GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Seattle Seahawks are no stranger to ugly wins. Thursday’s might be their ugliest given all the injuries they suffered, not to mention the penalties they committed en route to a 22-16 victory over the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Cornerback Richard Sherman left in the third quarter with a heel injury, which is believed to be a ruptured Achilles tendon, head coach Pete Carroll said. Left tackle Duane Brown hurt an ankle late in the second quarter and didn’t return, either.
There were many more.
A road win against a division rival is usually cause for celebration, but this celebration could be muted depending on the severity of the injuries to Sherman, Brown and others.
What it means: The Seahawks improved to 3-0 in their division and assured themselves of not losing ground to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC West this weekend. The Rams are 11-point favorites Sunday against a Houston Texans team that’s without Deshaun Watson, so a loss to Arizona would have put the Seahawks (6-3) at serious risk of falling two games behind in the division standings while also further reducing their already-slight margin for error for one of the NFC’s top two seeds. This was a game the Seahawks should have won, and they took care of business.
What I liked: Russell Wilson did his Houdini act to set up Seattle’s final touchdown. He escaped the pocket to his left and, when it seemed Arizona had him dead to rights, he pirouetted twice before finding Doug Baldwin, who snagged the ball in midair for what turned out to be a 54-yard catch. Wilson is on a short list of quarterbacks who can make that play. Indeed, his might be the only name on it.
What I didn’t like: Penalties continue to be a glaring issue for the Seahawks. They committed 16 in Week 9 to give them 82 on the season, which put them on pace to shatter their previous club record of 138 in 2011. Seattle committed 12 more penalties Thursday night, including four that aided the Cardinals’ first touchdown drive. To be fair, some of the infractions against Seattle in this game were borderline, such as a hands-to-the-face penalty called against cornerback Justin Coleman. But questionable calls don’t explain all of them.
Fantasy fallout: Tight end Jimmy Graham‘s re-emergence as a red zone threat continues. He had two more touchdowns Thursday night, giving him six over the past five games. His scores were from 6 and 2 yards. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Graham now has 51 touchdowns in the red zone since entering the league in 2010. That’s second only to Rob Gronkowski‘s 52 during that span. Seattle had a hard time getting Graham involved in the red zone during his first two seasons in Seattle, but that problem looks to have been solved.
Jordan’s return: Dion Jordan hadn’t played in an NFL game of any kind since December 2014, missing the next two seasons because of injuries and his third drug suspension. He made his long-awaited return Thursday night and recorded a sack in the fourth quarter.
What’s next: The Seahawks have a mini-bye with 11 days until their next game, a Monday night matchup with the Atlanta Falcons at CenturyLink Field. They’ll need that time given all the injuries they suffered Thursday night.
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