The Seahawks are 7-3 after beating the Arizona Cardinals 28-21 in Week 11. (Getty)
The Seahawks are back in the win column after topping the Arizona Cardinals 28-21 on Thursday Night Football, ending a two-game losing streak and, for the time being, giving Seattle sole possession of first place in the NFC West once again.
The Seahawks are now 7-3 after Thursday’s win, and while that may not be where many expected them to be after starting 5-0, they now enter far and away their easiest stretch of the season, which kicks off after 11 days off with a Week 12 matchup in Philadelphia against the Eagles on Monday Night Football.
As we do after every Seahawks game, we have collected the instant reactions of 710 ESPN Seattle’s voices to the loss. This is just a taste of what you’ll hear all day Friday on the station beginning with Danny and Gallant at 7 a.m. and The Pete Carroll Show at 9:30.
Bob Stelton – Wyman and Bob
What a HUGE win! The Seahawks’ defense just played their best game of the year at a time where they desperately needed it. On the verge of a three-game losing streak the Hawks found the cure for what had been ailing them. The defense held the Cardinals to their lowest point total of the season with 21 points allowed. They scored 21 in a loss to Carolina earlier this year.
The Cardinals were leading the league in rushing yards per game at 168.9. The Hawks held them to 57 yards. Kyler Murray came into the game averaging just under 68 rushing yards a game. This Hawks defense held him to 15 rushing yards on five carries.
You have to give Ken Norton Jr. and this defense credit. They’ve been criticized all season long (they have deserved all of it) and they stepped up against a division rival coming off of their biggest win of the season. Carlos Dunlap came up with two sacks on the night and none bigger than the game-ending sack on fourth-and-10 when the Cardinals were driving for a game-tying touchdown. Give credit to L.J. Collier, who came up with a sack as well as forcing a holding penalty in the end zone on former Seahawk J.R. Sweezy, resulting in a safety.
The offense, while not as explosive as it had been earlier in the season, was more balanced and efficient than any other game so far this year: 31 rushing attempts to 28 passing attempts.
Carlos Hyde had some huge runs and really showed the difference in skill level when he runs the ball versus the other backs on the roster (outside of Chris Carson, of course).
Russell Wilson was exactly what you would expect him to be … efficient! Wilson was 23 of 28 for 197 yards and two touchdowns. His decision making was on point and most importantly, no turnovers.
This was a team win in truest sense of the word. A win that puts the Seahawks back in first place in the NFC West.
Stacy Rost – Jake and Stacy
For a minute there it looked like this game could be a repeat of Week 7. In a primetime matchup with seconds remaining and the Seahawks holding a lead, the Cardinals had a chance to tie the game and send it to another overtime matchup (or win it with a 2-point attempt) in the final seconds. With 38 seconds remaining, Kyler Murray took the snap for a fourth down attempt from Seattle’s 27-yard line.
The difference this time around? A veteran pass rusher.
Carlos Dunlap – who was still days away from being traded to Seattle from Cincinnati the last time these two teams met – sacked Murray to seal the win and keep Seattle’s hopes for an NFC West title very much alive. The Seahawks’ sideline erupted. Dunlap’s final play brought an end both to a hard-fought Thursday night game and a slide that saw Seattle drop three of its last four contests.
It’s an oversimplification to say Dunlap was the only difference, but he did play a huge role with two sacks and three quarterback hits. There were other important differences.
Russell Wilson righted himself after a streak of turnovers – the key to this game. And give credit to the defense, who held the league’s best rushing team to just 57 yards on the ground.
This is what the team and its fans needed to see. Hopes were waning after Seattle went from holding the best record in the NFC to having a stretch of ugly performances.
When my co-host Jake Heaps and I spoke with ESPN reporter Brady Henderson earlier this week, we asked him whether the Seahawks (then coming off a loss to the Rams) were contenders or pretenders. He said they were somewhere in between. I think they’re still in limbo when it comes to being a Super Bowl favorite – it’s hard to see them as the cream of the crop with some of the flaws they still have, but this win pushed them a lot closer.
And … exhale.
Paul Gallant – Danny and Gallant
That win was Throwback Thursday-esque.
The Seahawks established the run. Played competent defense. Didn’t turn the ball over. And remembered that Russell Wilson doesn’t always need to cook for Seattle to win.
The W started with a physical performance by Carlos Hyde. His punishing style pushed the Cardinals around for 79 yards and a touchdown, with an impressive 5.6 yards per carry. With 31 carries to 28 passing attempts, it was only the second time this season that the Seahawks had run more often than thrown (the other was in Week 2 against New England).
I wasn’t expecting much out of Seattle’s defense tonight. Why would I? They’d been carved up by Josh Allen and Jared Goff the previous two weeks. But the Hawks surprised me. They got after Kyler Murray, sacking him three times, holding him to just 15 yards rushing, and possibly injuring his shoulder. DeAndre Hopkins, fresh off the catch of the year, struggled to make a difference himself. Carlos Dunlap, Quandre Diggs, K.J. Wright, and Bobby Wagner consistently made plays and helped the Hawks put together their most disciplined performance of the year.
