Cardinals Zach Ertz: Quiet In Win

The 2021 Seattle Seahawks season may not have gone the way they had hoped, but it at least ended in a promising way.

The Seahawks overcame turnovers early in each half to beat the Arizona Cardinals 38-30 in Week 18 of the NFL season on Sunday, ending their first losing season since 2011 on a victory to give them a 7-10 record.

Seahawks 38, Cardinals 30: Instant ReactionBox score

Seattle made key defensive stops in the fourth quarter, and Rashaad Penny’s 62-yard run late in the game put it away and capped off a stellar stretch to end the season for the fourth-year running back.

Penny rushed for a career-high 190 yards on 23 carries, and he had 135 rushing yards or more in four of his final five games heading into free agency.

He didn't need THAT much space but @pennyhendrixx will gladly take it.

📺 #SEAvsAZ on FOX

— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) January 10, 2022

The win prevented Arizona (11-6) from winning the NFC West even though the Los Angeles Rams (12-5) also lost Sunday in overtime to the San Francisco 49ers (10-7). The 49ers clinched a playoff berth with their win, meaning the Seahawks are the only NFC West team not heading to the postseason.

Seattle’s victory came at a cost, with Pro Bowl safety Quandre Diggs suffering a serious leg injury in the fourth quarter. He, like Penny, is set to be a free agent.

The Seahawks now head into their least certain offseason since they hired coach Pete Carroll in 2010, with questions about the futures of Carroll, quarterback Russell Wilson, linebacker Bobby Wagner and general manager John Schneider all in the air.

If this is the end of the Wilson era, it was quite the sendoff

Here are the fast facts from Seattle’s season finale.

Scoring plays and highlights

First half

Seattle’s rough start belied where the Seahawks stood at halftime, but it ultimately played a factor in Arizona roaring back in the third quarter. But we’ll get to that.

On just the second play from scrimmage, Arizona’s Chandler Jones strip sacked Russell Wilson, leading to a 16-yard Zach Allen fumble recovery touchdown. And so with just 12 seconds off the clock and no Cardinals offensive plays, Seattle found itself down 7-0.

The Seahawks answered, however.

Wilson found Tyler Lockett for a 43-yard touchdown pass, and after a nearly 11-minute Cardinals drive resulted in a 41-yard Matt Prater field goal, Seattle took the lead on another TD pass from Wilson to Lockett, this time for 5 yards.

Pop, Drop, and @TDLockett12 😤

📺: #SEAvsAZ on FOX

— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) January 9, 2022

Seattle tacked on a 38-yard Jason Myers field goal late in the second quarter, and a Carlos Dunlap sack of Arizona QB Kyler Murray on first down with 43 seconds left before halftime sent the teams to the break with the Hawks up 17-10.

Lockett had a huge half, hauling in all four of his targets for 87 yards, including touchdowns on each of his first two catches.

Seattle had missed opportunities, though, namely a pass to a wide-open Gerald Everett in the end zone that hit off of his hands just before Myers’ field goal.

Second half

So let’s get back to how that opening fumble really hurt the Seahawks.

By Arizona scoring before even going on offense, it gave the Cardinals the benefit of making Seattle play from behind when it also had to kick away to start the second half. And that is when Arizona made the Hawks pay.

Murray hit James Conner for a 20-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the third quarter to tie the game 17-17, and an interception by Arizona’s Jalen Thompson, a former WSU safety, set up a 1-yard, go-ahead touchdown run by Conner. Less than six minutes into the second half, the Cardinals had flipped the game and moved ahead 24-17.

The Seahawks weren’t going anywhere, though. Wilson found Freddie Swain streaking down the sideline for a 25-yard touchdown to knot the score at 24-24 with 1:57 to go in the third, making it anybody’s ball game in the fourth.

Too easy for Freddie Swain and @DangeRussWilson.

