GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Seattle Seahawks won a game Thursday night but lost a whole lot in the process.
Cornerback Richard Sherman suffered what’s believed to be a ruptured Achilles, which would require season-ending surgery. That injury and several others marred Seattle’s 22-16 victory over the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Left tackle Duane Brown, playing his second game with Seattle after being acquired in a trade with the Houston Texans, sprained his ankle late in the second quarter and didn’t return. Defensive tackle Jarran Reed (hamstring) and running back C.J. Prosise (ankle) left the game and didn’t return. The injuries had piled up to a ridiculous level for both teams long before Seahawks defensive linemen Sheldon Richardson and Frank Clark collided late in the fourth quarter, causing both to leave the game.
A road win against a division rival — on a short week, no less — is usually cause for celebration, but this one was muted.
“It’s hard to be fired up about this because a lot of guys got banged up today,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “I just feel terrible about it, but they just kept fighting, clawing and scratching. It is what it is.”
What it means: Sherman’s injury deals a massive blow to the Seahawks’ defense and their Super Bowl hopes. He has not only been a franchise cornerstone and one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, but he has never missed a game. So this will be uncharted territory for the Seahawks. With the win, they improved to 3-0 in their division and assured themselves of not losing ground to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC West this weekend.
The Rams are 11-point favorites Sunday against a Houston team that is without rookie standout quarterback Deshaun Watson, so a loss to Arizona would have put the Seahawks (6-3) at serious risk of falling two games behind in the division standings while also further reducing their already-slight margin for error to secure one of the NFC’s top two seeds. This was a game the Seahawks should have won, and they took care of business. But it came at a great cost.
What I liked: Russell Wilson did his Houdini act to set up Seattle’s final touchdown. He escaped the pocket to his left and, when it seemed Arizona had him dead to rights, he spun around twice before finding Doug Baldwin, who snagged the ball in midair for what turned out to be a 54-yard catch. Wilson is on a short list of quarterbacks who can make that play; indeed, his might be the only name on it.
“I can’t wait to see it again,” Carroll said of that play. “It seemed like it took forever. It was just fantastic execution and chemistry between those two guys to get that done.”
What I didn’t like: Penalties continue to be a glaring issue for the Seahawks. They committed 16 in Week 9 to give them 82 on the season, which put them on pace to shatter their previous club record of 138 in 2011. Seattle committed 12 more penalties Thursday night, including four that aided the Cardinals’ first touchdown drive. To be fair, some of the infractions against Seattle in this game were borderline, such as a hands-to-the-face penalty called against cornerback Justin Coleman. But questionable calls don’t explain all of them.
Fantasy fallout: Tight end Jimmy Graham’s re-emergence as a red zone threat continues. He had two more touchdowns Thursday night, giving him six over the past five games. His scores were from 6 and 2 yards. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Graham now has 51 touchdowns in the red zone since entering the league in 2010. That’s second only to Rob Gronkowski’s 52 during that span. Seattle had a hard time getting Graham involved in the red zone during his first two seasons in Seattle, but that problem seems to have been solved.
Jordan’s return: Dion Jordan hadn’t played in an NFL game of any kind since December 2014, missing the next two-plus seasons because of injuries and his third drug suspension. He made his long-awaited return Thursday night and recorded a sack in the fourth quarter.
“It’s a blessing. I feel thankful,” Jordan said. “I’m really happy right now, honestly. I’m not showing it, but I feel really happy.”
What’s next: The Seahawks have a mini-bye, with 11 days until their next game — a Monday night matchup with the Atlanta Falcons at CenturyLink Field. They’ll need that time, given all the injuries they suffered Thursday night.