Report Card: Top Performers in Seahawks 28-21 Victory Over Cardinals

CorbinSmithNFL

Snapping a two-game winning streak, the Seahawks used a strong defensive outing and a rejuvenated ground game to hold of the Cardinals for a 28-21 win on Thursday Night Football, improving their record to 7-3 on the season.

After re-watching the game, which players stood out as the biggest stars in Seattle's latest win that elevated them back to the top of the NFC West? Here are my top five grades from Thursday's game along with other notable performers.

Quandre Diggs

Overall Grade: 90.6 (97.0 coverage, 87 run defense, 88 tackling)

Aside from his unnecessary roughness penalty against receiver DeAndre Hopkins that extended a scoring drive for the Cardinals, Diggs was absolutely fantastic manning center field, dishing punishment to receivers, taking away seams/posts/corners in the vertical passing game, and making a huge pass defensed on final drive when Kyler Murray tried to hit Larry Fitzgerald in the end zone. After struggling at times in the first nine games, this was easily his best performance of the season.

Russell Wilson

Overall Grade: 89.5 (94 passing, 85 running)

Wilson didn't have his best statistical game with 197 passing yards, but he completed 82 percent of his pass attempts, threw two touchdowns, and didn't turn the ball over in a strong bounce-back performance. While he only had one completion of more than 20 yards, he was very efficient in the short-to-intermediate game, consistently hit his hot reads to negate Arizona's blitzes, and also rushed for 42 yards, using his legs to extend plays and drives. He held onto the ball too long on a few occasions, leading to a pair of sacks despite generally solid pass protection.

Bobby Wagner

Overall Grade: 87.8 (93 run defense, 88 coverage, 90 tackling, 80 pass rush)

It was another vintage performance by Wagner, who made several nice run stuffs while finishing with seven tackles on the night. He also showed he can still cover as well as any middle linebacker in the sport, including carrying Fitzgerald down the seam on the same play where Diggs wound up swatting away Murray's pass in the end zone. While a horse collar penalty negated a tackle for loss and a few of his blitz attempts weren't effective, he was all over the field making plays and played a key role 

Mike Iupati

Overall Grade: 85.0 (88 pass protection, 82 run blocking)

Playing in just his second game back from a four-game absence with back spasms, Iupati may have played his best game as a Seahawk against the Cardinals. Though he wasn't quite perfect - he surrendered one quarterback pressure - he held his own in pass protection all night long, continuing one of his finest seasons in that aspect of his game. The 330-pound mauler also played a pivotal role in creating space for Carlos Hyde, helping spring him on two of his 15-plus yard runs.

Carlos Dunlap

Overall Grade: 80.3 (91 pass rush, 78 run defense, 72 tackling)

Dunlap left a few tackles on the field defending the run on Thursday night, including one where Kenyan Drake slipped through his grasp and nearly found the end zone. But the veteran edge defender consistently found his way to Kyler Murray, producing a game-high eight pressures, three quarterback hits, and a pair of sacks, including a game-clinching one on fourth down to seal Seattle's victory. Add in a tremendous effort chasing down a screen from the other side of the field and Dunlap enjoyed one heck of a performance in his first home game as a Seahawk.

Other Notable Performances

Finishing third on the team in pressures, recording a sack, and forcing a safety on a hold by guard J.R. Sweezy, L.J. Collier nearly made the top five with a 79.0 grade, including an 83 grade rushing the passer. Defensive tackle Poona Ford didn't register a quarterback hit or a sack, but he was in Murray's face frequently with six pressures, earning a 76.0 grade. In the secondary, Tre Flowers played a starring role limiting DeAndre Hopkins to five receptions for 51 yards, earning an 82 grade in coverage and a 77.4 overall game grade. A pair of missed tackles in space against Murray hindered Jamal Adams overall marks, but he did force an intentional grounding penalty before Collier's safety and also landed a quarterback hit to receive a 70.3 grade.

Offensively, DK Metcalf's two drops hurt his grade a bit, but he did snag a 25-yard touchdown and made some nice blocks in the run game, earning a respectable 75.5 game grade. Back for his first action in nearly a month, Hyde rushed for 79 yards and caught a pair of passes, earning himself solid marks with a 78.3 grade. Along the offensive line, Brandon Shell stood out in pass protection before exiting with an ankle injury, receiving an 81 grade in that category and a 74 overall game grade. Making his first start at center, Damien Lewis allowed four pressures and struggled in pass protection, but an 84 run blocking grade salvaged his overall score with a 65.

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