Garrett Williams got his first NFL action, and his first interception.
"I'm glad I got the first pick out of the way," the rookie cornerback said after the loss to the Seahawks.
A frustrating game for the Cardinals showed some of the faults in the team and the roster right now, but there are reasons to be interested in how Jonathan Gannon is developing the team. One is in the secondary, which got Budda Baker back on Sunday – and the veteran was still the most important guy back there – but also saw Williams make his debut and rookie Starling Thomas V make his first start.
Thomas started for Kei'Trel Clark, but while Clark's snaps had been diminishing, it's important to note Clark was limited all week in practice with a hamstring injury, which might have been the deciding factor to keep him sidelined. So Thomas and Williams got important learning time on the field – Jalen Thompson also remains out, as was veteran Antonio Hamilton – and long-term, that's probably the best for this team as it resets in Gannon's first season.
Watching what Williams does over the rest of the season will be a storyline. He sure sounded curious too. He's not at Syracuse anymore.
"I wouldn't say it's the learning curve but just the speed of the game," Williams said with a smile. "It's a lot different than practice."
-- One of the strangest sequences of the season game in the first half, in a play that a) looked like disaster and then b) was fixed and then c) could've been a big problem again.
It started when QB Josh Dobbs looked to find Michael Wilson in the deep right corner of the end zone. Not sure it was a great decision – tight end Zach Ertz was in the area too and there were multiple defenders and rookie CB Devon Witherspoon felt like he had a chance at that interception regardless (which he indeed made.) But replays showed Dobbs was hit in the head as he threw, a penalty that was going to negate the pick.
The problem was the dust-up after the play, in which Cardinals left tackle D.J. Humphries and Seahawks linebacker Jordyn Brooks got into it. In the middle of the two, though, was an official, and as Hump took a swipe at Brooks he nailed the official in the head. It was an automatic flag and ejection – meaning the rest of the game veteran Kelvin Beachum came in to play left tackle.
-- Dobbs ran for a 25-yard TD the next play, so in the short-term it worked out.
-- The fake punt didn't have the outcome the Cardinals had hoped, although rookie QB Clayton Tune was happy he actually got into a game. "We put that in this week, and I was just waiting for an opportunity to use it," Tune said. It was fourth-and-9, and the pass ended up a quick throw to Michael Wilson in the flat, who caught it, but only gained four yards. Wilson declined to go into details, only to say he wasn't the first read on the play.
-- In place of injured left guard Elijah Wilkinson, Trystan Colon got the start. It was the first time all season the same five did not start together on the offensive line.
-- Joey Blount got caught in the wrong place on a Rams' punt return last week, which was confirmed by special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers. But he's more than made up for it, and has been a fantastic gunner on punt coverage. Later against the Rams he forced a fumble on a punt return, and did it again on Sunday, leading to the Cardinals' first three points of the game.
-- That was good special teams. Bad special teams came when Matt Prater hooked a 34-yard fourth-quarter field goal badly left. TV replays showed holder Blake Gilikin had trouble getting the ball right, and the laces were in and it was still slightly moving when Prater made contact.
-- Dobbs has become a true weapon as runner. His 25-yard TD run was his fifth run this season already of at least 20 yards. That leads all NFL quarterbacks.
-- Emari Demercado, after only three touches last week, had 13 carries for 58 yards and another four catches for 17. We'll see what that means week to week but it feels like he's turning into the James Conner replacement until Conner returns.
-- The Ravens looked dangerous Sunday in beating up a good Lions team. Next Sunday will be another significant test in a season that probably will keep them up week to week.
That's all for now. Time to fly home.