GLENDALE, Ariz. — Richard Sherman limped off the field with a ruptured Achilles tendon, just one of a host of players knocked out of the Seattle Seahawks’ 22-16 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
“It’s a good division win, a good team win,” Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner said afterward, “but it’s hard to truly appreciate it when you see a lot of guys go down with minor injuries, serious injuries.”
Players don’t like Thursday night football, and the injuries that hit the Seahawks and Cardinals are examples of why.
It’s just too difficult, they say, to play that soon after Sunday.
“It’s kind of hard to get back out there and recover,” Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett said. “That’s why you see so many injuries on Thursday night. You want to give the fans what they want, but also be able to protect the players as much as you can.
“Sometimes I feel like Thursday night football doesn’t give them the opportunity to protect them.”
At least seven players left the game with injuries, including knee injuries to Arizona’s starting left tackle D.J. Humphries and the team’s leading tackler, safety Tyvon Branch. Both could be headed for injured reserve, Arizona coach Bruce Arians said.
Asked if Thursday night football is unsafe, Seattle coach Pete Carroll said “It’s a challenge.”
“It’s a real challenge for our players,” he said. “Our guys did it and their guys did it. It’s a great event for everyone, but it’s very difficult and very challenging.”
But should it be changed?
“I don’t want to pay anything so I’m not going to comment on anything,” Carroll said.
The game featured loads of penalties and sluggish play with one of amazing escape by Russell Wilson in a 54-yard pass to Doug Baldwin.
“He made a play that will probably go down in history,” Arizona inside linebacker Karlos Dansby said.
The Cardinals sacked Wilson a season-high five times but couldn’t get him down this time.
Retreating, spinning, slipping out of serious trouble, Wilson was on his heels when he threw to Baldwin. Defender Antoine Bethea went up to try to intercept, then slipped. Baldwin caught it and raced downfield to the Cardinals 2-yard line, setting up Wilson’s second touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham.
The Seahawks (6-3) bounced back from Sunday’s home loss to Washington to climb within a half-game of the first place Los Angeles Rams in the NFC West. Arizona (4-5) has yet to beat a team that does not have a losing record.
Here are some things to consider from Seattle’s Thursday night victory.
WINNING IN ARIZONA: As usual, there were plenty of Seahawks fans in the sellout crowd at University of Phoenix Stadium and they watched their team, decked out in electric all-green uniforms, win again in the desert.
The Seahawks are 4-0-1 in Arizona since Bruce Arians became the Cardinals’ coach.
The only time Seattle didn’t win there was in last season’s 6-6 tie.
Oddly enough, Arizona is 3-1 in its last four trips to Seattle. The teams meet again there on Dec. 24.
PETERSON’S PROBLEMS: Adrian Peterson, playing four days after carrying a career-high 37 times for 159 yards in San Francisco, had a tough day.
He fumbled the ball away the first time he touched it and wound up with just 29 yards in 21 carries.
“It was some missed opportunities on my part,” Peterson said. “They did a great job defensively of containing us. We just really couldn’t get into a rhythm.”
KAM’S BIG PLAYS: Kam Chancellor was Peterson’s biggest nemesis. The Seattle safety stripped the ball out of Peterson’s hands and, later in the first half, tackled the running back in the end zone for a safety.
Chancellor finished with nine tackles and one assist.
FITZGERALD’S GAME: Ageless Larry Fitzgerald had another prolific outing with 10 catches for 113 yards. In the process, he topped 15,000 yards receiving for his career. At 34 years, 70 days, he is the second-youngest player to reach that milestone. The only younger one was Jerry Rice.
PENALTIES, PENALTIES: Seattle did nothing to change its status as the most penalized team in the NFL. The Seahawks were penalized 12 times for 108 yards and have 28 penalties in their last two games. On Arizona’s 75-yard TD drive in the first half, Seattle had four penalties for 41 yards, all of them resulting in a first down.