Wilson’s three interceptions lead to Seattle’s first loss of the year
By Cody Benjamin & Jared Dubin CBS Sports
Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals had plenty of big plays on the primetime stage Sunday night, but none were bigger than in overtime, during which they stunned their rival Seattle Seahawks to shake up the NFC West standings. Russell Wilson and Co. dominated conversation for much of the night, with the one-time MVP front-runner finding Tyler Lockett for 200 yards through the air and helping Seattle go up 10 points late in the fourth quarter. Arizona’s injury-riddled defense did not give up, however, forcing OT and then picking off Wilson in the waning minutes of action to set up a game-winning Zane Gonzalez field goal.
On a night that saw Murray flash with a pair of early 75-yard scoring drives, both capped by picture-perfect touchdowns to wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk; as well as the late-game comeback fueled in part by Arizona’s D, Wilson was just a bit off, overshadowing some beautiful highlight-reel throws with some momentum-shifting head-scratchers. The Seahawks led late, but the Cardinals closed on top, taking a 37-34 decision to improve to 5-2 and hand Seattle its first loss of the season.
Here are some immediate takeaways from Sunday’s wild NFC West clash:
Why the Cardinals won
They never gave up. Seriously. Sounds cliche, but their defense had no business forcing three different Russell Wilson turnovers, including one on a go-ahead overtime drive, and yet they did, with guys like Isaiah Simmons and Haason Reddick stepping up when they were needed most. The victory also didn’t lack explosive plays. Kyler Murray, Chase Edmonds and DeAndre Hopkins all had their fair share of highlights working against a predictably vulnerable Seattle D, including during that OT comeback.
Kliff Kingsbury’s run game was nowhere to be found, with Murray extending a few drives with his legs but Kenyan Drake failing to find much space, and the coach nearly gave the game away by calling for a second-down field goal in OT — and then icing his own kicker with a timeout as the play clock was about to expire. Murray also rocketed some crucial misfires, most notably a fourth-quarter pick that erased the Seahawks’ own turnover and seemingly kept the game in Seattle’s hands. But all in all, the whole group came up big in the clutch, going blow for blow with the consensus MVP and Super Bowl contenders. Murray in particular never seemed to lose his cool — either because of his turnover or because of the weight of the moment — and ended up edging Wilson because of it.
Why the Seahawks lost
There’s no QB-WR duo like Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett, and for most of the night they deserved every bit of praise, showcasing perfect timing on everything from clutch third-down connections to deep-ball touchdowns. But when you lean so much on two guys to carry the whole team … well, it doesn’t always work out. Seattle’s run game worked just fine even after Chris Carson left with an injury, but D.K. Metcalf was practically erased by Patrick Peterson, save for his TD-saving tackle on Wilson’s first pick of the night; as a result, Wilson ended up forcing several throws that cost Seattle the game.
Throwing three picks is unusual for Wilson, and every single one of them proved especially hurtful on Sunday night, with two coming deep in Arizona territory and the last one coming near midfield as the Seahawks marched toward a would-be game-winning OT score. Seattle’s defense, of course, also can’t be let off the hook, considering they allowed the Cards to glide up and down the field pretty much whenever Arizona felt like moving. That problem has simply been apparent for too long.
There were probably 12 different turning points in this wild back-and-forth, but this one was particularly notable for the Cardinals defense: Third down, Seahawks ball, just about midfield, just over six minutes left in OT. A false start pushes Seattle to a third-and-11. And then Byron Murphy comes in clean with a big sack of Russell Wilson to force a punt and keep Seattle scoreless on the first drive of the extra period. Arizona would go on to miss a field goal on its own first OT series, but that defensive stand helped set the tone for the final few minutes of action, with Wilson coming out on the next drive and relying almost strictly on short throws before forcing one to a clearly covered Lockett and essentially gifting Isaiah Simmons the game-sealing takeaway.
Play of the game
Wilson’s TD passes to Tyler Lockett were beauties and deserve as much recognition as possible. And Kyler Murray had some special throws of his own, including some to help set up the OT upset. But nothing captivated audiences like D.K. Metcalf’s imposing rundown of Budda Baker on what initially looked like an easy pick-six for the Cardinals safety. Talk about maximum effort and speed, which just so happened to save Seattle from giving up an early TD and, at the time, looked to be crucial for a Seahawks win. In retrospect, Arizona fans can at least appreciate how much Baker’s pick meant for a unit that ended up stumping Wilson twice more:
The Seahawks (5-1) will be back in action with yet another crucial NFC West showdown in Week 8, when they host the San Francisco 49ers (4-3), who just routed the New England Patriots to eclipse .500. The Cardinals (5-2), meanwhile, will take a break on their Week 8 bye before returning on Nov. 8 with a home game against the Miami Dolphins, who are about to kick off the Tua Tagovailoa era.