While the Seahawks won’t make the playoffs this year, they made sure to end the season with a bang in a game that coach Pete Carroll called a Super Bowl, winning an NFC West title at the Cardinals in a 38 -30 victory at State Farm Stadium.
Leading the charge for Seattle, quarterback Russell Wilson completed 15 of 26 passes for 238 yards and threw a trio of touchdowns, Tyler Lockett caught five passes for 98 yards and two scores, and Rashaad Penny set a new record. career with 190 rushing yards. . Defensively, Jordyn Brooks and Cody Barton combined for 32 tackles and Travis Homer forced a special teams fumble on a missed punt late in the third quarter.
After closing a tough season with momentum, here are five takeaways from Glendale:
1. A strong performance from Russell Wilson eclipsed a pair of ugly turnovers.
With his future beyond this season in question, the season finale couldn’t have started off worse for Wilson, who attempted to get out of his pocket in game two of the match and was quickly taken out of the game. hand football by Chandler Jones. . Recovering the fumble, Zach Allen returned it for a touchdown to give the Cardinals an early 7-0 lead. Later after halftime, he threw an ill-advised shot at running back Travis Homer and safety Jalen Thompson intercepted the pass, nearly sending it back for six points. Arizona hit the ball into the end zone a few games later to take a 24-17 lead with 9:25 remaining in the third quarter.
But by taking those two catastrophic mistakes out of the equation, Wilson may have played his best game of the season. Immediately after his fumble, while taking a big hit, he threw a 43-yard rainbow at Tyler Lockett to quickly pick up the game. Later in the half, he again found Lockett on a quick route to give Seattle their first lead, and he landed a third touchdown pass to tight end Gerald Everett in under two minutes. to play in the second quarter. Eager to secure his team’s victory, he found a wide-open Freddie Swain against a broken cover for a 25-yard score to tie the game again at the end of the third quarter, then walked through All-Pro safety Budda Baker. over the goal line for a four-yard touchdown to regain the lead moments later. While his mistakes nearly cost the team the game, his exploits ultimately carried more weight in a vintage four touchdown performance.
2. Keeping Rashaad Penny may not be a cheap proposition for the Seahawks anymore.
Continuing an unlikely streak of play after more than three injured seasons, the Cardinals have only been able to contain Penny for so long. In the first half, when he ran for 20 yards just before Wilson’s first touchdown pass, he was “limited” to 59 yards on 11 carries for 5.4 yards per carry. Arizona has done a decent job of bottling it up and removing tight lanes, something their opponents haven’t been able to do very well in the past four games.
From there, however, Penny took over, putting the Seahawks on their backs in the final two quarters with several explosive runs. On the play before Wilson hooked up to Swain for a quick six points, the former San Diego State star slipped through the Cardinals’ defense before being tripped on a 29-yard rush. Then, after Arizona scored a basket to reduce the lead to 31-27 with less than seven minutes to go in regulation, the dynamic full-back stabbed Seattle rival NFC West. Coming back to the right on a zone run, Penny found a crease and soared to the second level, eventually coming back to her left and passing several defenders on the way to a grueling 62-yard touchdown to extend the ‘advantage at 11 points. Setting a new career high in rushing yards for a second straight week, he made a ton of cash heading to free agency and Seattle should expect some competition for his services in March.
3. In the midst of a patchy outing, Jordyn Brooks delivers a historic performance on several fronts.
Making his first career start without All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner by his side, Brooks entered Sunday’s final six tackles behind his veteran counterpart to lead the team in tackles and placing third in the league in this season. category. It didn’t take long for him to set a new franchise record in a single season, either, as the second-year defenseman surpassed the future Hall of Fame at the end of the first half with his seventh tackle. On a day when he seemed to be around football all the time, he ended up tying Wagner’s franchise record in one game by amassing 20 combined tackles.
Ironically, Brooks could have finished with even more, leaving several tackles on the field in the second half. He was unable to wrap up on Zach Ertz on a tight end screen early in the third quarter and on the following play he was unable to circle running back James Conner, who slipped through his arm tackle and finally swung into the end six-point zone to tie the score at 17 apiece. But the 2020 first-round pick more than made up for those mistakes with several clutch stops on the stretch and a kick recovery in under two minutes to play, closing a stellar second season in style.
4. Led by Carlos Dunlap, Seattle’s pass race comes to life as it harassed Kyler Murray.
For much of the season, the Seahawks have struggled to muster much of the pass rush and haven’t been able to build a solid second half of the 2020 season. Much of those struggles revolved around Dunlap, who had a half-sack in the team’s first 11 games and as a result saw his playing time decrease. But down the home stretch, the treacherous passing veteran found his rhythm and concluded his 11th NFL season with a dominant performance in the final, racking up 2.0 sacks, five pushes and one pass deflection while constantly intimidating them. Arizona’s two starting tackles with power out of the rim.
With Dunlap leading the charge, the Seahawks have generated relentless pressure on Murray, which has caused them problems in the past due to his breakability. However, that didn’t matter for most of Sunday’s game, as the visitors managed to sack the elusive flagman five times in the afternoon and didn’t let him do much damage. outside the pocket with his legs extending the games. Defensive tackle Poona Ford recorded his second sack of the season and suffered three presses from the inside, while Kerry Hyder and Darrell Taylor also came on with one sack apiece. For good measure, Taylor added a crushed pass to the line of scrimmage in the fourth quarter, forcing the Cardinals to settle for a field goal.
5. State Farm Stadium reaffirms why it became Seattle’s House of Horrors.
Ultimately, these games are played by humans and unfortunately the human element came to the fore when star safety Quandre Diggs suffered a devastating right leg injury in the fourth quarter. Coaches immediately called for the cart and placed a blast of air on his leg as his teammates huddled around him on one knee. The seventh-year defenseman has been one of the best safeties in the league since arriving via trade in the middle of the 2019 season and will hit free agency in March, making the timing of the injury worse. Diggs could be seen in tears as he was carried off the field and his teammates carried similar emotions to their fallen comrade, who will likely face a long and arduous rehabilitation upon return from a fractured fibula.
Sadly, seeing an iconic star secondary player suffer a serious injury is nothing new at Glendale. At that same stadium, Richard Sherman blew up his Achilles and Kam Chancellor suffered a career-ending neck injury in the same match in 2017. The following year Earl Thomas broke his leg and sadly gave the bird to trainer Pete Carroll as it was transported. . If there is a silver lining, Carroll has indicated that Diggs should make a full recovery and be ready for the 2022 season. Now the question is: will it be with the Seahawks or some other team?