Cardinals, on short week, prepare for well-rested Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks are one of just three unbeaten teams remaining in the NFL.
None of their victories came against a team in the tough NFC West, however.
The Seahawks, whose 5-0 start is the best in franchise history, will open division play Sunday when they travel to Arizona. The Cardinals (4-2) are above .500 this late in the season for the first time since 2015, which was the last time they made the playoffs.
The Seahawks had a bye last week while the Cardinals come into the game on short rest following a 38-10 victory at Dallas on Monday night.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll said his team might have had its most productive bye week during his decade-long tenure.
“It just seemed more connected than normal,” Carroll said after players were forced to remain in the Seattle area for daily COVID-19 screenings. “I don’t remember going on the practice field after a bye with the guys all fired up like they were.
“We were just out there just as a regular ‘Bonus Monday’ for us and get back in action, start moving around. And they’re all out there standing in line ready for us to stretch them out over five minutes early. … It was a really good response to coming out of this thing.”
Three of Seattle’s victories have come down to the final 15 seconds. In a 27-26 win against the visiting Minnesota Vikings in Week 5, Russell Wilson engineered a 94-yard drive in the final two minutes, throwing a 6-yard touchdown pass to DK Metcalf on fourth-and-goal.
Wilson is widely considered the front-runner for the NFL’s MVP award a third of the way through the season. He leads the league with 19 touchdown passes and a 129.8 quarterback rating.
Cardinals second-year quarterback Kyler Murray completed just 9 of 24 attempts against the Cowboys but two went for touchdowns, including an 80-yarder to Christian Kirk that gave Arizona a 21-0 lead. Murray also rushed for 74 yards and a TD.
“It wasn’t as good as it should have been,” Murray said. “Wasn’t as accurate as I should have been. Wasn’t up to par for my standards, so I’ve got to be better.”
Murray and DeAndre Hopkins are already in sync during their first year together — even though the television cameras showed friction between the two on Monday. The veteran wide receiver leads the NFL in receptions (47) and receiving yards (601).
“When those situations arise, I know how to deal with it,” Murray said. “I understand and he understands. There are never any hard feelings. It’s all love at the end of the day.
“That’s my guy. If yelling and fighting happens, it happens. At the end of the day, we’re on the same team. It’s just a thing you see on the football field. We’re trying to be great.”
Arizona pounded out 261 rushing yards against Dallas, with Kenyan Drake running for 164 and two touchdowns, including a late 69-yard score.
The Cardinals’ defense, which gave up the most total yards in the league last season, forced four turnovers against Dallas, and safety Budda Baker was named the NFC’s Defensive Player of the Week. That was without All-Pro pass rusher Chandler Jones, who is out for the season due to a torn biceps.
“They played great,” Murray said of the defense. “Great’s not even the word. I don’t even have a word for it.”
The Seahawks hoped to have All-Pro safety Jamal Adams back following the bye after he sat out the previous two games with a groin injury, but he has missed practice time this week. Fellow safety Lano Hill (back) was placed on injured reserve and veteran Demarious Randall was promoted from the practice squad.
–Field Level Media