📺 #SEAvsAZ on FOX

— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) January 9, 2022

Seattle’s defense and special teams then gave the offense a big hand.

Poona Ford sacked Murray on first down, then Kerry Hyder did the same on third down, forcing Arizona to attempt a punt out its own end zone. The snap was fumbled by Cardinals punter Andy Lee, who recovered it only to fumble again, and Seattle’s Cody Thompson recovered it at the 10.

Three plays later on third-and-goal from the 4, Wilson dropped back, then took off and dove in for the touchdown, making it 31-24 Seattle with 13:15 to go. Wilson ran through Bellevue native and former UW Huskies standout Budda Baker on his way to the end zone.

Nobody open? No problem for @DangeRussWilson. He takes it in himself to put the Seahawks back on top.

📺 #SEAvsAZ on FOX

— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) January 9, 2022

Seattle received a break on the ensuing Cardinals drive as Conner left the field with a ribs injury and was ruled questionable to return. It wasn’t the only injury on the drive, though, and the second was one the Seahawks did not want to see. Pro Bowl safety Quandre Diggs was carted off the field with his leg in an air cast, meaning both of Seattle’s 2021 Pro Bowlers – the other being linebacker Bobby Wagner – suffered leg injuries in the final two games of the season.

The Cardinals settled for a 30-yard Prater field goal after 14 plays and 7:01 taken off the clock, cutting Seattle’s lead to 31-27 with just over six minutes to go.

Then Rashaad Penny happened.

After being surprisingly quiet for most of the game other than a a strong first couple drives, Penny broke through for a 62-yard touchdown run, giving Seattle a comfortable 38-27 lead with 4:34 to go.

The Cardinals were able to get another field goal, a 36-yarder from Prater, to cut Seattle’s lead to 38-30, giving them the chance to recover an onside kick and possibly still tie the game. Jordyn Brooks safely handled the kick for Seattle, however, and a few strong Penny runs allowed the Hawks to clinch the win.

Key stats

Seattle had its most efficient offensive game of the season against a quality opponent, converting 8 of 12 on third down to Arizona’s 9 of 18. The Seahawks also had 431 total yards of offense to the Cardinals’ 305.

Russell Wilson passed 15 of 26 for 238 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. He also had a rushing touchdown.

The surging Rashaad Penny had his best game yet with 190 rushing yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.

Tyler Lockett caught all five of his targets for 98 yards and two touchdowns. DK Metcalf had five catches on 11 targets for 58 yards.

Jordyn Brooks led Seattle with 20 tackles, including two tackles for loss.

Carlos Dunlap had two sacks, Poona Ford had 1.5, Kerry Hyder Jr. made one, and Darrell Taylor had a half-sack.

.@Carlos_Dunlap just tosses his blocker aside on the way to his second sack of the game.

📺 #SEAvsAZ on FOX

— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) January 10, 2022

For Arizona, Kyler Murray passed 28 of 39 for 240 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. He also rushed five times for 35 yards.

James Conner had 15 carries for 52 yards and a touchdown, plus caught six passes for 41 yards and another score.

Tight end Zach Ertz led Arizona with seven receptions and 84 yards.

Chandler Jones had the lone sack of the day for the Cardinals, while Jalen Thompson made an interception with a 33-yard return.

Seahawks injuries

Quandre Diggs, Seattle’s star free safety, suffered a leg injury in the fourth quarter and was carted off the field in an air cast. Diggs was named to his first Pro Bowl team last season and was named a starter for the NFC this season, but the actual Pro Bowl game wasn’t held last year and it now seems unlikely Diggs will be able to play in the game on Feb. 6. He’s also set to be a free agent this offseason.

Up next

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll will join Mike Salk to wrap up the team’s campaign at 9:30 a.m. Monday on the final Pete Carroll Show of the season on 710 ESPN Seattle.

Cliff Avril: ‘Unnecessary’ for Seahawks to move on from Wilson or Carroll

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Source:Sports Illustrated

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