Takeaways from Seahawks 22-16 win over Cardinals

Seattle Seahawks v Arizona Cardinals

Much like Seattle's win over the Carolina Panthers last season, a 22-16 victory over the Arizona Cardinals may be secondary compared to the potential loss of one of the team's stars for the rest of the season.

Cornerback Richard Sherman left the game with a "heel" injury in the third quarter, but it would prove that belies the severity of the issue. Sherman was seen on the sidelines mouthing "tore my Achilles" and "I'm out for the year" to teammates by broadcast cameras for NBC.

Sherman hasn't missed a game since assuming the starting job at left cornerback at the midpoint of his rookie season in 2011. Safety Earl Thomas was lost for the season to a broken leg last year in that win over Carolina. Sherman's loss could be just as significant a loss for Seattle's fortunes the rest of the season. 

The loss of Thomas finally caught up to Seattle in the playoffs. Just how much Sherman's loss will change the story of their season remains to be seen.

Here are the takeaways from Seattle's 22-16 win over the Cardinals:

1. Injuries are a serious concern. Thursday Night Football could be a big part of the problem.

Thursday Night Football is incredibly brutal on players to get healthy enough to play with just four days to recover from playing a game the previous Sunday. Most players say it takes them until Thursday for them to just begin to start feeling back to normal from the previous week's game.

The game against the Cardinals was a blood bath of injuries to both teams with apparently significant injuries sustained by several key players.

Sherman was injured in the third quarter while covering John Brown. He grabbed at the back of his right calf and was shown on camera on the sidelines talking to teammates seemingly saying "tore my Achilles."

Head coach Pete Carroll confirmed the news after the game.

"He got his Achilles tonight," Carroll said. "So he's got to get checked and all that kind of stuff but the doctors are really clear about it that he ruptured his Achilles."

Sherman has been listed on the injury report with an Achilles injury for weeks and has played through the injury. Sherman said he believes he first sustained the injury in the team's Week 5 game against the Los Angeles Rams.

Sherman said he'd tried to stay away from making hard cuts throughout the season as he tried to protect the injury. He's tried to manage this issue ever since before it finally gave away tonight.

"When it goes, it goes," he said.

Sherman teared up at the end of his press conference as he departed the interview room saying he's "just got to stay positive" in the wake of the injury.

Jarran Reed was knocked out of the game with a hamstring injury. Duane Brown and C.J. Prosise left the game with ankle injuries. Russell Wilson had to leave the game after a shot to his jaw. Michael Wilhoite was ruled out with a calf injury. Nazair Jones and Shaquill Griffin were knocked out of the game for stretches as well.

Sheldon Richardson and Frank Clark collided in the fourth quarter and both players left the game as well. Kam Chancellor was taken to the medical tent in the closing minutes as well.

Additionally, Cardinals safety Tyvon Branch and left tackle D.J. Humphries sustained knee injuries. Tight end Ifeanyi Momah also left the game and did not return.

That's double-digits worth of injuries - several significant - sustained in one game.

The Seahawks have 11 days before they have to play the Atlanta Falcons, but the Seahawks will need every one of those days to get healthy enough to play. They got battered all to hell on Thursday night.

2. Nazair Jones looks like another strong pick on the defensive line.

Frank Clark and Jarran Reed have become key contributors after being second-round picks in the last two years. Jones appears to be the next in that line of success of young contributors on the defensive line.

Jones had to takeover for Reed, who left the game after just a few early snaps with a hamstring injury. He finished the game with a sack and just three tackles on the night, but was a presence all throughout the game.

In addition to collecting one of two sacks of Drew Stanton on the night, Jones was also part of the tackle that stuffed Adrian Peterson for a safety in the second quarter. He lined up on the opposite side of the center, fought off blocks and combined with K.J. Wright and Kam Chancellor to stone Peterson in the end zone.

He's played in all nine games for Seattle with 16 tackles, two sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery.

3. Red zone offense makes some progress.

The Seahawks had converted just 12 of 24 red zone drives into touchdowns this season prior to the Thursday night.

With a pair of touchdown passes to Jimmy Graham, the Seahawks showed they are still capable of finding the end zone when they get near the goal line. Seattle ultimately finished with points on all four red zone possession Thursday night, with two touchdowns and two field goals.

The Seahawks had ranked 28th in the league in scoring percentage inside the red zone entering Thursday. They were one of just five teams in the league to convert less than 80 percent of the red zone possessions into points. Seattle had converted 7 of 9 field goal attempts on drives inside the 20 and came away without points on three separate occasions due to an interception and two drives that ended on downs.

Russell Wilson converted two touchdowns to Jimmy Graham inside the 20. Wilson beat another all-out blitz with Graham beating Branch for a 6-yard touchdown to get Seattle on the board. The pair connected again on a 2-yard score with Graham out-muscling safety Antoine Bethea for what proved to be the clinching score.

4. Dion Jordan has encouraging debut in first game with Seahawks.

Due to so many injuries on Thursday night, Dion Jordan almost certainly played more snaps that anticipated for the Seahawks.

Jordan played in the neighborhood of 30 snaps for Seattle, including many snaps in the fourth quarter as the defense tried to run out the clock. Jordan plowed through backup left tackle John Wetzel for a sack of Stanton for what was Seattle's first of two sacks on the night. While it was his only tackle of the night, he did finish with three quarterback hits. 

It was Jordan's first game since Dec. 2014 with the Miami Dolphins. He was activated from the non-football injury list on Wednesday

"Ecstatic for him," Carroll said. "It's been such a haul. Really proud of that whole thing."

With Cliff Avril out and Michael Bennett, Sheldon Richardson and Frank Clark all a bit banged up, Jordan's presence - along with Dwight Freeney - could be enough to help Seattle keep their defensive line performing at a high level.

Photo Credit: GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 09: Cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks reacts after an injury on a play in the second half of the NLF game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on November 9, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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