ReFo: Seahawks @ Cardinals, Week 16

Ben Stockwell offers notes on worthy performances from both sides of this Week 16 NFC West contest.

| 3 years ago

ReFo: Seahawks @ Cardinals, Week 16

2014-REFO-WK16-SEA@ARZLast night had the potential to be about the Arizona Cardinals and the continuing story of their miraculous season against the odds, but instead, the Seattle Seahawks served a reminder that they are the defending Super Bowl champions for a reason and they are ready to do it again.

Clinching their fifth straight victory in dominant fashion the Seahawks took control of not only the NFC West but the NFC as a whole, with a win at home to the Rams next week making it a near certainty (barring a tie in Green Bay) that the road to the Super Bowl in the NFC will run through Seattle.

Seattle Seahawks – Performances of Note

Marshawn Lynch, RB: +2.5

Breakdown: The Seahawks had many a performance of note so you’ll have to excuse me for not mentioning all of them. Lynch stood out with another memorable run bludgeoning his way through the Cardinals’ defensive backfield, having found a crease through the front seven to find that space. The Cardinals had Lynch cornered to the sideline but some poor tackling combined with Lynch’s raw power saw him bust out and outrun the pursuit for the score that put the game well beyond Arizona’s reach.

Signature Stat: Limited to only 25 snaps last night Lynch played less than 50% of the Seahawks’ offensive snaps for only the fourth time in the last three seasons.

Michael Bennett, DE: +3.3

Breakdown: A destructive force once again both inside and out as Bennett graded in the green for both his run defense and pass rush, with only those two inexplicable defensive offsides in the first half drawing his grade down. Most of Bennett’s pressure came inside against Paul Fanaika, consistently beating him inside to take the shortest route possible to Ryan Lindley.

Signature Stat: The gaudy sack total may not be there to draw the attention but with a week to go Bennett has already topped his pressure total from a year ago (65); last night’s eight pressures (1 Sk, 2 Ht, 5 Hu) taking his season total to 67.

Russell Wilson, QB: +5.4

Breakdown: It seemed like the Seahawks’ players were just trying to outdo each other last night and Wilson was making plays with the best of them, both with his arms and legs. On the ground he flipped the field with a 55-yard scramble on the final play of the first quarter before doing his best Lynch impression on the final score turning a potential 11-yard loss into a 5-yard TD, stiff arming Alex Okafor to the ground deep in the backfield. Through the air he exploited an abnormally leaky Cardinals’ pass defense with some excellent deep and intermediate passing.

Signature Stat: Only two Wilson’s passes hit the turf on deep and intermediate targets last night; 8-of-10 for 254 yards and two scores.

Arizona Cardinals – Performances of Note

Ryan Lindley, QB: -6.3

Breakdown: As rough an outing for Lindley as you might have expected before the game with his poor decision making and accuracy a bad combination for a quarterback making his first in two years against the league’s best defense. A handful of nice throws were smattered in there but outweighed by poor ones and a couple of key missed opportunities that might have kept the Cardinals in the game.

Signature Play: One of Lindley’s better throws came late in the third (3.22) completing a pass deep down the right sideline over tight coverage from Richard Sherman with Michael Floyd going up to make the catch.

Larry Foote, ILB: -3.8

Breakdown: The Cardinals’ aggressive defensive play calling put Foote in a tough spot twice in quick succession at the start of the fourth quarter and he got burned both times. At 14.14 and 12.05 Foote was left trying to cover Luke Willson down the field and both times he came up empty, first surrendering a 39-yard gain to move the Seahawks into Arizona territory before giving up a 20-yard score three plays later.

Signature Stat: After adding three more pressures last night Foote’s season total is up to 19, only four inside linebackers have more, though no inside linebacker has rushed the quarterback more times than Foote (186).

Drew Butler, P: +4.0

Breakdown: The search for a silver lining takes a deep dig for the Cardinals last night but their punter, continuing to get plenty of practice, had another strong showing. His hang-time was excellent all night, topping 4.8 seconds on six of his nine punts, playing a key role in the Seahawks’ only attempting one return with six fair catches.

Signature Stat: In the last three weeks only Johnny Hekker of the Rams has earned a higher punting grade (+11.8) than Butler (+8.0).

