Sun Dec 22 8:38pm ET
By TIM BOOTH
AP Sports Writer
Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake fends off Seattle Seahawks linebacker Mychal Kendricks, left, as he rushes during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)
Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake gets past Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker K.J. Wright, center, to rush for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) passes against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Arizona Cardinals starting quarterback Kyler Murray (1) stands on the sideline after leaving with an injury during the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Brett Hundley, center, drops to pass against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seattle Seahawks fans react after Arizona Cardinals middle linebacker Jordan Hicks, lower left, recovered a fumble during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, right, talks with quarterback Russell Wilson, left, during the first half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) scores a touchdown as Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson dives for the tackle during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) runs for a touchdown after a reception as Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson, left, and defensive end Rasheem Green, right, pursue during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
SEATTLE (AP) Kenyan Drake rushed for 166 yards and two touchdowns, Larry Fitzgerald added a 21-yard TD reception, and the Arizona Cardinals stymied Russell Wilson and the injury-depleted Seattle Seahawks in a 27-13 win on Sunday.
The Seahawks (11-4) saw their hopes for the No. 1 seed in the NFC potentially vanish with another late-season loss to the Cardinals. Seattle can still claim the NFC West with a win next week over San Francisco, but will need major help to earn total home-field advantage after entering the week as the top seed in the NFC.
Drake had an 80-yard TD run in the first quarter and provided the capper with a 3-yard TD with 4:18 remaining to take a 27-13 lead. Drake’s 166 yards were a season high against Seattle.
The question now is Seattle’s health going into next week. Seattle faced the Cardinals without four key starters: left tackle Duane Brown, safety Quandre Diggs, cornerback Shaquill Griffin and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. The Seahawks depth was thinned further when starting running back Chris Carson went down with a hip injury early in the second quarter and backup C.J. Prosise suffered an arm injury only a few minutes later.
Arizona (5-9-1) lost No. 1 overall draft pick Kyler Murray to a hamstring injury midway through the third quarter. Murray was tended to on the sideline after leading a drive that finished with Zane Gonzalez's 46-yard field goal that gave Arizona a 20-7 lead early in the third quarter. Murray scrambled on the final play of the drive for 4 yards and never returned.
The absence of Brown and the lack of a run game left Seattle’s offense stuck in neutral. The Seahawks gained 89 yards on their opening drive that was capped by Wilson’s 3-yard TD pass to Nick Bellore. They gained 49 total yards combined in the second and third quarters. Between the six-minute mark of the first quarter and Tyler Lockett’s 12-yard catch early in the fourth quarter, Seattle had one first down.
Wilson finished 16 of 31 for 169 yards, but was sacked five times - four by Chandler Jones, who also forced a key fumble early in the second half.
Murray was 11 of 18 for 118 yards and a touchdown before leaving. He also added 40 yards rushing. His best play was the touchdown to Fitzgerald that gave the Cardinals a 14-7 lead. Murray scrambled from the pocket, stopped before the line of scrimmage and flipped a short pass. Fitzgerald managed to corral the pass with one hand, then ran through Seattle’s K.J. Wright near the goal line for the touchdown.
Brett Hundley took over for Murray and the backup QB in Seattle last year led Arizona on a key scoring drive midway through the fourth quarter capped by Drake’s second touchdown run. Hundley had a critical 14-yard scramble on third-and-2 to get Arizona into field-goal range.
Seattle got a spark late in the third quarter when Rasheem Green blocked Gonzalez’s 45-yard field goal attempt and Marquise Blair returned it to the Arizona 16. But the Seahawks settled for Jason Myers’ 30-yard field goal and a 20-10 deficit. Myers added a 51-yard field goal on Seattle’s next possession to pull the Seahawks within 20-13 with 10:02 left. That was as close as Seattle would get.
Jones set a single-season franchise record for sacks. Jones has 19 on the season, topping the 17 he had in 2017. Jones now has 60 sacks in 63 career games since joining the Cardinals.
Fitzgerald became the second player in NFL history to top 17,000 yards receiving in a career. Fitzgerald reached the mark on his TD catch in the second quarter. Fitzgerald entered the day with 16,990 yards receiving; he trails only Jerry Rice (22,895) on the all-time list.
Wilson moved past Matt Hasselback to become Seattle’s all-time leader in yards passing. Wilson needed 103 yards to top Hasselback’s mark of 29,435 set during his 10 seasons with Seattle between 2001-10.
