The Seattle Seahawks are back in the NFC West driver's seat thanks to ... their defense?
That's right, the group that has been setting or threatening NFL records for futility and entered Thursday night's game missing its top two cornerbacks delivered its best performance of the season.
It all added up to a 28-21 win for the Seahawks over the Arizona Cardinals at Lumen Field. The Seahawks reclaimed first place in the division and avoided what would have been their first three-game losing streak since 2011, the year before Wilson was drafted.
Yeah, allowing 21 points constitutes an improvement for Seattle's defense, especially since it scored two points of its own via a safety. Carlos Dunlap had two of the Seahawks' three sacks of Kyler Murray, including one on fourth down to seal Seattle's victory.
Mathematically speaking, this wasn't a must-win game for the Seahawks. But it was one they really couldn't afford to lose since Arizona and the Los Angeles Rams -- who also entered Thursday at 6-3 -- each had a head-to-head win over Seattle.
QB breakdown. Wilson was mired in the worst turnover funk of his career entering Thursday, having committed 10 in the past four games. He wasn't quite his MVP self from earlier in the season -- with Seattle rediscovering its running game, he didn't have to be -- but he avoided the uncharacteristic mistakes that had plagued him of late. He finished 23-of-28 for 197 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers.
Promising trend. The Seahawks' backfield is getting back to form. The Seahawks haven't had the offensive balance coach Pete Carroll desires in recent weeks with Hyde and Chris Carson both missing since being injured in the first Arizona game. Carson was out again Thursday, but Hyde returned and carried the ball 14 times for 79 yards and a touchdown. Seattle hasn't been able to replicate the physicality Carson and Hyde bring with smaller backups like DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer. The Seahawks' 165 rushing yards were their second most this season.
Troubling trend. Injuries continue to pile up for the Seahawks. The latest starter to go down was veteran tight end Greg Olsen, who left the game in the fourth quarter when he suffered a noncontact injury to his foot. That could be a significant blow to Olsen -- who's 35 years old and perhaps playing his final season -- but it's an injury the Seahawks can overcome given their depth at tight end. They have Will Dissly, Jacob Hollister and seldom-used rookie Colby Parkinson, their fourth-round pick. Seattle also has rookies Stephen Sullivan and Tyler Mabry on its practice squad.
Eye-popping Next Gen Stat. Wilson took 6.57 seconds to throw his first-quarter touchdown pass to DK Metcalf. Including playoffs, that was Wilson's fourth TD pass over the past four seasons in which he took at least six seconds to throw, tying him with Patrick Mahomes for second most in the NFL and trailing only the five of Carson Wentz. Wilson adeptly kept his eyes downfield as he escaped pressure and Metcalf did his part by breaking off his route. It was Metcalf's ninth receiving touchdown of the season, tied for the NFL lead. It was his seventh TD of more than 20 yards, also tied for the league lead.