Seahawks beat Cardinals 20 -17
UPDATE: The Seahawks beat the Cardinals 20-17 in Arizona on Sunday.
1) Josh Rosen
Cardinals rookie quarterback Josh Rosen was the No. 10 overall pick in the draft. Rosen will get his first NFL start Sunday against the Seahawks and you can bet the Seahawks will throw everything they can at the rookie to disrupt him from the start.
Rosen played last week against the Bears replacing Sam Bradford, who threw two interceptions. It was hardly a great debut, he completed 4 of 7 passes for 36 yards and 1 interception. Rosen should be a little more settled on Sunday, having practiced with the first unit all week. The Cardinals have running back David Johnson who should help take some of the pressure off Rosen right away.
The Seahawks have faced young quarterbacks before and have a pretty good idea how this will play out.
"When you see a young quarterback and they got a running back, they're not going to put the ball in the quarterback hands, in my opinion,"said Bobby Wagner on Wednesday.
"Like, from the teams that I've played, they always try to get them the quick passes, the quick things to get them into a rhythm and they give that running back the ball and that's what I expect them to do, is give him the ball especially because he hasn't really gotten too many touches over these games. I believe that's their best player so you've got to give your best player the ball and he'll make the plays when he makes the plays."
The goal will be to be as disruptive to Rosen as early as possible and don't allow him to get in a rhythm. That could mean some early blitzes from the Seahawks.
2) Mychal Kendricks
Linebacker Mychal Kendricks will play for the Seahawks for a third straight week and what a luxury he has been for Seattle as they wait for K.J. Wright to return from knee surgery. Kendricks won a Super Bowl with the Eagles last season and has played well for the Seahawks against the Bears and Cowboys - each week he seems to be getting more and more comfortable.
Kendricks pleaded guilty to insider trading this summer, then the Browns cut him, and he didn't have a team for a while. Once the Seahawks had a huge need with Wright out after preseason game No. 3 they eventually signed him. A suspension may be coming any week now from the NFL for Kendricks but the Seahawks will play him as long as they can have him on the roster.
One thing Kendricks will need to help with this week against David Johnson and the Cardinals is the rushing defense. The Seahawks are ranked 30th out of 32 teams in rushing defense giving up an average of 132.7 yards a game.
Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton Jr. has put a priority on stopping the run this week in Glendale.
"Stopping the run, you want to make teams one-dimensional. If they run the ball, they don't have to throw the ball so you always start with your run fits and your ability to fit correctly and understand that everybody's connected. That's something that is no question going into the game. We always make that one of our top priorities, to make sure we put the ball in the quarterback's hand to make him win the game and then we can get after the quarterback like we want to. Getting the run stopped is priority No. 1."
3) Chris Carson
While the Seahawks defense will be tasked with slowing down the Cardinals running game, Pete Carroll wants to see his team run the ball with success for the second week in a row. It's the type of football the Seahawks want to play, and after abandoning the running game in Denver and Chicago the Seahawks stuck with it against Dallas and it led to their first win of the season.
Chris Carson finally got the ball last week - a lot. Carson had 32 carries for 102 yards. He's the first Seahawks player to rush for 100 yards or more in a game since Thomas Rawls pulled it off in Seattle against the Panthers in December of 2016. Carson proved the Seahawks have a back that can carry the ball and wear down a defense, and Pete Carroll just wishes he had stuck with Carson more the first two games of the season.
"Absolutely in terms of if we would have run the ball as much as we did last week, the results would have been different. We need to make first downs to get that done," said Pete Carroll on Wednesday. "I'm never going to let myself off the hook for not being able to figure that out so that we could have won the first two games. Sometimes the game just doesn't let you, it just doesn't happen."
4) Seahawks Offensive Line
Following the win over the Cowboys on Sunday, the Seahawks offensive line occupied their spot along the wall of the Seahawks locker room and you could sense some satisfaction among the group - not only because they won, and only allowed two sacks, but also because the Seahawks successfully ran the football for 113 yards.
It's no coincidence that the big day on the ground came with the regular season Seahawks debut of right guard D.J. Fluker, who was brought to Seattle from the Giants by new O-Line coach Mike Solari because he is an excellent run blocker.
Fluker is a mountain of a man and kept asking to have the ball run to his side of the line, and I wouldn't argue with him. After the game Fluker said the running game is just scratching the surface.
"If he (Chris Carson) got 102 yards we can go for at least 150, just have to keep our communication great, pound the rock more and take the pressure off Russ and we'll be fine," he said.
Also, don't discount the play of J.R. Sweezy, who was moved to left guard in place of the injured Ethan Pocic. With Sweezy and Fluker, the Seahawks had two experienced, physical guards that helped open some big holes for the Seahawks running game. Look for the Seahawks offense and their running game to keep building Sunday in the desert.
KOMO Sports will be in Glendale for Sunday's game. We'll have live reports with postgame reaction beginning Sunday at 5 p.m. on KOMO News.