleash the hammer in the third quarter when he was called for unnecessary roughness on a late hit on DeAndre Hopkins on a pass that was nowhere close to being complete on a third-down play, giving Arizona a first down.
Hopkins, averaging 95.7 yards per game, second in the NFL, was held to one catch for seven yards in the first half and finished with just 51 on eight.
Tre Flowers, who had been playing better of late, had some rough moments, especially when given a really tough matchup in Hopkins, notably missing a tackle in the third quarter that allowed Hopkins to turn a short pass into a 23-yard gain.
It was hard to know for sure, but at first glance it appeared Jamal Adams blew the coverage that resulted in the easy touchdown pass to Chase Edmonds early in the fourth quarter.
But Adams was again a real pest when rushing, forcing the grounding penalty that set up the safety.
Ugo Amadi also again seemed solid as the nickel.
Another really good day here.
Kick coverage was again strong, notably when Ryan Neal burst through to tackle Chase Edmonds at the 10 on a kickoff in the third quarter after Seattle had taken a 23-14 lead.
Jason Myers missed an extra point but made a 41-yard field goal with 2:21 left after hitting another one in the first half, and has now made 23 straight, dating to last season, the second-longest streak in team history.