Recap: Seattle Seahawks rely on defense to beat Arizona 20-10
Oct 22, 2023, 4:57 PM | Updated: 6:04 pm
SEATTLE (AP) — Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Jake Bobo come from opposite ends of the spectrum for NFL rookies.
Smith-Njigba was a first-round pick carrying the expectations that come with that spot. Bobo was an undrafted rookie just looking for a shot.
The Seattle Seahawks consider themselves fortunate to have landed both.
Smith-Njigba and Bobo both caught first-half touchdown passes, Kenneth Walker III rushed for a season-high 105 yards, and the Seahawks beat the Arizona Cardinals 20-10 on Sunday.
With DK Metcalf out because of injury and missing the first game of his career, Seattle’s rookie pass catchers connected with Geno Smith on big plays in the first half before its defense was asked to come up with some key stops in the second half after a handful of mistakes by the Seahawks.
“It was huge not only for Jaxon and Bobo but I think it was huge for our overall offense to see those guys continue to step up and make great plays,” Smith said.
Seattle (4-2) rebounded from last week’s loss at Cincinnati that was filled with missed opportunities, but a shaky second-half performance by Smith allowed the Cardinals to hang around into the fourth quarter.
Smith completed 18 of 24 passes for 219 yards. He hit Smith-Njigba on a 28-yard reception in the first quarter for his first NFL touchdown. Bobo made a terrific 18-yard TD catch in the second quarter that included a toe-tap on the sideline.
Smith-Njigba and Bobo each had four receptions and became the first set of Seattle rookies to catch TDs in the same game since 2015.
“With (Metcalf) out we knew we were going to have to step up. Obviously he’ll be back soon, but I was just looking to semi-fill his big shoes and felt like we did a little of that today,” Bobo said.
But the Seahawks missed a chance to put away the Cardinals much earlier. Smith was intercepted at the Arizona 1 in the third quarter by Garrett Williams on an underthrown pass intended for Bobo. Smith later fumbled a snap and Arizona recovered at the Seattle 34 early in the fourth quarter. The Seahawks were able to avoid giving up points on the drive after Matt Prater missed a 34-yard field-goal attempt.
Arizona later attempted a fake punt on fourth-and-9 near midfield with 5:09 remaining, but Michael Wilson was tackled 4 yards short of the first down line on a pass from backup QB Clayton Tune. Seattle kicker Jason Myers hit a field goal from 48 yards with 2:17 left to put the victory away for the Seahawks.
Arizona QB Joshua Dobbs was 19 of 33 for 146 yards and was sacked four times. On the week that Kyler Murray was activated from the physically unable to perform list and rejoined Arizona’s practices, Dobbs was unable to get anything working in the downfield passing game. Dobbs’ longest completion was 21 yards on Arizona’s final possession.
“There were opportunities to get the passing game going quicker and earlier in the game. I feel like that would have put us in a better position to continue to execute throughout the game,” Dobbs said.
Dobbs did run for a 25-yard touchdown in the first half, the longest run play allowed this season by Seattle. That touchdown capped an 80-yard drive, but Arizona finished with 249 yards and 88 yards in the second half.
Seattle’s defense has allowed fewer than 250 total yards in three straight games.
“The consistency showed up with our defense,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “They did a fantastic job again today to go back out after halftime and shut them down and not give anything up.”
Arizona left tackle D.J. Humphries was ejected in the second quarter for making contact with an official following a wild play where Dobbs was intercepted by Devon Witherspoon in the end zone but the turnover was negated by a roughing the passer penalty against Boye Mafe.
At the end of the interception return there was a scrum where Humphries and Seattle’s Jordyn Brooks both swung hands at each other and made contact with an official. Humphries was ruled to be the guilty party and was disqualified.
Metcalf missed the first game of his career because of injuries to his ribs and hip. Metcalf had played in 71 straight games from the start of his career in 2019. Metcalf had been listed as questionable on the final injury report. Seattle was also without starting center Evan Brown (hip) and starting right guard Phil Haynes (calf) leaving rookies Olu Oluwatimi and Anthony Bradford to fill in.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll was 2 for 2 on challenges in the first half, the first time he won two challenges in a game since Dec. 15, 2016, vs. the Rams. The second challenge came on Bobo’s touchdown, which was initially ruled incomplete for being out of bounds.
Arizona Cardinals: Host Baltimore next Sunday.
Seattle Seahawks: Host Cleveland next Sunday.
More on the Seattle Seahawks
• Bumpus: Seahawks are ‘built for tight ends to have success’
• ‘We’re getting better’: Carroll shares what he’s seeing from Seahawks’ defense
• What three former Seahawks said about DK Metcalf’s penalties