The Seattle Seahawks struggled offensively against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, leading to a frustrating 17-10 loss for Seattle. The defense played well for most of the afternoon and managed to keep the Seahawks in the game, but it wasn't enough to overcome Seattle's offensive problems.
The loss means that the Seahawks failed to clinch the NFC West this week, and now, they must win against the St. Louis Rams in Week 17 in order to do so and wrap up the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC playoffs.
So who shined for the Seahawks, and who is most responsible for Seattle failing to score more than 10 points on Sunday? It is time to find out with this week's report card.
- A's are reserved for individual players who dominated the opposition.
- B's are for players who played well but didn't dominate.
- C's are given to players who struggled for most of the game.
- D's are for players who truly struggled and were occasionally dominated by the opposition.
- F grades are rare and reserved only for players who were completely dominated by the other team on almost every play.
- Plus and minus modifiers bridge the gaps inside those definitions.
All stats are courtesy of NFL.com.
This was easily Wilson's worst game of the season. He was hesitant, missed open receivers and made some bad decisions. He also repeatedly went for low-percentage plays instead of taking the easy first down.
The Seahawks don't have the talent around Wilson on offense to overcome poor play on his part. They need him to be better than he played on Sunday.
Russell Wilson's passing yards (108) and YPA (4.0) were career lows. 40.7% completion percentage and 49.6 passer rating were season lows.— John Boyle (@johnpboyle) December 23, 2013
Marshawn Lynch: B+
Robert Turbin: F
Marshawn Lynch continues to run hard and also continues to get very little help from his run-blockers. Lynch's ability to regularly get positive yards, even after getting hit in the backfield, is commendable, but it wasn't enough to jumpstart Seattle's struggling offense.
Turbin's grade comes mostly for his inability to do anything positive for the Seahawks. His only impact on the game was a pair of fumbles on first-half kickoffs. Turbin's lack of playing time after that wasn't a surprise.
Doug Baldwin: B-
Golden Tate: B-
Jermaine Kearse: C+
Seattle's trio of wide receivers all appeared to get banged up at some point in this game, and none of them were as effective as they typically can be. Overall, it wasn't a good day for Seattle's receivers.
Seattle's wideouts struggled to get separation and were unable to come down with contested passes like they normally do. Russell Wilson often had no one to pass the ball to, and he was forced to throw the ball into coverage far too often.
Zach Miller: B-
Luke Willson: C
The Cardinals are typically a team that struggles to cover tight ends, but Zach Miller and Luke Willson failed to make an impact this week. The pair each had just one reception and combined for a total of a mere 14 yards.
Miller had his moments as a blocker, but overall, it wasn't a good showing for Seattle's tight ends.
Seattle's run-blocking remains a major concern. It was better at times, but there were far too many running plays that ended in zero or negative yardage. Fifty-six of Seattle's 103 rushing yards came on just three plays, and one of those was a broken pass play where Wilson scrambled for 27 yards. The running game is still broken.
The pass-blocking continues to regress after some noticeable improvement a month ago. The four sacks allowed were all partly caused by Wilson holding onto the ball for too long, but it also wasn't a good showing for the offensive line.
Michael Bennett: A
Cliff Avril: B+
Chris Clemons: C
Red Bryant: B+
Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril both had great games getting pressure on Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer. Bennett also played a key role against the run, helping the Seahawks hold the Cardinals' running backs to just 3.2 yards per carry.
Chris Clemons' streak of subpar games continued. Other than the first couple games after returning from his knee injury, he just hasn't been able to have the same impact this season. He just isn't as explosive off the snap right now.
Red Bryant continues to be an underappreciated cog in Seattle's defensive machine. His ability to disrupt running plays was on display on Sunday, even if he offered almost no help as a pass-rusher.
Brandon Mebane: A-
Tony McDaniel: C
Clinton McDonald: B+
Parts of this game seemed like a showcase for Brandon Mebane and everything he does well. He dominated the inside running plays and created tremendous disruption in the pass rush. Clinton McDonald also provided great push up the middle against the pass.
For Tony McDaniel, things didn't go as well. He played reasonably well overall, but he got himself pushed out of position on a few run plays. He also committed an awful personal foul penalty that needlessly extended an Arizona drive.
Bobby Wagner: A
Bruce Irvin: B+
Malcolm Smith: B+
Bobby Wagner was an incredibly disruptive force for Seattle's defense. He had nine tackles to go along with a sack and a pass deflection. Bruce Irvin was on the other end of spectrum. He finished with just one tackle, though he was around the football more than the stats might suggest.
For Malcolm Smith, it was a bit of a mixed bag. He missed at least two tackles, leading to some good runs for Arizona. However, he did play well in coverage throughout the game and had an interception.
Richard Sherman: A
Byron Maxwell: B+
Jeremy Lane: B
Richard Sherman added two more interceptions, giving him eight on the year, and he is making his case for the Defensive Player of of the Year award. The other corners also played well, helping hold the Cardinals to just 168 passing yards.
Even on the lone touchdown pass given up, Byron Maxwell had great position and made a solid play on the ball. Sometimes, a perfect pass just beats good coverage.
Earl Thomas: B+
Kam Chancellor: A
Seattle's safeties both played a big role in keeping the Seahawks in this game.
Kam Chancellor led the team in tackles with 11, while Earl Thomas finished with 10. Chancellor had an interception, and Thomas chipped in with a drive-ending open-field tackle. Overall, both players played quite well this week.
Steven Hauschka: D
Kicker Steven Hauschka has been having an amazing season, but this was a game he likely wants to forget.
Hauschka missed a short field goal. He also had a PAT blocked, though it was called back because of a rare ruling by the officials.
Jon Ryan: C
Ryan's kick-return yardage record attempt is over. He gave up six punt return yards, putting him at 25 for the year. The record is 22.
Perhaps now he can work on punting the ball further than 37.2 yards, which was his average this week. Ryan's kicks have been getting progressively shorter this season, and they've reached the point where it is no longer acceptable.
Coverage Units: A-
The Seahawks coverage units played well. Arizona struggled to get anything going on either kick or punt returns.
Jeremy Lane deserves special recognition for his play this week, as he continues to be a standout for Seattle's special teams.
Return Units: B
Golden Tate continues to be electric on punt returns. Tate has been outstanding as a punt returner all season, and this game was no exception.
Robert Turbin's inability to do anything but fumble the ball highlights what has been an awful year for the Seahawks on kick returns. Doug Baldwin finally got a chance to return kicks at the end of the game, and he looked natural back there. Hopefully, Baldwin will be able to continue to return kicks until Percy Harvin is healthy.