As I have mentioned a few times before, games between the Seattle Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals can often be weird. These team know each other well, and each team kinda knows what it can do to beat the other team, if all goes according to plan, but that does not prevent the football deities from sending their gremlins down to stir up shit for both teams in the process.
Often times, each of these teams find ways to win on the other’s home turf, and that, in and of itself, is a wacky NFL oddity. Not this year, though, which leads me to this other odd fact about this rivalry.
What is really super duper odd in this weird ass rivalry is that, since 2010, every four years, the Seahawks sweep the Cardinals. Yup. They have done this in 2010, 2014, 2018, and now in 2022. Spooky, really, and also maybe Vegas betters should have paid closer attention to this.
At any rate, it’s joyful to muse over this victory for my Seattle Seahawks. My biggest takeaway from this outing is really just how polar opposite both of these programs are right now, and how it played out in this rematch.
Going into the season, there was a fair amount of hype around Kyler Murray and the Cardinals finally being able to take the NFC West, like this was maybe their year, or some such thing. I was skeptical, but I sensed others were not.
Contrastingly, most thought that the Seattle Seahawks would suck donkey turds. Many thought that Pete Carroll was crazy for promoting Geno Smith to QB1, and he should have traded for Baker Mayfield, or just went with Drew Lock. Most thought Seattle’s real plan was tanking for a quarterback in next year’s draft. I was a bit skeptical of that, as well.
I felt that anyone who believes that Pete Carroll would purposefully tank for an unproven quarterback coming out of college doesn’t really know anything about Pete Carroll and his culture. While I didn’t anticipate Geno Smith playing this well (among tops in the league), I didn’t necessarily believe he would play that poorly, either. At worst, I felt that if Carroll believed in him, there must be something to him others weren’t seeing.
Therein lays the biggest difference between these two programs. Seattle is exceeding low expectations while Arizona is falling on its face with the expectations placed upon them. Where Seattle players feel up lifted by the belief their head coach has bestowed in them, Arizona watches Kyler Murray fight with his head coach and teammates, and lose games in the process.
Arizona arguably has more overall talent on their roster than Seattle does, but because of their dysfunction, they can’t produce winning football right now. Seattle, on the other hand, is playing extremely well together, and the young talent on their roster is learning how to become great in this league on the fly, each and every week, and because of that, they are winning games.
Seattle is developing and building while Arizona is imploding. It’s that simple.
Geno Smith is better at quarterbacking than Kyler Murray is right now, and therefor, is a better quarterback. Sure, he doesn’t have the dynamic skills that Murray has, but he is better in terms of nuances vital for success at the position. So, it shouldn’t really be that shocking that Geno out performed Kyler again in this one.
Geno Smith has also been helped out by having a true blue chip franchise running back in Ken Walker III (aka K9). Geno Smith also isn’t hurt either by Shane Waldron’s perfectly balanced play calling, and having superb tight ends to throw to like Noah Fant. It’s probably nice that Geno Smith still has DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett on the outside, too.
But it is not like Kyler Murray doesn’t have great weapons because he does, plain and simple. DeAndre Hopkins is supposed to be the best receiver in the league, and this Rondale Moore kid looks pretty snazzy, too, and the last time I checked, Zach Ertz is still a pretty damn good tight end.
I wonder how much those guys would enjoy playing for a quarterback like Geno Smith?
I don’t mean this to be a smart ass question, either. After watching the sideline shit show of Murray chewing out Hopkins, and then shots of Hopkins looking emotionally detached the rest of the game, I actually think it is a fair question to ask.
Do these Cardinal guys love playing together? I have mighty doubts.
I predicted that Seattle would win this game precisely because of antics just mentioned. Call me old fashioned, but dysfunction does not deserve victory. It just doesn’t, and because Seattle has been playing so connected, and together, and for each other, I felt that they would handily win this one. While the game was a lot closer than the final score indicated, it also really wasn’t, was it?
Seattle gifted Arizona six points off of a pick six that I am sure Geno Smith won’t throw into the flat again, but up until that point, Seattle seemed like they were in firm enough control on both sides of the ball. True enough, though, in their next offensive series, Geno guided the Seahawks offense to an impressive touchdown score to retake the lead. Seattle never looked back afterwards.
In that drive, Geno was as gutsy and determined of a quarterback as you will ever see. Nothing phased him, and Arizona brought all kinds of pressure. After that drive, Seattle put together more scoring drives. They kicked the door down on Arizona’s attacking defense, and Kyler Murray just couldn’t do enough in the end, even with an impressive drive of his own to make it a closer score in the final minutes.
True to form, after Arizona scored, Geno led yet another touchdown scoring drive throwing a gorgeous catch and run ball to Noah Fant, and then handing the ball off to K9, down after down, as K9 crushed the souls of would be Cardinal tacklers. In those moments, with K9 run, after K9 run, I could sense legendary Seahawk coach Chuck Knox peering down from the heavenly skies with a shit eating grin as wide as Brian Mone’s buttocks.
This is winning football. This is what winning culture looks like.
In a match sure to inspire weird events, Seattle stayed focused, and they outplayed a desperate opponent who were searching for momentum in a must win game for them. Do not underestimate how much a victory likes this means for the upstart 2022 Seattle Seahawks.
This was such a complete victory over the dumbstruck Cardinals that I am having a difficult time deciding who my game ball goes towards. Part of me thinks it should be Geno Smith’s for overcoming what could have been a very costly pick six. Part of me also thinks it needs to be K9’s after that stellar closing drive to ice the game, and part of me wants to give it to Noah Fant who had himself a break out game at tight end.
But if I am to be absolutely honest, if I am to hand out any balls, I would give it to all the dudes on this impressive, and very underrated Seahawk defense. This defense played balls out. They kept Hopkins quiet, they stuffed the run, and made Murray have to work extra hard for his big plays.
For as good as Seattle’s offense has been this season (they’ve been really good), this defense feels like they are playing just as inspired. In this one, they made an offense that was getting their star players back look very ordinary. This has been the forth week in a row where the Seahawk defense has done this to a good offense.
I cannot praise enough what Clint Hurtt have done with turning around this unit. They play fast, they play hard, they can cover, and hit, and tackle, and they force you into mistakes. Best of all, through this stretch, it also feels very sustainable, every bit as much as Geno Smith and the offense does.
Watch out, these 2022 Seahawks feel dangerous. I haven’t sensed dangerous from this team in a number of seasons now, not like this, anyhow.
And I am one hundred percent behind this. This is what winning culture eventually becomes. It’s dangerous for other teams to face.
Seattle travels abroad to Munich to take on another bit of a dysfunctional mess next Sunday, and they have a huge following in Germany, oddly. Needless to say, I like their chances. As Coach Carroll would say, this is another great opportunity to play championship football.
So, go get Tom Brady and the Bucs. Bury them. Do it.