In a surprise move, the Seahawks opened the game with their third different starting center in three weeks, going with rookie Damien Lewis in place of the injured Ethan Pocic and Kyle Fuller.
Fuller started against the Rams with Pocic out with a concussion, but he suffered a high ankle sprain in the first half last week. He made it through the game but was listed as questionable this week, and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday that he would be available “if we need him.’’
That seemed to hint at other plans at center, though the choice of Lewis was surprising.
Lewis, a third-round pick out of LSU, started the first nine games at right guard and has never started a game at center. Lewis played solely guard during his two years at LSU as well as his two seasons at Northwest Mississippi Community College.
The Seahawks activated Phil Haynes off injured reserve Wednesday, and he worked as the backup center. Fuller was in uniform but appeared to be active only for an emergency.
With Lewis starting at center, the Seahawks started Jamarco Jones at right guard in Lewis’ place. Jones had three previous regular-season starts, two at right guard and one at left tackle, and started both playoff games last year at left guard.
The other three offensive line spots stayed the same — left tackle Duane Brown, left guard Mike Iupati and right guard Brandon Shell.
Lewis had some predictable struggles in the first half, giving up a sack on the first drive and a bad snap that turned into a fumble on the second.
Later in the half, Lewis had a false start when he appeared to forget the snap count and also was called for a hold that negated a 43-yard pass from Russell Wilson to DK Metcalf, though replays caused some question as to the veracity of the penalty.
Carroll said this week that Pocic had made some significant improvement this week, but that the short week for a Thursday game didn’t allow him time to get back.
The Seahawks likely counting on Pocic to return for its next game, Nov. 30 at Philadelphia when Lewis could return to his usual right-guard spot.
Chris Carson sits out fourth straight game
The Seahawks had hoped that Chris Carson might return for Thursday night’s game against Arizona, though he was listed as questionable.
Carson was among the team’s seven inactive players, missing his fourth straight since suffering a midfoot sprain during the first game against Arizona on Oct. 25.
“We thought Chris may be able to go,’’ general manager John Schneider said during the team’s pregame radio show. “Unfortunately he is not able to go.’’
The Seahawks’ other inactive players were center Pocic (concussion), cornerback Shaquill Griffin (hamstring), running back Travis Homer (wrist/thumb/knee), guard Jordan Simmons (calf) and two healthy scratches in tight end Colby Parkinson and defensive end Jonathan Bullard.
With Carson and Homer inactive, the Seahawks had three running backs in Carlos Hyde, DeeJay Dallas and Bo Scarbrough, who was elevated off the practice squad on Thursday.
Carson was the leading rusher among the Seahawks’ running backs with 323 yards, but he was surpassed last week by quarterback Russell Wilson as the team’s leading rusher. Wilson had 325 entering the game.
Seahawks place Quinton Dunbar on IR
The Seahawks made a few roster moves Thursday a few hours before kickoff against the Cardinals, including placing cornerback Quinton Dunbar on injured reserve.
Dunbar has dealt with a knee injury all season and will miss his second straight game against Arizona. Going on IR means he will have to miss at least two more before he would have a chance to return, meaning a Dec. 13 game at home against the New York Jets.
The Seahawks signed Jayson Stanley off the practice squad to take his place on the 53-player roster. Stanley has been on the practice squad and already elevated twice to play on game day. Stanley played a combined 32 snaps on special teams against the 49ers and Bills and played on special teams again early Thursday.
The Seahawks also elevated defensive tackle Damon “Snacks’’ Harrison and Scarbrough off the practice squad for the game.
It was Harrison’s second PS elevation, so he will have to be signed to the 53-player roster. The game marked Scarbrough’s first elevation.
The Seahawks elevated Alex Collins the past two weeks, but he hit his limit of elevations, so they had to go with Scarbrough against Arizona to have a third running back available.
Scarborough got in the game early working as the backup to Hyde with rookie DeeJay Dallas working in the third down/two-minute back role usually filled by Homer.
With Dunbar on IR and Griffin again out meant the Seahawks went with Tre Flowers and D.J. Reed as their two starting cornerbacks.
- Defensive end Benson Mayowa was active for the first time since the Arizona game Oct. 25 and saw action on the first series. He split time at the rush end spot with Carlos Dunlap and with both players usually on the field in the nickel.
- Reed again handled kickoff returns with Homer out and the team continuing to take most return duties off Lockett.