PFF Game Ball

There were plenty of deserving nominees on the Seahawks last night and it feels like a snub in some senses to mention just one, but the whole offense stemmed from Russell Wilson in a spectacular all-around display.


Follow Ben on Twitter: @PFF_Ben

| Director of Analysis

Ben joined Pro Football Focus in 2007, and has since been in charge of the company’s analysis process. He also contributes to PFF’s weekly NFL podcast.

  • eYeDEF

    I’m glad to see the one dropped pick by Peterson didn’t skew PFF’s grade for Wilson into the red.

    • It depends on what fails

      Definitely his worst throw.

      I have no problem with the grades PFF has given to WIlson, people were scandalized after the Eagles game but it’s pretty clear what their grading system rewards and punishes.

      It’s always nice when good raw numbers and grades match just like yesterday for him, but raw numbers can lie, especially considering that PFF grades are snap by snap.

      • Ben Peterson

        The problem is that the grades aren’t based on the all-22 tape. I get that if the data is out fast you’ll get more clicks, but it’s only ever reviewed on the all-22 if that one play is requested. That’s why there are only slight adjustments during the week if at all. Football Outsiders waits to put out their DVOA rankings because they wait for the all-22 to come out.

        • Jonny

          DVOA is extracted from boxscore data, they do not even use All-22 data in that formula.

          • Ben Peterson

            You’re right, my bad. It’s based on success rate. It’s not from the box score though. It’s from the play by play report. If it was from the boxscore it’d be no better than looking at overall stats. This is a comparison for the average performances of the other team, compared to what they’re doing today.

        • osoviejo

          PFF marks any play that needs A22 review on Monday or Tuesday, and does the update on Wednesday. At least that’s what Neil told me when I asked him about it a couple of years ago.

          Seems like a good compromise.

          • Ben Peterson

            And what if you can’t see that you need to look at the all-22? If there’s a safety lurking off screen, and you mark a guy for not throwing to a guy that’s there, but don’t mark it for the all-22, you’ve got a guy with a bad grade that isn’t going to get looked at.

          • osoviejo

            Hard to imagine that unaccounted for coverage defenders is a scenario they are not acutely aware of. They’ve been doing this for a while.

      • eYeDEF

        I never had a problem until the eagles game. Sure it wasn’t his best game but it was far from his worst. Against Oakland he was shut out and far more inaccurate. There just seems like there might be a weighting problem with aggregating the cumulative running total of quarterback performance when against Oakland he was 17/35 for 179 passing and 8/31 rushing with no scores and 22/37 for 263 passing and 10/48 rushing with 3 scores yet graded significantly worse in the latter performance against the eagles.

      • James T

        Yes, seems pretty clear. I like how they reward punish the actual throw and not the result.
        Look at Peyton Manning last night, he had a lot of good throws, but he threw 4 bad INTS and probably should have had more. I like that the “dropped” INTS get downgraded and dropped passes get upgrades.
        It just makes sense to me.

        • George

          They should bench peyton manning after the third pick lol overrated front runner.

  • Football

    Lots of BS calls in favor of Seattle, once again

    • Dillon Senju

      no there weren’t. If you watched the game you would see that Seattle got way more penalties called against them. Even the announcers were talking about it. And I see your Richard Sherman comment. Yes he is a top 5 corner. #2 right behind revis .

      • Football

        Yeah, but that’s misleading. The Seahawks commit a penalty on every single play, and they get called for it less than half the time. The opposing team always gets the BS game-changing calls (dumb punt penalty)

        And any cornerback could be the best if they held on every play, like Sherman

        • The Dude

          You honestly believe this, don’t you? Amazing.

        • eYeDEF

          The funniest part about your comment is that he’s obviously had such a strong affect on your psyche you’re left sputtering such clownish arguments that make you look like the tool, not him.

          • Football

            Ok, Mr. Bandwagon Seahawks fan. Piece of trash

          • Ben Peterson

            I actually find this really funny coming from a guy who hasn’t said anything positive on any of the refocuses.

          • eYeDEF

            Lol. Is that the best you can do? 30 years of fandom isn’t bandwagon anything, but of course seeing how ignorant your statements are you wouldn’t know what a bandwagon was aside from a word you call people because you like the way it sounds.

        • Brandon

          Do you know what holding is? Cuz touching players is allowed. People like you are the reason defense is played like flag football.

