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Seahawks-Cardinals, Week 9: Stock up, stock down for Seattle
Seaside Joe 1343, 11/6: A recap and stock report on all things Seattle!
As I wrote on Saturday, a win over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 9 would have major implications on the near future of the Seattle Seahawks: Stay in first place in the NFC West, keep the Cardinals gasping for air from the bottom of the well, and force the rest of the conference to take Geno Smith and Pete Carroll seriously in the race to be this season’s best team.
The Seahawks beat the Cardinals 31-21 on Sunday, as Geno survived his first pick-six of the year by tossing touchdowns to DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, with rookie running back Kenneth Walker III punctuating his A+ grade as a draft pick by scoring the fourth quarter dagger. Twice.
The Seahawks improve to 6-3 on the season, the third-best nine-game record for Seattle during Pete’s 13-year tenure as the head coach. The Seahawks are now bowl eligible! (Hopefully they get invited to the Super.) By winning, Seattle improves to 2-1 in the NFC West, with two games left against the L.A. Rams and a rematch with the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday Night Football in Week 15.
By beating the Cardinals in Week 9, the Seahawks stay ahead of the 4-4 49ers (bye week), while the 3-4 Rams are still battling the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the fourth quarter as I send this newsletter.
Though Seattle was clearly the better of the two teams, the win did not come easy. The Seahawks trailed 7-3 in the first quarter and 14-10 following Geno’s pick-six to linebacker Zaven Collins. But Geno’s confidence on third down never wavered, as Smith led 75-yard and 81-yard touchdown drives following his miscue to give Seattle a 10-point lead with strong accuracy and decision-making in third down. Smith went 10/12 with a touchdown and 30 rushing yards following his pick-six.
And halfway through the NFL season, Geno locking Smith is perhaps the best quarterback in the NFC.
The only two teams in the NFC outside of the East who are above .500: The 7-1 Vikings and the 6-3 Seahawks. Which players on the Seahawks raised their stock the most in Week 9’s win? Scroll down for more.
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OLB Uchenna Nwosu
Two more sacks for Nwosu, giving him seven on the season. That’s a new career-high and he’s challenging for the NFC lead now.
TE Noah Fant
I wrote about Fant on my vision board this week and he came through. Fant finished with five catches for 96 yards, his best total since his 2019 rookie campaign. Fant helped finish off Arizona with a 51-yard reception after the Cardinals had cut the lead to 24-21.
CB Mike Jackson
I don’t have any specific stat or highlight to show you for Jackson, I just think he’s been such a solid and underrated player over the last month. He’s coming up with big tackles over and over again, and Jackson had a TFL this week.
RT Abe Lucas
The Seahawks draft class is so good that you can kind of forget that their third round pick is already a good NFL right tackle. Seattle has so rarely had good right tackles, rookie or otherwise.
WR DK Metcalf
His stat line doesn’t pop (5 catches, 37 yards) but it felt like Metcalf completed all of the plays that went in his direction. No drops, no mental mistakes, no fumbles, and one touchdown. This is what we want to see even more than 100-yard games.
S Ryan Neal
Another huge play by Neal, one of Seattle’s top players in the last three weeks. I don’t anticpate Neal challengin for Jamal Adams’ job in 2023, but he could be tough to let walk in free agency without making an offer. Will other teams view him as a starting safety?
LB Bruce Irvin
His first sack since 2019. Seahawks also got sacks from Uhenna Nwosu (now at 6, new career-high) and Shelby Harris (second of the year).
RB Kenneth Walker
He might also get consideration for first-team All-Pro by the time it is all said and done. Walker’s been the NFC’s top running back since he took over for Rashaad Penny. He had another 109 rushing yards and two more rushing touchdowns.
LB Jordyn Brooks
Perhaps I am being harsh on Brooks, but eventually the questions will come as to whether or not the Seahawks should guarantee him a huge raise in 2024 by triggering his fifth-year option next year. Is Brooks a major liability in coverage and was he responsible for allowing this first quarter touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins?
The other half of the equation for Brooks is, “Does he atone for his mistakes by making game-changing plays?” While Coby Bryant, Tariq Woolen, Mike Jackson, and Ryan Neal seem to keep doing big things and getting noticed, Brooks sort of just “exists” and then he leads the Seahawks in tackles by the end. Okay, that’s good. But is it “fifth-year option” good? What are your thoughts?
G Gabe Jackson
The Seahawks have employed a regular rotation at right guard between Jackson and Phil Haynes this season, citing Jackson’s age and knee as a reason for caution. This comment isn’t to say that Jackson is playing poorly, but his “stock” this season has to be down if he can’t play 100% of the snaps, especially given that he is a cap casualty candidate in 2023 and Haynes is an unrestricted free agent.
WR Dareke Young
A crucial offensive pass interference penalty on Young set back Seattle during a first half drive. The Seahawks need much better depth at WR next season.
Stock Up and Down
QB Geno Smith
After Geno “got away with one” in the first quarter on a throw that should have been intercepted in the end zone by Byron Murphy, Smith wasn’t so lucky in the third quarter when he threw a pick-six to Cardinals linebacker Zaven Collins.
But Geno showed tremendous anticipation on this throw to DK Metcalf, as the receiver was nowhere near “open” when Smith started to wind up:
Smith then led Seattle on a go-ahead touchdown drive in the third quarter to answer his pick-six with a tremendous third down throw to Lockett. Geno is playing at such a high level, he’s probably challenging for an All-Pro nod right now. Russell Wilson never had an All-Pro nod, but it should be noted that the honor is extremely hard to get, almost as difficult as MVP.
S Quandre Diggs
A clear illegal contact penalty by Diggs in the second quarter wiped an easy interception off the board for Coby Bryant. If not for Diggs’ mistake, Seattle would have start their drive inside Arizona’s red zone with a 10-7 lead. Diggs also had a key pass deflection in the first half to force a Cardinals punt.
WR Tyler Lockett
I don’t want me critiquing Lockett’s game to be misconstrued as general disapproval of the veteran. He’s had an up-and-down last couple of weeks. Last week, it was the fumble and the drop. This week, Lockett slid two yards short of the first down marker on third-and-16:
I want to make something clear, which is that Lockett may or may not have gotten the first down. It’s also good that Lockett isn’t injured and this was clearly a business decision. But at the end of the day, he’s playing tackle football and this was a play that needed to end in him being tackled if there was any chance of a first down. He needed to give it a try.
On the other hand, Lockett is still great.
ST Dareke Young
He wasn’t a positive influence on the offense, but Young downed a punt inside the 4-yard line even though he was on his back when he tapped it forward. Young loves playing special teams and it is showing, he could have a brighter future there than on offense. Playing well on special teams will buy him more time to work on his offense.