Seahawks sitting at .500 thanks in part to rookie class

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — When the management of the Seattle Seahawks left the draft room in April, there was belief the class of players selected had the potential to be a special group with the opportunity to be influential from the start.

Six games into the rookie season for several of those players, the Seahawks’ belief is proving to be true — and perhaps more than coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider even expected.

That young talent was fully on display in Seattle’s 19-9 win over Arizona on Sunday that kept the Seahawks even with Los Angeles and San Francisco in the NFC West with all three teams sitting at 3-3.

Cornerback Tariq Woolen grabbed an interception for the fourth consecutive game, becoming just the third rookie to have four in a row with a pick since 2000. Fellow cornerback Coby Bryant forced his fourth fumble of the season and had a season-high eight tackles.

Rookie offensive linemen Abraham Lucas and Charles Cross continued to do solid work, although Seattle’s pass protection took a dip against the Cardinals.

And the skill of second-round running back Kenneth Walker III was on full display making the first start of his career with Rashaad Penny out for the season. Walker showed a slippery elusiveness as a runner, rushing for 97 yards and Seattle’s only touchdown.

“The mentality of these guys, they’re all kind of humble, hard-working, kind of nose-to-the-grindstone type of guys,” Carroll said. “And so it’s been really accessible to reach them and to get to them and make them understand what their expectations are and the standards and how you’ve got to go about it.”

Seattle sitting at 3-3 in the post-Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner era is one of the surprises in the league early in the season. But the next four weeks will tell the reality where the Seahawks stand with road games at the Chargers and Arizona, a home game against the 5-1 New York Giants, and an overseas trip to Germany to face Tampa Bay.

WHAT’S WORKING

Recognition is deserved for Seattle’s defense that made significant adjustments and held Arizona without an offensive touchdown. Seattle entered the game 32nd in the league in yards allowed and 31st in scoring defense. But the Cardinals could manage only 315 total yards and three offensive points.

Arizona’s only touchdown came off a special teams mistake by Seattle. That was against a Seahawks defense that had given up 84 points in the previous two games combined.

It was the first time Seattle held an opponent without an offensive TD since Week 16 of the 2020 season.

WHAT NEEDS HELP

Twice in the past three games, Seattle had a major breakdown with its punting unit. Against Arizona, it was a protection breakdown that left punter Michael Dickson unable to get a punt off. Dickson fumbled when he was hit and the loose ball was recovered for Arizona’s only touchdown.

“It’s bugging the heck out of all of us because we are really good on (special) teams in 98% of it and then we’ve had a play that wrecks the game for you in that sense,” Carroll said. “We really have had those just almost disastrous plays that just don’t fit us at all.”

STOCK UP

Pass rusher Darrell Taylor had his best game of the season against Arizona and finally showed off some of the speed that made him difficult to block off the edge a season ago. Taylor had one sack of Kyler Murray, but Carroll was also impressed by several of his other pass rushes. Overall, Seattle’s defensive front was the best it has been this year with six sacks coming from six different players.

“You’re seeing all of the work that we put in in practice finally starting to come out,” defensive end Shelby Harris said.

STOCK DOWN

Seattle’s offensive line featuring two rookie tackles had its toughest week to date. The Seahawks gave up five sacks against the Cardinals. It was a mix of some mistakes, some of Geno Smith holding the ball a little too long and some of Arizona’s standout pass rushers getting the better of Seattle’s line. There were always going to be moments where some of the inexperience was going to show, but the fact it came in a victory is a positive development.

INJURIES

The only injury of significance was backup defensive back Isaiah Dunn suffering a hamstring injury. … Carroll is hopeful big defensive tackle Al Woods will be able to return after missing the Arizona game with a knee injury.

KEY NUMBER

4 — Per the Seahawks, via Elias Sports Bureau, Bryant is the first player to have four forced fumbles in his first six career games since 2000.

NEXT STEPS

Seattle continues its challenging stretch of five of seven games away from home when the Seahawks travel to Los Angeles to face the Chargers on Sunday. Seattle has not played a road game against the Chargers since moving to Los Angeles.

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