Sputtering Seahawks enter Week 11 vs. Cardinals trying to stay afloat
TEMPE — The Arizona Cardinals will get their first look at the 2021 Seahawks this Sunday in Seattle.
The Seahawks, however, don’t invoke that same sense of fear they once brought to Lumen Field during the Legion of Boom days.
At 3-6, Seattle is trying to remain above water in the competitive NFC with a lackluster defense and an offense that got shutout in the team’s loss to the Green Bay Packers.
Taking another L this week against the Cardinals moves the Seahawks that much closer to being irrelevant come playoff time.
But with quarterback Russell Wilson, Seattle always has a chance to make some noise.
Cardinals DC Vance Joseph on Seahawks QB Russell Wilson:
“Russell is like no other. A special quarterback.” pic.twitter.com/fQFA7tHluw
— Tyler Drake (@Tdrake4sports) November 18, 2021
“With Russell (Wilson) it’s a comprehensive, overall perspective,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Wednesday. “He’s got the sports psychologist, he’s got the body coach, he’s got the fitness trainer –- he’s just made it a full-time job.
“That’s the most impressive thing, to me, is that he’s dedicated his life to it, very much like (Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback) Tom Brady. It’s year-round, every day, ‘I’m the face of the franchise. I’m trying to be the best player in the world.’”
Wilson showed off that kind of determination and work ethic over the past few weeks as he recovered from a finger injury and surgery that put him on the injured reserve. His doctor said it was the most severe injury to a throwing hand of an NFL quarterback he had ever seen. The signal caller, whose status for Week 11 was murky at best a week or two ago, exceeded rehab expectations, getting a clean bill of health ahead of Week 10.
Some wonder if Wilson’s return was premature, though.
Throwing at least one touchdown over his first five games, including three multi-score efforts, while committing just one interception over that span, Wilson was off to yet another strong start to the season.
Then came the Packers last week, where Wilson was held scoreless in the 17-0 loss, committing two interceptions and completing just 50% of his throws (season-low) for 161 yards.
The Cardinals are hoping for a similar result on Sunday, but know not to overestimate Wilson, who can catch fire at a moment’s notice.
“Russ is Russ,” cornerback Byron Murphy said Thursday. “He’s coming back from surgery, anyone coming back from surgery, especially your throwing hand, is gonna be difficult. You gotta get back used to it and I just think, obviously, he had some more time to get some more treatment so he should be back good.”
But while Wilson will make his second start since coming off IR, another important piece to Seattle’s offense is headed that way in running back Chris Carson, who will miss the remainder of the season after deciding to undergo neck surgery.
Losing Carson only hurts an offense that is 30th in the league in total yards per game (302.2) and 21st in rushing yards per game (99.8).
“You just never know,” defensive lineman Jordan Phillips said Friday. “Russ is back, they’re heavy up front, they like to run the ball. Should be a fun one.”
The offense may be struggling, but it hasn’t been as bad as the defense, which could be called the Legion of Gloom at this rate.
Only the New York Jets (417.1) have surrendered more yards per game than the Seahawks (400.6) have this season. Seattle’s defense has been gashed more through the air, giving up 275.3 yards per game, fourth most in the NFL.
Seattle has allowed at least one passing touchdown in all but two games this season, while giving up at least 210 yards per game to opposing signal callers.
This is clearly not the Seahawks team we have grown accustomed to watching in recent history. Stopping the run and getting more pressure on Wilson and his throwing arm is the first step in dismantling Seattle. Beating the defense through the air is the second.
That doesn’t mean the week can be glossed over, though. Anything can happen when the Cardinals and Seahawks meet up.