JOHN CLAYTON

Clayton: Seahawks make important improvements going into offseason

Jan 10, 2022, 1:44 PM
Seahawks Poona Ford...
Carlos Dunlap and Poona Ford celebrate a Seahawks sack in the fourth quarter Sunday against Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

After underachieving all season long, the Seahawks played like a playoff team in Week 18 against the Arizona Cardinals.

Rost: Seahawks had a lot to prove in finale – and did

All three units – offense, defense and special teams – had a great game Sunday.

Seattle scored 38 points and look balanced and strong on offense. And even though the Cardinals scored 30, two came from offensive mistakes by the Seahawks. There was the fumble return for a touchdown on the opening drive and an interception that set up the Cardinals for another TD in the second half.

Basically, the Cardinals’ offense scored only 16 points, and that fits the pattern of this Seahawks season. The Seahawks gave up less than 21 points a game, tied for ninth in the NFL, even though they gave up a lot of yards (379.12 per game, 28th).

One of the keys to Sunday’s win was the defense. In the first half, the Cardinals had a 19-play drive but had to settle for a field goal. That was huge for Seattle.

The biggest improvement was on offense, though. They had balance. Running back Rashaad Penny, who had already rushed for 135 yards or more in three of his previous four games, put himself in a position to come back on a new contract with a career-high 190 yards against the Cardinals, including a 62-yard touchdown run.

Another big thing is how well Russell Wilson played. He looked like the great Wilson from past years. He moved well in the pocket and got the ball to Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. This was clearly his best game of the season.

Now, the Seahawks wait to see how the offseason will proceed. They have close to $70 million of cap room with the carryover from this year. They need the biggest work done on the offensive line and at cornerback. They have to see where they are at safety after the bad fractured leg suffered Sunday by Pro Bowler Quandre Diggs, who is set to be a free agent.

The Seahawks finished 3-3 in the tough NFC West but ended up in fourth place in the division, which gives them an easier schedule in 2022. A 7-10 season isn’t good, but Sunday’s 38-30 win in Arizona was a great way to end it.

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