GLENDALE, Ariz. – Well, it certainly wasn’t pretty.
And no, that’s not a commentary on the green uniforms the Seahawks wore in Arizona on Thursday night, resembling either nuclear cabbage or electric relish. The Seahawks were called for another 12 penalties and finished with fewer than 300 yards of total offense.
And the Seahawks’ 22-16 victory in Arizona was certainly painful, Seattle losing five starters over the course of the game, including cornerback Richard Sherman to a potentially serious leg injury.
But there was a moment of pure poetry to be found in this game that was otherwise an abomination. One fourth quarter play of ad-libbed brilliance when Russell Wilson, running for his life as he is forced to do so often on this team, performed two 360-degree spins in succession to evade a pair of Cardinals pass rushers before lobbing a pass to Doug Baldwin, who jumped in front of leaping Cardinals defender and ran down the sideline for a 54-yard gain.
THAT. WAS. UNBELIEVABLE.
— NFL (@NFL) November 10, 2017
It matched Seattle’s second-longest completion of the season, and it certainly was the most improbable. Tight end Jimmy Graham scored his second touchdown of the game on the very next play, and Seattle had a 22-10 lead and all the points it needed in a game that became a last-man-standing affair.
Arizona didn’t score again until there were 20 seconds remaining when Andre Ellington had a 1-yard touchdown run that was more about the final accounting than anything else. Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane blocked the point-after try for good measure.
Now the question is how costly the victory will be for Seattle.
The Seahawks lost left tackle Duane Brown (ankle), defensive tackle Jarran Reed (hamstring), C.J. Prosise (ankle), linebacker Michael Wilhoite (calf) and Sherman. Defensive lineman Frank Clark went down late with a thigh bruise.
The Cardinals lost their left tackle D.J. Humphries to a first quarter knee injury. Safety Tyvon Branch went out with a knee injury later in the half, and tight end Ifeanyi Momah also was lost for the game for an undisclosed injury. Well, OK, it wasn’t undisclosed. I just failed to write it down and forgot about it amidst the deluge of other injury news.
And amidst that hurt parade, the two teams did play some football. At least they tried to.
Both teams found the end zone this year in Arizona. That’s something that didn’t happen last year when the two teams played to a 6-6 tie in the desert.
In fact, the Cardinals’ 10 points was a veritable scoring binge at home against Seattle. Arizona had managed just six points each of the last three games in which it hosted the Seahawks.
Of course, Arizona had some help in that regard. Of the five first downs on their first half touchdown drive, four came courtesy of Seattle penalties. The Cardinals gained 39 yards on that drive. The officials gave Arizona 41 by way of penalties in some sort of sadistic matching program in which every yard gained merited an additional yard via penalty.
The Cardinals scored on a 14-yard pass in the first minute of the second quarter, tying the score 7-7 after Seattle took an early lead on Graham’s 6-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter.
The Seahawks went back on top when Kam Chancellor tackled running back Adrian Peterson in the end zone for a safety, Seattle’s second safety in five days. Two field goals by Blair Walsh gave Seattle a 15-7 lead, and while the Cardinals cut it down to a five-point lead in the third quarter, Wilson’s improvisation pretty much sealed the deal in the second half.
Wilson was 22-for-32 passing for 238 yards and two touchdowns.