After losing a second straight game in Week 10, the Seahawks dropped into a three-way tie for the NFC West lead and were facing arguably their biggest challenge of the season as they faced off against the Cardinals on Thursday Night Football.
Needing to turn things around defensively, Seattle's defense did exactly that as they found a way to contain quarterback Kyler Murray and didn't allow him to take over the game. As a result, Arizona's offense was forced to punt four different times in the first half and turned over the football twice in the fourth quarter.
As for the offense, the Seahawks running game was finally able to break out, as they rushed for 165 yards and returned to their usual ground-and-pound style attack. In addition, quarterback Russell Wilson was able to eliminate his recent turnover woes, which played a major role in a 28-21 victory.
Let's dive into our three big winners and three losers from the Seahawks’ final matchup against the Cardinals during the regular season.
Appearing in just his third game with the Seahawks, Dunlap easily enjoyed one of his best performances of his young tenure in blue and green, as he applied consistent pressure on Murray through all four quarters. Serving as one of the defense’s top performers, the 31-year old finished with four total tackles, two solo tackles, three quarterback hits, 2.0 sacks, along with two tackles for loss.
Playing a major factor in limiting the Cardinals to just six plays over their first two drives of the game, the 6-foot-6 defensive end blew up key plays on both of those possessions, which ultimately forced a pair of punts. Adding to his impressive showing, the two-time Pro Bowler recorded his third sack with Seattle late in the fourth quarter, leading to a turnover on downs and essentially ending the game.
After missing the last three games due to a hamstring injury, Hyde returned to action for this primetime showdown and played a huge factor in helping the running game re-emerge following two consecutive quiet showings. Carrying the ball 14 times, the 30-year old rushed for 79 yards, caught two passes for 16 yards, and also added a touchdown midway through the third quarter.
Proving to be a major contributor during the first half, Hyde generated a pair of crucial third down conversions during the offense’s opening drive, which ultimately helped his team score an early seven points in the first quarter. Making another pivotal third down conversion midway through the second quarter, the former Ohio State standout exploded up the middle of the field for 17 yards - his longest carry of the game - allowing teammate Tyler Lockett to catch an 11-yard touchdown pass on the next play.
Despite enjoying a strong start to his sophomore campaign, Collier took a bit of a step backward heading into this game, as he had been held to just one quarterback hit over the last three contests. Putting those struggles behind him, the 25-year old was able to create a pair of notable plays and helped alter the outcome of this matchup in the fourth quarter.
Starting in the first quarter, the ex-TCU standout prevented Murray from escaping the pocket by tackling him to the turf for a sack, leading to a punt just two plays later. Then with just over nine minutes left in regulation, the former first-round pick drew an offensive holding penalty against J.R. Sweezy in the end zone, resulting in a safety which also allowed Seattle to kick a 41-yard field goal to push the lead back to seven with two minutes to play.
With starting center Ethan Pocic still recovering from his concussion, along with backup center Kyle Fuller dealing with a high ankle sprain, the Seahawks were stretched extremely thin in the middle of their offensive line. As a result, Lewis was forced to make his first-ever start at center and while he should be commended for his effort, it was certainly a performance he’ll want to move past fairly quickly.
Starting the game off on a rough note, the LSU standout allowed defensive end Angelo Blackson to swim past him and bring Wilson down for a six-yard loss. Struggling at times to get on the same page as his signal caller, the 23-year old fumbled a snap that was luckily recovered by receiver David Moore and was also the main culprit of three different penalties (two holding and one false start) as well.
Participating in his first full season with Seattle, it’s safe to say Diggs has endured some ups and downs up to this point, as he’s struggled at times to perform effectively in pass coverage. That being said, the 27-year old stood out in a negative way in this game not for a poor showing in the secondary - he only gave up three yards on one reception and played well in that regard - but for a major penalty that led to a critical score.
Leading 16-7 coming out of halftime, the defense was nearly able to force a quick three and out, but the 5-foot-9 free safety was charged with his third unnecessary roughness penalty of the season for an inexcusable hit on receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Due to this infraction, the Cardinals’ offense was awarded a first down and surged into the end zone for the score 10 plays later, trimming the Seahawks' advantage to just two points.
Coming off a quiet performance against the Rams, Metcalf was looking to bounce back during this short week and he definitely had multiple opportunities to accomplish that feat but fell just a little bit short. Despite catching three passes for 46 yards along with his ninth touchdown of the season, the explosive receiver certainly could’ve caught all five of his targets, which would’ve helped his team win by a double-digit margin. Fair or not, these are the expectations the rising star has to deal with now each week.
With the offense positioned at Arizona’s nine-yard line with just 11 seconds remaining before halftime, Metcalf let a catchable pass in the end zone hit his face mask and fall incomplete. If he would have caught the pass, Seattle would have stretched its lead to 20-7 entering the second half. While his second drop of the game didn’t prevent his squad from scoring a touchdown midway through the third quarter, it was still a pass that dropped right through his hands and drops continue to be one area of his game that he must improve.