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Other Week 17 Game Recaps

Week 17 Game Recap: Seattle Seahawks 36, Arizona Cardinals 6

What you need to know

Seattle Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks embarrassed their division rival Arizona Cardinals in Week 17 36-6 and are riding some momentum on offense going into the Wildcard round. Russell Wilson threw three touchdowns in this one and set franchise records for both yards and touchdowns. Doug Baldwin was held out of the end zone for the first time in six games and Christine Michael had his first 100-yard game of his career. Tyler Lockett was a huge factor in the punt return game continuously giving the Seahawks great field position which they repeatedly took advantage of before the game got out of hand

Arizona Cardinals

While the loss was a less than ideal way to enter the post-season, there seems to be little concern within the team about their ability to make a Super Bowl run when they are dialed-in. The team absolutely has its weaknesses, pass-rush and pass-protection among them, that are cause for concern, it is the kicking of Chandler Catanzaro that is currently giving the most pause. Cat missed his fifth extra-point of the season (along with a field goal as well) on Sunday, and while those missed extra points have at yet to come back and bite the team, it is simply not a mistake that can be made come playoff time. Whether the issue is mental or physical, Catanzaro must get it corrected in the next two weeks.

Seattle Seahawks

QB Russell Wilson, 59 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 28 - 197 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 13 - 0
The Seahawks had little problem with the Arizona Cardinals defense in Week 17 led by quarterback Russell Wilson. They were able to spread out Arizona and use short passes to their advantage early on. Wilson would ultimately complete 19-of-28 passes for just 197 yards but three touchdowns in the 36-6 win. He would also add 13 yards on the ground on five carries. He completed 13 of his first 15 pass attempts and threw for all three touchdowns before he even had three incompletions. Wilson did well with his opportunities of great field position after some great punt returns by rookie Tyler Lockett. Wilsonís first touchdown pass came in the second quarter on 2nd and goal where off a play fake lobbed a ball over top of the defense to a wide open Will Tukuafu for the score. Not even three minutes later the Seahawks would score again, this time from eight yards out to Chase Coffman of a nearly identical play. This time Wilson made it to his second read which was a crossing route to Coffman who broke the plane un-touched. 1:43 later Wilson would put his third touchdown score on the board. Out of the shotgun, Wilson found Jermaine Kearse down the left sideline where he absolutely roasted Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel. The Seahawks remained in control from there were the Cardinals took out the majority of their starters to start the second half. Wilson finishes the year with career highs in passing yards and passing touchdowns with 4,024 and 34 respectively. He also set a franchise record for passer rating at 110.1 and is the first player in the NFL to ever throw 30 touchdowns and have 500 rushing yards in the same season.

RB Christine Michael, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 102 - 0 (1 targets)
Christine Michael contributed his first 100-yard game of his career in Week 17 against the Cardinals and out-touched Bryce Brown 17-10 in the backfield. He was the clear lead back in route to his 102 yard performance and will continue this role if Marshawn Lynch is unable to go in the playoffs. After Arizona was forced to punt on the first drive of the game, Michael broke off a 45-yard run out of the shotgun that lead to the eventual Bryce Brown 1-yard touchdown. Michael was hitting holes hard all night and was physical with Arizona defenders. He is running with a new level of desire, which is good news for the Seahawks.

RB Bryce Brown, 20 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 20 - 1
Bryce brown was out-touched 17-10 in this game by Christine Michael but he did get the loan rushing score on the night from one yard out. He rushed ten times for 20 yards in the win. He was outgained 102-20 in yards and will likely be behind Michael again in the playoffs if Marshawn Lynch is still not ready to go.

WR Doug Baldwin, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 46 - 0 (7 targets)
We finally saw some regression with wide receiver Doug Baldwin who was held out of the end zone for the first time in six games. He caught 5-of-7 targets for 46 yards in the Seahawks win. They didnít need much after an explosive first half to get this win and Baldwin wasnít much of a factor after the first few drives.

WR Tyler Lockett, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 7 - 0, Rec: 2 - 36 - 0 (4 targets)
Rookie Tyler Lockett was the clear x-factor for the Seahawks in Week 17. Although he was not a huge factor on offense with just 36 yards on two receptions the Cardinals were completely incapable of keeping the dynamic punt returner in check. He repeatedly gave Seattle great field position, which Russell Wilson continued to take advantage of. In the first half the Seahawks could not be stopped and a massive punt return set up the Jermaine Kearse touchdown. His four first half punt returns totaled 139 yards where the Arizona offense only had 147 total yards at the time. It could have been even more ridiculous but Lockettís first return was called back on borderline holding penalty.

