NFL 2022 Week 9: Winners and losers from Seahawks 31, Cardinals 21
Many expected Seattle Seahawks (6-3) to win no more than six games all season. They already have six wins and are 1.5 games ahead San Francisco 49ers and 2.5 games away from defense Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams in the NFC West. What an incredible first half of the season this has been, and I don’t think the Seahawks have even played their best football yet!
It’s time for winners and losers after the team’s 31-21 win to put the season over Arizona Cardinals (3-6).
If Geno could have five touchdowns last week, he could have three interceptions this week. What happened happened, and we saw Smith show his tremendous mental resolve after a pick-6 that Zaven Collins read well and threw badly. Seattle’s offense was struggling and Smith had just made his worst game-changing mistake of the season. He responded by finishing the game 11/13 for 174 yards and a touchdown.
There were many qualifiers for Geno and what would happen if things didn’t go smoothly; would he give up under pressure or after a bad game? He didn’t today, and his composure after the interception was on full display as he led the team to three straight TDs.
Noah Fant finally arrived as a YAC monster. He was tied for the team lead in receptions (5) and gained 96 yards. For context, Fant had 176 yards all season before turning in the type of performance that led to the Seahawks acquiring him as part of the Russell Wilson trade. Four of Fant’s five receptions were for first downs and that 51-yarder on the bootleg was essentially a dagger for Arizona’s chances of a comeback.
Fant hasn’t wowed me this season, but in a system where every tight end is celebrated, Fant earned himself a Thanksgiving meal.
Kenneth Walker III
Not the best start for Walker given the Seahawks offensive line’s difficulty creating running lanes, but in the 4th quarter it was time for K9 to break down Arizona’s tiring defense. By my count, he rushed for 62 yards and a pair of touchdowns, giving him half a dozen 4th quarter TDs on the season! Walker finished with 109 yards on 26 carries as well as 3 catches for 20 yards receiving.
DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett
Metcalf wasn’t flashy, but he was efficient and caught a tough touchdown where he had to put both feet down without much room. That’s the type of TD you’d expect from a top-tier receiver and he nailed it. Lockett should have been the loser as he gave up two yards on first down on 3rd-and-15, but responded with a critical 3rd-and-12 grab (while being tackled by Zaven Collins) and the touchdown that put Seattle up for good. Did he get away with the insanely obvious pass interference on Bud Baker? Yes. Would I be mad if we saw Seattle get the job that way? Yes. But since it benefited the Seahawks, then wheeeeeeeeee!
Geno Smith was sacked five times and bullied many more times in the opener against Arizona. In the rematch, Smith was sacked just twice – both on the first series in the 3rd quarter – and while there were eight total QB hits, he rarely felt like he was under siege. Lest you think this was a quick pass-oriented performance from Genoa, it wasn’t.
Geno Smith completed 19 of 25 passes for 221 yards and 2 TDs (+10.9% CPOE) when holding the ball for 2.5+ seconds in Week 9.
Smith, 2.5+ seconds (2022):
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) November 7, 2022
Signing season. Two more sacks to bring his total to seven. You may notice that the Seahawks are getting a lot of their sacks without blitzing, which is so huge compared to previous seasons when it seemed like they had to send extra men on the rush to get the quarterback.
He just turned 35 and could be 25. Irvin recorded his first sack since 2019 and his first with the Seahawks since leaving the team in 2015. He’s been a spark as a situational tackle and it’s great that this reunion has worked. much better than his 2020 cut injury.
Jordyn Brooks and Cody Barton
Yes, Cody Barton is playing well. Brooks has been really impressive over the past few weeks, but Barton is the one I want to focus on. He was quick to the ball and didn’t miss as many attempts or get out of position as we saw at the start of the season. The run defense is still solid after a leaky first five games, and both were factors in that stretch. Everything is going right for this Seahawks defense right now.
Tariq Woolen and Mike Jackson
Woolen had a touchdown loss to Zach Ertz, but also had a pass defensed to DeAndre Hopkins and recorded an interception for a loss on a screen. Jackson also kept his starting job against Woolen and both were instrumental in limiting Hopkins to just 3 catches for 14 yards on that coverage loss on Arizona’s first possession.
The biggest defensive play of the game was Neal as he forced Kyler Murray into a fumble, turning a likely minimum 3-pointer into a layup before halftime. Seattle now has 16 forced fumbles on the season, and Neal is joining the fumble party.
Yes, Josh Jones. He was on the spot recovering and made some solid tackles in run defense, which is a huge improvement over the horror shows that were his start.
Seahawks Screen Passes
What has this team done in practice for the better part of a decade that makes them completely incapable of executing a screen? When they don’t get penalized or lose yards, they get 6s. This is absurd! The next one that will really pay off big will be a reason to hang a banner at Lumen Field. They try and try and try and regardless of QB or OL or OC or receiving threats, it just doesn’t work.
Not that he played badly… but he had a mixture of bad luck and rookie moments. Bryant’s fight in the open field really needs some work as he was guilty of several 3rd down conversions that should have been stopped. He also had an interception on a Quandre Diggs penalty and a forced fumble on Rondale Moore that he turned into an incomplete pass. His day could have looked better, but in the end it was a frustrating day at the office for the cannon.
I’d almost rather no one was there at this point. DeeJay Dallas was lucky not to lose the fumble on the muffed fair catch, which would have been the fourth lost fumble by the Seahawks this season. To my surprise, Dallas still had a 19-yard return on one of their three punt returns, so it wasn’t all bad, but I hold my breath whenever the Seahawks have to punt.
That Marquise Goodwin hasn’t played and Eskridge still hasn’t managed to catch two targets and no rushing attempts sums up how uninvolved he is on a weekly basis. Can he block well? Yeah, does he kick back? I suppose. But nothing bothers him on offense, which is what the Seahawks drafted him for.
- Shane Waldron seemed to call the game very close to the vest as if he didn’t trust the offensive line to hold. After the pick-6, the playcalling (specifically the running of the game) changed completely and we saw a less likable pass line of scrimmage that Arizona kept sniffing. A shovel pass to Colby Parkinson backfired after a similar play the previous week worked.
- Seven straight third-down conversions for the Seahawks on their last three possessions. What’s it like to have such a great third offense? We’ve rarely experienced this, and it’s the main reason why the Seahawks are finishing teams in the 4th quarter by sustaining drives and throwing knockout punches.
- Only one injury for Cullen Gillaspie, otherwise the stadium’s haunted house status is not achieved!
- Arizona is poorly coached and disjointed, so I’d be pissed if the Seahawks lost this game. I see no way to turn their season around. Kliff Kingsbury is someone whose genius was premature.
- On the other hand, Pete Carroll was humming this team. This offense is enjoyable to watch because it doesn’t rely on magic and explosive plays to the nth degree. That’s not to say there haven’t been years of enjoying typically top-notch offenses under Wilson, but the way this year’s offense works just doesn’t seem possible with this one, at least in recent versions of Wilson. Turns out Carroll is still one hell of a coach and can still adapt and succeed in this league. The line to apologize will be very long.
- Bring on the Bucs, who gave us a solid win over the Rams, but now it’s time to hand Tom Brady the L in Germany. The 2022 Seahawks have defied critics and are performing as one of the best teams in the NFL, let alone the NFC. Isn’t this a lot more fun than tanks?
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