Journalist Bob Condotta notes Seahawks win over Cardinals in Week 9

Journalist Bob Condotta notes Seahawks win over Cardinals in Week 9

GLENDALE, Ariz. — At this point, after Sunday’s decisive 31-21 victory in Arizona over the Cardinals for their fourth straight victory by 10 or more points, maybe the Seahawks are a lot better than everyone thought.

And the calendar indicates that there is no reason for anything to change any time soon.

Consider what’s in store for the Seahawks — a game next Sunday in Munich against a Tampa Bay team that picked up a win over the Rams on Sunday but doesn’t appear to be close to its Super Bowl-winning stature two years ago; at home against a Raiders team that is one of the biggest disappointments in the NFL; to the Rams against another team that is one of the biggest disappointments in the league; then at home against Carolina before a Dec. 15 game against the 49ers who suddenly look like they could decide the NFC West.

Who thought that?

And on that happy note, let’s get to some notes.

Strategist

Geno Smith made a big mistake with Zaven Collins’ pick six throw that, for a brief second, looked like it could turn the game around. To be fair to Smith, it was a very good Collins piece. And Smith was lucky another pass in the end zone wasn’t caught by former Husky Byron Murphy. Otherwise, it was the MVP-style Geno Smith that Seattle adopted this year. His rebound from that interception to lead three consecutive TD drives of 75 yards or more – including seven consecutive third-place conversions – could well be a defining moment of this season.

To note: B+.

Come back

Kenneth Walker III has already proven a lot this season. But Sunday might have been as impressive as any game he had as he finished with 109 yards on 26 carries, knocking off a tough 78 of 17 carries in the second half after having just 31 of nine in first half, when the Arizona defense seemed to have figured out Seattle’s running game. Walker now has seven rushing touchdowns in Seattle’s last five games and is more than halfway through a 1,000-yard season with 570 yards on 111 carries, 5.1 per carry. Who says running backs don’t matter?

To note: A.

wide receiver

OK, so Tyler Lockett caught up a few yards before a first down on a third pass and 15 in the second quarter. And DK Metcalf was limited to just 37 yards on five receptions, including no more than 9. But when it counted, Seattle’s top two receivers made the plays necessary to win the game – Metcalf tiptoeing at the back of the end zone to catch a 4-yard TD in the first quarter and Lockett a 9-yard TD in the third quarter. Each came on third downs. Seattle got nothing else from its receivers as Dee Eskridge didn’t catch and Marquise Goodwin sat out with a groin injury. But that day, two was enough.

To note: B+.

tight end

It was a good game for tight ends as Seattle’s trio of tight ends combined 10 catches for 126 yards, led by Noah Fant’s 96 yards on five catches – highlighted by his 51-yard run catch for set up Seattle’s last TD in the fourth quarter after Arizona cut the score to 24-21. Also credit offensive coordinator Shane Waldron for the perfect play. Colby Parkinson once again showed off his vastly improved blocking skills throughout the game, notably helping to pave the way for Walker’s final TD.

To note: A.

offensive line

The racing game has been a slog for a while. But then you look up and see Seattle rushing for 158 yards, its third-highest rushing total of the season. While Smith was hit a few times, he was only sacked twice — on back-to-back plays in the third quarter — he had time when he needed it. Arizona had eight QB hits, but none were from JJ Watt, who had three tackles but didn’t seem to have much of an impact on the game. The Seahawks again opted for a rotation at right guard with Gabe Jackson starting but Phil Haynes entering the third set and Seattle using each throughout.

To note: A.

defensive line

The first job for the Seahawks is always to make an opponent’s running offense irrelevant. And the Seahawks pretty much pulled it off on Sunday, despite starting running back James Conner returning to Arizona, who missed Game 1 against Seattle with an injury. Conner had 45 yards on seven carries, but the Cardinals had just 59 yards on running backs on 12 carries as Seattle’s defensive tackles again played well. And for the second week in a row, Shelby Harris showed why the Seahawks made him a target of Russell Wilson’s trade when he had three tackles and a sack.

To note: B+.

linebacker

Seattle’s outside backers had another great day, led by Uchenna Nwosu getting two sacks – and now with what is already a career-high seven – and Bruce Irving notching his first sack since 2019 in his first match as a full member of the 53-man roster. Rookie Joshua Onujiogu also had two tackles in his NFL debut. As for inside supports, Jordyn Brooks led Seattle with 12 tackles and Cody Barton had three tackles, with Seattle doing a good job of bottling up Arizona’s running game. But someone blew something to allow Arizona’s TD in the first quarter on Kyler Murray’s 22-yard TD pass to DeAndre Hopkins.

To note: B+.

Secondary

Not just to keep giving compliments, but it was also another good day for high school. Safety Ryan Neal played one of the key plays of the game with his forced fumble from Kyler Murray in the second quarter to keep the Seahawks up 10-7 before halftime. And rookie Tariq Woolen had a good game against Hopkins — none of Hopkins’ four holds came against Woolen. And keeping a supposedly explosive offense like Arizona’s to no more than 14 yards in the second half shows how well the secondary handles its missions and doesn’t lack for tackles.

To note: A.

Special teams

Rookie receiver Dareke Young had two good plays in a game with a tackle in the first quarter, then assisted on a punt at the 3-yard line in the second quarter. And DeeJay Dallas, who appears to be taking over punt return duties for good, had a 19-yard field goal while Jason Myers had a 49-yard field goal in the first half.

To note: A.


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