It was a play that the Seahawks had run several times in Week 9. The play was designed to be an out to a tight end and gain 8 yards or so. Several times the play worked just as Seattle intended against the Cardinals. Tight end Will Dissly, for instance, had 3 catches on Sunday and almost each a throw in the flat from Geno Smith. Seattle won 31-21.
But the play that likely ultimately ended the Cardinals season was a wheel route to tight end Noah Fant. Fant came across the line of scrimmage, Geno Smith faked a handoff to Ken Walker III running left, Smith spins and throws it to an open Fant. And Fant, maybe for the first time all season, does exactly the thing that was the reason why the Seahawks wanted him as a part of the trade that sent Russell Wilson to the Broncos this offseason.
Fant catches the ball in stride, turns and runs upfield and gains 51 yards. At the time, the Cardinals had just scored a touchdown to cut the lead to 24-21 with a bit over 3 minutes left. Arizona had all three timeouts. But Smith-to-Fant completely flipped the field.
Seahawks tight end Noah Fant probably ended the Cardinals season
The Seahawks would later score on a Ken Walker III run and that put away the game. But the play that really put the game on ice was the Fant catch and run. He didn’t just catch the ball and jog downfield. Fant used his extreme athleticism to sprint down the field and once the Cardinals did catch up to him 40 yards after he initially caught the ball, he dragged defenders 8 more yards.
The play – at worst – set the Seahawks up in field goal range and would have forced the Cardinals to burn timeouts. Will Dissly might have also gained some yards on the play but likely not 51 yards. The same goes for tight end Colby Parkinson. Fant is just faster than they are and needs the ball more going forward.
Now, Seattle is 6-3 and still in first place in the NFC West. The Cardinals fell to 3-6 and their next three games are against the Rams, 49ers and Chargers. The Patriots follow after those three. Arizona coach Kliff Kingsbury has a long history of failing in the second halves of seasons. The Cardinals are cooked and Noah Fant added the last ingredients to Arizona’s pot.