NFL 2022 Week 9: Seahawks 31 winners and losers, Cardinals 21

Many expected the Seattle Seahawks (6-3) to win no more than six games all season. They already have six wins and are 1.5 games ahead of the San Francisco 49ers and 2.5 games ahead of the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams in the NFC West. What an amazing first half of the season it turned out to be, and I don’t think the Seahawks have played their best football yet!

It’s time for winners and losers after the team’s 31-21 win and season sweep over the Arizona Cardinals (3-6).


Winners

Geno Smith

If Geno could have had five touchdowns last week, he could have had three interceptions this week. What happened is what happened and we got to see Smith show off his formidable mental resolve after a 6 pick that was both read well by Zaven Collins and pitched poorly. Seattle’s offense was in trouble and Smith had just made his worst decisive error of the season. He responded by going 11/13 for 174 yards and a touchdown.

There’s been a lot of qualifying for Geno and what if things don’t go well? would he fold under pressure or after a bad game? Today he didn’t, and his composure after the interception was on display when he led the team to three consecutive touchdowns.

Noah Fan

Finally, Noah Fant as a YAC monster has arrived. He was tied for the team lead in receptions (5) and had 96 yards. For context, Fant had 176 yards all season before putting on the type of performance that allowed the Seahawks to acquire him as part of the Russell Wilson trade. Four of Fant’s five receptions were for first downs and that 51 yards on the bootleg was essentially a dagger for Arizona’s comeback chances.

I haven’t been impressed with Fant this season, but in a system where all tight ends feast, Fant got himself an early Thanksgiving meal.

Kenneth Walker III

Not the best of starts for Walker given the Seahawks’ offensive line’s struggles to create traffic lanes, but in the 4th quarter it was time for K9 to maim a tiring Arizona defense. By my count, he rushed for 62 yards and a pair of touchdowns, giving him half a dozen touchdowns in the 4th quarter of the season! Walker finished with 109 yards on 26 carries, as well as 3 catches for 20 receiving yards.

DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett

Metcalf wasn’t flashy but he was efficient and caught a tough touchdown in which he had to put both feet down with little space to spare. It’s the type of TD you expect from a top receiver and he nailed it. Lockett was going to be a loser for dropping two yards from a first down on 3rd-and-15, but responded with a critical hold of 3rd-and-12 (while getting blasted by Zaven Collins) and grabbed a touchdown which put Seattle for good. Did he get away with some incredibly obvious pass interference on Budda Baker? Yes. Would I be mad if we saw Seattle getting tricked like this? Yes. But how it benefited the Seahawks so ouféééééé!

Protection pass

Geno Smith was sacked five times and harassed numerous times in the first game against Arizona. In the rematch, Smith was only sacked twice – both in the first set of the 3rd quarter – and while there were eight QB hits in total, he rarely felt like a be besieged. Lest you think it was a quick pass-centric performance from Geno, it wasn’t.

Uchenna Nwosu

Signature of the season. Two more sacks to bring his total to seven. You might notice the Seahawks getting a lot of their sacks without a blitz, which is so huge compared to previous seasons when they felt like they had to send extra men in a hurry to get after the quarterback.

BRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCE

He just turned 35 and might as well be 25. Irvin recorded his first sack since 2019 and his first with the Seahawks since leaving the team in 2015. He was a spark as a pitcher situational passing and it’s great that this reunion has worked out much better than his injury-shortened 2020.

Jordyn Brooks and Cody Barton

Yes, Cody Barton plays 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 tackles or get out of position like we saw at the start of the season. The run defense continues to be solid after a leaky five-game opener, and they’ve both been factors in that department. Everything clicks right now for this Seahawks defense.

Tariq Woolen and Mike Jackson

Woolen was beaten for a touchdown by Zach Ertz, but he also had a pass defended on a throw intended for DeAndre Hopkins and recorded a tackle for loss on a screen. Jackson also maintained his starting position against Woolen and the two were instrumental in limiting Hopkins to just 3 catches for 14 yards after that missed coverage touchdown on Arizona’s opening possession.

Ryan Neal

By far the biggest defensive play of the game was Neal for forcing Kyler Murray to fumble, turning a likely low 3 to zero before halftime. Seattle now has 16 forced fumbles on the season and Neal joins the fun to get the ball out.

Josh Jones?!!!

Yes, Josh Jones. He was on hand for fumble recovery and made some solid tackles on run defense, which is a huge improvement over the horror shows that were his debut.

losers

Seahawks Screen Pass

What has this team been doing in practice for the better part of a decade that renders them utterly incapable of running a screen? When they are not penalized or they do not lose yards, they are taken in 6th position. This is nonsense! The next one to take off for a big payout will be hanging a banner at Lumen Field. They try and try and try and whatever the QBs or the OL or the OC or the threats received, it just does not work.

Coby Bryant

Not that he played poorly… but he had a mix of bad luck and rookie moments. Bryant’s open-field tackle really needs work as he was guilty of a few 3rd down conversions that would otherwise have had to be scrapped. He also had an interception wiped out due to a Quandre Diggs penalty and a forced fumble on Rondale Moore reversed in an incomplete pass. His day could have been better, but in the end, it was a frustrating day at the office for the tower.

Punt return

I almost wish no one was there at this point. DeeJay Dallas was lucky not to lose a fumble on a nice miss, which would have been the fourth fumble lost by the Seahawks punt return this season. To my amazement, Dallas still had a 19-yard return on one of its three returns, so it wasn’t too bad, but I hold my breath every time the Seahawks have to line up a punt.

Dee Eskridge

That Marquise Goodwin hasn’t played and Eskridge still hasn’t caught two targets and no rushing attempt sums up how uninvolved he is on a weekly basis. Can he block well? Yes, is he a kick returner? I suppose. But nothing is right with him on offense, which is why the Seahawks drafted him.

Final remarks

  • Shane Waldron seemed to call the game very close to the vest as if he had no confidence in the offensive line to hold. After the pick-6, the call for play (especially involving the running game more) totally changed and we saw less of the cute line of scrimmage pass attack that Arizona kept sniffing . The spade pass to Colby Parkinson backfired after a similar play the previous week worked out.
  • Seven third straight conversions for the Seahawks over their last three possessions. How does it feel to have such a good third offense? We’ve rarely experienced this, and it’s a big part of why the Seahawks finish teams in the 4th quarter supporting drives and delivering knockouts.
  • Only one injury to note for Cullen Gillaspia, otherwise the haunted house status of this stadium did not materialize!
  • Arizona is poorly coached and scrappy, so I would have been pissed if the Seahawks had lost that game. I see no way for their season to turn around. Kliff Kingsbury is someone whose label of genius was far too premature.
  • On the other hand, Pete Carroll makes this team hum. This attack is nice to watch because it does not depend on nth-degree magic and explosive games. That’s not to say there haven’t been years of enjoying typically high-end offenses under Wilson, but the way this year’s offense works just doesn’t seem possible with this, at least. the most recent versions of Wilson. It turns out that Carroll is indeed still one hell of a coach and he can still adapt and succeed in this league. The apology line is going to be very long.
  • Bring on the Bucs, who gave us a solid beating the Rams, but now is the time to give Tom Brady an L overseas in Germany. The 2022 Seahawks have defied the critics and are performing like one of the best teams in the NFL, let alone the NFC. Isn’t that much more fun than tanking?

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