As expected, Seattle’s Week 17 matchup against San Francisco was flexed by the NFL to be the Sunday night game. It will be the second time Seattle has hosted the final game of the regular season with the NFC West title on the line. The previous time came in Pete Carroll’s first season when Seattle beat St. Louis 16-6 to win the NFC West.
Cardinals: travel to Los Angeles to face the Rams.
Seahawks: Seattle hosts San Francisco. Both already are in the playoffs.
Five Hot Plays: Week 8
Carolina Panthers kicker Joey Slye made one field goal and a pair of extra points in a 25-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Slye didn't get many opportunities in this one, as Carolina made just one trip to the red zone against a surprisingly resurgent Falcons' defense. There's not much that a kicker can do when he's simply not seeing the opportunities. With that said, Slye may be needed more in Week 9 against Kansas City, as the Panthers will probably have to put up a lot of points to win.
The Carolina Panthers Defense had an average day in a 25-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Carolina registered two sacks and an interception, holding strong on Atlanta's first two trips to the red zone. However, they couldn't stop the Falcons from marching down the field, ultimately surrendering 25 points to their division rival. At this point, there's nothing to suggest that the Panthers' defense is worthy of streaming for fantasy purposes. Don't even think about starting them in Week 9, as they face the Chiefs.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Curtis Samuel enjoyed his most productive game of the season in a losing effort against Atlanta. Samuel caught four of five targets for 31 receiving yards and carried the ball three times for 23 rushing yards. The 24-year-old made a nice run in the red zone to start the scoring for the Panthers, then hauled in a deep pass from Teddy Bridgewater on a flea-flicker. It's Samuel's second straight game with a rushing touchdown. This was an encouraging performance from the former Buckeye, though it's worth noting that he was held under 50 receiving yards for the seventh time in eight games. He'll be a low-end flex at best in Week 9 against the Chiefs.
Carolina Panthers tight end Ian Thomas caught all three targets for 28 receiving yards in a 25-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. It was a juicy matchup for Thomas, but he certainly didn't exploit it, as his modest stat-line will support. His three targets were the most he's seen in weeks, though he seemed to surrender some playing time to fellow tight end Chris Manhertz. It's best to avoid Thomas completely until he picks up his production.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore had a quiet game in a 25-17 loss to the Falcons on Thursday Night Football. Moore caught two of six targets for 55 receiving yards, including a huge 42-yard reception on a 3rd-and-17 in the fourth quarter. In a strange turn of events, Moore went without a catch until the final drive of the fourth quarter. Fortunately, the 23-year-old still saw six targets, second on the team to only fellow wideout Robby Anderson. There should be better days ahead for Moore, as he had compiled at least 93 receiving yards in three straight contests coming into this one. He'll get a Week 9 matchup against Kansas City in what could turn out to be a high-scoring affair.
Carolina Panthers running back Mike Davis carried the ball 13 times for 66 rushing yards and caught one of two targets for 11 receiving yards in a loss to the Falcons. The 27-year-old disappointed in likely his last ride as the Panthers' lead back, as Christian McCaffrey (ankle) is expected to return in Week 9 against Kansas City. Davis was a PPR machine in McCaffrey's absence, with at least six targets in four games as the starter. He was so impressive at times that it's possible he earned himself a bigger role, though it likely won't amount to much with McCaffrey around to gobble up the majority of the touches. Keep Davis rostered until we find out McCaffrey is back for sure.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Russell Gage finished Thursday's win with two receptions for 25 yards on three targets. Gage continued to show his inconsistency on Thursday after coming into the game having gotten at least 54 yards in the past two contests. The WR is definitely streaky, which makes him a risky play most weeks. An ankle injury suffered by fellow wideout Calvin Ridley is worth monitoring. If Ridley cannot play next Sunday, Gage's value will surely go up, but it would still be hard to trust him for good production given his lackluster numbers this season.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Robby Anderson hauled in five of eight targets for 48 receiving yards in a 25-17 loss to the Falcons. It could have been a bigger day for the former Jet, as he nearly made a one-handed touchdown grab on a throw from backup P.J. Walker, who came in relief of Teddy Bridgewater for one series. It certainly didn't help Anderson that Bridgewater was under constant pressure the whole night. However, his fantasy managers can take solace in the fact that he's now seen at least eight targets in six of eight contests this season. That sort of volume should keep him in the WR2 mix next week, even in a tough matchup against Kansas City.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones had seven receptions for 137 yards on 10 targets in the Week 8 win over Carolina. For the past three weeks, the WR has been playing at a tremendous level and has gotten at least seven receptions, nine targets, and 97 yards the past three games. His volume keeps him in the WR1 tier each week.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater completed 15 of 23 passes for 176 yards and a touchdown along with 30 yards rushing on five attempts in a 25-17 loss to Atlanta. Bridgewater left the game after taking a nasty hit in the third quarter, but he was able to return after making it through the league's concussion protocol. The 27-year-old made some nice throws when he was given time, including a beautiful deep ball to Curtis Samuel on a flea-flicker. Unfortunately, he was constantly under pressure, as he was sacked twice and hit six times by the Falcons Defense. A bounce-back could be in the cards next week- Carolina may need to rely on Bridgewater's arm in Week 9 against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley finished with three receptions for 42 yards on four targets in Week 8. The WR went down with an ankle injury in the first half of the game and didn't return. Managers will now have to monitor the status of the WR heading into the Week 9 clash against the Broncos.
