Seahawks Prepared for ‘Different’ Challenge vs. Cardinals, DeAndre Hopkins
It’s been just 20 days since the Seattle Seahawks defeated the Arizona Cardinals 19-9 at Lumen Field, but the victors aren’t placing much of an emphasis on past results heading into Sunday’s rematch.
The simple answer is that the Cardinals are a different team now than they were three weeks ago. Every team aims to evolve schematically, but Arizona has received some key reinforcements since the last meeting, specifically at receiver.
Apart from the splash trade to acquire Robby Anderson from the Carolina Panthers, five-time Pro Bowler DeAndre Hopkins returned to the team from his six-week suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.
Through two games, Hopkins has 22 receptions for 262 yards and a touchdown on 27 targets. He’s been efficient, explosive, and reliable – and while the Seahawks haven’t seen him since 2020, they know exactly what he’s about.
Hopkins has played against Seattle four times, recording 25 catches for 405 yards and two touchdowns. Apart from the numbers and accolades, the 30-year-old wideout has a significant impact on the way Arizona runs its offense, something Seahawks defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt is well aware of.
“It’s a world of
difference,” Hurtt said, referencing the Cardinals’ offense with and without Hopkins. “You’re talking about one of the premier receivers in the National Football League. He
is definitely a threat – I believe he has 22 targets in his first two games, so they are going to make
a point to get him the football. You have to definitely give him the attention that he deserves and
Hurtt is far from the only member of Seattle’s defensive unit concerned about Hopkins. If nobody else, he’s accompanied by veteran defensive end Shelby Harris, who’s played against Hopkins twice dating back to the receiver’s time with the Houston Texans.
When asked about the biggest difference in Arizona’s offense from three weeks ago, Harris didn’t hesitate with his response.
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“I would say the big difference is that they run things differently now that they
have DeAndre Hopkins back,” said Harris. “He has a lot of targets; the ball goes to him a lot … The passing game has opened up a lot more with Hopkins back.”
Harris added that the Cardinals have the speed to “open things up” downfield with Hopkins, Anderson and Rondale Moore while having the zone read element at quarterback with the mobile Kyler Murray.
No matter who’s on the receiving end of Murray’s passes or the different pieces that have been implemented, Seattle will enter Sunday searching to keep its momentum rolling and replicate last time’s result.
The Seahawks and Cardinals are set to kick off at 1: 05 p.m. at State Farm Stadium.
You can follow Daniel Flick on Twitter @DFlickDraft
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The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.