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Week 11 in the NFL got underway on Thursday night with a pivotal showdown in the NFC West. The Seattle Seahawks prevailed over the Arizona Cardinals, 28-21, to improve to 7-3, reclaiming sole possession of the division lead and becoming the fourth team in the NFC to seven wins.
Both teams now wait until the conclusion of the weekend slate to see how the division shakes out heading to Week 12, as the Rams are at Tampa Bay to battle the Buccaneers on Monday night. A Los Angeles win would also improve the Rams' record to 7-3.
Seahawks Fly Again
The Seahawks were once again without running back Chris Carson, who continues to recover from a foot injury. Fortunately for Seattle, they did get Carlos Hyde back after he missed the last three games with a bad hamstring.
Hyde was effective in his return, rushing for 79 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown, and he also caught two passes for an additional 16 yards. And while Seattle was able to get back to a mix of run and pass, it was their run defense that may have been even more impressive.
The Seahawks D bottled up the Cardinals on the ground, allowing only 57 total rush yards to the league's top rushing offense.
Russell Wilson was far from spectacular, but he was much more protective of the football. In the team's previous two games, Wilson had turned the ball over seven times. Seattle dropped both those contests, and his lead in the MVP race shrunk considerably.
On Thursday night, despite throwing for under 200 yards and his lowest output of the season, he did not turn the ball over and threw for two more touchdowns. Wilson continues to lead the league in touchdown passes (30), and he's now also the leader in passing yards (2,986).
It's also worth noting that he's been sacked the second most and thrown the third-most interceptions in the NFL as well.
As noted, the Cardinals' rushing attack was virtually non-existent Thursday, as they did not have a single player go for over 30 yards. Kyler Murray was bothered by shoulder issues after taking a big hit early in the first half, and that could have affected his decision-making, but Seattle contained Kenyan Drake as well.
Murray was still able to complete 29-of-42 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns. He also did not throw any picks but was sacked three times, including on the Cardinals' final offensive play of the game to seal it.
Plenty of focus surrounded DeAndre Hopkins coming into this one, and rightfully so. Hopkins was just coming off a miraculous catch to beat the Bills in Week 10, prompting the creators of the Madden video game series to elevate his rating to a 99.
Hopkins became just the seventh player to reach the 99 status and second receiver, joining the Saints' Michael Thomas. Add in the fact that Hopkins had 10 receptions for over 100 yards and a touchdown in the teams' first meeting, and you could understand the anticipation.
But Seattle was ready in the rematch, limiting the All-Pro to just five catches for 51 yards in a relatively quiet night.
Thursday marked the first game played at Lumen Field, the new name of the Seahawks stadium, previously called CenturyLink Field. The move reflects the company CenturyLink's rebranding in September as Lumen Technologies.
It was also the fifth game that Seattle did not allow fans in the building as the team and city continue to operate on a game-by-game basis amidst COVID-19 concerns.