Atlanta Falcons tight end Hayden Hurst finished with five receptions for 54 yards on seven targets in the Week 8 win over Carolina. Hurst has now seen seven targets in the past two games and has gotten at least 50 yards in four of the past five games. The TE has a decent role in this offense and the latest numbers are backing that up. Hurst should be considered a low-end TE1 each week given his consistency.
Atlanta Falcons running back Brian Hill finished with 11 carries for 55 yards and two receptions for nine yards on Thursday. It was the RB2 of the team who surprisingly led in rush yards, but this was a rare occurrence. Hill doesn't see enough weekly touches to merit good fantasy value going forward.
Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley II finished Thursday night's win with 18 carries for 46 yards and a score. The back still had a decent night despite Brian Hill getting more rushing yards total. Gurley has now had at least 18 carries in the past three games and has three rushing touchdowns in the past two games. With a steady number of carries each week, the RB should remain in the low-end RB1/high-end RB2 tier every week.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan went 21-for-30 and gained 281 yards and one interception in the Thursday night win over the Panthers. It was a rainy game and many players were clearly affected by the conditions. Ryan finished with an average night, which he has sometimes had this season. With a high-powered offense, the QB should remain in the starting tier most weeks, but is most effective in favorable matchups.
Teddy Bridgewater, after being tripped while trying to scramble, took a shot to the head as he fell to the ground against the Falcons. Obviously, the first concern after a hit to the head is a concussion. Bridgewater's head abruptly twisted to the side and he went into the tent shortly thereafter. The Panthers' backup tonight is XFL sweetheart, P.J. Walker.
Calvin Ridley has been ruled out for the Falcons' Week 8 game against the Panthers. He was tackled by a defender and his left foot got caught under the defender. Ridley immediately grabbed his left foot and went to the locker room. His status for Week 9 will now be in question.
New York Jets running back La'Mical Perine has been buried on the depth chart for most of the season. However, head coach Adam Gase mentioned last week that he wants to get Perine more involved. Perine was on the field for 70 percent of the offensive snaps during the Week 7 loss to the Buffalo Bills. He saw 11 carries for 40 yards and a touchdown in the loss. He'll get a decent matchup here against the Kansas City Chiefs who are average against the run this season. Perine could be worth looking at as a desperation option for owners in need of a running back.
New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder (groin) was able to go through limited practice on Thursday. That is actually an upgrade since Crowder sat out of practice the day prior. Crowder has been basically the only bright spot for this team all season long. His absence would doom the Jets chances of doing anything at all on offense versus the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 8. Crowder has seen 10 or more targets in each game that he has played in this season. He'll be a reliable WR2, assuming he suits up here.
New York Jets running back Frank Gore has seen a significant role in the backfield this season. The departure of Le'Veon Bell has opened up lead back duties for Gore over the last few weeks. Sadly, the Jets offensive line and team as a whole is horrible this season. Gore has done what he can, but will likely see his role decrease going forward. Head coach Adam Gase wants to see La'Mical Perine more involved in the offense. That means, Gore is going to be a tough option to trust versus the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 8.