Two players on opposite career paths meeting in the middle (USAT)
While the score was somehow 17-13 midway through the third quarter, there’s no denying the Seahawks dominated Thursday night, further solidifying themselves as the favorites to win the NFC this season (although the Saints have a pretty strong argument as well). Traveling during a short week and facing a pretty good Arizona defense, Seattle held the Cardinals to just 3.3 yards-per-play. Oh, and they will eventually be getting both of their offensive tackles back as well as Percy Harvin, the latter possibly as soon as next week.
Russell Wilson entered having totaled just two touchdowns over his previous three games, but he equaled that amount over the first 17 minutes of Thursday’s contest. Wilson fumbled three times, losing two of them, but he otherwise played well, including a ridiculous third-down conversion play at the 1:10 mark of that highlight reel…No Seattle wide receiver can be used with any confidence in fantasy leagues right now, and that’s without considering Harvin’s return. Harvin should obviously be owned in all leagues right now, but that goes without saying.
After a somewhat slow start to the season, Marshawn Lynch is on pace to finish with 1,726 yards from scrimmage and 16 touchdowns. He entered Thursday night’s game leading the NFL in broken tackles, and he now has 11 days to recuperate from his hip injury, when he then gets to face a Rams defense that has allowed the second-most fantasy points to enemy backs this season. He came within inches from another score too, which was overturned via review. Lynch went full “beast mode” during his 17-yard run in the third quarter. He became just the second RB to rush for 90 yards in Arizona over the Cardinals’ last 15 home games (h/t Brad Evans). Lynch is locked in as a top-five fantasy back, which is especially valuable considering the position’s current landscape.
Rashard Mendenhall scored a TD, but he also got 22 yards on 13 carries. He should be nowhere near fantasy lineups, regardless of the matchup. Andre Ellington looks impressive at times, but he’s averaging 4.0 carries per game. The Cardinals have run for 100 yards once over their last 13 games…Larry Fitzgerald secured two of his five targets for 17 yards, and while his opponent was obviously tough, he’s clearly playing at far less than 100 percent. Fitz has already matched his last year’s TD total, but he’s also come nowhere close to the big bounce back many expected with the upgrade at QB (as bad as Carson Palmer has been, he’s still been a major improvement, at least in fantasy terms).
Palmer is on track to throw 30 interceptions this season, which would be the most since 1988 (although to be fair, Eli Manning is actually on pace to be picked off 40 times, which would be the second-most of all time, behind only George Blanda in 1962)…Preseason sleeper Andre Roberts had totaled 17 receiving yards over his past four games, so his 33 on Thursday was progress…Pretty remarkable how Calais Campbell performed just four days after he was carried off the field in a stretcher.
While it’s hard to complain about recording seven sacks and forcing two turnovers (and allowing just 234 yards, which I maintain should be a standard fantasy stat for defenses), owners of Seattle’s fantasy D absolutely have every right to be upset. Not only did they have a Golden Tate punt return for a touchdown called back on a block in the back that likely didn’t affect the outcome, but Brandon Browner falling down on a sure score was even more frustrating. Seriously, how did that happen? At least Pete Carroll got a good laugh out of it.
Arizona has committed a turnover in an NFL-high 20 straight games now…It’s easy to pick on announcers these days, but seriously, Brad Nessler and Mike Mayock’s commentary on two specific reviews were embarrassingly neutral. Sidney Rice clearly caught a pass that was originally ruled incomplete, yet each was saying at the time it was a tough call. Even worse, a fourth quarter Golden Tate “catch” that so obviously showed HIS ENTIRE FOOT on the white chalk during a slow motion replay, Nessler said “He might’ve been out of bounds.” Don’t go out on a limb fellas!
Did the Cardinals really kick a 22-yard field goal down 18 points in the fourth quarter against a team in which had more than doubled their yards-per-play at the time? I get it brings the game to two scores, but it was fourth-and-goal from the four! It was in the fourth quarter against a team they were underdogs against who they could only stop seemingly by hoping for fumbles. I really want to know if Bruce Arians genuinely thought this decision gave his team the best chance to win...Arizona entered having allowed by far the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season and then proceeded to give up touchdowns to Zach Miller and Kellen Davis. That’s eight scores allowed to the position in 2013. Tony Gonzalez owners should be salivating for Week 8.