          • Football

            No, I love great defense. The problem is, Seahawks don’t get called for holding, while others teams do.

          • Ron Spring

            Actually the Seahawks do get their fair share of penalties.You may wish to look into as they have a very detailed list by team and by penalty type to look into

    • It depends on what fails

      Except for a dozen of penalties that accounted for around half of Arizona’s first downs.

      Sherman didn’t commit a penalty when he tried to block that punt. Right call.

    • osoviejo

      If you blow out your carotid today, try to get it on video.

      • Football

        Holy hell, you take football seriously. Asshole

    • Riffle,Rod&Fly

      I doubt Seattle is getting any help from the league. The last thing Goodell wants is for them to ruin another Super Bowl! 😉

    • Brandon

      Did you notice that that the seahawks once again had one of the highest penalty counts in the game while their opponents had next to none? Did you even watch the game, the seahawks get over 2 times the penalties that their opponents do. The announcers brought it up several times, they even had a big fancy graphic for it.

  • Football

    Also, Richard Sherman isn’t even a top-10 corner. Not even top-20

    • Dohkay

      All-time? Yeah I suppose… give him a few more seasons though and he’ll be there.


      • Football

        He’ll be out of the league

        • eYeDEF

          That’s what his detractors, sour grapes haters like you, have been saying for years to make yourselves feel better. You guys are always wrong though.

    • osoviejo

      Also, you’re not even a top-10 troll. Not even top-20.

  • Chris

    So I didn’t get to watch this game, but I see my 150-0 Cards prediction didn’t come true. Lindley might be the worst QB of all time. He makes Johnny Arena Football look like a Pro Bowler.

    Gotta give props to Seattle. After starting 3-3 they’ve won 8 of 9 and the defense has really held up. Wagner has been great since he came back and both Sherman and Chancellor are playing very well. I’m actually quite surprised they’ve held up so well after Mebane went down on an already thin DL.

    • Riffle,Rod&Fly

      Your prediction was way out there. I had 5-2 and Football induced mass coma for those attending. I’m still amazed that the total combined score went into double digits. At least we got to see Lynch do his signature flying crotch grab! How is that not a penalty? Crotch grabbing, falling to the ground during a celebration…We should just be thankful it isn’t. Its about the most exciting thing either of these teams can do aside from amphetamine induced crackhead rants during and after the game by Sherman, Carroll and the gang.

      • Dohkay

        Refs are incompetent is why. If you celebrate in front of a player it’s Taunting but apparently grabbing your D in front of them is a no-call… not that I have anything against it. Grown men should be able to taunt all they want. If you don’t like it, beat em.

        • Chris

          Taunting starts fights is the only problem. See the Rams Giants game.

          • Troll Chris

            Chris, you wish you could get off the couch to throw a football. Oh wait, you probably can’t even throw one anyway

          • Chris

            I can throw one 60 yards from my knees. I spend a lot of time on my knees so I’ve gotten a lot of practice.

          • Riffle,Rod&Fly

            Chris, you have quite a following on here!

          • Dohkay

            Fair point. Still I think the guys doing the taunting will get their comeuppance on the field as well.

        • Brandon

          A taunt has to be directed at a player. Lynch turned around and leaped into the end zone. Crotch grabbing isnt an “excessive celebration” but will likely result in a fine for violating the personal conduct policy. As for falling to the ground, that doesnt come into the equation either because it has to be after the play and leaping into the endzone is not considered going to the ground. You guys can complain about the refs being incompetent all you want but you dont seem to know the rules either

          • Dohkay

            Oh right, the hold my D celebration isn’t directed at the defense that he just shredded. It’s just a personal celebration that isn’t taunting the defense. Not.

    • Definitely a Bandwagon

      You are absolutely right about Lindley, he’ll go down as the worst of all time for sure.

  • Erik Pague

    I’m pretty sure Cromartie, Peterson and the other Cards DBs deserved negative grades also.

  • nogoodnamesleft90210

    Where are Will Tukuafu’s defensive stats? He played at least a couple snaps on the d-line. He was the one who was held on the Sherman interception.

  • Definitely a Bandwagon

    What a game, these guys balled out like they do every time the lights are on. 12-1 on primetime under Pete was it? Shout out to Jeremy Lane and to the whole O-line for finally giving Russ more than 2 seconds to throw.