Seahawks-Cardinals takeaways: Hawks complete rare and unfortunate feat in 20-17 win
It wasn’t perfect and it wasn’t pretty, but the Seahawks managed to leave their Week 4 road matchup against the Cardinals with a 20-17 win and improve to 2-2 on the season. Much like their last meeting in Glendale, though, Seattle left Arizona with major injuries.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll described it as a “bittersweet” victory, but it wasn’t just the injuries that left a somber taste. Here’s the good – and bad – from Sunday’s win:
A career night for Mike Davis
Running back Mike Davis took the bulk of the carries for a Seahawks team short lead back Chris Carson (hip). He finished the night with a career-high 101 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. It was the second consecutive 100-plus yard game for a Seahawks running back, which is a major step forward for an offense that didn’t see a running back record more than 300 yards in all of 2017. It was also Davis’ first multiple touchdown game.
A rare (and unfortunate) feat
Carroll has lamented the Seahawks’ third down conversion rate all season. The team improved to 44 percent in a win over the Dallas Cowboys last week. In their win over the Cardinals, though, Seattle posted its lowest third down conversion rate of the season: 0 percent.
The Seahawks were 0 for 10 on third down. On a strange statistical note, the Seahawks’ Week 4 win was just the fifth time since 2001 that a team won without converting a single third down on 10 or more attempts, per ESPN’s Mike Sando.
A few third down attempts were spoiled with curious playcalling. After a focus on run game improvements all offseason, and a very intentional effort to establish the run last week with 39 carries, the Seahawks opted for a pass attempt on third-and-1. This in itself isn’t strange, but Seattle had been successful with the run through three quarters (averaging nearly 5 yards per carry) and benefited from a Cardinals neutral zone infraction to eat up 5 yards of what was a third-and-6.
Meanwhile, Seattle called for a hand-off on third-and-19 and third-and-22. It’s always easy to criticize a play without knowing the game plan or having a thorough understanding of a player’s assignment. It’s also easy to criticize a play when it doesn’t work. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear Mike Salk and Brock Huard ask Carroll about a few of these third down situations (or the use of timeouts in the second half) during Monday morning’s interview on 710 ESPN Seattle.
More big injuries in Glendale
The Seahawks suffered several injuries in their last road game against the Cardinals – both Richard Sherman (ruptured Achilles) and safety Kam Chancellor (neck injury) saw their Seahawks careers end there – and the unlucky trend continued Sunday for safety Earl Thomas and tight end Will Dissly.
Thomas suffered an injury to his lower left leg during a Cardinals touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. Thomas was fitted with an air cast and carted off the field. Carroll later described the injury as a lower leg fracture.
Thomas rejoined the Seahawks’ active roster in September after a months-long holdout with the team. The All-Pro in January told ESPN he wouldn’t feel secure playing without a long-term deal in place, since he becomes an unrestricted free agent in March 2019. On Sunday, that fear was realized with an injury that may not just end Thomas’ season but could also impact his future earnings with another team.
Thomas wasn’t the only Seahawk to sustain a serious injury. Rookie tight end Will Dissly suffered a non-contact injury on Seattle’s second possession of the first quarter and remained on the ground for several minutes before being carted off the field. Carroll postgame called it a patellar tendon injury. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the injury as a season-ending torn patellar – the same injury suffered by former Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham in 2015.