Takeaways from Seahawks 20-17 win over Cardinals

posted by Curtis Crabtree - 

Seattle Seahawks v Arizona Cardinals

The Legion of Boom may have received its final death blow Sunday afternoon on the same field two of its charter members fell last November.

Free safety Earl Thomas sustained a broken leg in the third quarter of Seattle's 20-17 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. The injury will likely end Thomas' season and - given the history and happenings in the immediate aftermath of Sunday's events - could be the last time Thomas is seen in a Seahawks uniform.

Kam Chancellor (neck) and Richard Sherman (Achilles) both were injured in Arizona last November in what became their final games for the Seahawks. Chancellor is still on Seattle's roster but isn't expected to play again due to spinal stenosis.

Tight end Will Dissly also sustained a patella tendon injury in the game. It's the same type of injury Jimmy Graham had in 2015 with Seattle.

The Seahawks pulled out a last second victory on a 52-yard Sebastian Janikowski field goal as time expired to get back to 2-2 on the year. How Seattle got to the point will be the subject of our takeaways from the game.

First up... Earl Thomas.

1. What Thomas injury means moving forward on the field.

The Seahawks have lost a former All-Pro safety to injury for the third time in as many seasons. 

Thomas sustained a similar, if not exactly the same, injury he had in 2016 that ended his season when he collided with Kam Chancellor attempting to make an interception against the Carolina Panthers. 

Thomas was injured Sunday as he leg collided with Cardinals receiver Chad Williams, who scored a 22-yard touchdown on the play to draw even with Seattle with nine minutes to play.

Thomas' injury will almost certainly put Tedric Thompson into a starting role for the Seahawks moving forward and will likely necessitate the team adding a free agent to the roster as well. Thompson played free safety for Seattle throughout the entire offseason while Thomas was holding out in hopes of leveraging a new contract from the Seahawks.

Thompson has played in just 13 career games in the NFL and has yet to start a game. What Seattle will get from the former fourth-round pick is a massive unknown.

Bradley McDougald has played quality football in the strong safety role in place of an injured Chancellor. The Seahawks being able to keep up that standard of play without Thomas on the field will be a massively tall task. The only significant sample size to compare to is when Steven Terrell replaced Thomas for the final four games of the regular season and two playoff games in 2016. Terrell played well in spurts but got exposed the longer he was called upon to play.

Thomas had three interceptions in three games to start the year and was still playing at a high level despite missing all of the team's offseason work. His absence on the field will be noticeable and a meeting with the Los Angeles Rams last Sunday suddenly looks that much more daunting.

2. What Thomas injury means for his future in Seattle.

Well, one picture might sum this one up rather quickly...

Thomas wanted a new contract from the Seahawks. It's the reason he held out throughout all of the offseason and training camp. He said after last week's victory over the Cowboys that he wasn't going to practice anytime he didn't feel 100 percent because he didn't want to put himself at risk for a team that wasn't committed to his future.

Thomas' concerns were realized on Sunday in Arizona. His injury could potentially greatly effect the contract he is able to get when he becomes a free agent in March. The Seahawks could place the franchise tag on Thomas as well, but his gesture toward the team's sidelines from above would seem to indicate Thomas wouldn't be thrilled with that proposition.

Additionally, any chance of the Seahawks trading Thomas for a draft pick or other asset in return has now evaporated as well.

Head coach Pete Carroll had said there would be consequences for Thomas' missing practices without authorization. Thomas incurred fines for skipping the team's mandatory mini-camp and training camp, though reportedly not all of those fines were enforced. He showed up to play in order to earn the $8.5 million he was scheduled to make this season and will earn all of that even though he's now injured.

However, the relationship between the two sides may be irreparable and Thomas very well could have seen his Seahawks career come to a close on Sunday afternoon.

3. Running game produces again despite absence of Chris Carson.

Mike Davis started in place of an injured Chris Carson on Sunday and helped carry the Seahawks to 171 rushing yards on 34 carries against the Cardinals.

It was Davis, not first-round pick Rashaad Penny, that started in place of Carson, who was scratched due to a hip injury. Penny was also successful in his chances, gaining 49 yards on nine carries, but it was Davis that carried the load. Davis gained 101 yards and scored two touchdowns.

A week ago, it was Carson carrying 32 times for 102 yards to help give Seattle its first victory of the year over Dallas. On Sunday, it was Davis that was carrying the Seahawks' offense. He scored on a 20-yard run with Russell Wilson leading the way as a blocker in the first quarter and pounded in for a 1-yard touchdown in the third quarter to put Seattle on top twice.

Seattle averaged 5.0 yards per carry against Arizona. They're now 2-0 in games where the run the ball more than 20 times.

4. Seahawks go 0-for-10 on third down offensively.

The Seahawks needed a last second field goal from Janikowski to hold off a bad Cardinals team for two reasons: Janikowski had missed two field goals early in the game and Phil Dawson had just missed a kick of his own that would have given Arizona the lead, and Seattle's offense was incapable of converting on third down.

Seattle went 0-for-10 on third down against the Cardinals on Sunday. One of those failed third downs was a spiked ball to stop the clock, but on five of the nine real third down chances Seattle had, they came up one yard short of the needed yardages to extend a possession. If they needed nine yards, they got eight. If they needed five, they got four. This also includes a third-and-1 that resulted in a Russell Wilson incompletion.

Carroll frequently harps on a team's inability to convert on third down as a reason for their offense not being as productive as it should. You can't get much more ineffective than Seattle was on third down on Sunday. According to ESPN Stats & Info, the last time a team went 0-10 or worse on third down in a win was 2010 when the San Francisco 49ers beat the St. Louis Rams. That was also the year Seattle won the division with a 7-9 record, so it was a banner year for the NFC West.

Photo Credit: GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 30: Running back Mike Davis #27 of the Seattle Seahawks scores a 20-yard touchdown over defensive back Antoine Bethea #41 of the Arizona Cardinals during the first quarter at State Farm Stadium on September 30, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

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