SEA-ARI grades: Defenses shine in NFC West tie

Highest-graded players and top takeaways from the Seahawks' and Cardinals' NFL Week 7 tie.

| 1 month ago
Carson Palmer vs Seahawks

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

SEA-ARI grades: Defenses shine in NFC West tie


Seattle Seahawks 6, Arizona Cardinals 6

Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from Sunday night’s tie between the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals.

Seattle Seahawks

Quarterback grade: Russell Wilson, 68.7

Quiet day for Russell Wilson

This was a fairly bland performance by Russell Wilson, one that will certainly be muddled in all of the other storylines related to this game. Wilson completed 24 of 33 passes, and when you take out the three balls that were dropped by Seattle receivers, he finished the day with an 81.8 adjusted completion percentage, which ranks as the third-best among all QBs from Week 7. Accuracy certainly didn’t hinder Wilson on the day, he just wasn’t able to gain yardage in chunks to sustain drives, or take drives into the end zone once they got onto Arizona’s side of the field. Wilson attempted just 10 passes on the day that traveled over 10 yards in the air and completed just four of those for a total of 71 yards. Wilson also continued his trend of not running with the football. He tried to keep the ball on a read-option look on Seattle’s opening series on a 3rd-and-1 only to be tackled for a loss; after that, he didn’t have a single designed run all game. Wilson has now attempted just 11 runs through Seattle’s first six games, and is now on pace to finish the season with 29 runs after finishing with 46 last year and 68 in 2014.

Russell Wilson vs pressure

Top offensive grades  

WR Doug Baldwin, 72.7

QB Russell Wilson, 68.7

HB Christine Michael, 62.5

TE Jimmy Graham, 60.5

HB C.J. Prosise, 54.1

Seahawks’ offense doesn’t travel with team to Arizona

This was an absolutely miserable game by Seattle’s offense. The Seahawks started the game with three straight three-and-outs in the first quarter, and then followed that up by running just a total of 11 offensive plays in the second quarter. C.J. Prosise finished the game with a negative cumulative grade and still cracked the team’s top five on the 1–100 grading scale. Seattle’s offensive line combined to allow 16 total pressures on the night, and they’re fortunate that Russell Wilson spent most of the game getting the ball out of his hands quickly, because they were routinely getting smoked off the line of scrimmage with pressure not getting there due to the ball being out quickly.

Top defensive grades

LB K.J. Wright, 90.6

ED Cliff Avril, 88.5

S Earl Thomas 85.1

ED Frank Clark, 84.4

LB Bobby Wagner 82.0

Avril and Clark give Cardinals’ O-line fits all night

Cliff Avril easily had the best game of his career against the Cardinals, as he racked up three sacks, two hits, and an additional five hurries. After a breakout season in 2015, Avril had struggled to regain that elite form, but has now notched six sacks in his last three games. Frank Clark has built off his rookie success and has surpassed his sack total in just over half the snaps it took him to get there last year. He added two sacks and five hurries to his season total, and now ranks fifth among all 4-3 defensive ends in pass-rushing productivity, at 12.0. 

Arizona Cardinals

Quarterback grade: Carson Palmer, 47.5

Palmer struggles mightily under pressure 

After grading as the best quarterback in the NFL in 2015 season, Carson Palmer has been the complete opposite in 2016. He’s had two disastrous games, and no quarterback has graded worse over that span of time. While he obviously wasn’t that bad against Seattle, and was in fact good when kept clean (98.7 passer rating), Palmer was brutal under pressure, as he completed just six-of-16 for 37 yards and a passer rating of 45.8. Averaging a depth of target of 11.3 yards, only 54.4 percent of his yards came via the air, 10 percent lower than the rest of his season.

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Top offensive grades 

C A.Q. Shipley, 80.0

LG Mike Iupati, 79.6

WR J.J. Nelson, 75.8

LT Jared Veldheer, 71.6

WR Larry Fitzgerald, 67.9

Jekyll and Hyde offensive line

Three of top five graded offensive players resided on the offensive line–all on the left side. The other two-fifths of the line were brutal, as RG Earl Watford (39.7) and RT D.J. Humphries (37.7) struggled to block Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril and company. Watford gave up four hurries, one hit, and a sack, while Humphries was worse, giving up pressure more quickly to the tune of two sack and three hurries. Palmer was pressured on 38.9 percent of his dropbacks, a rate that wasn’t the worst in the league, but A mark that is higher than his season total, and it clearly effected him.

Top defensive grades

ED Chandler Jones, 92.7

DI Calais Campbell, 89.4

LB Kevin Minter, 86.2

S Tony Jefferson, 85.0

LB Deone Bucannon, 83.8

Cardinals’ defense stymies Seattle offense 

What a performance by the Cardinals defense, really from top-to-bottom. Chandler Jones leads the unit with a 92.7 overall grade after absolutely dominating Seattle’s tackles; Jones got into the backfield for eight total pressures on 37 pass-rush attempts (his second consecutive week with eight total pressures) and he now has 38 total pressures on the year, which leads all edge defenders. Moving inward on the line, Calais Campbell turned in his best performance in what has been an extremely impressive season; his 87.4 overall season grade is now second among all interior defensive linemen, trailing only Aaron Donald. The secondary was led by safety, Tony Jefferson, who didn’t allow a single one of his three targets to be caught, had one pass defense, and also earned two stops. Deone Bucannon led the defense with six total stops.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Chandler Jones

PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.

  • osoviejo

    Wilson may have had an easier time getting the offense moving if not for a steady stream of drive-killing holding calls.

    • Dale GoDawgs McLerran

      Holding penalties, a ton of pressure when the O-line wasn’t flagged for holding, and dropped passes all killed the Seahawks’ offense last night. Not sure it was smart for the Seahawks to use Wilson in an option early in the game, confirming that Wilson just cannot use his legs right now. When Wilson cannot run the ball effectively, the Seahawks run game stalls. Opponents can then sit on the Seahawks passing game. And with the extraordinarily bad O-line play the Seahawks are getting right now, there is very little chance of moving the ball effectively.

    • Bill Doerr

      The holding penalties were because SEAs OTs had to hold AZs pass rushers every single play it seemed to keep Wilson from get murdered right there on UOFPhx Stadiums field in front of 70,000+ People…….