The Seahawks D featured the usual suspects, plus a surprise star
No need to delay it any further, 12s: Devon Witherspoon is pretty good. If not for penalties that negated each of these big plays, Spoon would have had another game with a sack and an interception. The nullified sack would have forced an Arizona punt, but the Cards wound up failing to convert on fourth down later in the drive anyway. The not-to-be interception, though, was costly, as Dobbs ran the ball in from 25 yards out to account for Zona's only touchdown just moments later. Witherspoon was targeted twice, and of course, gave up zero completions. Ho hum, just another game for Pro Football Focus' highest-rated cornerback in the league.
Not to be left behind by the rookies, Bobby Wagner checked in with another solid game. He tied for the team lead with nine tackles. While that may be less than exciting for a player of BWagz stature, he was exceptional in coverage. He allowed four of seven targets and surrendered a total of eight yards after the catch. Not to be outdone, his linebacker mirror, Jordyn Brooks, had nine tackles of his own. He chipped in half a sack and two tackles for a loss. While it might not have been a spectacular game for the inside linebackers, it was an exceptionally solid game.
Boye Mafe continued his string of consecutive games with at least one sack; I think he's up 237 now, right? Okay, it's just four games, but he's still been a huge part of the Hawks's improved defense this season. Not to say I told you so or anything so childish, but, I did tell you so, way back in June. In addition to his sack, he had four of the Seahawks' hurries - at least according to PFF - a QB hit and broke up a pass. Yeah, he's pretty good. Speaking of streaks, Jarran Reed now has four sacks in the last four games. It's beginning to look like only a fool would bet against him to hit double digits in sacks. Yeah, I'm that fool. In my defense, even the all-time great Cortez Kennedy only had one season with double-digit sacks. What Reed is doing is pretty special, indeed.
In one last bit of good news for the defense, another mea culpa is in order. I've dogged Darrell Taylor's play all season. In truth, I've dogged his play before the season even started. Up until now, he's provided no evidence to the contrary. Through the first five games of 2023, Taylor had been on the field for 156 snaps. He had amassed - and I use that term very lightly - a grand total of six combined tackles, one for a loss, with zero quarterback hits or sacks. In contrast, Mafe had 169 snaps with 10 tackles, four for a loss, with four QB hits, and three sacks. One of these things is not like the other.
Except that now, things are looking up from Mr. Taylor. He showed up versus Arizona in a big way. He had 1.5 sacks, a QB hit, a tackle for a loss (three tackles overall), and broke up a pass. That is definitely good news for the Seahawks and good news for the 12s. Now, whether or not he'll continue this fine play is another question. In the past, the answer has been a resounding no, which is exactly why I had called for a trade earlier this season. But in light of the worst news out of this game, let's all be happy that I'm not the GM of the Hawks. I assume no one wants to see the team go o-for-eternity, right? So congrats to Mr. Taylor on an excellent game