WR Jermaine Kearse, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 34 - 1 (3 targets)
Jermaine Kearse was a non-factor in Week 17 outside of a 24-yard touchdown grab in the second quarter. He absolutely roasted cornerback Justin Bethel deep down the left sideline where Russell Wilson had no problem hitting him in stride out of the shotgun formation. Kearse finished the game with three catches off of three targets for 34 yards and the aforementioned touchdown. He finished the season with 49 catches, 685 yards, and five touchdowns.

Arizona Cardinals

QB Carson Palmer, 34 offensive snaps, Pass: 12 - 25 - 129 - 1 TD / 1 INT
According to Head Coach Bruce Arians, pulling Palmer at the half was always part of the plan, despite telling the media otherwise. What clearly was not part of the plan, broadcast or not, was the effort displayed in the first half and the absolute domination at the hand of a division rival because of it. Palmer undoubtedly played his worst game, or half, of the season, but was done no favors by his teammates. Incorrect routes run by receivers led to Palmerís lone interception, nearly caused another and left many yards on the field. Dropped passes failed to convert first downs and an offensive line that did little to provide a run game nor much pass protection were all at fault as well. Nevertheless, Palmer was not sharp, and like the rest of the team, not invested in Sundayís game. Nothing should be taken away from the Seahawks effort, a team every bit as scary heading into the postseason as they have been the previous three years, but whether it was from reading their press-clippings or treating the game like an exhibition, this Cardinals team did not show much interest in the outcome of their week 17 matchup. Possibly the most troubling stat from Palmer that came out of this game was his 5.2 yard average, over three full yards lower than his season-long average. Pushing the ball downfield against Seattle always poses a challenge, but if these two teams do play each other again in the playoffs, Palmer must find a way to connect on more of the chunk plays that have driven this Cardinals offense all season long.

RB David Johnson, 36 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 25 - 0, Rec: 3 - 34 - 0 (8 targets)
After a revelatory four games as the teamís starter, David Johnson came crashing back to earth on Sunday. Aggressively gang-tackled back to earth may in fact be the more appropriate way to describe it. Johnson looked timid and untrusting of his blocking, something the Seahawks defensive front has done to many runningbacks, and failed to break into the Seahawks second level even once on Sunday. While plenty of blame for Johnsonís poor effort can rest on the shoulders of an overwhelmed offensive line, Johnson also fell victim to the same mistake nearly ever runningback who faces Seattle makes; trying to bounce plays outside for bigger gains. Nearly every young runningback who has had success must learn at some point that not every run can be a homerun, and with two weeks of rest and practice between now and their next game, there is little fear that Johnson will not learn that lesson quickly.

RB Andre Ellington, 19 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 2 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (2 targets)
Ellington played in mop-up duty and otherwise was not featured in the game at all. He still possess the ability to be somewhat of an offensive x-factor for this team in the playoffs, but it is nearly impossible to determine the role Arians will (or will not) have for him going forward.

WR Larry Fitzgerald, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 55 - 1 (7 targets)
Unsurprisingly, it was Fitzgerald who appeared to play with a modicum of intensity on Sunday, or at least more than his teammates can claim. Fitzgerald continued to do his usual thing, working the middle of the field with relative success and even finding the end zone for the teamís lone score, but in an offense as disjointed as the Cardinalsí was on Sunday, drives were not sustained long enough for his possessions to make an impact. Fitzgeraldís touchdown, a 17-yard reception, came on a simple slant to the inside when Fitzgeraldís defender misdiagnosed an out-route leaving Larry relatively wide-open.

WR John Brown, Rec: 4 - 45 - 0 (11 targets)
Brown entered the week 17 game 42 yards shy of 1,000 for the season, so his 45-yard game was arguably the only positive to come from the loss. Drops, once again plagued Brown, an issue that seemingly has sprung out of nowhere the last few weeks of this season. Two games out of a two-season career does not indicate a trend, but is also something that cannot happen come playoff time where the importance of every possession is greatly amplified. Brown has not really broken loose since the emergence of Michael Floyd, but will be counted on heavily come playoff time and must put forth a better showing.

WR Michael Floyd, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 16 - 0 (4 targets)
Floyd sat out the early-week practices, bothered by a bad knee that appeared to still be bothering him on Sunday. Floyd lacked a bit of his explosiveness and walked a bit gingerly on a few occasions, making one wonder why he was suited up to play in a meaningless game in the first place. Nevertheless, with two weeks to rest, Floyd should be in good shape come the Cardinals first playoff game. Floyd also contributed to the teamís drop issues on Sunday, failing to secure two easy first down catches. Again, the malaise of the offensive unit affected all on Sunday. Prior to Sundayís dismal effort, Floyd had been playing at a superstar level for several weeks in a row, making many believe he had finally turned that proverbial corner of his career. Hopefully the rest and practice leading up to the Cardinals first playoff game will be enough to get Floyd and the rest of this passing offense back on track moving forward.