The last Seattle Seahawks game of 2021 ended with a 38-30 victory over the Arizona Cardinals and another brilliant performance by running back Rashaad Penny. But Seattle may have suffered a potential loss in 2022 as well.
Except for three Seattle mistakes, Seattle would have won by an even larger margin. As it was, Seattle’s offense outscored Arizona’s offense 38-23. Whatever has changed the last couple of weeks – if Seattle has somehow finally figured itself out offensively – there might be hope for next year.
But make no mistake that while this offense has been great the last two weeks, the biggest reason for it is the emergence of Rashaad Penny. Now Seattle has some very tough offseason decisions to make.
Seattle Seahawks: 3 quick reactions from Week 18 victory
Number one: Rashaad Penny has gone from bust to absolute must-sign
In the last five games of the season, Penny ran for a total of 671 yards on 92 carries and 6 touchdowns rushing. Penny’s average yards per carry over that span is 7.29 and that is no fluke. Penny had a multitude of long runs and looked powerful and fast. Moreover, he stayed healthy over the last third of the season. Penny ran for 190 yards against the Cardinals.
Seattle needs him back badly next season as he completely changed the scope of what the offense could be. When teams had to account for Penny, they couldn’t. And Penny’s production allowed Russell Wilson to be more efficient as well.
Number two: It might be hard to fire Shane Waldron now
Maybe Waldron wasn’t a big problem after all. Maybe Waldron just needed to have a running game to go with Wilson. Seattle clearly didn’t trust Alex Collins much after Chris Carson went out with injury after Week 4. But trusting Penny allowed the offense to score 30 or more points in four of its last six games and averaged 44.5 points in their last two games.
It wasn’t like the Cardinals were resting their best defensive players. They weren’t. Arizona wanted to stop Seattle but couldn’t. This was a good Arizona defense but the Seahawks offense was better. Possibly the issue with the offense this season was more injuries and Russell Wilson than Shane Waldron.
Number three: This victory could have ramifications into 2022 in a bad way
While Seattle won, they lost safety Quandre Diggs in the second half with a knee injury. Diggs was arguably Seattle’s best defensive player this season. He is going to be a free agent but his injury looked significant.
If he injured his ACL, this will greatly affect his 2022 season no matter if he re-signs with the Seahawks or goes elsewhere. There is a very real possibility, assuming the worst, that he has to miss all of next year. Seattle has a tough decision on whether to try to sign Diggs or move forward in the future with another free safety.