This wasn’t exactly what you’d call a clean game from either team. But it was a game the Seahawks thoroughly deserved to win.
There were some really positive moments. Kenneth Walker showed he’s perfectly suited to take over the lead role in the backfield. The two rookie cornerbacks combined to force a turnover. Tariq Woolen also had an interception for the fourth straight game — the first time that’s happened since you-know-who. It’s so immeasurably joyful to see a Seattle cornerback producing picks again, especially a young stud like this. The defense created pressure for the first time in a while (recording six sacks) and generally had a better showing.
It was also a bit of a stumbling and bumbling game by both teams.
I’m a bit worried about Kyler Murray. Not Kyler the player, Kyler the person. He looks miserable. After Arizona’s first drive, the sideline reporter noted he was being consoled by Zach Ertz. This is not the player I remember at Oklahoma. He looks a shadow of his former self on the field in terms of play and demeanour and I hope he has people in that organisation making sure he’s OK. Sometimes it’s not all about money, as we saw with Andrew Luck.
Murray was able to make some big plays with his legs but as a passer he looked really bad. Each of Arizona’s fourth down attempts were lame, unconvincing and sloppy. Murray just looked lost, on each occasion.
Not that he’s given any help by Kliff Kingsbury. It’s astonishing, really, that he received a handsome contract extension. His scheming appears basic and inadequate. Without Nuk Hopkins to provide a cure-all, the basic route combinations are being exposed. This isn’t the Big-12.
Geno Smith also struggled a fair bit more than he has recently. Arizona’s defense is tricky because they bring so much pressure. The O-line struggled to handle such a creative front and that didn’t help Smith. In fairness to Geno, he still did enough to deserve to be on the winning side.
You could argue it could’ve been a blowout with a cleaner game from Seattle. Yet at the same time, Arizona had the three fourth-down SNAFU’s in scoring position. They also had the Murray fumble deep in Seattle territory. But this was all somewhat countered by Michael Dickson’s strange decision (the second in as many weeks) to hold onto a punt and give away a special teams touchdown.
Overall a bit of a slop-fest with a few highlights — good ones — from Seattle.
I want to believe the defense has turned a corner but the Cardinals and Murray struggled so much, I’m remaining sceptical for now.
What it does show, however, is the Seahawks are going to be very capable of grinding out games like this against poor opponents. And that there are also worse teams than Seattle that will fill out the high picks in the 2023 draft.
I don’t expect the Broncos to be so bad that they end up picking unexpectedly high, leaving both teams with a similar final record and potentially giving the Seahawks two picks in the teens.
I’m going to spend a bit of time digesting that thought over the next few days and what it means for the future. I still think the long-term process is the more interesting conversation than any potential achievements in 2022.
Given 2023 is shaping up to be a top-heavy draft, I do wonder what it means. The top young QB’s are drifting further away. The defensive playmakers many crave aren’t readily available. It’ll make for an interesting discussion, although I’m not sure the conclusions will be particularly appealing.