Russ wasn’t dominant in this game, but his 23-for-28, 197-yard, two-TD day was ruthlessly efficient. And it would have been a 25-for-28, three-TD day if not for a couple of drops by DK Metcalf.
This wasn’t a perfect victory. DK’s drops, a missed Jason Myers extra point, a fumbled snap, a sloppy pitch, and dumb personal foul penalties let Arizona hang around longer than it should have. To make matters worse, Greg Olsen and Brandon Shell suffered what looked like serious injuries. But considering the way the Seahawks looked the last two weeks and a rash of previous injuries, I’ll absolutely take it. Especially with a slate of NFC East games and the Jets on deck to fatten up that win column.
Dave “The Groz” Grosby – 710 ESPN Seattle host emeritus
On a cold night in Seattle, the Seahawks were able to rely on a formula for winning that brought back some echoes of the past as they win the critical matchup with the Cardinals. It all came down to executing in the fourth quarter, which the defense did.
The Seahawks ran the ball effectively, Russell Wilson was turnover-free and the defense made the plays to get the win. In my book it’s hard to overstate the importance of the return of the running game. Seattle controlled time of possession and kept Kyler Murray off the field. When Murray was on the field he was being hit and sacked, which is something that did not happen the first time they played, at all.
Carlos Dunlap showed you exactly what the Seahawks were hoping for when they traded for him: a pass rusher on the D-line. Others stood out but it was a total team effort on defense, easily the best of the year. There was even a moment in the first half when you saw a great defensive play made by the secondary driving a runner out of bounds. It was Jamal Adams and D.J. Reed, and while this isn’t the Legion of Boom, it looked like it and they had a huge night.
Seattle plays the easiest schedule in the NFL the rest of the way and a repeat of this performance (minus a few penalties and drops) will net them 12 or 13 wins and a top seed going into the playoffs. If that happens, they will look to this night in November as the key win of the entire season.
Curtis Rogers – Producer, Jake and Stacy
For nine weeks, these weren’t your father’s Seahawks. Games were won and lost thanks to largely the performance of Russell Wilson’s right arm. On Thursday, Seattle saved their NFC West title hopes by going to a formula that’s made them the conference’s model of consistency for a decade: a punishing running game, no turnovers, and a defense that got after the opposing quarterback.
Does this represent Pete Carroll taking back his kitchen from Russell Wilson? Yes. In fact, I never really got the sense that Pete was comfortable letting anyone bomb it as much as Wilson had through the season’s first half. Do I agree with the change in philosophy? No. Will I be mad about the end result of tonight? No way. They’re still very much alive in the division race and they avoided dropping three in a row, which is still something Seahawks fans in fourth grade have never experienced.
Defensively, tonight was the best performance the Seahawks have had in 2020. As a unit, they held the league’s best rushing team to a measly 57 yards on the ground. Kyler Murray was certainly hampered by a shoulder injury throughout most of the game, but the Seahawks did a tremendous job of never letting him get truly comfortable and it showed. Three sacks, seven QB hits, and a key intentional grounding call that set up a safety later in the drive. And before I forget, can general manager John Schneider go ahead and exercise Carlos Dunlap’s 2021 option? What a revelation he’s been in only three weeks. A real fun thing to do right now is go compare his 2020 sack total to that of Jadeveon Clowney’s. Go ahead, I’ll wait here for you.
The next four games for the Seahawks are about as cushy as it can get. I would be stunned if any of those matchups will require Wilson to throw 40-50 times. Like it or not, Pete Carroll got his way on Thursday night and the Seahawks are still big brother in the division.
D.J. Wilder – Producer, Danny and Gallant
The Seahawks proved tonight that they’re still the team to beat in the NFC West.
The Hawks got back to playing Pete Carroll football: 31 rushes and 28 passes. Russell Wilson was 23 of 28 with 197 yards, two touchdowns, and ZERO turnovers. Efficiency at its finest. It will be interesting to see if the Seahawks continue to go to their old style of football as they head into the final stretch of the season.
The defense was good tonight as well. Two of the three Cardinals TD drives were helped out by Seahawks penalties. The most surprising aspect of the defense tonight? The Hawks only allowed 57 rushing yards on 18 carries. The Cardinals were a team that led the NFL in rushing yards with over 160 per game, and the Seahawks completely took that away. Seattle has given up 34 points in their last six quarters, and it may not look like it, but they’re slowly improving.
Now, the Seahawks are 7-3 heading into their final six games where they play the Eagles, Giants, Jets, Washington Football Team, Rams, and 49ers. The Seahawks have always been a second half team, and they may have just set themselves up to potentially run the table.